Tag Archives: Kurdistan

Southern Kurdistan’s Referendum: Self-Destiny doesn’t need Permission

Every flower that sprouts in the mountains had to first break through a rock.

By. Dr. Thoreau Redcrow. Published 9-22-2017 by the Region

Rallies and celebrations take place throughout Kurdistan as the referendum vote approaches Monday’s date.. Photo: Al Arabiya/Twitter

 

In a few days on September 25th the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of Southern Kurdistan / Bashur (i.e. northern “Iraq”) is set to hold a non-binding aspirational referendum on their region’s independence. For many of the 6+ million Kurds of Bashur it is undoubtedly a day they have dreamt of or longed for; perhaps even a chance which seemed all but a fantasy through the billowing smoke of chemical bombs in Hełebce, or Saddam’s mass graves of the 1980’s.

Moreover, although this referendum is only related to one of the four regions of Greater Kurdistan—leaving those 20+ million Kurds of southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), 12 million Kurds of northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan), and 2-3 million Kurds of northern Syria (Western Kurdistan) awaiting their own eventual ‘independence day’—I have still anecdotally witnessed a surge in Kurdish patriotism and excitement throughout wider Kurdistan and the diaspora at the possibility that the first of the four dominoes may finally fall. Continue reading

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Trump invites foreign terrorist to White House

Trump has investments and business dealings in Turkey, where his son enjoys hunting with rich businessmen. How Trump deals with Turkey in relation to ISIS could be in direct conflict with these business interests. Which one will Trump prioritize?

By Carol Benedict for Occupy World Writes

On Monday night, news broke that the Trump Administration revealed information to the Russian officials during their visit to the White House last week. This could not come at a worse time – right on the heels of the Comey firing and on the eve before another foreign power visits the White House.

On Tuesday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits US President Donald Trump at the White House. While many Americans who rely only on US news don’t see this as alarming, the international community, unafraid of hard hitting headlines, realizes that Turkey and Erdogan have been cooperating with ISIS in Syria since at least 2014 and the attack on the Kurdish city of Kobane.

The US has taken the stand that we do not negotiate with terrorists. Yet, Erdogan is invited to Washington to attempt to persuade our President to turn on the only reliable fighting force on earth capable of defeating ISIS on the ground. Last week it was announced that the US will arm the Syrian YPG/YPJ forces in the battle to take Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold and capitol in Syria.

Trump will place the security of the US at risk if he backs down from his commitment to arm the Kurds. He will reveal that he himself in indirectly working with ISIS by cooperating with Turkey’s government to assist in the defeat of the Syrian Kurds, which is Erdogan’s objective in Syria.

If you or someone you know are in or near the Washington DC tomorrow, you can add your voice to a protest taking place at Lafayette Square. Details below.

Protest Against The Erdogan Dictatorship.

Join supporters of human rights, religious liberty, and regional peace at a rally outside the White House (in Lafayette Park) during President Trump’s May 16th meeting with Turkish President Erdogan.

The protest will take place from noon to 2 pm.

Protesters will call on President Trump to challenge Erdogan on a broad range of issues, including:

— Erdogan’s post-coup consolidation of authoritarian power;
— Erdogan’s mass arrests of the HDP leadership;
— Erdogan’s vast purge of his political opposition;
— Erdogan’s arrest of record numbers of journalists;
— Erdogan’s restrictions on religious freedom and worship
— Erdogan’s Wikipedia ban and social media crackdown;
— Erdogan’s aggression against Kurds in Syria and Iraq;
— Erdogan’s anti-American rhetoric and actions;
— Erdogan’s continued military occupation of Cyprus;
— Erdogan’s obstruction of justice for genocide of Armenians, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and Greeks
— Erdogan’s illegal economic blockade of Armenia

There’s also a Facebook event page.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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Love in a time of fear: an interview with Dashni Morad

‘The Shakira of Kurdistan’ discusses feminism, Kurdish unity, and healing the scars of war.

