CAMPACC statements, press releases...


Time for Justice - No to the Ban on Kongra-Gel

A meeting in Parliament called to win support for a ceasefire, dialogue and a political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey. Also read the statement issued by Peace in Kurdistan and CAMPACC and the report of the meeting (pdf file).

Wednesday 15 November 7.30pm, Committee Room 9, House of Commons, Westminster


Hosted by Elfyn Llwyd MP (Plaid Cymru)

Supported by Mark Thomas, Peace in Kurdistan, CAMPACC and Liberation

A keynote speaker will be a representative of Kongra-Gel

Other speakers include:
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Smita Shah (Barrister, Garden Court Chambers)
Ben Hayes (Statewatch)
Desmond Fernandes (Member of the Advisory Council of the EUTCC)
Les Levidow (CAMPACC)
Nick Hildyard (Policy Analyst)

The meeting is being called at a time when the Turkish state's war against the PKK and Kongra-Gel is continuing, despite the recent renewal of a ceasefire by the PKK and Kongra-Gel, and at a time when human rights violations of Kurdish people and journalists, publishers, writers and unions are continuing at an alarming level in Turkey. It is our firm belief that real peace will never be achieved inside Turkey until it opens up a genuine dialogue with the chosen representatives of the Kurdish people.

The meeting is being held to win support for a ceasefire, dialogue and a political solution to the unresolved conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish people. Several prominent human rights organisations, peace campaigners, intellectuals and writers in Turkey - and internationally - have been supporting this peace initiative. Failure to do so, according to several commentators, may lead to a situation in which the terrible times of the 1990's - in which thousands were 'disappeared' by state-linked forces, an 'Emergency' was declared, 'thought' was declared a 'crime', villages were bombed and depopulated, the economy was destabilised, the 'contra-guerrilla' and the unaccountable 'mafia-deep state' was allowed to hold sway - may be upon us once again.

We ask you to join the call of the following to act now to work towards a peaceful, non-violent approach towards issues that need to be addressed urgently:

The final resolution of the Third EU-Turkey Civic Commission International Conference on 'The EU, Turkey and the Kurds' that was held at the European Parliament in October 2006:

Call[ed] upon all political parties in Turkey to help foster the conditions within Turkey for a democratic platform for dialogue. Based on the present ceasefire holding, the Conference calls upon the European Commission and Council to endeavour to actively develop a democratic platform whereby the constituent elements of Turkey, including the Kurdish people and their representatives, can freely enter into dialogue and debate with the Government over possible reform to the Constitution. In this respect the Conference recalls the following declaration in the European Commission's 1998 report that:

'A civil and non-military solution must be found to the situation in the Southeast Turkey particularly since many of the violations of civil and political rights observed in the country are connected in one way or another with this issue'.

The Conference further recalls that the EU Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs in December 2004 urged:

'all parties involved to put an immediate end to the hostilities in the Southeast of the country" and invited "the Turkish Government to take more active steps to bring reconciliation with those Kurdish forces who have chosen to abandon the use of arms'.

The Conference also urges Governments of the EU not to criminalise peaceful dissent of Turkey echoed by Kurdish organisations situated in Europe and to review its recent proscription of certain Kurdish organisations, especially in the light of recent ceasefire declarations and public commitments to the search for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish question within the present territorial integrity of a democratically reformed Turkey (Resolutions 19, 20, 21, 22, 30).

"Expressions based on a military security strategy and remarks that the problem can only be solved through violence are concerning. Violence creates conditions where human rights are violated. Whatever it is called, to ignore the 'ceasefire' or 'the [PKK] period of silencing guns' period and place no value to it is not possible. People are dying. Silencing the guns will allow for a dialogue to begin in an environment of tolerance. It is required to give this its real importance, to see that insisting on violence does not solve the problem" - Turkey's Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) chairman Yavuz Onen.

"The country needs this chance at peace. If this situation is handled well by all concerned - the politicians, the army and the PKK - we could obtain an end to the hostilities" - Sirri Sakik, spokesman for the Party for a Democratic Society (DTP).

"A unilateral PKK ceasefire went into effect on October 1, although it was rejected by both the Washington and Ankara governments' days before it went into effect. This is in spite of the fact that the PKK prefers to negotiate a political settlement to the Kurdish question in Turkey, and had indicated its willingness to do so repeatedly over the last 13 years and, most recently, in August, with demands that are fully consistent with Turkey's EU accession criteria" - The Kurdish National Congress of North America, 26 October 2006.

The above appeals need to be read within the context of the following: In August this year, the Home Secretary banned the Kurdish party Kongra-Gel (People's Congress of Kurdistan) for allegedly "glorifying terrorism". The Home Office wrongly claims that KONGRA-GEL and the now defunct KADEK are simply two alternative names for the already outlawed PKK. The ban ignores KONGRA-GEL's aims and activities since it was founded on 15 November 2003. KONGR-GEL's main objective is the attainment of "peace, democracy, freedom, equality and justice for a solution to the Kurdish Question" and the promotion of a "democratic and ecological society" through peaceful and political struggle. It has widespread support among the Kurdish people both within Turkey and internationally for these aims. There is thus no justification for imposing this ban. It can only lead to further criminalization of and injustice towards the Kurds. The ban must be lifted.