Press Release: Hunger strikes for Kobane

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

28.09.2014, London

Kurds to go on hunger-strike in front of 10 Downing Street on Monday 29th September at 7pm until Saturday 4th October, when they will march into Central London.

  Continue reading

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Support continues to grow for the hunger strike from across the world

Urgent appeal:

November 10, 2012

 

To the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),

To the Parliament of the European Union,

To the Parliament of the United Kingdom,

To Amnesty International,

To Human Rights Watch,

To international media outlets, and

To all political parties, trade unions and freedom lovers across the world:

 

The lives of hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey must be saved.

We are writing to you regarding the recent wave of mass protests and hunger strikes in Turkey by Kurdish people. 63 Kurdish political prisoners have been on hunger strike for political solution to the Kurdish Question in Turkey since Sept 12th 2012. The hunger strike has been spreading day by day. While by the end of October the number of prisoners on hunger strike reached about 700 in more than 50 prisons, on November 5th spokesperson of the political prisoners declared that from now on 10,000 political prisoners are on hunger strike. Continue reading

KCK lawyers trial: Report by Melanie Gingell

The following is the latest in a series of personal reports written by members of a recent UK delegation to Istanbul. The delegation observed the continuation of the lawyers KCK trial, and included solicitor Ali Has, human rights lawyer Margaret Owen OBE, the Law Society’s Tony Fisher, and Bronwen Jones and Melanie Gingell, of Tooks Chambers, London. Here, Melanie Gingell gives her impressions of the trial and her concerns about how the trial is proceeding.

Tony Fisher, member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society, also participated in the delegation and wrote this report last week.

We will bring you further reports in the coming weeks.

KCK TRIALS ISTANBUL 6TH NOVEMBER 2012

In response to an invitation from a Kurdish solidarity campaign PIK, I attended the trial of 47 lawyers in Istanbul on 6th Nov 2012.

I was part of a 5 person delegation comprising 3 barristers and 2 solicitors from the UK. Legal delegations from France, Switzerland, Germany, Canada also attended the trial. Continue reading

Behind the Kurdish Hunger Strike in Turkey

Journalist Jake Hess has written this article for the Middle East Research and Information Project on the on going hunger strikes and their political context:

To hear Mazlum Tekdağ’s story is enough to understand why 700 Kurdish political prisoners have gone on hunger strike in Turkey. His father was murdered by the state in front of his Diyarbakır pastry shop in 1993, when Mazlum was just nine years old. His uncle Ali was kidnapped by an army-backed death squad known as JİTEM (the acronym for the Turkish phrase translating, roughly, as Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terror Unit) two years later. Mazlum never saw his uncle again, but a former JİTEM agent later claimed they tortured him for six months before killing him and burning his body by the side of a road in the Silvan district of Diyarbakır.

Such experiences have moved thousands of Kurds in Turkey to join the armed rebellion of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, which has been outlawed since its inception. But Mazlum, along with thousands of others, chose to fight for his people’s rights through the non-violent means of pro-Kurdish political parties, a succession of which have been allowed to operate by the Turkish state before then being shut down. He was first arrested in 2001, when he was 17. Now 28, Mazlum has been in jail for three and a half years, though he has not been convicted of a crime. His trial is deadlocked because Turkish courts refuse to let him or his fellow political prisoners offer their legal defenses in their native Kurdish language. All of them speak fluent Turkish; they are making a political point. Continue reading

2,000 march in support of Kurdish hunger strikers

By Paul Burnham

On Sunday, 11th November, more than 2,000 Kurds marched five miles across North London in solidarity with the Kurdish hunger strikes in Turkish prisons, which have reached their 61st day. The hunger strikes are reaching a critical stage, and some hunger strikers may be near death.