By Benjamin Ramm. Published 3-30-2017 by openDemocracy

Dashni Morad. (Credit: John Wright, February 2016)

As the battle for Mosul nears its conclusion, the fate of civilian survivors remains uncertain. The Kurdish singer and humanitarian Dashni Morad, whose youth was defined by conflict in the region, aims to highlight the psychological scars of living under a brutal regime. In 2014, Morad raised funds for refugee camps outside Mosul, where she witnessed the impact of three years of war on displaced children. Tutored only in fear, the children are aggressive even in play: “it made me so upset to see that a kid can be taken from its inner child”, she says. “It is the worst thing you can do to a human being – to take away that magical world”. Continue reading

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29 Years After Genocide, Kurds Still Suffer

Occupy World Writes commemorates the anniversary of the Halabja genocide

Written by Carol Benedict

Black Friday.

“Halabja, standing against oppression.
Joy and happiness permeated the air in Halabja.
Smiles never faded from the lips of the ever oppressed people of this town.
The Iraqi fighter planes carried out the chemical bombing of Halabja,
and some hours later the news came that Khormal, too, had suffered chemical bombing.
The sound of laughter died down.
Children sought the shelter of their mothers’ arms.
March 16, was the beginning of the great crime of history.
On Thursday March 17, 1988, and on Friday March 18, there took place one of
the most shameful and fearful inhumane crimes of history in Halabja. The town of
Halabja was bombed with chemical and cluster bombs more than twenty times
by Iraqi fighter planes.
In every street and alley women and children rolled over one another.
The sound of crying and groans rose from every house in the town.
Many families who were sleeping happily in their beds in their liberated town,
were subjected before sunrise to chemical bombing,
and poisonous gases did not even allow them to rise from their beds.
Such was the situation on the bloody Friday of Halabja.”
from Kurdistan Democratic Party – Iraq

Exhumed Shoes of Child Victim of Anfal Genocide - 3rd International Conference on Mass Graves in Iraq - Erbil - Iraq. Photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Exhumed Shoes of Child Victim of Anfal Genocide – 3rd International Conference on Mass Graves in Iraq – Erbil – Iraq. Photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

March 16, 1988:  A chemical weapon attack on the civilian population of Halabja killed an estimated 5,000 persons immediately and injured another 7,000 – 10,000. In the aftermath of the attack, thousands more died of complications, disease and birth defects.  The attack was and remains today the largest chemical weapons attack against a civilian population in human history.

According to an account in KurdishPain.com, written by Huner Anwer, “The gas attack took place over a period of approximately five hours.  The attack was preceded by the dropping of conventional weapons and by the dropping of paper in order to determine the direction of the wind.  The dropping of the conventional weapons led the citizens of Halabja to retreat to basements and shelters for protection which made the gas more effective as it settled into low lying areas.”

Photo by Zaxo (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Halabja before the attack. Photo by Zaxo (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“Survivors spoke most often of the gas smelling like sweet apples, but others said it was more like garlic and still some others like the gas used in a kitchen stove. This suggests multiple chemicals were used, including mustard gas, the nerve agents sarin, tabun and VX. Some victims died almost immediately, others were laughing as they died; still others experienced intense burning, blistering and vomiting,” Anwer writes.

Topographical map of Kurdistan - Iraq. Halabja is on the far right, in the mountainous region. Note location in area to trap the chemicals used. Public Domain via Wikimedia.

Topographical map of Kurdistan – Iraq. Halabja is on the far right, in the mountainous region. Note location in area to trap the chemicals used. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The poison gas attack on Halabja was just part of what has become known as the Anfal Campaign. It began unofficially in 1986 and continued until 1989: officially it was conducted between February 23 and September 6, 1988. It was led by a cousin of Saddam Hussein, Ali Hassan al-Majid, who became known as “Chemical Ali” as a result of the atrocities. The Campaign consisted of:

  • the mass executions and the mass disappearance of tens of thousands of persons;
  • the widespread use of chemical weapons;
  • the destruction of over 4,500 Kurdish and at least 31 Assyrian villages;
  • the death of over 182,000 persons;
  • the displacement of over a million of the country’s estimated 3.5 million Kurdish population.

“(There is legal and convincing proof that) the Kurdish population meets the requirement under the Genocide Conventions as an ethnic group. The court has no other conclusion than that these attacks were committed with the intent to destroy the Kurdish population of Iraq,”  declared The Hague in a court ruling from December of 2005.

