Sunday, January 31, 2010

Three years of detention, no convictions – for five Kurdish political activists in Syria

January 30, 2010 by sks

MAD logoSyrian Committee for Human Rights – MAD reports that hearings took place at the Supreme State Security Court in Damascus of five young Kurdish men on 26 January 2010:

  • Nazmi Mohammed,
  • Yasha Qadir,
  • Ahmed Darwish,
  • Dilgesh Shamo Mamo,
  • Tahsin Khayri Mamo.

These young men were arrested on 29 January 2007 in the city of Aleppo by security forces. Their trial has now been postponed for an indefinite time without a reason.

Syrian Committee for Human Rights – MAD condemns the mock trials convened by the Supreme State Security Court against political activists, and social and cultural activities. These trials are illegal: there are no legal safeguards to ensure that people can defend themselves against accusations, suspicion and doubt; and confessions are extracted under torture and assault.

This is a violation of the Syrian constitution and laws, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Syrian authorities must abolish these special courts and lift the State of Emergency. Political prisoners must be freed, and a modern law introduced in respect of political parties.

Syrian Committee for Human Rights – MAD

Qadir Aziz, for "Middle East"

Return of Baathists to undermine the political process in Iraq
And the Kurdish leadership is unable to arrange its internal affairs

Opposition in Kurdistan were not the result of a natural evolution of the democratic process

Sulaymaniyah: Shirzad Shaikhani

Qadir Aziz
Kurdistan Toilers Party secretary

In the midst of the ongoing debate in Baghdad over to allow Baathists to return to engage in the political process through different addresses, Kurdish leaders warned of the danger of this return to the Baathists , stressing "that their return under any title could have undermined the political process and democracy in Iraq."

Testify to the position of some Arab Sunni forces and ‘chauvinism’ that stood during the last six years against the entire political process, especially against the Kurdish role in the new Iraq.
And hit several examples in this regard them , try these powers to abolish the constitutional article 140 to solve the problem of Kirkuk and replaced Article (22 ) , as well as to stand against the conduct of the census year in Iraq , and to marginalize the Kurdish role in Baghdad by reducing the seats in the provincial election law last These are risks that can not be underestimated in the current circumstances. ‘to the extent described.

He noted Aziz , Kurdistan Toilers Party secretary in a private meeting with the ‘ Middle East’ that the Territory and Iraq Mqublan parliamentary elections, a crucial and decisive, as there is a conflict brewing between the Iraqi forces for control of power and domination, especially Sunni Arabs, who attempts to receive significant support from regional countries for the formation of axes of political power to fight the next election. "

And concerns about the vulnerability of the Kurdish role in Baghdad as a result the emergence of axes and alliances hostile to this role, Aziz said,
there really are real fears of Kurdish role was in Baghdad at risk, and we feel the presence of large movements of political and sectarian lineups against the Kurds, in addition to local risks here in Kurdistan, where there is a tendency among some political forces to enter the coming elections, which lists individual thus weaken the Kurdish position common to meet those risks, it is true, the plurality of lists is a healthy phenomenon, democracy needed in the political process, but the problem is that a plurality of turning those lists to the plurality of positions in Baghdad, and this will affect largely on the weight and the Kurdish role after the next election. "

The secretary of the Kurdistan Toilers Party criticism of the bipartisan leadership of the main Kurdish National Union, led by Jalal Talabani, Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Masoud Barzani, the inability to internal house in order and the Kurdish "The subjective factor is very important in the face of threats to us, the more the positions of the parties and forces a more unified Kurdistan, whenever he Kurds to maintain their weight and their role in the Center, but unfortunately you can not the Kurdish leadership to achieve the required level of compatibility between the Kurdish parties at home, although they realize the magnitude of the challenges ahead, and talked to them in this regard and stressed the subjective factor, which depends on the unity of the parties, but when it comes to actually find they are not working properly, and do not have any program to unite the Kurdish positions, Kurdish leadership is supposed be aware that there is a real risk the achievements of the Kurds and their role in Baghdad. and that without unity of situation can not address those risks.

