Lord Hylton: Assaults on the Living and the Dead in Turkey

Member of the House of Lords, Lord Hylton, took part in an election observation delegation to Turkey’s southeast to witness the November snap general elections. His report recounts the brutal force used by the Turkish state against Kurdish civilians over the course of the summer:

 

In September and October 2015 the Government of Turkey, headed by President Erdogan, launched attacks against their presumed enemies and opponents. These took place in the run-up to the general election of 1st November. The PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, has been involved in political and armed struggles against the state. Many ceasefires have been offered, especially since 1999, the date of the capture and imprisonment of the party leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The PKK, with the constitutional pro-Kurdish party, the HDP (Peoples Democratic Party), and other cooperating groups including trade unions, different ethnic and religious communities, human rights and women’s organizations, and opposition parties etc, had long since declared in speeches and in writing that they did not seek to become independent or to separate from Turkey. They only wanted cultural and social autonomy within Turkey. The PKK made a unilateral ceasefire declaration on 10th October to avoid prejudice to the elections.

Continue reading “Lord Hylton: Assaults on the Living and the Dead in Turkey”

Scottish delegation to Kurdistan calls for peace process to be renewed

Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan, led by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s trade union liaison officer Stephen Smellie and student activists Roza Salih organised a fact-finding delegation to north Kurdistan in September to speak with representatives of the HDP, IHD, KESK and DISK trade unions among others. Here are their findings and recommendations.

Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan

Delegation visit to Diyarbakir, North Kurdistan/South East Turkey September 2015.

The delegation consisted of Sarah Collins, Viv Thompson and Stephen Smellie of UNISON and Roza Salih and Paul Toner of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan. We were in Diyarbakir from 21 to 25 September and met with a number of organisations and individuals. These included the Human Rights Association, Free Women’s Assembly, Rojava Association, KESK (public sector trade unions), DISK (private sector trade unions), Democratic Society Congress, HDP MPs, Ezidi refugees from Shengal and the refugee camp organisers. We spoke to people who had been at the HDP rally in Diyarbakir in June which had been bombed, including one woman who had lost both legs in the bomb blast. We also spoke to trade unionists who were organising and attending the ‘Labour, Peace and Democracy’ demonstration in Ankara on 10 June which was targeted by 2 suicide bombers and where over 100 people were killed. Continue reading “Scottish delegation to Kurdistan calls for peace process to be renewed”

Latest election report reveals heavy military presence across Kurdish villages

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.

Report

Written by Prof. David Graeber, Cllr Aysegul Erdogan, Elif Sarican & Rebecca Coles

We arrived in Diyarbakir in the late hours of Friday 30th October. There was an uncomfortable quiet in much of the city, several streets lined up by armored vehicles.
Continue reading “Latest election report reveals heavy military presence across Kurdish villages”

Crowe raises concerns over Turkish elections – Sinn Fein International

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
Dublin


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.

Continue reading “Crowe raises concerns over Turkish elections – Sinn Fein International”

GMB stands with Kurdish and Turkish colleagues

12 October 2015

GMB-unionGMB CALL ON TURKISH GOVERNMENT TO CEASE HOSTILITIES AGAINST KURDS TO SECURE NEGOTIATED END TO DECADES LONG CONFLICT

Turkish authorities must bring perpetrators of atrocity to justice and ensure that citizens can exercise their inalienable right to engage in peaceful protest says GMB

GMB commented on appalling bomb attack in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Saturday, October 10th where the death toll has reached 128 with hundreds more maimed or wounded.

