Forced evictions of Kurds: A Crime against Humanity and War Crime

01 February 2011

Noory Fakhry writes about forced eviction of Kurds by Turkey

*Student at Lund University in International Human Rights Law

In northern Kurdistan, part of Turkey similar to all other parts of Kurdistan, (Iran and Syria) the fundamental rights of Kurds has been violated by Turkish government. Massive forced evictions of Kurds have been one of the most fundamental human rights violations by Turkey.

The Turkish government has actively committed forced evictions of Kurds with some justifications. Turkish troops demonized thousands of villages and a large number of towns. More than 350,000 people have been evacuated from 3,500 villages. The main destructions of Kurdish villages in this base were in southeast of Turkey during the 1984-2000. But still the government of Turkey is continuing to destructions of villages and forced evictions of Kurds by its military forces via bombardment of Kurdish area that has resulted in widespread displacement, loss of life, and environmental destructions.

One of the justifications for displacements, forced evictions of the Kurds was that the Kurdish villages provided a logistic support for the PKK. Also the “the objection of this doctrine was the destruction of PKK environment, both by contradiction (resettlement of the population) and penetration (deployment of Special Forces, applying the principle of war movement and penetrating the space of PKK…). At the tactical level the resettlement and drafting policies both denied the guerrilla food, shelter… and at strategic level a new settlement forced guerrilla to choose between retreat or engagement in a confrontation with the state in urban entities (a tough environment for guerrilla but favorable to the state)”. But behind all these reasons, one of the most important reasons for forced evictions of Kurds that was pursued from Ottoman Empire has been assimilation of Kurds in Turkish society.

It is worth notice that all the military attacks, destroying Kurdish villages and international incursion has been done by the help of U.S. In fact ‘’as an ally of the U.S. through NATO, Turkey receives U.S. weapons, from dozens of companies, including Hughes, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. Despite a horrifying report of violent abuse by Amnesty International, the State Department passed arms deals with Turkey. The war in Turkey represents the greatest use of U.S. weapons in combat anywhere in the world today.

According to Human Rights Watch report: “during [the displacements] Turkish forces order villagers to leave their homes and then burn down their villages. In all of the cases investigated, the Turkish government made no attempt to care for the displaced civilians, again in violation of international law; the villagers were simply ordered out of their homes, told to leave their possessions behind, and then watched as their homes were burned. Following the destruction, the villagers were told to walk to the nearest town and to never return”. Hundreds of Kurds have been killed or injured at the same time.

Another reason of forced evictions of Kurdish villages and several towns by the Turkish government is building Dams in southeastern Turkey with the name of Antolian Development Project without regarding all the international criteria. Serious concerns have been raised over the dam's environmental, human rights and cultural heritage impacts. For example, “eighteen towns and villages, including the town of Yusufeli, would be completely or partially submerged just by the Yusufili dam, displacing 15,000 people from their homes and indirectly affecting up to a further 15,000 people. No resettlement plan has yet been made public and consultation has been minimal. Much cultural heritage would also be affected.” In short, the project is likely to exacerbate Turkey’s already severe internal displacement problems, putting tremendous pressure on nearby cities. The destruction of homes and farms will likewise see the loss of the area’s rich historic and archaeological legacy, including the ancient town of Hasankeyf, and with this the culture and history of the region.

None of the above justifications are legal and in accordance to the international law. Weather the villagers have supported PKK or not? Forced evictions in this base have been inconsistent with the International law because displacements and forced evictions must not be done as a punitive measure.

But also some authors claim that some displacement of people in the villages done by the PKK because they did not support the “liberation project”. But it couldn’t be true; the nature of their policy is defending Kurds, protecting them against the brutality of Turkish government and informing them of their rights, not to intimidate them or forcing them to leave their villages. We can see this fact in one of the Human Rights Watch reports: “In a number of the cases investigated, witnesses told Human Rights Watch that they had been ordered to falsify the actual circumstances of civilian deaths to obscure governmental responsibility. In some cases, civilians were killed by security forces, but the victims were portrayed by the government as slain PKK fighters. In other cases, witnesses or relatives were ordered to inform others that the "PKK had burned the village down" when government forces were in fact responsible, or were ordered to say that "the PKK was responsible" for specific deaths caused by government troops”.

