Reversing the spiral of repression in Turkey: the Kurdish view
Time for a real democratic opening to the Kurds 

Come and hear the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) perspective on the current situation inside the country:

Selahattin Demirtas MP, Chair of the BDP

Other speakers include Lord Rea and Jeremy Corbyn MP

The meeting, hosted by Hywel Williams MP, will be held on Tuesday, 31 January 2011 from 6.30-8.30pm at Wilson Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, SW1. 

The escalating repression inside Turkey presents an alarming situation. The rising conflict needs urgently to be halted with renewed actions to resolve the issues by peaceful means and the restarting of negotiations.

At present a stalemate persists inside Turkey and the situation on the ground is rapidly deteriorating. Long gone is any talk of a “democratic opening” towards the Kurds and with it the hopes for the start of a political solution to the Kurdish question. Last summer hopes were high amid reports of secret talks between government representatives and the PKK, including imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, but the emerging dialogue broke down without agreement. A tough and uncompromising stand adopted by the ruling AKP to clamp down on Kurdish aspirations has only increased social tensions and unrest among the Kurdish community. Thousands of Kurdish activists, including elected politicians, BDP mayors, academics, lawyers and journalists, have been arrested in recent months as part of a new campaign of repression against independent Kurdish activities. At the same time, the Turkish Army has intensified its operations inside Turkey and northern Iraq, with bombardments and operations against Kurdish guerrillas. Mr Ocalan has been denied access to his lawyers, most of whom are themselves now in jail, in violation of his rights as a detainee under international conventions.

On 28 December Turkish F-16 war planes dropped bombs on Kurdish civilians from Robososki village, Sirnak, who were travelling just south of the Turkish border in the mountains of northern Iraq, killing 35 of them aged between 13 and 28. The incident, which Turkish officials admitted had been an error, provoked widespread outrage and protests leading to accusations of genocide and allegations that chemical weapons were being used by the army.  This appalling massacre has added to the tensions leading to further alienation of the Kurdish people from the government in Ankara. The dangerous situation threatens to get out of control and demands an urgent change of policy. The situation points to the need for the re-establishment of peace talks towards a negotiated settlement between Turkey and the Kurds.

Selahattin Demirtas, on a brief visit to London, and other speakers will address these urgent issues.

The meeting is supported by Liberation, Kurdish Federation UK, Kurdish Community Centre Haringey, Halkevi Kurdish-Turkish Community Centre, Roj Women Association and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

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