A delegation of European lawyers will visit Diyarbakir from 21st to 24th January 2016. The 13 participants come from Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Austria. Two European lawyers’ organisations are supporting this initiative, the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) and the European Democratic Lawyers (EDL) and also the “Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane”
Below is an excerpt from the latest information file published by the Kurdish Women’s Relations Office (REPAK. It details how women have been targeted by the Turkish state over the last several months.
Civilian deaths in sieges imposed by the security forces
The first of these sieges, described as “curfews,” was imposed in Varto, starting on 16 August. There are sieges still in course in Cizre, Silopi and Sur districts. “Curfews” have been declared 56 times in 20 districts of 7 cities and so far these “curfews” have totaled 274 days. In some districts where curfews have been officially lifted, there is still a de facto siege. The most recent situation in 3 districts is as follows:Continue reading “HDP information on military siege on Kurdish cities”→
It’s freezing cold in Amed, as the city of Diyarbakir is known to its residents. Over ten centimeters of snow blankets the ground, something that happens only every three or four years. And at exactly this moment, fighting is escalating in Amed’s old neighborhood of Sur and in the cities of Cizre and Silopi, in Sirnak province. I’m here in the press office of the municipal administration, along with three journalists and a researcher. These days the office serves as a de facto base for journalists and researchers from western Turkey and abroad. We talk about what has been going on in the region for the past few months.
Melanie Gingell, barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, has written the latest in a series of damning reports about the recent snap election in Turkey, which took place amidst a backdrop of serious violence. Here, she details how voter intimidation became a feature of polling day on 1st November:
The re-run election of 1st November was carried out against a backdrop of extreme state violence particularly in the South East of the country. Thousands of HDP and civil society activists had been arrested and hundreds of HDP offices had been attacked in separate incidents across the country. The mood was extremely sombre and there was little evidence of campaigning by any of the political parties. The two suicide bomb attacks in Suruc and Ankara had inflicted a terrible price on HDP supporters and progressive groups. HDP officials in Diyarbakir said that they had been busy organising funerals in the run up to the election, not campaigning.
A third report has been written by UK election observers who witnessed election day in several villages across Turkey’s Kurdish regions. They conclude that there was a ‘clear attempt’ by the Turkish government to discourage people from voting, as well as implicit threats – and explicit use – of violence. You can read more about all the observation work undertaken by independent volunteers from the UK here.
Written by Prof. David Graeber, Cllr Aysegul Erdogan, Elif Sarican & Rebecca Coles
Sinn Fein’s international office released this press release today detailing their concerns over the election in Turkey. Sean Crowe TD, foreign affairs spokesperson for Sinn Fein, also used his priority question to challenge the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs on his view of Turkey’s elections. You can read Mr Flannagan’s surprising response here.
Sinn Féin Press Office Leinster HouseKildare Street
For immediate release 5 November, 2015:
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, raised his concerns over the recent bombings and attacks against Kurdish and left wing activists in Turkey with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, in the Dáil, and directly with the Turkish Ambassador in the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee.
Margaret Owen, who took part in a delegation to southeast Turkey to monitor the recent snap elections, has produced this report based on her observations. Alongside Margaret were several others, including barrister Melanie Gingell, John Hunt, journalist; and Kawa Besarani, human rights advocate and political analyst; and academic David Graeber, among others.
The results, that came in on Sunday night took many of us, the international observers of the election,by surprise. Last night we wept, as the first fireworks, music and song,of what everyone thought would introduce a night of celebration,turned into dark hours of grief and anger, which ended when the armed police arrived with their tear gas and water cannon, stone throwing from the youth, arrests and more violence.
How will the peace process with the Kurds be resurrected after this result? When Erdogan himself has stated that it is in tatters.But perhaps all is not lost for ever. The AKP got a majority but not a “super” majority in numbers. He will still need support from the other parties to rewrite the Constitution in the way he wants, that is, to give himself a life presidency and in reality,a dictatorship, far removed from Ataturk’s creation of a secular republic. At least the HDP kept its 10% threshold. Although they lost many votes they still have representation in parliament. It could have been worse.
Activists and academics from the UK will travel to Turkey today to observe the coming elections, set to take place this Sunday following months of shocking state violence across the mainly Kurdish southeast and political intimidation and harassment across the country.
The Kurdistan Communities of Women (KJK) has published a new information file called 5 minutes to election: What happened during 20 days of PKK inaction in Turkey? which provides a useful summary of events in Kurdistan since the PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire on 10 October. The report details an alarming number of state-sponsored attacks on the AKP’s political opposition, including curfews in Kurdish districts, raids on HDP offices and military strikes against the PKK.
The report begins with this statement below and is available to download in full here (pdf).