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said “GMB is outraged by the appalling bomb attack on fellow trade unionists and other marchers for peace in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Saturday, October 10th. The death toll has reached 128 with hundreds more maimed or wounded and GMB wishes to express its deepest sympathy to the relatives of the deceased. Continue reading “GMB stands with Kurdish and Turkish colleagues”

HDP: Extend your condolences to the people, not to the Turkish state

HDP-Logo

12 October 2015

CALL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY BY HDP

On October 10th, a Peace Rally that brought together many civil society organizations, revolutionary unions, and progressive and democratic parties, among them HDP, was the target of a horrendous attack. Unfortunately, at least 128 of our fellow citizens were murdered in this attack, and hundreds wounded. We are concerned that the death toll may rise, as 48 among the wounded are in critical condition. This attack will go down as one of the bloodiest in the history of our republic. Continue reading “HDP: Extend your condolences to the people, not to the Turkish state”

Civaka Azad statement: Bomb blasts hit peace rally in Ankara: some 97 dead

civaka azad

Source: Civaka Azad, 10 October 2015

A peace rally outside the main train station in Ankara was hit by large bomb explosions this morning killing some 97 people. Eyewitnesses talk about hundreds of injured. Medical staff and civilians who rushed to help were allegedly attacked by the police with gas grenades.

The peace rally had been called by the trade unions DISK (Confederation of Revolutionary Workers), KESK (Confederation Workers of Public Trade Unions) as well as by association such as TMMOB (Engineers and Architects Chamber of Turkey) and TTB (Doctors Chambers of Turkey). The call was also supported by the HDP (People’s Democratic Party) and several left and democratic parties and civil society organisations.   The gathering was to deliver a message of peace, democracy and solidarity in Turkey. According to the HDP MP Sirri Surreyya Onder there were three bomb explosions at the rally mainly targeting the HDP block and the Kurds at the rally. Continue reading “Civaka Azad statement: Bomb blasts hit peace rally in Ankara: some 97 dead”

UK delegation hails HDP success in Parliament meeting

Report on a meeting held on 7 July 2015 at the House of Commons on “Witnessing HDP’s victory in Turkey: Election monitors report back” hosted by Kate Osamor MP.

 Article and photos by Yasemin Kazan.

The event was organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and chaired by Melanie Sirinathsingh. The meeting was held to provide insight into the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, the HDP’s democratic project and to evaluate the progress of the party, in addition to the implications of the HDP’s electoral success for the Turkish-Kurdish peace process. Continue reading “UK delegation hails HDP success in Parliament meeting”

EVENT – Witnessing HDP victory in Turkey: Election monitors report back

 Article and photos by Yasemin Kazan.

The event was organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and chaired by Melanie Sirinathsingh. The meeting was held to provide insight into the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, the HDP’s democratic project and to evaluate the progress of the party, in addition to the implications of the HDP’s electoral success for the Turkish-Kurdish peace process.

'Witnessing HDP success' meeting, hosted by Kate Osamor MPOn 7th June, the HDP won a victory in Turkey’s general elections and gained 13.1% of the national vote, surpassing the 10% threshold for the first time with 80 seats a pro-Kurdish party will be represented in the parliament.

The success of the HDP has shifted the balance of power and ended 13 years of AKP (Justice and Development Party) rule and the dominance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of which the HDP has been a stern critic.

The HDP was formed by a coalition of socialists, left-wing democrats, LGTB activists, greens and individuals from different ethnic groups and embraced the principles of democracy and human rights. Continue reading “EVENT – Witnessing HDP victory in Turkey: Election monitors report back”

The GMB extends solidarity to the HDP

The GMB Congress has released a statement in support of the HDP this week after their fantastic election result. The Kurdish-Turkish peace process was one item of discussion at this weekend’s GMB Congress in Dublin, where a fringe meeting was also held to discuss the need to release Abdullah Ocalan’s release from prison.

GMB CONGRESS WELCOME GAINS FOR KURDS IN TURKISH ELECTION AS A VICTORY FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN TURKEY

GMB Congress extends its solidarity to the HDP and sent a message of support to the party on their success and the challenges that lie ahead

The 98th GMB Congress in Dublin welcomed the success of the HDP in the 7 June Turkish general election where it achieved 13% of the vote on a stance of pluralist democracy and a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish Question within Turkey and for an end to the support for ISIS in the Syrian conflict. Continue reading “The GMB extends solidarity to the HDP”