BDP holds Washington conference

This week, the BDP representative office in Washington held a conference to discuss the role of the Kurds in the Middle East. Professor Michael Gunter, the Secretary-General of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) and professor of political science at Tennessee Tech University, wrote this report.

 

 

THE CURRENT STATE REGARDING THE TURKISH-KURDISH PEACE PROCESS

Professor Michael Gunter

On 28 October 2013, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Representative Office in the United States, organized a one-day conference on “The Kurdish Role in the New Middle East” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The primary concern of this conference was to analyze the current state of the foundering Turkish-Kurdish peace process. This brief report will detail some of the most important points made at this conference.

Cengiz Candar, a prominent Turkish journalist, argued that a neutral third party facilitator was needed, not a one-man show as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan currently appeared to be. At the present time the Turkish and Kurdish sides are finding it difficult to dialogue. Indeed, Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chair of the BDP, said that so far the peace process has seemed more like a monologue than a dialogue. Cengiz Candar also added that the following are necessary for the peace process to move forward: 1. Patience; 2. A vision for an end game; 3. Political courage; and 4. A procedure to follow facilitated by a third party.

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International Peace Initiative Welcomes News of Negotiations between the Turkish State and Abdullah Öcalan

PRESS RELEASE

Issued: 9th January 2013

For Immediate Release

 

The International Peace Initiative welcomes the positives steps that have been recently taken by the Turkish State to resume talks with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, in the wake of a joint call in December, led by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and supported by other leading international figures, for a Resumption of Dialogue between Turkey and Öcalan, for a lasting and peaceful settlement of the Kurdish issue in Turkey.

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EUTCC: In memory of our friends

Issued: 10 January, 2013

For immediate release

IN MEMORY OF OUR FRIENDS:

SAKINE CANZIZ, FIDAN DOGAN, AND LEYLA SÖYLEMEZ

It was with shock and grief we received the horrible news about the deaths of our dear friends who were massacred in Paris today in the most grotesque way. Sakine Canziz, the co-founder of the PKK in 1978 holds a crucial role in the party. Fidan Dogan (Rojbin), a Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) member from Paris, has also been working closely alongside the EUTCC for many years and her work has been very important to our international work for the Kurds.

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Demirtas addresses BDP group meeting about peace talks

Co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Selahattin Demirtas addressed the BDP group meeting on Tuesday with an in-depth discussion on the renewed negotiations between the Turkish state and the PKK. Below is a translated version of the full speech:

Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) addresses his party’s parliamentary group meeting on “the Imrali processs” on 8 January 2013

Dear friends,

Today, in our group meeting we would like to share our thoughts, suggestions and approaches to the process which has been under intense discussion for about a week now and has been dubbed ‘the Imrali process’ (i.e. negotiations with Abdullah Ocalan in the name of the Kurdish question, translator’s note) Of course, we are talking about 30 ongoing years of blood and tears with a history of almost 100 years of deep-rooted historical, social, political, cultural and economic problems. The Imrali process is not a topic that popped up today and will be gone tomorrow. At the present stage, everyone should evaluate and debate with a cool head. We should foster hope where it exists, we should criticise the weak points where they exist, everyone should sincerely debate how to bring about an honorable peace with dialogue and negotiation as well as a solution that is bloodless, weaponless and nonviolent. This is our basic intention and approach.Every suggestion and criticism that we will share with you today is rooted in this intention and approach.With us today are the constituents of the HDK (English: Peoples Democratic Congress) and the Left Green Party.

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Bayık: talks are the last chance for AKP

While the talks with the Kurdish Leader Abdullah Öcalan in Imrali are being debated, member of the KCK Executive Council, Cemil Bayık, evaluated the subject in his column published at the Yeni Özgür Politika and Azadiya Welat newspapers.

Bayık, in his article written in Kurdish, entitled ‘the last chance for AKP’, stated that as a result of the resistance of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan against one and a half year of threats and blackmailing, the AKP had to restart the talks. Stating “resistance of the Guerrilla and the People also forced the AKP to talk with the Kurdish People’s Leader”, Bayık’s article is as follows:

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Three Kurdish women politicians assassinated in Paris

We are shocked and saddened by the news of the assassination of three Kurdish women politicians in Paris. We send condolences and our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez, and to the Kurdish community for their loss. We will continue to monitor developments and statements on the incident will be out soon.

Emergency actions

Please note there will be a rally outside the Turkish Embassy in London (43 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PA), tomorrow at 1pm.
Another demonstration will be held at the Halkevi Community Centre (Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF), on Saturday 12 January, at 12pm.
Please come along to show your support. For further information contacts Kurdish Federation: fedbir@gmail.com Continue reading

Karayılan: Dialogue is important but there also needs to be a policy for resolution

Edited version, 9.01.12
London

KCK Executive Council President Murat Karayılan talked to ANF reporters Deniz Kendal and Rosida Mardin about the recent meeting with the leader of the Kurdish people, Abdullah Öcalan, on Imrali Island.  Stressing the importance of monitoring the initiative carefully, he said, “the initiative launched for dialogue is both an important and an accurate approach.”