Baghdad, there is a political council plays an important role at the level of political consensus in Kurdistan, there was the higher political role but was not effective, so there is no reference to resolve the political problems of Kurdistan. Kurdish parties have no role in shaping political decisions, how can they ask us to support their positions ?. multiparty system in Kurdistan state of health, but in dealing with the Baghdad situation is different, here the opposition is required and can not be the advance of democracy without opposition, either in Baghdad, we are all opposed, so there must be activated for this role so that we can face the dangers surrounding us ".

I asked him, "Middle East" You are pluralistic electoral lists health, why not consider multi-hand positions of the Kurdish blocs in Baghdad healthy too?.

Answered "in the current parliamentary session there was good coordination and cooperation between the Kurdistan Alliance bloc and the Islamic Union, and the positions on issues related to dividends Kurdish constructive and fruitful, and today we find that the opposition began to emerge in Kurdistan, but the opposition were not the result of a natural evolution of the democratic process and political situation in the region , but as the result of partisan differences, and thus difficult to achieve the unity of the situation in Baghdad, if not successful in achieving internal unity can not be our role in the activation of Baghdad, and the internal unity is not achieved the exclusion or marginalization of the Kurdish parties, we all talk about pluralism and

democracy and the separation of powers and the rule of law , and these banners in place, but in the application form is not required,
there are actually efforts of the current government, headed by Dr. Barham interventions to stop the party and the rule of law and building state institutions and consolidation of the Peshmerga forces, and these things are very important issues, but we need more effort to get to democracy
true, there is a law on political parties issued since 1993, when an item on the grant of the parties, any budget parties, and I was at the time a member of the Kurdistan Parliament, and was supposed to get the Kurdish parties to finance under that law, but, unfortunately, did not apply the law and confined to grants and assistance, however, the government which was dealing this issue in accordance with the positions of the parties, if those positions does not correspond with the government there will be pieces of livelihoods, in turn Taatnam circuit parties in the orbit of government
financial gains,
we are a party of Kurdistan Toilers us cut our budget monthly for 11 months and do not exceed $ 400 million, and reviewed the Finance Minister who has assured us that he does not know to cut the budget for our party, this means that the decision issued by a superior, and that if the budget of the parties are distributed in accordance with the legal framework is not one dares to cut imposed in all countries of the world government to be neutral in the conflict partisan, and not to intervene in these conflicts, and work to achieve security and stability in the country, but government interference in the affairs of the parties to a certain extent, this divide is unacceptable, and contributes to the turmoil of the security situation and stability, I say this to show that the management of the political process is not just repeating slogans , but its application to reality. There are calls from regional leaders to make our regional model for Iraq, but the region who suffer from corruption is not by the Office of fairness, this time found in Baghdad, the Office is very active, and referred the Commission several ministers and parliamentarians to trial , but that ministers were pulled from the aircraft brought to the commissions of inquiry, what did the Government of the Territory to the current fight against corruption, even the Kurdish parliament could not recall one minister or censure him.

On his party's position of conflict between the National Union bloc, the opposition and the possibility of change, the evolution of their differences to repeat the experience of internal fighting, Aziz said, "are unlikely to turn the conflict into the fighting and hope so, but I think that he can not develop the democratic process and progress without the opposition to accept and understand the positive, this Kurdish entity and this government owned, must all be vigilant and defend it, and we have historical ties and common struggle with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, but we believe that the democratic process would not be complete without a transparent deal with the opposition and assimilate, while we may not be the opposition to undermine the or written off on everything, also the opposition to deal positively with the Authority and considered to belong to her, it must support the positives and negatives to be critical of the democratic process a sound, advanced, and so you must change Ataknzl mass opposition to the National Union only. In this context, I think that the media play an important role, especially since there are hidden information campaigns waged by the newspapers, magazines and media are owned by the leadership of Kurdistan which is waging war on behalf of these leaders, these methods call for independence, but funded by leaders trying to settle scores with others in private, what does it mean to Groups Attack newspaper or magazine on the person of President Talabani and other symbols of the Kurdish movement, it is assumed that the Kurdish leadership to take notice of this side as well when the calls to stop media campaigns between the National Union bloc, Alngieiro this issue discussed at the last Ajnma president of the region with the leadership of the Kurdish parties. campaigns have hidden more serious campaigns disclosed, and the invitation of Mr. Masoud Barzani, President of the region to halt the media campaigns were useful and positive to contain the situation, as well as his call to reactivate the role of the top political parties of Kurdistan, and we hope to contribute to these steps to resolve their differences and end the tensions and to restore security and stability in Kurdistan.’

