18th August 2011

Since yesterday, 17 August, Turkish aircraft have been bombing the border region in south Kurdistan (northern Iraq). According to first reports, civilian settlements have been hit. Turkey has already attacked this area numerous times under the pretence of trying to destroy PKK defence forces.

The Turkish government lead by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been preparing for a war for quite some time. Although the AKP had promised to develop a new democratic constitution as the first act of the new government at the national election on 12th June, Turkey has now implemented border-crossing military operations and prepares itself for a broad political operation against the Kurds in Turkey. Political, judicial and security forces, and above all the press have been laying the foundations for weeks for such a war of extermination. The Turkish president has made clear at every opportunity that no one should expect any goodwill. He maintains that we are at the point where words no longer have any meaning and that Turkey will go ahead with a new strategy and new methods against the PKK, as well as against those who do not distance themselves from the PKK. It is extremely dangerous that a head of state is threatening such action in public.

As well as this stirring up of the public against the Kurdish nation, the Turkish media are debating a ‘Tamil solution’ to the Kurdish problem. A ‘Tamil solution’ means a military solution with thousands of deaths.

These border-crossing attacks are part of an general policy. It is well known that since the 16th July the Iranian military have also conducted border-crossing military operations in southern Kurdistan. It was clear that Iran did not begin their occupation completely independently of Turkey. It was also expected that gradually the Turkish military would actively participate. The goal being to take over South Kurdistan. Both Turkey and Iran see the existence of a Kurdish regional government as a threat and both want to bring the area under their control. Therefore the efforts of Kurdish organisations and the national congress of Kurdistan towards independence can be countered in advance by them. It is also no secret that Turkey is trying everything to incorporate the south Kurdish forces. Thus the Kurdish guerrilla would be simultaneously attacked on three fronts, and would be trapped and destroyed. Turkey is sure of the support of the international community. Iran’s military offensive has already been condoned.

It is also a matter of concern that, on the prison island Imrali, the attacks against the Kurdish representative, Abdullah Öcalan, have intensified once again. Since the 27th July his lawyer has been refused entry to the island for arbitrary reasons. A few days ago four of Öcalans’ lawyers were revoked of their permission to practice law. Kurds explain again and again that the approach towards its representatives is the same as the approach towards the Kurdish question.

The AKP government block all paths to a political solution. Due to the revocation of parliamentary mandates and due to arrests, the BDP have been pushed out of Parliament. The DTK have been criminalised and threatened with tough sanctions. The ongoing dialogue with Abdullah Öcalan has been used as a stalling tactic.

Turkey is playing with fire. It is playing with the future of a region as well as with the chance of a peaceful coexistence between Turkish and Kurdish nations.

We call upon the international community, above all the EU, to employ measures against the border-crossing military operations of Turkey, as they represent unambiguously a breach of human rights. The solution to the Kurdish question should not be through military measures, rather approached within the framework of a democratic constitution through democratic means.