Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
The Home Secretary
2 Marsham Street
Rt. Hon. Liz Truss MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Rt Hon Lisa Nandy MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
OPEN LETTER ON THE KURDS AND THE REFUGEE CRISIS
Dear Home Secretary
We write to demand that Her Majesty’s Government consider and act on the causes of the crises concerning would-be refugees at the Port of Calais, in the English Channel and at the Polish-Belarus border. Unless the causes are addressed it is most likely that the personal tragedies for the people concerned and the consequent effects and the difficulties being caused to Her Majesty’s Government will continue.
To locate the problem with criminal gangs and inadequate policing, as is frequently the case, is to focus on the effect and not the cause of the political and humanitarian crisis. From news broadcasts, personal statements made by those gathered in Calais and at the Polish-Belarus border and from reports made by delegations visiting those sites, we know that many of the people are originally Kurds from Syria, Iraq and Iran. The circumstances driving these people away from these countries have been deliberately engineered, primarily by the Turkish government which is applying a policy of forced population removal and ethnic cleansing directed primarily at the Kurdish people living in Syria and Iraq. The Kurdish population in Iran has also been specifically persecuted for many decades.
While Turkey’s President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party government suppress any manifestation of Kurdish representation and aspiration in Turkey, so they are waging war on the Kurdish populations of Syria and Iraq. We have heard deeply concering allegations of the repeated use of chemical weapons, cutting off water supplies, aerial bombardments, destruction of villages, burning of forests and crops and the killing of animals kept for farming purposes, the bombing of refugee camps and deployment of jihadist auxiliaries, all intended to terrorise the local inhabitants and force them to leave. The Turkish government then uses the displaced persons and refugees that result from its actions as a means of threatening European and other countries. Her Majesty’s Government has not addressed this at all. It has continued to provide Turkey with military and diplomatic support. The result is thousands of refugees.
Many of those seeking to arrive in the United Kingdom are from predominantly Kurdish areas in Iraq. They are leaving areas under the administration of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The Kurdistan Democratic Party, controlled by the Barzani family, is preeminent in the KRG and has increasingly been acting as an adjunct to the Turkish government. As it has done so, it has accelerated its policies of imprisoning opponents, including journalists, and more recently the abduction of students. It is beginning to replicate conditions imposed on the Kurdish population of Turkey. Instead of condemning this repression, Her Majesty’s Government has continued to provide military training to forces controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Party and provide it with diplomatic support.
Until the Home Office acts on the understanding that domestic policy related to refugees is inextricably tied to British foreign policy, the crisis will not be solved. We urge and demand of the government an assessment of Turkey’s war on the Kurds and for the deaths that now even reach our shores. There must be a reorientation of Her Majesty’s Government’s policy towards the Kurds, which has been one of hostility for a century and more and resulted in their partition with the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, to which the United Kingdom was main signatory.
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid: 07846 666 804 & Melanie Gingell: 07572 430903
Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Maggie Cook, UNISON women activist; Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, journalist, Nick Hildyard, policy advisor, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Dr Les Levidow, Open University, Elfyn Llwyd, John McDonnell MP; Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, journalist, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Dr Thomas Phillips, Liverpool John Moores University, Trevor Rayne, writer, Joe Ryan, Bert Schouwenburg, International Trade Union Adviser; Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, journalist, Steve Sweeney, journalist, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Federico Venturini, Associate Researcher, University of Udine, Italy; Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.