Saturday, 15 November 2014

Lift the Ban on the Kurdish Workers Party - The PKK


Memed Aksoy writing on, 2 September 2014. ‘Why the PKK needs to be taken off the terror list’.
The PKK’s listing as a proscribed organisation around the world endangers a potential solution and peace. This became evident when in 2012 three PKK militants were murdered in Paris in what was certainly a provocation to stall peace talks. The assailant was an agent of the Turkish Intelligence Agency who had links to other intelligence groups. Delisting the PKK would ease the discussions between the PKK and Turkish state and also mean that the EU and USA could play their role in bringing a lasting and just solution.

Fr. Matthew Esau LLM, Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG) Newroz Message 2012:
The last outstanding matter in the Middle East is the Kurdish question in Turkey. We call on the EU and the US to play a more animated role in resolving this problem. The EU and the US should also remove the PKK from the Terrorist List. The PKK is not a terrorist organisation, it is a liberation movement and keeping the PKK on terrorist list makes it possible for Turkey to accuse and jail thousands of people in Turkey.

Sebahat Tuncel, Vice Co-chairperson and Istanbul Deputy of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), writing in Jadaliyya, 13 May 2013:
For Turkey to manage this process by itself, for there to be no yielding to internal factions who oppose a democratic peaceful resolution, international powers also have a part to play in terms of duties and responsibilities, especially the United States and the European Union. It would be a contribution to the process of peaceful resolution in Turkey if the United States and members of the European Union were to review their “terrorist organizations” list and remove from it the PKK, which has taken strategic steps to transition from armed struggle to democratic struggle in response to the call by the Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan.

David Phillips, Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, writing inHuffington Post, 21 May 2013:
Delisting the PKK would open the door to discussions with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the PKK’s affiliate in Syria, about joining the opposition to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. It would also boost the peace process in Turkey by rewarding the PKK for its recent decision to cease hostilities and withdraw fighters from Turkish soil, maintaining momentum and setting the stage for negotiations aimed at a full final solution to Turkey’s Kurdish question [...]The United States has delisted FTOs before to incentivize peace. Other groups removed from the list during a peace process include the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Groups have also been delisted when circumstances change. Even the Mujahedin Khalq, which was responsible for hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, was recently delisted.

Ahmet Turk, mayor of Mardin and former chair of the DTP speaking with news outlet Rudaw on 23 May 2013:
In my view, keeping the Kurds on the “terrorist list” will only encourage those who do not want a solution, and serve solely their interest. It is a must that this attitude toward the Kurds should change, and the PKK should be de-listed. What will those, who labeled Kurds as “terrorists”, say about this in the future? How will they defend their incorrect decision? This will certainly not remain as it is, and the international community will discuss this issue. Everybody will see clearly who wants this issue to be solved, and who wants the opposite. Kurds do not have any concern about this issue because they trust themselves. It is time for world to see that Kurds are not an obstacle to peace. We know this very well, and achieving true peace will make us very happy. But, it is equally important to expose the true face of those who do not want peace!

Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), quoted in ANF in November 2013:
The EU should definitively review its list of ‘terrorist organisations’ because of the fact that it provides no contribution but constitutes an obstacle to the peace process in Turkey to keep an armed organization which guarantees disarmament in the list of terrorist organisations.

Dr Vicki Sentas, lecturer in Law at UNSW Australia writing in The Conversation on 13 May 2014:
What does this look like when the support base for an armed conflict demands recognition of minority cultures and languages, accountability for state crimes and an end to conflict? Let’s take the example of how the Kurdish struggle for self-determination in Turkey has been transformed into “terrorism”.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is listed by Britain as a terrorist organisation, yet the PKK is currently engaged in fragile negotiations for peace with Turkey. Meanwhile, listing of the PKK as terrorist by the international community has given Turkey the confidence and legitimacy to embark on a mass criminalisation of Kurdish civil society. Between 2009 and the start of 2013, almost 40,000 people were prosecuted for “membership of a terrorist organisation” in Turkey, according to government statistics [...]
Proscription creates an international regime in which some states are empowered to use more repressive tactics against movements for self-determination. The British state, among other states who ban armed conflicts, deserves sustained attention for its role in depoliticising self-determination movements and legitimising and therefore extending state violence elsewhere.

Michael M. Gunter, professor of Political Science at Tennessee Technological University and Secretary General of the EU Turkey Civic Commission, in a piece published in Peace in Kurdistan Campaign on 25 July 2014:
 However, the situation is worse because the United States continues to list the PKK as a terrorist movement. This unfortunate designation hinders the on-going Turkish-PKK peace process. The United States continues to so list the PKK out of deference to its NATO ally Turkey, but since Turkey is negotiating with the PKK the terrorist appellation is no longer appropriate and even hinders the negotiations. If the United States delisted the PKK, Turkey and the European Union (EU) would probably follow suit and the peace process benefit. Instead the United States even continues to denounce falsely such PKK negotiators as Sabri Ok, Remzi Kartal, and Adem Uzun, among others, as drug kingpins.

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