Bakhtiar Awmar points to grave where his father, mother and sister are buried - victims of the 1988 Chemical Attack - Halabja, Kurdistan - Iraq. Photo By Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bakhtiar Awmar points to grave where his father, mother and sister are buried – victims of the 1988 Chemical Attack – Halabja, Kurdistan – Iraq. Photo By Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

We have talked about this issue in a previous story, Honor and Dignity. The struggles of the Iraqi Kurdish population, like that of all Kurds living in the region, continues to this day. Finding a solution rather than a continued assault on what has become recognized as the largest ethnic group on Planet Earth with no borders, no home, no country and no rights becomes the DUTY of the world. Current estimates place the Kurdish population at 30 – 35 million people.

Since this tragedy, the world has continued to witness the use of chemical weapons to exterminate populations. March 14, 2014 marks the 3rd anniversary of the Syrian crisis, also involving the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish and other populations. These attacks are carried out by government forces. The Ghouta chemical attack occurred on August 21, 2013, during the Syrian civil war, when several opposition-controlled or disputed areas of the Ghouta suburbs around Damascus were struck by rockets containing sarin. Hundreds were killed in the attack, which took place over a short span of time in the early morning. Estimates of the death toll are upwards of 1,729 fatalities.

We wanted to construct a list of genocides since 1988 to demonstrate that no resolution has come. When researching the genocides across the globe that have occurred since this event, we were overwhelmed with the list. Rather than diminish any of these tragedies, we found this summary, which also includes genocides from 1945 forward. World Genocide Since 1945 {PDF}

Genocide is the worst dimension of despicable behavior the human race can sink to. It has no justification in ethics, morals, religions, war, terror or policies. Occupy World Writes joins all those who call for an end to this crime against humanity, and we support a resolution marking this day as International Day Against the Use of Chemical Weapons, so that the world never forgets the injustices that have been administered on innocent victims and brings honor to the victims of Halabja.

Exhumed Clothing of Victims of Anfal Genocide - 3rd International Conference on Mass Graves in Iraq - Erbil - Iraq. Photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Exhumed Clothing of Victims of Anfal Genocide – 3rd International Conference on Mass Graves in Iraq – Erbil – Iraq. Photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

We call on the international community to recognize the need for an immediate solution to “the Kurdish Problem.” This would help alleviate pressures in Syria, called Rojava by the Kurdish people, or Western Kurdistan,  Northern Kurdistan, the Kurdish area in Turkey; Southern Kurdistan, the Kurdish area in Iraq; and Eastern Kurdistan, the Kurdish area in Iran. We implore the world to find a means to an end of genocide the world over immediately, and those responsible must be brought to justice.

For a completely separate perspective on Iraqi children suffering to this day from the Bush Administration’s policy of “Mission Accomplished,” read Weapons of Mass Destruction.

A video about Halabja from the Rudaw Facebook page :

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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Silence from world press as purges in Turkey continue ongoing genocide

Written by Carol Benedict.

Today, a press release was issued which has gone largely ignored by western media. No one wants to talk “bad” about a NATO ally and “friend” to the US.

Turkey has taken the position that all who oppose President Erdogan are enemies to nationalism in that country, and with a referendum vote coming in April that would grant Erdogan unprecedented and complete power, a long-fought for goal of his. By naming all opposition as “terrorists” he believes the international community will allow him to act with impunity.

Meanwhile, reports of Kurdish civilians, including women and children, are surfacing that indicate a barbaric turn in the Turkish regime’s treatment of its minority population. Since last July, a failed coup became the catalyst for the surge in attacks on HDP members, intellectuals, media and ethnicity.

To date, purges across Turkey have targeted specific individuals based on that person’s heritage of being Kurdish or individuals who oppose Erdogan’s ideology. “Turkey Purge” is a website that tracks these human rights abuses. At press time, this is the status, which does NOT include deaths the regime will not acknowledge. All their victims, they claim, are terrorists.

Does NOT include deaths perpetrated by the Turkish government.

Without international intervention, this violence and genocide will be allowed to escalate and thousands, if not millions, will perish in the course of its fulfillment.