Karayılan said that meetings have been taking place with Öcalan since November, and he continued, “of course the visit of Ahmet Turk and Ayla Akat to Imrali showed the significance of these meetings.” This is a new dimension and we are aware of its importance. However, we will find out in the coming days whether these meetings and the renewed dialogue will turn into a process that leads to a resolution of the Kurdish issue or not. The present period may be described as a consultative one, but we need more data to assess the process. The attitude of the AKP government is especially important in this regard. In terms of whether the process of dialogue will be turned into resolution process or not, the government’s attitude will be absolutely decisive.

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EUTCC acknowledge Turkey for resuming talks with PKK

The following press statement has been issued by the EU Turkey Civic Commission:

5 January, 2013

The EUTCC positively notes the encouraging developments between the Turkish state and the PKK leader Mr. Abdullah Öcalan. The renewal of talks between the parties and a genuine will from both sides to seek a peaceful solution to the problems can pave the road to peace and a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey along the lines first adumbrated by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the recent International Peace Initiative. The renewal of these long-awaited talks will benefit all parties involved including Turkey and are to be encouraged. In light of these positive developments we urge the French government to immediately release Mr. Adem Uzun a leading Kurdish representative who was involved in the previous Oslo process. The further imprisonment of Mr. Uzun is meaningless in light of the positive developments currently taking place on Imrali.
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Papers from the 9th International EUTCC Conference

Several conference papers from last week’s EUTCC Conference, entitled The Kurdish Question in Turkey: Time to Renew the Dialogue and Resume Direct Negotiations, have been made available in English. The final resolution of the conference is also available, and you can download the opening speech by Kurdish MP Leyla Zana(pdf) and Dutch academic Joost Jongeden’s paper, Rethinking Politics and Democracy in the Middle East(pdf).

Dr Sabine Freizer, Europe Program Director for the International Crisis Group

“Negotiating peace: Requirements for a political resolution and the Road Maps to Peace in Turkey”

INTRODUCTION

Thank you very much chair for inviting me to speak to you today and to present the recommendations that the International Crisis Group has developed to alleviate the Kurdish problem and help the Kurdish movement and the Turkish government reach a political settlement.

Just a few words on Crisis Group. We were created in 1995 during the wars in the Western Balkans when several international policy makers felt that an organization that could give practical recommendations, based on field research, to alleviate and solve deadly conflict was needed. The head of our organization is Justice Louise Arbour, former UN High Commission on HR and Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. We work in about 65 conflicts around the work with some 150 staff. Our main advantage over other organizations is our field presence with about 30 offices around the world. Personally I cover the Europe program (the Balkans, Turkey and the Caucasus, North and South) and am based out of Istanbul, where I work with two other colleagues, Hugh Pope and Didem Akyel. Our only product is our reports – we don’t do any of our own activities, like organizing conferences or providing aid.

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EUTCC resolution calls for restart of direct negotiations

The EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) held its 9th International Conference last week In Brussels, with politicians, academics, NGO workers and political activists from Kurdistan, Europe and across the world gathering for two days of discussion. The final resolution, which is reproduced below in full, reflected the main focus of the conference this year by calling for direct negotiations to resume between the Turkish government and the PKK. This echoes the call made made Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Despond Tutu at the recent launch of the International Peace Initiative (IPI). A special resolution was also passed calling for the release of Kurdish politician Adem Uzun from French custody, which is also below.

Prominent MP and Rafto Prize Laureate Ms Leyla Zana opened the conference, and a copy of her speech in English is opening speech (pdf). Also available is Dutch academic Joost Jongerden’s conference paper entitled Rethinking Politics and Democracy in the Middle East (pdf).

FINAL RESOLUTION OF THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL EUTCC CONFERENCE, BRUSSELSTHE KURDISH QUESTION IN TURKEY: TIME TO RENEW THE DIALOGUE AND RESUME DIRECT NEGOTIATIONS

The 9th Annual EUTCC International Conference met on 5-6 December 2012 at the European Parliament in Brussels. All of the presentations elaborated on the findings of the European Commission’s most recent (2012) Progress Report on Turkey’s EU accession process that unfortunately: “The Kurdish issue and . . . the 2009 democratic opening aimed at addressing amongst others the Kurdish issue were not followed through. . . .  Overall, there was no progress towards a solution as regards the Kurdish issue.” Continue reading