Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tomorrow and Tuesday the Kurdish people on the dock

Tomorrow in Diyarbakir over a hundred Kurdish politicians and activists will appear in Court. Many of them have been in jail almost one year. Many are elected representatives. People chosen, in free elections, by voters to represent them and to work for them in councils and local governments. They could not do their job, and if they managed to do it, immediately somebody stopped them. The charge against most of the people who will appear tomorrow in Court is to have been involved with the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union). In other words they are accused of being involved in the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). The evidences put together in order to justify the mass arrests were, in some cases, only made known months after the arrest had been confirmed. It is a paper castle, that will collapse very quickly. But in the past year these mock arrests have seriously jeopardized the work of the Kurdish politicians. And this was precisely the aim: to paralyze the work done by the DTP (Democratic Society Party, promptly banned by the Constitutional Court on 11 December 2009) and carried out by hundreds of elected representatives. The forces behind this attempt to block the work of the Kurdish political and civil society scene have succeeded only partly. Because indeed the support the Kurdish BDP (Peace and Democracy Party, born to replace the DTP) enjoys in the society is truly massive. And this has meant that despite the hardships and heavy repression, the work has gone forward.

Tomorrow then in the dock will appear not just the hundred of politicians and activists but the entire Kurdish society. That is the Kurdish society who loudly cry for change, for a just and lasting peace.

And the Kurdish people will be on trial twice this week. Both in Turkey and Europe. Indeed the hearing on Tuesday in Denmark will see Roj TV on the dock. Well, this is the other side of the coin. Where the attempt to silence the Kurdish desire and work for peace and a just society did not fully succeeded by arresting scores of politicians and civil society activists, Europe came, shamefully, to the rescue. Roj TV is the voice of the Kurdish people in the world, including Turkey (where as it is knows, dozens of papers, magazines, radios) are banned every day. The Danish prosecutor has open a case against the satellite Kurdish television, implying some kind of support for the PKK. Should the Danish Court decide to close Roj TV it will be indeed a sad a black day for freedom of expression and speech.

In Diyarbakir tomorrow there will be many observers, from Europe as well. It would be an important presence. Which hopefully will find its double in Denmark, at the Roj TV hearing. Those two trials are indeed landmarks not just for Turkey and the future of dialogue and the search for a lasting peace but for Europe as well.