At the end of WWII, the entire world took a pledge to not allow genocide to continue. The world closed it mouth during the Armenian genocide, with the United Staes still refusing to this day to officially acknowledge it as a genocide at the behest of Turkey.

Each of us needs to act as citizens of humanity and demand these actions be stopped. Write, call and insist that your government acknowledge and condemn these actions and require access to these regions of southeast Turkey by humanitarian organizations.

Following is the press release, in its entirety:

As Turkey’s constitutional referendum is approaching, we are, once again, witnessing an intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey. For more than a week, there has been no communication with the people of Xerabê Bava (Koruköy), a village in Mardin-Nusaybin. The village is under round-the-clock military curfew and there have been claims that villagers are being tortured and executed. Visitors, including journalists, MPs and human rights observers were denied entry to the village.

We are concerned that what is going on in Xerabê Bava might be a harbinger of approaching larger scale state violence against the Kurdish population and other minority populations in Turkey. Since the violence exercised on Kurdish population has become a strategy for the government in order to consolidate a nationalistic support for the referendum, it is crucial to raise an urgent reaction to this violence at its very beginning. We, therefore, urge international human rights organizations, journalists, and peace coalitions to pay attention to Xerabê Bava and take the necessary steps to investigate the allegations of rights violations in the village.

Academics for Peace- Germany
Academics for Peace- UK
Academics for Peace- France
Academics for Peace- Switzerland

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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HDP arrests: on the road to dictatorship in Turkey

In the absence of concerted international pressure on Turkey to rein in Erdogan’s authoritarianism, the only plausible outcome is further violence.

By Francis O’Connor. Published 11-8-2016 by ROAR Magazine

"Meeting with the CHP delegation, HDP’s imprisoned Co-Chair Demirtaş has said that he didn’t go abroad despite knowing that he would be arrested, and imprisoned Mardin Co-Mayor Türk said “I am prepared for everything as long as peace is achieved in these lands” Photo: Rojava24/7/Facebook

“Meeting with the CHP delegation, HDP’s imprisoned Co-Chair Demirtaş has said that he didn’t go abroad despite knowing that he would be arrested, and imprisoned Mardin Co-Mayor Türk said “I am prepared for everything as long as peace is achieved in these lands” Photo: Rojava24/7/Facebook

The political situation in Turkey continues to deteriorate in the wake of the attempted coup d’état in July 2016, allegedly organized by the Gülen Movement, a former ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). It has in fact led to a slow incremental counter-coup where Erdogan and his cronies have progressively jailed, marginalized and silenced opponents of all hues — but especially the Kurdish movement.

The botched coup has conceded the Erdogan regime the pretext to arrest 80,000 suspects, 40,000 of whom remain in custody, while forcing the shutdown of more than 150 publications, the firing of more than 100,000 civil servants and the re-staffing of the army’s upper echelons with Erdogan loyalists. It has also furnished Erdogan with the opportunity to eradicate his principal political opponent, the pro-Kurdish, leftist People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which had been hindering his assumption of complete parliamentary control. Erdogan’s campaign culminated in the arrest of twelve HDP MPs, including its co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag last Friday. Continue reading

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The curious case of a Turkish judiciary in a state of emergency

There is strong evidence to conclude that Turkey has gone beyond what is necessary or proportionate.

By Emre Turkut. Published 11-16-2016 by openDemocracy

Cizre. Photo: Has Avrat/Twitter

Cizre. Photo: Has Avrat/Twitter

Yet again, another state of emergency is eating away at the already fragile foundations of a country’s rule of law. Not surprisingly, that country is Turkey.

Since the bloody and violent attempted military coup on 15 July 2016, Turkish state authorities have taken unprecedented measures, purportedly to restore normalcy in the country. In many ways, however, those measures could almost be characterized as a counter-coup, a purge bordering on crimes against humanity. Continue reading

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Turkey Looks to Join Russia-China Alliance, Snubbing the US and Europe

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 11-22-2016 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Emre Uslu/Twitter

Photo: Emre Uslu/Twitter

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently said Turkey does not need to join the European Union “at all costs.” Instead, he is looking to become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political, economic, and military bloc originally founded in Shanghai by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Although Turkey is a member of NATO, 11 years of negotiations aimed at the country’s entrance into the E.U. have almost fallen flat. A proposal for Turkey to take a certain number of refugees from Europe with hopes this would lead to E.U. membership failed earlier this year. Continue reading