Forced evictions of Kurds during war between PKK and Turkish military are contrary with the Geneva Convention rules. Because according to the circumstances and INGO reports, Kurds in those villages have not been in the direct danger of war and it has not been necessary for imperative military reasons to leave their villages. On the other hand, According to the many evidences the Kurds were attacked deliberately by the military forces while they killed, tortured and intimidated Kurds to leave their villages and finally they burned their houses, without any protection and remedies.

According to Geneva Convention the damages should be proportionate and combatants should not target the non-military objects but Turkish military deliberately targeted villages and its inhabitants. In addition, if in any time of the war they need to leave their villages or towns the people should be allowed to come back to their home as soon as possible. ‘’Vague, blanket justifications for large-scale displacements carried out over a long period of time are not acceptable. Mass displacement of civilians for the purpose of denying a willing social base to the opposing force is unequivocally prohibited’’ The destroying of villages of the Kurds mainly was with the military equipment of NATO and US.

Article 7(1) (b) of the Rome Statute of the international Criminal Court provides that the Systematic or widespread ‘deportation or forcible transfer of population’ is a crime against humanity, which is defined as ‘forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under international law’. Violations of the prohibitions of displacement under international humanitarian law are prosecuted as war crimes. Then turkey has committed war crime and crimes against humanity and its authorities should be prosecuted for committing these crimes. On the other hand according to the Geneva Conventions, the NATO, U.S and EU authorities also have responsibility for military and intelligence supplying of Turkey.

But, unfortunately, not only these issues do not provoke any expression of horror by the international community but also they cooperate with Turkey in gross violations of rights of Kurds and they restrict movements of Kurds for their legitimate right to self-determination and self-defense.



Kurdish intellectuals write to US President Obama

ANF News Agency

Kurdish intellectuals write to President Obama about Kurdish question
Kurdish writers, journalists and intellectuals sent a letter to Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America, to inform about Kurdish question and draw his attention on the question. The letter was signed by Medeni Ferho Journalist / Writer; Dr. Bengi Haco, analyst; Derwesh M. Ferho, President Institu Kurd of Bruxel, Tariq Hemo, Journalist; Dr. Xalid Isa, Analyst - historiographer; Nazîf Mayi, Teacher /-writer; Rojan Hazim, Writer; Hosheng Biroka, Analyst – Writer;

Faysal Dagli, Journalist; Rukiye Ozmen, Writer; Faruk Sakik, Journalist; Diyar Bohti, Journalist - writer; Jir Dilovan, Writer; Newaf Xelîl, Poet; Mirhem Yigit, Writer; Hosheng Ose, Poet; Dana Celal, Writer / Journalist; Fevzi Ozmen, Writer / Advisor; Aziz Ogur, Journalist; Fergin Melik Aykoç, Teacher / Writer; Mehmed Drews, Journalist; Kaksar Oramar, Journalist; Semdîn Craftsman, Ejder Sêxo, Journalist; Feqir Ehmed, Poet; Saman Nurî, Journalist; Y. Serhad Bucak, Journalist.

The text of the letter reads as follows:

“Dear Mr President, a great wave of peace and democracy has been surrounding the whole world upon your election to the Presidency of the United States of America. There are people, who wished to benefit from this wave of peace and democracy. One of them, the Kurdish people has been struggling for more than a century for an honorable life in liberty in accordance with their own culture and identity. Kurdish people, whose identity and existence have been denied, even most of whom are obliged to live without an identity in their own land, are still face to face with an enormous genocide in the early 21st century.

Matching the destiny of their land, there have been many attempts to exterminate Kurdish people through the policy of denial of existence and identity, as well as the use of chemical weapons. This severe geographic and social extermination and denial are also prevalent in the areas of faith, culture, language and literature. As well as being the most populous people without a state, Kurdish people are also the most populous people without literature and education in mother tongue. It is unacceptable for a people to be devoid of language, literature and education in mother tongue considering the fact that it has created works that match epic Greek legends, English romanticism, and American and French philosophy.

We believe that, as a representative of all American Presidents of the past, you are utterly aware of the importance of identity, literature and education in mother tongue in such a manner that proves that the world is not a totality of material values and that “the world does not belong to those who cry and laugh separately, but to those who laugh together”. As you know, identity, education in mother tongue and creating value through mother tongue are also important for the culture of the family called the world.

Amongst the mosaic of Mesopotamian people, Kurdish people have always preferred live in peace and mutual respect throughout their history. In this sense, Kurdish people wishes recognition and an honorable life under constitutional reassurance in the countries where they live as part of the democratic world family without making a primary issue out of the issue of land within the global world system of the 21st century.

We, the writers, journalists and intellectuals, who have been exiled and not allowed to exist in our own land, could find no solutions other than informing you of the situation. In fact, our endeavor here is the expression of a scream of Kurdish writers as well as an appeal to the conscience of the world.

We, the undersigned Kurdish writers in exile, as the speakers of Kurdish people, who are subject to suppression and extermination, wish to exist in such a way as to incorporate our language in literature and schools by adding value to the world culture and literature through our identity. This can only be possible through a permanent peace and democratic resolution in Turkey and Kurdistan. Such a peaceful and democratic resolution in Kurdistan would make a positive impact in the whole world not only in the Middle East as well as being a lesson for the powers relying on nuclear weapons and radical beliefs.

We would like to offer our respect in anticipation of being heard for the sake of living in liberty with our identity in our own land, and for our children to be able to read the books written in our mother tongue."

Wikileaks Reveals Southern Kurdistan's Secrets

By Wladimir van Wilgenburg

December 5, 2010

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands, — Kurdish affairs such as Kirkuk and drug trafficking are under the international spotlight with the recent release of hundreds of thousands of confidential US documents by whistle-blowing Wikileaks.

In leaked US diplomatic cables the Turkish ambassador to Iraq, Murat Ozcelik, told US officials on January 11th that for the first time a Kurdish official understood that Kirkuk would not be included in the semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, indicating to Turkey that a compromise and a special 10-year status for Kirkuk was needed.

Ozcelik said that, during tri-lateral negotiations on December 21st 2009 in Erbil involving Turkey, the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Kurdistan Interior Minister Karim Sinjari said the KRG had now understood that Kurdistan would not be incorporating Kirkuk into the region.

The Turkish official claimed it was the first time a senior Kurdish leader had suggested that there could be some flexibility in the KRG's approach to the implementation of Article 140, which would determine the future of disputed multi-ethnic regions including Kirkuk.

However, Sinjari denied making any compromise on Kirkuk saying that his words were “taken out of their context.”

“My words were neither like that nor in that context. They have been misinterpreted,” said Sinjari.

“We insist on the implementation of Article 140 without any compromise on it. But we are ready to negotiate in order to facilitate the implementation of the article as it needs cooperation.”

Ozcelik speculated that if the parties were able to buy enough time, the Kurds would understand that increased economic activity in the context of a more stable Iraq made administrative boundaries less important.

Furthermore, Ozcelik said Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani had asked him to participate in Turkoman-Kurd and Sunni Arab-Kurd reconciliation efforts in Kirkuk and Nineveh respectively. He indicated that Kirkuk’s Turkomans realized the limit of their influence in the election law debate and were more receptive to work with Kurds.

Ozcelik admitted that Kurds were seen in Ankara as troublesome and also noted that, despite recent progress in ties between Turkey and Kurdistan, Kurds feared the Turkish military’s hard-line elements could reverse Turkey's current policy of reconciliation. Ozcelik said it was important for Turkey to emphasize to the KRG that Turkey's long-term security and, critically, commercial interests lay in keeping Turkey-KRG relations on an even keel.

Other secret cables leaked by Wikileaks alleged that Turkey’s Kurdish guerilla movement, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was involved in drug trafficking.

During a meeting between officers from the US and Iraq at the Trilateral Intelligence Sharing Office hosted by the KRG on November 25th 2009, Major General “Delshad” of the Kurdish Border Guard (Zerevani) said the “PKK/Kongra Gel is involved in narcotics trafficking through transportation and associated services, like protection.”

“Safa”, an aide of Iraqi Major General “Fukaiki” added that “the PKK regularly uses the border seams to traffic narcotics from Iran through the mountains west to Turkey and onward to the European market.”

Wikileak’s revelations are not new as the PKK has often been accused of being involved in the narcotics trade by Turkey and Europol. In October 2009 the US Treasury named PKK leader Murat Karayilan and two other PKK members as drug trafficking "kingpins", but the PKK denied this, claiming they were against drugs.

But the leadership of the PKK dismissed the allegations as “baseless.”

According to further leaked documents, published by Arabic language newspaper Al Akhbar, an outspoken critic of Kurdish security forces in Nineveh,www.ekurd.netYezidi Progress Party head Wa'ad Hammad Matto was arrested at his Nineveh home and then detained in Baghdad by Iraqi military intelligence for meeting with Baathists in Syria in October 2009.

Matto, a former KDP-member, claimed the KDP orchestrated the arrest because he did not join the pro-KDP Ninewa Fraternity List led by a KDP leader, Khasro Gorran, in Nineveh in the Iraqi elections.

But, according to the documents, US intelligence sources said he had meetings with prominent Baathist politicians in Syria and was not politically motivated by the Kurds, and this was why he was arrested.

The document shows that Sheihk Abdullah of the Sunni nationalist al-Hadba party paid $20,000 for Matto´s defense in court.

Yezidis are primarily ethnic Kurds, mostly living near Mosul, with smaller communities in surrounding countries. Their religion incorporates local Kurdish and Islamic Sufi beliefs.

Unilateral ceasefire to last until 2011 elections: KCK

PKK ceasefire extended until 2011 general elections

The Executive Committee of the Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (KCK) has announced that the unilateral ceasefire, which ended yesterday, has been extended up to the 2011 general elections.

The KCK statement says that "our movement has decided to extend the non-action process until the 2011 general elections in order to impose a democratic solution process [on Ankara] and ensure that the parliamentary elections in Turkey take place in a healthy environment."

Turkey's next general elections have not yet been formally scheduled but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last month he was thinking about the first week of June 2011.

As to the bomb in Istanbul the KCK statement underlines that "it is not possible for us to carry out such an action at a time when our movement has decided to extend a truce process. We are in no way involved in this attack."



PJAK: Declaration of democratic solution to the Kurdish question in Iran

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

QENDIL, Kurdistan, -- The Assembly of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) released a declaration for a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue in Iran.

The Assembly of PJAK once more announced its willingness to solve the Kurdish issue in a democratic peaceful way.

The full declaration is as follows:

Declaration of democratic solution to the Kurdish question in Iran

Iran is currently running through a sensitive and historic stage. The government is struggling with the internal crisis in the political, economic, security and cultural spheres and, externally it is further isolated and from both sides its legitimacy has been undermined. Having considered the real history of Iran and the heritages that the Iranian people have been endowed with for the last millenniums, neither the Iranian people nor the political institutions of this region would warrant this. All these problems emanate from the lack of a democratic constitution and a democratic outlook in the Iran. This has been the major problem of the social and political sphere.

As the result of leaving the problems at a critical level and not taking democratic measure into account in dealing with these problems, all attempts for political and economic progress have been aborted. This has also opened the doors for the interference of external powers exploiting these problems for the benefit of their own. This is while that the national, religious, cultural, ethnic and linguistic make up of the Iranian society is able to generate greatest opportunities for political and economic progress. This structure is able to bring about positive opportunities that will have the potential to advance Iran into level of having a leading role in both Middle East and the world.

For that reason we are of opinion that Iran is at a decisive and historical junction. The Iranian regime will either look up to the natural structure of the Iranian multinational society and based on the decentralisation of power and the democratic self-rule of the people it will embrace all the Iranian nations, a process that would in turn open the door for democracy which includes all the Iranian nations including Beluch, Arab, Azeri, Fars, Kurds plus all the ethnic and religious entities; or the Iranian regime will face another historical regress and fall far behind from the current democratisation process.

The intention behind these lines is that the democratic struggles of the Middle Eastern people are culminating and will not wait for the regional states to find solution for their problems. New waves of efforts and endeavour taken by internal and external initiatives have begun in the Middle East. If Iran is not prepared to align itself with such advancements, its current crisis will deepen in the New Year. Iran should take into account the latest progress in the Middle East as well as the culmination of Kurdish struggle in the region and do not fall behind these processes.

We as the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) are determined to find a solution to the Kurdish issue in a peaceful way based on political and democratic methods. If the government is willing to take steps in the same direction, there will be no need for hostility and violence. The unilateral ceasefire declared on our behalf two years ago, is a good document to demonstrate PJAK’s willingness to reach such a solution. The Islamic Republic of Iran should be aware of the fact that PJAK is powerful organisation and at the same time it is certain on its pursuit of peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish issue.

Within that framework, as the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) we are of opinion that violence or bloodshed, the state’s policy of regarding Kurdistan as a security zone which has imposed the discourse of nationalism and separatism on this issue as well as all other democratic and legitimate demands of the Iranian nations, will not solve the problems. Owing to this fact, a peaceful and democratic endeavour is the best method to reach a solution to the current unsettled problems of the Iranian society. In order to demonstrate our responsibilities toward the values of the Iranian people, we as PJAK would like to take initiatives to solve these issues within the current political borders.

Hereby, and in order to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, we would identify the following points as our demands from the Islamic Republic of Iran:

1. Formal recognition of Kurdish issue and its solution with the application of dialogue and democratic methods.

2. In order to approach a solution in a democratic and political environment, background for negotiation should be considered.

3. To prepare the ground for dialogue, negotiation and a political solution, a peaceful environment devoid of any violence where the politics can play its role, is needed; therefore the immediate cessation of the military operation is required.

4. In order to reach a solution and to implement people’s political, economic, cultural and civil rights including the right to free speech which are necessary for development of the essential will of people, all these rights should be guaranteed and all the present difficulties for their achievement must be eliminated.

5. Formal recognition of freedom of assembly and political-democratic activism.

6. People without access to their own language, will not be able to represent themselves or make manifest of their being as a people, consequently no one would be able to discuss their being as a people since they will be emptied of their own cultural, ethnical and national essence. Therefore, the legal recognition of different languages in Iran particularly the Kurdish language in education and in all administrative and non-administrative institutions is the initial condition.

7. In order to eliminate the atmosphere of fear and terror, and to generate a free and political environment for free participation, the freedom of the political prisoners and the nullification of death penalty is undeniable requirement.

We as the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) declare that we will be taking into account the conducts of the Iranian authorities after the announcement of this declaration and would expect a concrete steps to be taken by them.

We as the PJAK long declared the non-action period, yet we do observe the continuation of violence, hostility and bloodshed from the Iranian side. Up to date, the Kurdish activists do receive death penalty, they are tortured and persecuted in prison and finally executed.

To achieve a democratic environment and to end all sorts of violence in Iran and Kurdistan, The Iranian response to this declaration is of historical importance.

Nonetheless, it should be mentioned that, we would not confine this declaration only to the Kurdish question, and we believe that our endeavour within that framework would serve as a backdrop for the solution to all the Iranian’s issues.

The Assembly of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK)


Öcalan: Discussions are turning into negotiations

04 November 2010

"Nobody should be deceived by the AKP’s tricks. The approach of the state is much more positive than the AKP government" said imprisoned leader of PKK Abdullah Öcalan.

"Nobody should be deceived by the AKP’s tricks. The approach of the state is much more positive than the AKP government" said imprisoned leader of PKK Abdullah Öcalan.

He also stated that the meetings held with him are getting more serious. “We have not reached the negotiation phase yet but the current situation can be named as transition period. However, the government together with the opposition parties CHP and MHP are delivering speeches which are obstructing the solution. The oligarchic power, day-politics will destroy the state. AKP aims at creating its own Hamas.” added Öcalan.

KCK case is a plot

The lawyers of the Kurdish Leader Abdullah Öcalan visited him in Imrali prison.

Regarding the KCK cases Öcalan said “The case is a plot. Some groups within the state wanted to take politicians like Hatip Dicle and Fırat Anlı as hostage so that they could get rid of so called hardliners but it did not work. On one hand they were trying to string me along and on the other hand they were trying to purge KCK. 

CHP must change

Öcalan also said that it is the time for CHP to change and update Kemalism according to our era otherwise they will lose. He also warned the CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu to become aware of the situation and understand that it is his last chance to destroy the Ataturk myth which does not represent Kemalism. Öcalan also reminded the Kurdish Autonomy Law passed in the parliament in 1922 when Ataturk was still alive. 

Green Turks replaced white Turks

Öcalan said: “After 2000s green Turks replaced white Turks. AKP is representing green Turkish nationalism. It is supported by the US and the UK and they receive enormous amount of financial support from abroad. They are criticised with being civil dictator and this critique is not unfair. Gulen Community have schools in South Kurdistan where Talabani’s grand children study. These are not coincidences. They are getting organised in the Kurdish region. They used to use weapons before but now other methods. What they do is creating disarmed Hizbullah. Zaman newspaper is also serving them, very obvious. They are using Islam for their political aims and it can be really dangerour”

Öcalan also stated that AKP wants to create its own Hamas but even the PM himself cannot imagine how it will affect the region. “He himself will not be able to control them. We have seen what happened in Palestine, how they got the power from Al Fatih. The Kurds should not let this happen and develop their own understating of Islam and not let it be used for politics.” added Öcalan.

