Yesterday, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign sent this letter to Prime Minister David Cameron. It was drafted in response to the Ankara bombing and the UK government’s continued support for President Erdogan, despite all evidence of his divisive and dangerous politics that has threatened the very stability of Turkey – and Syria. We call on him to urge Turkey to heed the PKK’s ceasefire and return to the peace process immediately.

In just a few days, the letter was signed by 95 of our campaign’s long-time supporters, as well as friends of the Kurdish movement from across the world. We have published the letter and signatories below in full.

Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister

21 October 2015


Open letter to David Cameron on UK policy towards Turkey


Dear Prime Minister,

You sent words of condolences to President Erdogan on the news of last week’s twin suicide bombing at the trade union organised peace rally in Ankara which left over 100 people dead and many more mutilated. Erdogan himself however has shown no signs of grieving, compassion or humility in response to this latest in what has been a series of horrific attacks on mainly Kurdish political organisations in recent months.

The scene of carnage in Ankara was so appalling that it has traumatised the nation which was still barely recovering from the aftermath of July’s massacre of students in the border town Suruc which left more than 30 victims of another ISIS-inspired suicide bombing.

The reality is that it is the Kurds who have been bearing the brunt of these attacks from terrorist groups linked to ISIS and al Qaeda who appear to freely operate inside Turkey. At best, it is a failure of security, but many Kurds have concluded that these incidents are manifestations of the work of what is called the “deep state”, accusing the authorities of collaboration with the terrorists.

Suspicions turned to anger when Turkish leaders refused to accept any responsibility for security lapses and even sought to blame the PKK for the attack in Ankara, which is bizarre in the extreme. Most of the victims were Kurds and they were all calling for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the PKK to end the violence. It is absurd to suggest that the PKK would have had any involvement in such a brutal attack.

The massacre has exacerbated the deep divisions that have opened up in Turkish society in the months following the June election which left the AKP falling short of an absolute majority to rule alone. The sectarian policies pursued by the government, particularly since the election, have contributed to the renewed conflict and the divisions in Turkish society are today clear for all to see. Erdogan needs to be challenged on where he is taking the country. Erdogan is a very divisive figure and has even been described by Turkish novelist, Elif Shafak, as “the most divisive leader in Turkish history”.

The prospects of peace with the Kurds have been squandered mainly through Erdogan’s Machiavellian machinations and his obsession with changing the country’s constitution in order to give more power to himself as the president. The victory of the pro-Kurdish HDP in June’s election enraged Erdogan who saw it as an obstacle to be removed at all cost, rather than grasped as an opportunity to resolve the Kurdish conflict by democratic means. Talks with jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan had been put on hold before the election, but now there is little sign of Erdogan wanting to return to the negotiating table any time soon, if at all.

Conflict has been deliberately stoked for political gain in a grotesquely irresponsible and cynical way. As such, Kurdish people have been right to question the timing of the Ankara bombings which came within hours of the announcement from the PKK of a ceasefire. This offer of a halt to the conflict which has claimed an estimated 700 lives in the past few months was immediately rejected by the Turkish government and its bombing of Kurdish positions in Iraq was actually stepped up.

The reality is clear for all to see: Erdogan and the AKP are obstructing the achievement of peace not only in their own country but in Syria too where they are pursuing a sectarian war against the Syrian Kurds who are fighting ISIS.

The UK must realise that Turkey’s current policies are deeply divisive and fuelling conflict at home and abroad. It is high time that Turkey’s allies ended their silence on Erdogan’s abuses of power and authoritarian rule. In this respect it is deeply dismaying that the EU seems prepared to make so many concessions to Turkey in order to seal a deal on the Syrian refugees. Turning a blind eye to Erdogan’s increasing authoritarian regime will be a recipe for disaster and simply ensures even greater instability in the region. We will all pay a very heavy price indeed.

The UK needs to tell Erdogan to return to the peace process with the Kurds and to call a halt to its divisive sectarian policies, stop bombing the Kurds and end its curbs on human rights. Only this course of action can end the climate of fear and start to heal the ruptures that are today tearing Turkey apart.

