Saturday, December 26, 2009

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign:Letter to The Rt Hon David Miliband MP

"Dear Foreign Secretary,Mass Arrest of BDP Party Members, Turkey-We write to express our grave concern at the detention over the past 24 hours of more than 80 members of the Turkey's Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The detentions follow the banning on 11 December of Turkey's largest pro-Kurdish party, the DTP (Democratic Society Party), and come at a critical moment in efforts by the Kurdish leadership to engage with the Government of Turkey in a dialogue aimed at a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question. We urge you to protest the detentions and to use your good offices to press for those detained to be released."
The Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street

24 December 2009

The detentions were carried out without respect for Turkey's human rights obligations.Those detained are all former pro-Kurdish deputies or mayors and include; the former DEP deputy and co-president of Democratic Society Congress, Mr. Hatip Dicle; the Mayor of Sur Municipality, Mr. Abdullah Demirbas,; the Mayor of Kayapinar, Mr. Zülkif Karatekin; the former DEP Deputy and Mayor of Siirt, Mr. Selim Sadak; the Mayor of Batman, Mr. Necdet Atalay; the Mayor of Viransehir; a member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Mrs. Leyla Guven; the Mayor of Kiziltepe, Mr. Ferhan Turk and vice-president of Human Rights Association, Mr. Muharrem Erbey.

The detentions are part of a wider pattern of repression of pro-Kurdish politicians. In March this year, 53 central executives of DTP, including the Party's vice co-presidents, were been taken into custody and arrested. In the intervening eight months. not one of those detained has been brought to trial. Moreover, the authorities have yet to give reasons for their detention. To date, some 500 Kurdish politicians including DTP executives have been arrested or detained since April 2009.

The detentions cast grave doubt on the sincerity of the AKP government's "democratic initiative" to resolve the Kurdish question. On the one hand, the government talks peace: on the other, it has redoubled its offensive against Kurdish People’s political representatives. The DTP had the backing of 2.5 million voters in the last local election. Such actions can only place in jeopardy the efforts by responsible politicians to seek a peaceful solution to the hostilities that have beset the Kurdish region over the past 30 years, efforts which have been promoted through numerous recent initiatives by Kurdish leaders.

We urge you to protest the detentions vigorously and to underline the need for Turkey to abandon its current repression of the Kurdish leadership if a peaceful settlement to the Kurdish question is not to be jeopardised.

Yours Sincerely,

Estella Schmid
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish question
Patrons: Lord Avebury, John Austin MP, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP,
Jean Lambert MEP, Alyn Smith MEP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Julie Christie
Gareth Peirce, Noam Chomsky, Edward Albee, Mark Thomas
Tel 020 7586 5892 Fax 020 7483 2531e-mail: