As a member of this constituency, I wanted to find out what your views are on an important foreign policy matter, namely UK relations with Turkey. I am a supporter of the Kurds in Turkey, having followed the news about the horrific attacks on the majority Kurdish regions in the South-East of the country since July 2015.
I am also concerned about the slide into authoritarianism which we have witnessed over the last few years in Turkey and have been horrified that our government has not seen fit to speak out about this.
Foreign governments play a key role in putting pressure on other states to try to ensure that they support democracy and that they refrain from committing human rights violations against their own people. Unfortunately our government has failed to sufficiently criticise what is happening in Turkey and further than that, has made it plain that Turkey will be a priority arms trading partner.
The situation in Northern Syria is deeply interconnected with what is happening in Turkey and I would be interested to know your views in relation to what is happening there.
I am setting out below (some of) the key demands that many in the Kurdish community are calling for and would like to know how you stand in relation to them:
Turkey and the Kurds:
To condemn the slide into authoritarianism in Turkey and the full frontal assaults on democracy in the wake of the widely criticised referendum on presidential powers, and in particular:
a -to condemn the attacks on the predominantly Kurdish communities in the south-east of Turkey where egregious human rights violations are being carried out, where 2000 people have lost their lives and 500,000 have been displaced by the on-going military campaign since July 2015. (See UN report of February 2017 here: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/TR/OHCHR_South-East_TurkeyReport_10March2017.pdf <http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/TR/OHCHR_South-East_TurkeyReport_10March2017.pdf> ).
b -to halt all arms sales to Turkey as there is evidence that such weapons will be used against their own civilian populations, including aerial bombardments, especially those in the majority Kurdish areas, and further have been used against our allies against ISIS in Syria, the YPG and YPJ units.
c -to condemn the mass closure of Kurdish media outlets, the attacks on all independent and opposition journalists and to call for the release of journalists in prison, Turkey now having the highest number of journalists in prison in the world. (https://www.cpj.org/search.php?cx=002635367788333464843%3A1kfp8mbluhy&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=UTF-8&q=Turkey).
d- to call for the release from prison of democratically elected members of parliament and democratically elected local authority representatives, including the co-chairs of the HDP , who are serving sentences of 142 years and 83 years respectively.
e- to call for a resumption of the peace process between the Turkish State and the PKK.
f- to call for the release of Abdullah Ocalan and the de-listing of the PKK, to ensure that peace negotiations can take place on a level playing field and can have a realistic prospect of success.
g -to seek a resolution to conflict in the region as the best way to mitigate the migration crisis and to call for an end to the dirty financial deal on refugees between the EU and Turkey , which has been so widely criticised by human rights organisations.
h-to call for the suspension of EU-Turkey accession negotiations
And in relation to Rojava and Northern Syria:
a- to call for the borders between Rojava, Rojava, Turkey and Iraq to be opened and secured to allow the free and safe passage of medical equipment, food and other essential aid, as well as of refugees and internally displaced people;
b- to use all endeavours to ensure that International aid organisations be granted safe passage into Rojava to provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of refugees from other parts of Syria who have fled to Rojava, seeing it as a safe haven from the chaos;
c- to offer support to Rojava’s autonomous administration, with its pluralistic and decentralised system,
d-to support the right of the Kurdish and all other peoples in Syria to exercise the right to determine their own future, free of foreign occupation or diktats.
Thank you very much and I look forward to hearing from you ,