Yours sincerely,

Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Melanie  Sirinathsingh, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Derek Wall, International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales

Richard Mallender, Chair of the Green Party of England and Wales

Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Peter Murry, Secretary of Green Left

Mark Thomas, author/comedian and activist

Lord Rea

Kate Osamor MP

Hilary Wainright, Co-editor Red Pepper and Fellow, Transnational Institute, Amsterdam

Margaret Owen OBE, human rights lawyer and director for of Widows for Peace through Democracy

Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer of Political Sociology, The University of Cambridge

Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, Research and admissions tutor (MPhil/PhD Gender Studies) Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS

Tony Simpson, Editor, The Spokesman, journal of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation

Stan Newens, former MP and MEP; President of Liberation; and Honorary President of Socialist History Society

Dilar Dirik, Kurdish activist & PhD student at the University of Cambridge

Martha Mundy, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, London School of Economics

Dr Felix Padel, Sussex University

Frances Webber, human rights lawyer, Vice-President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Melanie Gingell, barrister

Bronwen Jones, barrister

Alastair Lyon, solicitor, Birnberg Peirce Solicitors

Isabel Kaser, PhD candidate, SOAS,London

Kurdish Human Rights Action Groug, South Africa

Judge Essa Moosa, South Africa

Joost Jongerden, Wageningen University, Sociology and Anthropology of Development Department, Faculty Member, Netherlands

Kathryn Cameron Porter, President & Founder, The Leadership Council for Human Rights, US

Ralph D Fertig, civil rights lawyer, sociologist, author, President of the Humanitarian Law Project/Internationa Educational Development, University of Southern California, US

Nick Hildyard, policy advisor

Tim Gopsill, Editor, Free press, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom

Yvo Fitzherbert, journalist

Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor, UNISON Lanarkshire

Mike Arnott, Secretary, Dundee Trades Union Council

Alain Hertzmann, Branch secretary London North West Branch 9708, Unitetheunion

Dr Keith Baker, Green Party

Shatha Besarani, women’s right activist

Diarmuid Breatnach, writer, traditional singer, Dublin, Ireland

John Hunt, journalist, Kurdistan Tribune

Harem Karem, Editor, The Pasewan

Ahmet Atas, Journalist / PhD candidate at SOAS

Retep, Secretary of the Green Left

Plan C (Rojava Solidarity Cluster)

Mark Barrett, Occupy  / People in Common

Rojava Solidarity London

Leeds Friends of Rojava

Sarah Paker, Haringey Left Unity

Joe Ryan, Chair, Westminster Diocese Justice and Peace Commisssion

Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

Penny Papapdopoulou, journalist

Zaher Baher, Kurdish activist

Roza Salih Co-Convenor of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan, SNP youth equality officer and Vice Chair for Unite the Union Youth.

Yuksel Gonul, PhD 
Roehampton University of London

Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles, Research Fellow, Department of Leadership, Work and Organisations, Middlesex University

Andy Higginbottom, Associate Professor, PG Programme Co-ordinator, International Politics and Human Rights, Kingston University

Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party

Will Duckworth, Former Deputy Leader, Green Party of England and Wales

Judy Maciejowska is the Green Party election coordinator

Dee Searle, Green Party Publications Coordinator

Manishta Sunna, joint Equalities and Diversity coordinator

Penny Kemp, Green Party

Samantha Pancheri, Green Party

Paloma Polo, visual artist and independent researcher

Vasiliki Scurfield, Rojava Solidarity

Chris Scurfield, Rojava Solidarity

Trevor Rayne, editorial board, Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism

Richard Haley, Chair, SACC

Lynn Wilde, teacher

Oliver Collenette, student

Osman Suoor, PhD candidate at Roehampton University

Yorhan Kareem, Kurdish community

Behzad Abdullah, Kurdish community

Bnar Shekhani, PhD candidate at Brunel University

Erish Ismail, Student at Swansea University

Maureen Richards, Administration Manager, retired

Paul Barbara, London 9/ 11-Truth Campaign

Andreas Gavrielides, Greek-Kurdish Solidarity

George Eugeniou, founder and artistic director Theatro Technis

Gillian Homeri, teacher

Rizgar Hmeri, engineer

Dr. Raimund Rütten, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Bob McGlynn-Neither East Nor West –NYC group, US

Eric Draitser, Founder, Editor

Rose Lucas

Rachel Bird, human rights campaigner

Alan Brooke, Leeds Friends of Rojava

Val Swain, Netpol

Les Levidow, CAMPACC

Anne Gray, CAMPACC

Saleh Mamon, CAMPACC

Raghu Jayantiya, social scientist and activist

Anni Pues, International Committee Scottish Green Party

Lee Brown, community housing worker

Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, dr.phil, emerita, Sweden

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Sirinathsingh – Tel: 020 7272 7890

Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Kate Osamor MP, Elfyn Llwyd, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall