Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Society for Threatened Peoples: EU must support Kurdish peace initiative

Göttingen, October 21, 2009

The Society for Threatened Peoples STP (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) addressed on Wednesday, an urgent appeal to the foreign policy representatives of the political parties in the German Parliament, the EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Javier Solana, and the Foreign Ministers of the EU states to support the peace initiative of the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan PKK, which is forbidden in Turkey, and the legal pro-Kurdish party DTP. They must make sure that the Turkish government under Recep Tayyip Erdogan after more than two decades of war and suppression of its own Kurdish population finally takes up negotiations with both Kurdish parties.

As a test of Turkey’s preparedness for negotiations 34 Kurdish resistance fighters and refugees from the mountains of North Iraq came on Monday over the Turkish-Iraqi border into Turkey. Five of them were shortly held, but then released and accompanied by the demonstrators to their home towns.

"While tens of thousands of Kurds demonstrated in Turkey for peace, Turkish war-planes attacked three Iraqi-Kurdish villages in the district of Pashdar in the province of Suleimania”, says the letter of the German chair of the STP, Tilman Zülch, to the politicians. "This cannot be tolerated.” The Turkish-Kurdish war has cost since 1984 far more than 40,000 dead and at least two million people driven out. To the present day skirmishes still take place in the Iraqi-Kurdish border areas.

The STP called urgently on the EU governments to make sure that in south-east Anatolia Kurdish is placed on an equal footing with the Turkish language and culture in schools, media, government offices and in public places. The 3,835 Kurds at present in Turkish prisons for the sole reason that they speak, write or publish in Kurdish or take political action for the Kurdish cause must be released immediately. Finally with the support of the EU a reconstruction programme must be set up for the approximately 4,000 villages which were destroyed or abandoned in the Turkish-Kurdish war so that those expelled can return.

Since the founding of the Kemalist Turkey the Kurdish people have been victims of discrimination, suppression, expulsion and even genocide-like crimes. It is now urgently necessary to grant at last all rights to the approximately 15 million Kurds, who make up one quarter of the population of Turkey.

Further information is also available from the Chair of the STP in Germany, Tilman Zülch, at