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World remains silent as Turkey continues genocide against Kurds

Turkey continues unlawful and ongoing crackdown and purge of the dissent in Southeast Kurdish region

Written by Carol Benedict

 Protests as a UN Judge was arrested in Turkey. Photo: The Genocide Report/Twitter

Protests as a UN Judge was arrested in Turkey. Photo: The Genocide Report/Twitter

Following months of sieges, bombings, burnings, arrests, detentions and human rights violations in an effort to rid the country of the “Kurdish issue,” the Turkish government appears to be resorting to starvation in their genocide attempts against their Kurdish civilians. Yesterday, the Turkish government shuttered the doors of the only remaining food bank in Diyarbakir, Turkey’s largest city in the southeast region. The Sarmaşik Association serviced 5,400 families, feeding 32,000 people. Below this article is a statement from the center and their urgent plea for action.

Since July of this year, Turkey has been suppressing dissent within the country, fearing an uprising that could topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On July 15, a failed coup attempt opened the floodgate for loosening of laws and policies within the country that represented democracy, and instead anyone that opposes Erdogan and his regime has been labeled a terrorist and is subject to arrest, detention, torture and in many cases, death.

As early as July 27, reports on CNN surfaced that “Authorities have fired or suspended at least 50,000 people from various institutions, including judges, teachers, soldiers, police and journalists.” The report also details torture, rape, water and food deprivation, beatings, denial of medical care, denial of access of lawyers and many other atrocities not allowed under the Geneva Convention, and especially within a NATO member country.

Human Rights Watch issued a report on October 25, further documenting human rights violations perpetrated by the Turkish government against Kurdish civilians in the southeast region, including children, women and elderly people. The Washington Post published the story, but buried it. It went relatively unnoticed. Turkey continued to deny all charges.

    As of now, Turkey is cracking down even harder, believing no one will stop them and that their actions are no one else’s affair.
  • Over 6,000 people, all members of Erdogan’s opposing political party, have been arrested with accusations “of promoting separatism and terror.”
  • Journalism is no longer an approved career; over 120 journalists have been arrested, each one having filed reports objecting to the actions of the government that were contrary to the nation’s Constitution. All Kurdish publications and broadcasts have been shutdown and identified as “terrorist propaganda,” including a Kurdish children’s education program featuring SpongeBob Squarepants.
  • Academics in Turkey are not safe either. Most that were Kurdish or signed a statement asking the government to lift sieges and curfews on Kurdish cities have all been fired from their positions, their offices raided, and the majority arrested, again, for the charges of separatism and terrorist activity.
  • On September 21, Turkey arrested Judge Aydin Sedaf Akay, a UN judge with immunity. All requests to visit him have gone ignored by the Turkish government. The UN Office of Legal Affairs has requested his release from detention and the cessation of all legal proceedings against him,” reports the Jerusalem Post. The arrest is believed to be the first occasion on which a UN judge’s immunity has been violated.
  • Around 18,000 people have been arrested since the failed coup. A further 70,000 people have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the civil service, judiciary, education, police, healthcare, the military and the media.

S  A  R  M  A  Ş  I  K

 

YOKSULLUKLA MÜCADELE VE SÜRDÜRÜLEBİLİR KALKINMA DERNEĞİ

Association for Struggle against Poverty and Sustainable Development


An Urgent Appeal for Support
 

Diyarbakir, Turkey

November 19, 2016

 

On November 12, 2016, Sarmaşik Association that runs the only food bank in Diyarbakir was shut down by the Turkish government. Sarmaşik Association has been serving 5,400 families, or 32 thousand people, in desperate need of monthly food baskets in order to survive.

 

After eleven years of active presence in the areas of struggling against urban poverty, building social solidarity networks, and promoting sustainable development in Diyarbakir, Sarmaşik Association for the Struggle against Poverty and Sustainable Development was shut down on November 12, 2016, by the Turkish government. Along with Sarmaşik Association, 370 civil society organizations were shutdown according to the the article eleven of the state of emergency (OHAL) law as part of another wave of post-failed coup crackdown against opposition groups in Turkey. All of activities of Sarmaşik Association are suspended for three months with the possibility of extending suspension for another period of time or becoming permanent.

