A new joint initiative by the Kurdish Community Centre, Halkevi Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre, the Sussex Kurdish Centre, the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign & Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) seeks to remove the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from the UK Government terrorism list.
Delist the PKK believes that framing the Kurdish-Turkish conflict in terms of ‘terrorism’, far from solving the violence, has fuelled further conflict and resentment. Thousands of peaceful human rights activists and demonstrators, as well as elected politicians, lawyers and journalists, have been imprisoned in Turkey for entirely non-violent activities, deemed by the state security apparatus to be acts of terror against the state. Europe and the UK, which support Turkey’s position, also placed the PKK on the list of banned organisations and for many in the diaspora who remain linked to their homeland’s struggle for self-determination, this has led to intolerable levels of state harassment, stops and searches at border crossings, detentions, and arrests. As it has been put elsewhere, the war on terror “has generated an extensive repertoire of its very own terror”.
In addition, the peace talks that were announced at the end of 2012 and the following ceasefire called by Abdullah Ocalan, laid the foundations for the onset of negotiations that have the potential to lead to peace in Turkey and self-determination for the Kurdish people. However, as long as the PKK remains a blacklisted organisation, these talks are unlikely to turn into genuine negotiations. Some of the Kurdish movement’s most important representatives, who should be playing a key role in the resolution process, are still in prison, including Abdullah Ocalan himself. The blacklisting has led to intensive criminalisation of political dissent and of pro-Kurdish voices, creating a host of political prisoners whose amnesty must also be a condition for a genuine peace process. In May 2014, campaigners initiated an appeal to the European Court of Justice on the grounds that the continued listing of the PKK on the EU terrorism list “contradicted basic European Laws and constituted an obstacle to the attainment of a democratic solution.”
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Hundreds of people have already signed our appeal to the government to delist the PKK. Signatories include prominent human rights lawyers such as Gareth Pierce and Michael Mansfield QC, as well as a broad range of academics, writers, campaigners and parliamentarians. We need you to JOIN US in calling for the PKK to be delisted. A true peace will need to respect and reflect the wishes and traditions of the Turkish nation and the Kurds who form an integral part of it.
SIGN OUR APPEAL: We wrote an appeal to the governments of the UK, EU and Turkey calling for them to delist the PKK. Hundred have already signed but we need more signatures! Sign your name today!
SEND A POSTCARD TO THERESA MAY: We aim to send 500 postcards to Theresa May MP, the Home Secretary, to demand that the government review the listing of the PKK as a terrorist organisation. In fact, how about organising a postcard-writing session with a few friends? The more that end up on the Home Office doorstep, the better.
COLLECT SIGNATURES FOR US: We are always looking for volunteers to hit the streets and find support for our campaign from the public. If you want to help us, get in touch!
ADVERTISE THE CAMPAIGN TO YOUR SUPPORTERS: If you are an organisation or group supportive of the aims of this campaign, how about putting a link to our appeal on your website or publicising it to your supporters in your next newsletter?
SHARE OUR CONTENT: Spread the word! We aim to keep the public informed about developments in the peace process and updated about our campaign, but we need your help sharing our content with the world. So don’t forget to like Peace in Kurdistan Campaign on Facebook for updates and share our campaign with friends, family and colleagues.