Frederike Geerdink: Reporting under siege in Turkey

22 October 2015

Last night, the Kurdish Community Centre in north London hosted an event with Frederike Geerdink, who is in London for a series of events promoting her new book on the Roboski massacre, The Boys Are Dead, which tells the story of her investigations into the atrocity on 28 December 2011 which killed 34 people.

frederike KCC event
Courtesy Ari Murad

Frederike gave a captivating account of her encounters with the Turkish authorities, which she said began the day she first visited Roboski in the weeks after the massacre took place.

She also described how state and private media in Turkey uncritically parroted the government narrative that the people killed were ‘terrorist helpers’ hiding PKK members among them as they crossed the border from Iraq, not civilians, and that the military was acting on sound intelligence. International media at the time insisted that the attack was an unfortunate accident and repeated that the government would carry out a full investigation.

Frederike was determined to uncover the truth behind the incident, however, and travelled to Roboski to hear from the villagers themselves and investigate the area. She discovered that neither the claims of sound intelligence (increased walkie talkie activity was the only evidence offered) nor that it was actually an accident on the part of the military were true. Continue reading “Frederike Geerdink: Reporting under siege in Turkey”

State crime in Turkey: the Roboski Massacre

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.

Continue reading “Papers from the 9th International EUTCC Conference”

PUBLIC EVENT: Turkey, the Kurdish Struggle and the New Middle East

PUBLIC MEETING AT MARXISM 2012, 5-9 JULY 2012

Turkey, the Kurdish Struggle and the New Middle East

Saturday, 7 July, 5.15-6.45pm
Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre
University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT* How to find us.

Speakers: Akif Wan, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK
Dr Felix Padel
,  Social Anthropologist, Author and Political Activist

Chaired by: David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Discussion organised by Peace in Kurdistan: campaign for a political solution to the Kurdish Question

The historic struggle of the Kurds in Turkey has reached a new intensity at a time when popular uprisings in the Middle East are overturning anti-democratic regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, in a social ferment that has left no state untouched. Continue reading “PUBLIC EVENT: Turkey, the Kurdish Struggle and the New Middle East”

CENI petition: Say No to Abortion Ban!

Recent news from Turkey that the government is preparing to ban abortions beyond the first month of pregnancy was met with outrage from women’s and reproductive rights groups both within Turkey and beyond. A signature petition that began soon after the government’s announcement has received wide international support, and while the petition itself was sent to Prime Minister Erdogan on Tuesday, it is still possible for you to keep the pressure on the government by writing to the Prime Minister, or the Minister of Health, yourself. Here is a sample letter you can use to do so.

Below, CENI – Women’s Office for Peace have sent out this notice to thank all those who have supported the efforts so far:

Continue reading “CENI petition: Say No to Abortion Ban!”

Kurdish community celebrates May Day

Long Live May Day! Biji Yeke Gulane! Yaşasın 1 Mayıs!

 KURDS ARE CELEBRATING MAY DAY IN THE SPIRIT OF NEWROZ

Once again this year Kurds are celebrating May Day in Kurdistan, Turkey and all the capitals of the world, in the spirit of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year. This is because for Kurds, May Day is not just a day for workers and labour, but for the freedom and resistance of all the oppressed nations, classes and ‘others’ of the world; this is why May Day is also a celebration for Tamils, Baloch, Sindhi, Basque, women, students, religious groups and all oppressed peoples.

We are thousands here today from all these nations and groups, in exile, away from our lands, and we are in solidarity with the British working classes, of which we have also become a part of. But we have been made the scapegoats, the unemployed, pushed into menial labour as underpaid service providers of this system, which, in its economic crisis has targeted us more savagely than any other. Millions of people, officially and unofficially have lost their jobs, millions who did not have access to work have had their social security benefits cut, student fees have been tripled, access to housing and basic council services have been eroded, local community funding and services have become almost non-existent, and as the riots last year showed, there is a growing discontent among the working classes, which unfortunately has no political direction, at least not yet. Continue reading “Kurdish community celebrates May Day”

Report on the Halabja Conference in the EP published

On 16 March, the the Kurdish people commemorated the anniversary of the Halabja Genocide in 1988, in which more than 5,000 Kurds were killed in air strikes in Northern Iraq using chemical weapons. On the same day, a summary report on the recent conference in the European Parliament called “Remembering the Halabja Genocide and the Use of Chemical Weapons Against Kurds” was published, which we have made available to download here (doc). You can also see the final declaration that was adopted by the conference participants below:

Continue reading “Report on the Halabja Conference in the EP published”