 

Sarmaşik Association was founded in 2006 after a long process of discussions, meetings, and negotiations with people and organizations involved in the fight against poverty and advancing social solidarity in Diyarbakir in a rather unconventional environment. Sarmaşik was not only a civil society organization but also a platform for everyone in Diyarbakir to come together to help alleviating poverty in this severely impoverished city. The founding board of Sarmaşik Association consists representatives from Diyarbakir municipality and 32 active civil society organizations in Diyarbakir. These organizations are coming from a wide range of political tendencies in the city to produce an environment of cooperation between all parties to fight against poverty. Indeed, the intolerance against such an exemplary initiative was also an attack against the environment of cooperation despite all political differences.

 

Sarmaşik is an organization that has been providing assistance for the most disadvantaged, marginalized, and impoverished people in Diyarbakir that live much below the poverty line and under the risk of hunger. They have zero income and in most desperate need of assistance who are also mostly excluded from any social assistance mechanisms and programs in place. These are families that may not even have enough food for a daily meal. Sarmaşik Association has provided 5,400 families, or almost 32 thousand people, in the situation described above. Our association operates the only food bank in Diyarbakir that provides monthly basic food baskets to these families. Our educational support program also provides educational bursaries and free tutoring sessions for children of these families. We have done this work without any discrimination and in the most respectful way for these families’ dignity. In the last eleven years, we have assisted our families 180 thousand times in total. All the details of our operation are available and given to the government authorities, and our financial and operational records have been audited and reviewed multiple times by inspectors from the Turkish Ministry of Interior and verified by them.

 

Closing down Sarmaşik Association, before anything else, is violation of the right of 32 thousand people under the risk of hunger to access food. It means punishing the most excluded and vulnerable people with hunger and their existing living conditions. Leaving 32 thousand people without food and much needed assistance is not only a crime against them and our association but also a crime against humanity. With the coming cold season in Diyarbakir, these people are facing more difficult situation. We are deeply concerned about the daily survival of our 5,400 families. We call everyone and every organization concerned with poverty, inequality, injustice, and human rights around the world, especially anti-poverty groups, food banks, and development agencies to support Sarmaşik Association in such difficult times. You can do so by sending emails, faxes, and letters of support and solidarity for Sarmaşik to Turkish embassies in your countries, the Parliament of Turkey, Turkish Prime Minister, and the Turkish Ministry of Interior and protest shutting down Sarmaşik Association (please find their contact information below). We ask you to urge your governments to put pressure on the Turkish state to open our association and to end the unlawful and ongoing crackdown and purge of the dissent in Turkey. Please circulate this appeal among your friends and networks. You can find more information on Sarmaşik Association and our activities in the attached document to this email. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

 

Yours,

 

Mehmet Şerif Camci – Chair

On behalf of Sarmaşik Association

 

Contact Info

 

Email:

mserifcamci@gmail.com

mserifcamci@hotmail.com.

Tel: +905326274745

Address:

Selahattin Eyübi Mah., T.Özal Bulvarı,

Aydınkent Şelale Evleri 7.Blok Kat:4 No: 11

Bağlar, Diyarbakır

Turkey

Web: www.sarmasik.org

 

 

You can find the contact info of Turkish embassies and consulates in your countries on this webpage:

http://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkish-representations.en.mfa

Contact info for the Turkish Parliament, Turkish Prime Ministry and Turkish Ministry of Interior are below:

 

TBMM İnsan Hakları İnceleme Komisyonu (Human Rights’ Investigation Commission of the Turkish Parliament)

 

Mustafa Yeneroğlu – Komisyon Başkanı (Commission’s Chair)

 

Address:

TBMM İnsan Hakları İnceleme Komisyonu

Bakanlıklar, 06543

Ankara

Turkey

Fax: +90 312 420 24 92

Email: insanhaklarikom@tbmm.gov.tr

 

Başbakan (Turkish Prime Minister)

 

Binali Yıldırım

 

Address:

Vekaletler Caddesi

Başbakanlık Merkez Bina

P.K. 06573

Kızılay / Ankara

Turkey

Fax: +90 312 403 62 82

Email: ozelkalem@basbakanlik.gov.tr

 

İçişleri Bakanı (Minister of Interior)

 

Süleyman Soylu

 

Address:

İçişleri Bakanlığı

Bakanlıklar

Ankara

Turkey

Fax: +90 312 418 17 95

Fax: +90 312 425 85 09

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Writing from Diyarbakır under blockade

While writing this article, currently without access to the world, I can’t help but wonder how you will read it.