Translated: KurdistanPost

Human Rights defender Ms.Filiz Kalayci was released

IHD - On 12th May 2009, four lawyers, Mr. Hasan Anlar (IHD Deputy Secretary General), Ms. Filiz Kalayci (IHD Executive Board Member), Mr. Halil İbrahim Vargün (IHD Former Treasurer), Mr. Murat Vargün (Member of the IHD) and Mr. Nedim Tas were detained and their offices and houses were searched by the anti-terror police. They were charged of “being a member of an illegal organization”.
While four lawyers were released on 15th May 2009, Mr. Nedim Tas were arrested. On the other hand, the Public Prosecutor appealed the decision of the 11th Heavy Penal Court of Ankara regarding the release of four lawyers. Within the context of this appeal the public prosecutor issued a warrant of arrest on 25 May 2009. When Ms. Kalayci went to Ankara Court House to deal with the files of her own clients, she was detained by police forces and taken before the Court. Then the Court made a decision of arrest against her and she was sent to Sincan's Women's Prison in Ankara.

The first hearing of IHD executives and members and Nedim Tas was held before the 11th District High Criminal Court of Ankara on 9 November, 2009. In this hearing, the court rejected the release of Mr. Kalayci and the hearing was adjourned until January 28, 2010. The second hearing was held on 28th January 2010 and Ms. Filiz Kalaycı was released.

This case was opened because of illegal and insufficient evidence that were gathered by the police, whose aim was to prevent these four lawyers’ advocacy as a human rights activist and lawyer. The officers also try to threaten the other lawyers and activists by opening this case. However, the unlawful accusations against them were uncovered in both hearings. 274 lawyers were registered to defend the human rights defenders. About 130 lawyers were participated to the first hearing. Despite adverse weather conditions, about 90 lawyers participated to the second hearing.

As the Human Rights Association (IHD) we would like to thank the presidents of Ankara, Diyarbakır and Şırnak Bar Associations since they defend our executives and members voluntarily. We also like to thank to the local and international human rights defenders, representatives of local and foreign institutions and missions, the president of Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD and lawyers that were the executives and members of IHD and CHD branches in Ankara, İstanbul, Diyarbakır, Adana, Mersin, İzmir, Van, Şırnak, Kars, Gaziantep, Hatay, Antalya, Adıyaman, Bursa, Mardin, Ağrı, Siirt, Tunceli and Bingöl provinces for their solidarity by participating to the hearings.

The Guardian: European Court of Human Rights says "Turkey is Worst European Human Rights Convention Abuser!"

Kurds wave flags for the PKK and the Democratic Society Party (DTP) at a rally

Kurds wave flags for the PKK and the Democratic Society Party (DTP) at a rally. Photograph: Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images