Meetings with state officials

Öcalan continued: “My meetings with state officials are continuing. We have not reached the negotiation phase yet but the current situation can be named as transition period. The officials with whom I am meeting are genuine and serious. However, the government together with the opposition parties CHP and MHP are delivering speeches which are obstructing the solution. The oligarchic power, day-politics will destroy the state. We are supporting an ideology-free state.” Öcalan also reiterated that they are not in favour of a federal state and they want to live together with Turkey as long as they the Kurdish rights are recognised.

Meanwhile Öcalan reiterated that a Truth Commission established within the parliament can help the solution. Both the state party and the PKK can cooperate with this commission.

Women should emancipate themselves

Focusing on the gender issue Öcalan said it was not a coincidence that the mayor of Rize suggested marrying Kurdish women as second wife in order to solve the Kurdish problem and this is a clear reflection of assimilation policy. Öcalan also said that the pressure faced by women drag them into suicide but the women should emancipate themselves and get organised.


PKK will lay down arms if Turkey accepts autonomy for Kurds

13 September 2010

Murat Karayılan says "Catalan model is what we are looking at"

KCK president Murat Karayılan says PKK will lay down arms if Turkey accepts autonomy for Kurdish populated areas.

Karayilan told El Mundo daily, PKK's autonomy demands are similar to existing Catalonia autonomy in Spain.

The Spanish model "is the one we are looking for", Murat Karayilan said pointing to the example of Catalonia, which has its own police force and parliament.

"If we obtain a Catalonia(-style) autonomy, we would lay down our weapons and hand them over to the United Nations" said Karayilan.

Murat Karayilan also explained that PKK decided to declare a ceasefire until September 20 because of the referendum for constitutional changes in Turkey taking place on Saturday, September 12.

"If the attacks and actions against the Kurds continue, we will have to change our strategy and put an end to our ceasefire. Then the conflict will enter a new phase with a campaign for civil disobedience among the Kurdish population," he said.



Ocalan:Mutual trust and a non-conflict term are the pillars for a solution

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ANF 23.07.2010- The leader of PKK Abdullah Öcalan said he is taking the peace calls from NGO’s in the Kurdish region seriously. “However, creating a mutual trust atmosphere and declaring a bilateral cease fire are the prerequisites for peace. Everybody should act responsible.” added imprisoned Kurdish leader.
Speaking to his lawyers Abdullah Öcalan proposed founding a commission within the parliament that will act like a constituent assembly and draft a pluralistic, democratic constitution. He further stated that a peaceful solution for the Kurdish conflict and legal reforms can bring thousand of people living as refugees out of Turkey back home, including the refugees in Makhmur Camp.

Öcalan also repeated his proposal for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission within the parliament which will help both sides to face the past and solve the problem.

BDP should present an alternative constitution

Supporting BDP’s boycott against the constitution referendum Abdullah Öcalan said BDP has a key role and should inform the Kurdish people well why are boycotting the referendum. BDP can also work together with NGO’s, intellectuals and academics and write an alternative constitution against the current draft which denies the existence of the Kurdish people and their fundamental rights.

Abdullah Öcalan also stated that so called constitution reform packages have always turned in to conspiracy against the Kurds. Reminding the constitutional reforms on 1922, 1925 and 1926 Öcalan said through these reform packages the Kurds were stripped of their rights enshrined in 1921 constitution, therefore Kurds should be careful not to make the same mistakes.

Amendments on anti-terror law are like a joke

Criticizing the amendments on the anti-terror law which is the legal base for imprisoning stone throwing children Abdullah Öcalan said: “AKP’s reform is like an old Turkish joke. They made such an undemocratic law at the beginning and now launching some small amendments as a gift from the government. Why would such provisions exist from the beginning?”

Violence against women is unacceptable

Regarding gender issue Abdullah Öcalan said men do not know how to solve problems and they should not resort violence when they cannot solve the problems. He also stated that if men cannot solve their family problems in a non-violent way they also cannot solve the problems of a state or a society. They are all interrelated. Öcalan stressed that he is against all kind of violence against women and women should be free in order to act according their own will.