The 680 hunger strikers include elected representatives who have been jailed under the repressive policies of Turkish Prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They are demanding Kurdish language rights, and the end of the isolation in jail of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), to help to negotiate a political settlement to the Kurdish Question. Other Kurds have joined the strike by refusing food in solidarity, including MPs belonging to the pro-Kurdish BDP (peace and democracy) party. Continue reading

Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) launched an international campaign to set free all journalists in Turkey. Below is the latest news update:

07 Nov 2012 – Stand Up For Journalism 2012 in Brussels Full link  (video and pictures)

07 Nov 2012 – Stand Up For Journalism 2012 in Turkey (pictures and press coverage), in EFJ’s webpage Full link

07 Nov 2012 – Council of Europe : Post-monitoring visit to Turkey by PACE rapporteur, in CoE website Full link

07 Nov 2012 – Still 8 imprisoned journalists remain on indefinite hunger strike, in EFJ’s webpage Full link

07 Nov 2012 – Journalist Sinan Aygün and 11 other detainees released (pending trial) in KCK Bitlis case, in DIHA Full link Continue reading

KCK lawyers’ trial: Report by Tony Fisher

The following report was written by Tony Fisher, from the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society, who participated in a UK delegation of lawyers to Istanbul this week. The delegation observed the latest hearing of the KCK lawyers’ trial, which was eventually adjourned until the new year.

The report was originally published on the Law Society website. More reports from the delegation will follow.

KCK TRIAL OF KURDISH LAWYERS – ISTANBUL 6TH NOVEMBER 2012

Background

In November 2011 mass arrests of some 46 Kurdish and Turkish lawyers took place in raids carried out simultaneously in many Turkish cities and provinces.

The arrest of these lawyers is linked with many thousands of other arrests which have taken place, mainly of Kurdish Turkish nationals, since 2009. Most of those arrested have had some connection with a Kurdish organisation established by Abdullah Ocalan, namely the union of Communities in Kurdestan (otherwise known as the KCK). The trials of these individuals, including the lawyers trials, have become known as the KCK trials. In all some 8,000 defendants have been charged with terrorist offences. They include politicians, journalists, academics and other human rights defenders as well as the lawyers. Continue reading

A present to Erdogan: Switzerland extradites Kurdish activist

A present to Erdogan: Switzerland extradites Kurdish activist Metin A. – on hunger strike for 50 days – to German authorities

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had hardly left Germany, had barely ended amicable talks with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the joint struggle against the PKK, when the theory was immediately put into practice.

On 1st November, the Swiss justice ministry extradited the Kurdish activist Metin A. to Germany, and this was despite the fact that the Kurd had been on hunger strike for over 50 days, with serious health consequences. He is now in the prison hospital at Stuttgart-Stammheim auf dem Hohenasperg, where he is at least taking some liquids once again, which he had strictly refused in Switzerland. Continue reading

MPs, academics and many more sign PiK open letter to Erdogan

A list of prominent members of parliament, members of European parliament, academic, trade unionists, political commentators and friends and supporters of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign have signed an open letter to PM Erdogan, in support of demands being made by the political prisoners on hunger strike:

Peace in Kurdistan  Campaign

OPEN LETTER TO TURKISH PRIME MINISTER TAYYIP ERDOGAN

PM Erdogan Must Respond to the Demands of the Kurdish Hunger Strikers

Hundreds of Kurdish prisoners are now taking part in a hunger strike which they have declared is to be indefinite.

This hunger strike began on 12 September, a not insignificant date in Turkey’s political history, with 63 people, including 13 women, in seven prisons. The numbers have grown rapidly with hundreds more Kurdish political prisoners joining the action and it is reported that 600 prisoners are currently on indefinite hunger strike. Continue reading

Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 26 October – 1 November 2012

NEWS
1. Ten thousands crying out ‘We won’t remain in silence towards deaths’ in rally
2. Basque Abertzale Left calls for the fulfillment of demands by Kurdish prisoners
3. Turkish Kurds’ jail hunger strikes fails to move Erdogan government
4. VIDEO: The Stream – Turkey’s Kurdish question
5. Turkey using anti-terrorism law to quash debate, UN says
6. Turkey accused of pursuing campaign of intimidation against media
7. Journalist Receives Jail Terms for Newspaper Headline
8. Kurdish state being built in Mideast, says BDP’s Demirtaş
9. VIDEO: Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Deadly Clash Between Insurgents in Aleppo
10. Syrian rebels and Kurdish militiamen clash in Aleppo Continue reading