A 15-year-old Turkish girl who was arrested at a demonstration in support of a banned Kurdish group has been jailed for nearly eight years after being convicted of "terrorist" offences, including allegedly throwing stones at police.The case comes amid renewed scrutiny of Turkey's human rights record after it was named as the worst violator of the 47 signatory states to the European convention of human rights.The girl, who has been named only as Berivan, was detained in the south-eastern city of Batman last October at a rally for the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is regarded by Turkey, the US and EU as a terrorist group.A court in Diyarbakir found her guilty of "crimes on behalf of an illegal organisation" after prosecutors alleged she had hurled stones and shouted slogans. She was also convicted of attending "meetings and demonstrations in opposition to the law" and "spreading propaganda for an illegal organisation" despite claiming in court that she did not know what the word propaganda means.In her defence, the girl denied throwing stones or being part of the demonstration but said she had only stopped to watch it out of curiosity, while on her way to visit an aunt. She was arrested after police mistook her for a demonstrator, she said. She had confessed to the crimes only after being beaten in custody.In an emotional letter published by the Turkish newspaper, Star, the girl said she had been visiting Batman on a family holiday and pleaded to be released. "I want to get out of here. I want to be with my family. I always cry here. I cannot get used to this," she wrote. "I have been in jail since 9 October. My heart hurts and I miss my family so much."As she heard her daughter being sentenced, Berivan's mother exclaimed in court: "Did she murder? The murderers are not sentenced to such a long prison term."The initial 13-and-a-half-year sentence was later reduced on appeal to seven years and nine months because of her age.The conviction highlights Turkey's practice of jailing children for terror-related offences under counter-terrorism legislation introduced in 2006. The law allows courts to try juveniles as adults and to jail them for up to 50 years. Recent official figures revealed that there are currently 2,622 minors in Turkish prisons.Some 737 minors have been charged under the counter-terrorism legislation since its introduction, according to the Diyarbakir Human Rights Association. Out of 267 tried in the city last year, 78 were given extended jail terms. Last November, a prosecutor demanded sentences of 23 years each for six youths, aged 13 and 14, who were charged with throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.Campaigners say many of those jailed have been wrongly accused and condemn the convictions as a breach Turkey's obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.While most of those jailed are boys, an additional building was recently opened at a prison in Diyarbakir to hold girls aged under 18 who are convicted of participating in banned demonstrations.Last week, Turkey was identified as the worst violator of the European convention on human rights between 1959 and 2009. According to figures released by the European court of human rights, the country accounted for almost 19% of all violations, with 2,295 judgements issued against it. Turkey also had the highest proportion of violations in 2009, making up 347 out of 1,625 negative rulings. The most common violation was the denial of the right to a fair trial. Turkey also had 30 rulings against it following complaints of inhumane or degrading treatment.

The Guardian.

Al Jazeera: “Kurdistan’s enemy is corruption”


By Wladimir van Wilgenbur

Amsterdam - Al Jazeera’s program Inside Iraq focused on Iraqi Kurdistan and the ‘rampant corruption’. Mohammed Ihsan, KRG representative in Baghdad and Dr. Kamal Majid, retired Professor of Electrical Engineering at Cardiff University debated over corruption in Kurdistan.

According to Al Jazeera the two ruling political parties KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) control the economy, while the normal Kurdish civilians still live in poverty. The Kurdish opposition leader Nawshirwan Mustafa of the Change list said Kurds cannot get a job, without being a member of one of the political parties.

During the debate, Mohammed Ihsan representing the Kurdistan Regional Government, said the claims of corruption are exaggerated. But he admits there is corruption in Kurdistan. ““But we are doing our best to sort out this issue.” But Dr. Kamal Majid accused the Iraqi president Jalal Talabani and the Kurdish president Massoud Barzani of being involved in corruption, suggesting that it’s impossible to combat corruption in Kurdistan. “We are not talking about little things.”

Majid also attacked Dr. Barham Salah, Kurdistan’s prime minister, for smuggling cigarettes and corruption. While Dr. Barham Salih said the Kurdish government would combat corruption with a new strategy. Majid claimed he knew Dr. Barham when he was still a student. “I begged him to work as a decent engineer [instead of joining PUK] and now he build a big house, with paved roads.”

Al Jazeera’s host also claimed the electricity in Kurdistan is not better then in Baghdad or Barsa, but Dr. Mohammed Ihsan said the situation of Kurdistan is not comparable with the rest of Iraq. “We are not satisfied with the services, it can be better. There is still much to do for the people.” Next to this, Ihsan said the UN was involved in corruption and had the most corrupted program [Oil for Food program] during 1991-2003 (Photo: Al Jazeera show)

© Rudaw

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chemical Ali executed

Iraqi Kurdish people carry wreaths of flowers to
place at a monument of a
1988 poison gas
attack in Halabja, Iraq, Tuesday,
26, 2010
. AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed

By Hawjin Rashadaddin
The Kurdish Globe
Kurds demand Halabaja gas attack be recognized as genocide.
The Kurdish people have long wished for the execution of Ali Hassan Majid for his genocidal crimes against Halabja.

