PANEL DISCUSSION: Anti-terror Legislation and the Obstruction of Justice

Please find below information on our next  meeting, which is free and open to the public. All welcome!

Anti-terror Legislation and the Obstruction of Justice

The Implications of Mass Trials in Turkey for the Peace Process with the Kurds

Wednesday 9 October 2013, 6.30pm

Venue: Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincolns Inn Fields, London WC2A (closest tube Holborn)

Chair: Prof Bill Bowring School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London; President of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH); International Secretary of the Haldane Society and Founder and Chair of the International Steering Committee, of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC).

Panelists: Margaret Owen OBE, barrister/Door tenant, 9 Bedford Row Chambers; Bronwen Jones, barrister, Tooks Chambers; Tony Fisher, solicitor and Law Society Human Rights Committee member; Hugo Charlton, barrister, 1 Grays Inn Square Chambers; Ali Has, solicitor/advocate and member of the Law Society Human Rights Committee International Action Team; Mark Jones, barrister, St Ives Chambers.

Organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH)

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Turkey, peace talks and the PKK: Freedom and Justice for the Kurds

Panel Discussion

Friday, 28 June 2013, 6.30pm
Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A (closest tube Holborn)


Chaired by Professor Bill Bowring, President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Panel Rights (ELDH); International Secretary, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Speakers include Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer; Melanie Gingell, barrister Doughty Street Chambers; member of the Bar Human Rights Committee; Dr Ozlem Galip, researcher and lecturer, University of Oxford; Prof Dr Michael Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennessee Technological University, Secretary General of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Barry White, National Organiser of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, member of European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

Over recent months dramatic developments have been taking place in Turkey with the emergence of direct talks between representatives of the Turkish government and the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan. The seminar will explore how a lasting peace can be secured now that a ceasefire has been followed by the start of a phased withdrawal of Kurdish guerrillas.

Continue reading “Turkey, peace talks and the PKK: Freedom and Justice for the Kurds”

German authorities review the ban on the PKK/trial test and talks with Ankara


Berlin – MESOP – 2.6.2013 – In secret negotiations with Turkey, German security authorities are reviewing the ban on the activity of the left-extremist PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), imposed in 1993.

Members of the Interior Ministry of the German Bundestag like Franz Josef Jung (CDU) and Dieter Wiefelspütz (SPD) have pointed to consultations, which suggest that the VS had originally expressed vehement opposition against the PKK ban. They are now “testing” the Turkish reaction. The latter being negative for sure, but possibly only towards outside – as the legalisation of the PKK in the foreseeable future would allow the Erdogan government to lead more relaxed talks and negotiations with the PKK.

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Behind the Kurdish Hunger Strike in Turkey

Journalist Jake Hess has written this article for the Middle East Research and Information Project on the on going hunger strikes and their political context:

To hear Mazlum Tekdağ’s story is enough to understand why 700 Kurdish political prisoners have gone on hunger strike in Turkey. His father was murdered by the state in front of his Diyarbakır pastry shop in 1993, when Mazlum was just nine years old. His uncle Ali was kidnapped by an army-backed death squad known as JİTEM (the acronym for the Turkish phrase translating, roughly, as Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terror Unit) two years later. Mazlum never saw his uncle again, but a former JİTEM agent later claimed they tortured him for six months before killing him and burning his body by the side of a road in the Silvan district of Diyarbakır.

