Press Release: for immediate release, 27 March 2013

We condemn the arrest of Mr Yilmaz Orkan, the vice president of the Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe (KON-KURD) which has 12 federations and 165 associations in Europe, Australia, and Canada. Mr Orkan is a deputy head for the last three years and also a member of the Kurdish National Congress (KNK). Mr Orkan was detained on 24 March 2013 in the Zaventem Airport/Brussels and then put in Belgium Forest Prison by the Belgian police at the request of Spain’s National Court. Mr Orkan was on his way to Tunisia to attend to the World Social Forum 2013.

Mr. Orkan is a Kurdish diplomat and a peace activist, who has been working with, and is very well known by the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg as well as the Council of Europe. He has actively participated in many international forums such as Senegal, Bangladesh, Brazil and South Africa. On 24 March 2013 he was going to Tunisia to attend to the World’s Social Forum between 26-30 March 213. Over 30 thousand international networks and organisations from 127 countries expected to participate. “The World Social Forum 2013 will enable encounters between women and men who struggle to build democracy, equality for all, solidarity, justice and peace to protect the environment and commons.”

We see this arrest as a continuation of the criminalisation of Kurds by the European States such as Germany, France, England and Belgium. Double-standards in these countries allow for the systematic harassment of Kurdish institutions, arresting administrators and members and prohibiting their activities, raiding their offices. Furthermore, we see all of these as part of these European States’ political concept of “against Kurds for Turkey”. We say two-faced democracy of Europe because there is a clear lack of compliance with basic human rights; this is also clear in the French government’s failure to protect life of three Kurdish women activists in Paris and its reluctance to conduct a full investigation of their murder.

We regret that the following arrests and murders coincide with the peace process took place in 2009 and the present one started for the last couple of months between Turkey and the Kurds: Mr. Adem Uzun, a diplomat, who was in peace negotiations in Oslo with Turkey on behalf of the Kurds, was arrested in October 2012 by the French Government. Miss Fidan Dogan was a Kurdish diplomat well known by the French Government, Miss Sakine Cansiz and Miss Leyla Saylemez were women peace activists; all of them were assassinated in January 2013 in Paris. Recently, Mr Yilmaz Orkan, Kurdish diplomat arrested upon the request of the Spanish judiciary on 24th March 2013. We understand that,all these events are the part of bigger strategy of Europe against Kurdish representatives to exert political pressure.

Kon-Kurd urges Spanish and EU authorities to release Kon-Kurd’s vice-president Mr Yilmaz Orkan immediately. We also demand some of the European States such as Germany, France, England and Belgium to stop playing intrigues on Kurds and instead support to resolve the Kurdish question by peaceful and democratic means.

Kon-Kurd Management Committee

KON-KURD Adress: 41 Rue Jean Stas 1060 Bruxelles/Belgiuque Tel: +32 2 647 99 53 . BE58 001162523879 kod. GEBABEBB Fortisbank Bruxelles
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