Abdullah Ocalan writes to Nelson Mandela

Kurdish national leader, Abdullah Ocalan, has written a letter to South African former president and leader of the ANC, Nelson Mandela. In the letter Ocalan recalls his capture in Kenya, in 1999 and tells Mandela of the efforts to ensure a democratic and peaceful solution of the Kurdish question.

The letter reads as follows:

"It is the struggle that you had led in South Africa that finally removed the regime and mentality of Apartheid that created conflicts. Later a democratic model that succeeded in making people live peacefully together and based on freedom, equality and democracy was established. This model of democracy is a source of aspiration for all peoples including the Kurdish people.

Our aim consists in ensuring the democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, which has been for so long turned into a source of conflict and a deadlock. We also aim to see the culture of democracy reign in the Middle East and to make the states more responsive to democracy. I have made efforts toward this end for many years. However the international hegemonic powers, which impose a deadlock against our efforts for a solution up to date, still do all within their power to invalidate our efforts for democratic solution and peace. The policies that are imposed to date are the decisions taken at the 1921 Cairo Conference under the leadership of the then world hegemonic power England. These policies intend not only to leave the Kurdish question in a deadlock but also to place those countries where Kurds live - Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria and hence the Middle East - under their own control.

The USA was later included in this plan. The fact that I was kidnapped as a result of an international pursuit by the English, US and Israeli intelligence services after which I was handed over to Turkey, kept at the Imrali Island Sole Inmate High Security Prison to date and prevented in all my efforts for a resolution, is also the result of those policies today.

But on the other hand I headed to Europe to end the deadlock these policies imposed and to realize the expectations of my people from me: democratic solution, honourable peace and the hope for freedom. However these powers put pressure on the relevant European states and coerced me to go outside the European boundaries. They shut off the European airports to me. When I finally arrived in Greece I indicated to them my desire to go to South Africa. I was promised that I would stay temporarily in Kenya and then I would be taken to South Africa. This is why I accepted Kenya as a stopover. While I was at the Greek Embassy in Kenya, the Greek Ambassador kept on telling me that they were waiting for a response to the request made to South Africa. However only much later it would become clear that neither the Greek Government nor Embassy had made any official applications to the South African Government and it was all a scam. This is how they mislead and delayed me. Later they took me out of the Greek Embassy in Kenya and forced me to board the Turkish airplane waiting at the Kenyan airport.

My journey to Africa was to reach South Africa and meet up with you to share your experiences which I value dearly. However such an opportunity has been taken away from us. My desire to go to South Africa full of friendly emotions however remain as they are. Although my South African journey, my desire and efforts to come together with you have been prevented I continue to harbour my feelings of friendship, respect and affection for you and the South Africa people from the Imrali Island Prison. I have full confidence that you are closely following up our struggle for democratic solution and peace and contributing to the democratic and peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question. With such feelings and thought I send my greetings and respect to you Mr Nelson Mandela and all the South African people."

KCK Tell BBC, "We Will Lay Down Our Weapons!"

Murat Karayilan (28 October 2009)

The leader of a separatist Kurdish rebel group which has been locked in a guerrilla war against Turkey has said his fighters will disarm if Ankara meets certain conditions, in a BBC interview Wednesday.
Murat Karayilan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), said he would order his rebels to lay down their weapons under United Nations supervision if Turkey agreed to a ceasefire and his demands.
An agreement would mark a breakthrough in the long-running conflict between Turkey and the PKK, which started when the Kurdish rebels took up arms in 1984 for self-rule in the southeast. The fighting has claimed some 45,000 lives.
"If the Kurdish issue is resolved in a democratic way through dialogue we will lay down our weapons, yes," Karayilan told the British broadcaster.
"We will not carry arms."
But the rebel leader raised the prospect of further trouble if Ankara did not agree to his offer: "If the Turkish government refuses to accept that, we will have to announce independence."
Speaking to the BBC at a camp in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, Karayilan said his conditions included an end to attacks on Kurdish civilians and arrests of Kurdish politicians in eastern Turkey.
The rebels have also been fighting for more linguistic and cultural rights for Turkey's Kurds, said the BBC.
A Turkish government official told the broadcaster it was "not in the habit of commenting on statements made by terrorists."
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and much of the international community, has stepped up its attacks inside Turkey in recent weeks.
Since 2007, the Turkish army has often bombed PKK hideouts in northern Iraq and carried out a number of cross-border ground operations to pursue the rebels.