Such experiences have moved thousands of Kurds in Turkey to join the armed rebellion of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, which has been outlawed since its inception. But Mazlum, along with thousands of others, chose to fight for his people’s rights through the non-violent means of pro-Kurdish political parties, a succession of which have been allowed to operate by the Turkish state before then being shut down. He was first arrested in 2001, when he was 17. Now 28, Mazlum has been in jail for three and a half years, though he has not been convicted of a crime. His trial is deadlocked because Turkish courts refuse to let him or his fellow political prisoners offer their legal defenses in their native Kurdish language. All of them speak fluent Turkish; they are making a political point. Continue reading “Behind the Kurdish Hunger Strike in Turkey”

EUTCC reacts to Adem Uzun arrest in Paris


19 October, 2012
Press Release: For immediate release



The EUTCC calls upon the French authorities for the immediate release of Adem Uzun, a leading official of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) headquartered in Brussels. His arrest is clearly a political attempt to curry favor with the Turkish authorities who had just complained that France and Germany were not supporting Turkey’s campaign against the PKK and its so-called terrorism in Europe. Far from being a terrorist, Adem Uzun was arrested in Paris where he was preparing to attend a peaceful conference on the Kurdish situation in Syria. Continue reading “EUTCC reacts to Adem Uzun arrest in Paris”

UNITE passes motion to support union members in Turkey

We are happy to receive news that the following motion was passed at the UNITE policy conference held in Brighton in June. We’d like to thank Alain Herztmann at the London North West Branch 9708 of Unite for proposing the motion and for his and his branches long term support and friendship with the Kurds.



This Conference commits itself to support workers in Turkey and their trade unions. It also supports the right of the Kurdish people in Turkey to self determination.

The AKP is the dominant party in Turkey and is has governed Turkey for several years. It is presenting itself as a moderate Islamic party. It projects itself as a moderate, modernising, democratic party, successful in developing the national economy on the basis of a neo-liberal economic agenda. De facto it has done so by a severe, ruthless exploitation of working people, implementing laws on:

“Flexible” work (outsourcing and off shoring)

“Flexible” wages (poverty wages even under the minimum wage level) Continue reading “UNITE passes motion to support union members in Turkey”

Hip hop and graffiti artists protest TMK

Hip Hop and grafitti have become an international forms of expression for the oppressed across the world, and in Kurdistan it is no exception. Check out these videos from Kurdish hip hop artist SewaT and graffiti artists Twoaf and Harakiri protesting Turkish anti-terror law:


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EUROPEAN LAWYERS: Protest against ongoing arrests in Turkey

The European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights (ELDH) has published this statement condemning the recent mass arrests in Turkey of human rights advocates, trade unionists, lawyers, and journalists, and demanding the release of all political prisoners, including Abdullah Ocalan. If you want to keep it on file, we have made it available for download (pdf).

Düsseldorf – London, 30 June 2012

ELDH is gravely concerned about the ongoing wave of arrests in Turkey.

Some 8.000 politicians, trade-unionists, journalists, artists, students, human rights activists as well as their lawyers have been the victims of mass arrests in Turkey since 2009. Most of them have been arrested as part of the KCK operation mounted by the Turkish Government. The KCK or Union of Communities in Kurdistan is a Kurdish organization, founded by Abdullah Öcalan, which is suspected by the Turkish Government of collaboration with the PKK. The arrests took place on the basis of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law of 1991.

In a response to the concerned request of the European Commission, the Turkish government acknowledged in October 2011 only the continued detention of 605 persons. Many others are facing long prison sentences. Although the European Union has expressed its concern, the wave of arrests is still going on. Continue reading “EUROPEAN LAWYERS: Protest against ongoing arrests in Turkey”

Zarakolu: “ATL is a law that censors”

Ragip Zarakolu, well-known author and publisher who is facing 7.5-15 years in prison after being arrested last year in the scope of the KCK operations, makes a passionate argument against Turkish Anti-Terrror Law below on the first day of his trial:

PRESS CONFERENCE INVITATION: Freedom of Thought, Expression and Publication under serious threat.

Monday 2nd July 2012 at 16.00, TGC Headquarters Cağaloğlu


In its annual report seven years ago, the Writers Union of Turkey Freedom to Publish Committee made the following prediction:

“The newly proposed Anti Terror Law (ATL) contains very grave provisions that may put the freedom of thought, expression and the press, as well as the freedom to publish under threat”. Continue reading “Zarakolu: “ATL is a law that censors””