By Nurcan Baysal. Published 11-1-2016 by openDemocracy

Protests throughout Diyarbakir erupted on October 26, 2016 following the arrests of the city's co-mayors. Image via Twitter.

Protests throughout Diyarbakir erupted on October 26, 2016 following the arrests of the city’s co-mayors. Image via Twitter.

Diyarbakır, the unofficial capital of the Kurdish people, has been one of the main locations of armed conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state. Since August 2015, numerous curfews have been declared in the city and its villages, hundreds of civilians have been killed, the centre of the 5000 year old city Suriçi was bombed, and half of the old city was totally destroyed. The curfew still continues in the old city Suriçi. Today is the 333rd day of the curfew.

Right now, the city is undergoing another trauma. Two days ago, the co-mayors of Diyarbakır, Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı, were detained by the Turkish police with the allegation that they are “supporting the PKK terror organization”. Kışanak was detained in Diyarbakir Airport, on her way back from Ankara, while Anlı was detained at his home in the center of Diyarbakir. According to the press release of the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Kışanak and Anlı were detained due to statements they had made, under laws governing their rights to freedom of speech.

Following their detention, all internet connection was cut across the Kurdish region. 6 million people have been cut off from the world for the past 3 days.

Why did the Turkish government cut off internet in the Kurdish region?

The government is trying to prevent the mobilization of Kurdish people through social media. Kurdish people are very angry because of the detention of their co-mayors. They want to protest. The government has prohibited all kinds of protests, gatherings and marches under the Emergency Law.

This blackout also aims to silence the voices of the Kurdish people,  to prevent them from informing the national and international public about developments in the region.

What has happened in these two “dark” days?

The municipality building has been completely closed by police barriers, panzers and thousands of police officers. Even municipal staff have been forbidden to enter the building.

On the first day, hundreds of people tried to gather in front of the municipality building. The police tried to prevent the people from gathering and protesting. It was a hard day, full of tear gas and water cannon. The police did not only use tear gas and water, but guns were turned against protestors as well. Many people were injured by police violence. At the end of the day, 37 protestors, some of them Kurdish politicians, were also detained.

Thousands of Kurdish people gathered in front of the municipality building on the second day. The co-president of HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş gave a speech to the crowd of people. He said that the Kurdish people will not accept the detention of their co-mayors and encouraged people to continue their peaceful protests until the release of the co-mayors.

Message to Kurds

Kurdish cities have witnessed outrage, killings and bombings all year. Just a month ago, on 11 September, 27 elected mayors were replaced by appointed state officers, 11,285  Kurdish teachers were fired from their jobs. Hundreds of Kurdish politicians and activists have been detained. Almost all Kurdish media, even the Kurdish childrens’ channel have been closed down. As of today, 27 elected Kurdish co-mayors are in prison in Turkey, while 43 of them were dismissed.

The detention of Diyarbakır’s co-mayors is an important phase in a year-long process.

The government has blocked all political access to Kurdish people in Turkey. With these policies, the government is sending a message to all Kurdish people: “There is no legal way to gain rights for Kurdish people.  There is no place for Kurds in this country.”

While looking at my municipality, which has been under police blockade for 3 days, I wonder if the Kurdish people will accept these humiliating policies.

As a member of the Kurdish society, I can easily say NO. Kurds are part of a very organized society, a resilient society, struggling for their rights for more than a century. They will continue their struggle, though I believe these policies risk the future of Turkey as a country.

While writing this article, currently without access to the world, I can’t help but wonder how you will read it.

About the author

Nurcan Baysal is a Kurdish author who has published numerous books and articles about Turkey’s Kurdish issue.

This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

 

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