Ali Hassan Al-Majid, the Anfal Campaign executor known as Chemical Ali for murdering over 5,000 Kurdish women, children, and elderly, and wounding 10,000 others via banned chemical weapons in Halabja city, was executed in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad on January 25. He was hung one week after the death penalty was imposed upon him. Four years ago, the court issued death a sentence against Majid for crimes against Halabja.

Thousands of Kurdish people especially the people of Halabja-reveled in Majid's hanging.

"I think I was born on January 25, 2010. As a person from Halabja, I think Majid should have been hung long ago; unfortunately, it was only recently done without Kurds' participation," said Sirwan Rau'f Mam Raza. Mam Raza said that few mass murderers in the history of humanity did what Majid did to the innocent people of Halabja.

The head of Halabja Victims Group, Luqman Abdulqadir, congratulated the relatives of victims. "We are sorry we didn't execute Majid on the dossier of the Halabja chemical attacks. We wished the decision would have been carried out after the recognition of the Halabja chemical attacks as genocide."

Abdulqadir explained to the media that his group asked the court to name Halabja genocide, but they've yet to receive a reply. "This is the right of victim's relatives. Unfortunately, the court has not given this right to them. But we are happy that Majid was executed for being a criminal of the Anfal Campaign against Kurdish people," he noted.

The Committee of Martyrs, Victims, and Political Prisoners in the Council of Representatives demanded a clearer understanding about the process of executing Majid. "The committee asked for court's action to carry out the decision concerning the execution of Majid much earlier. Although we have our own comments about the method of executing Majid, we are happy," said Muhammad Ahmed, head of the Committee. He noted that the decision should have been carried out more clearly and obviously so that other oppressors would learn from it.

Majid got the death penalty because of his role in the Anfal campaign, said Ali Dabagh, the speaker of the Iraqi government declared. "The execution of Majid was done in the presence of a judge, attorney, doctor, and a number of other people in the legal field," said Dabagh. He said no bad words were used and there were no violations by anybody during the execution.

Kemal Kirkuki, Speaker of Kurdistan Parliament, said that criminals like Majid should be punished to become good examples for other criminals.

"Although we are not supporting the idea of execution against any human being, the crimes committed by such criminals should be subjected to punishment, and other regimes and criminals who hold the idea of imposing their chauvinistic policies should take lessons from him," said Kirkuki during a press conference soon after Kurdistan Parliament held its session.

"Those who carried out the decision to execute Chemical Ali should have implemented the decision after the passage of the legal amount of time, one month, over the court's announcement of the order; this takes into consideration the feelings of Halabja and all other Kurdish people."

During the press conference, Kirkuki stated: "As the Parliament of Kurdistan, we demand that Halabja's atrocious case be called genocide."

Ahmed underlined that the Committee of Martyrs, Victims, and Political Prisoners has made preparations on March 16 (the Halabja anniversary)--also be the last day of Iraqi Parliament's session--to recognize the case as genocide. "Consent from other sides has been given to recognize the Halabja chemical attack anniversary as genocide, similar to what has been declared for the Anfal Campaign day," he said.

Seminar: Green Movement and national minorities in Iran

Speaker: Dr Said Shams

Date and Time: 26th February 2010, @6:00

Venue: SOAS 10 Thornhaugh Street WC1H 0XG, London

Organized by Kurdish Studies and Students Organisation (KSSO) and Kurdish

Society at SOAS(KSSOAS)

Seminar Abstract

The recent resistance against the Islamic regime and cry for freedom in Iran, labelled as ‘the Green Movement’, has taken the focus of attentions. It all started when the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009, was disputed by the two defeated candidates, Mir Hussein Mousavi and the former speaker of parliament and senior cleric, Mehdi Karroubi. In the past seven months despite increased security, official warnings and often brutal crackdowns on opposition figures, journalists and ordinary demonstrators, mass protests have increasingly taken place. In fact, the continued mass protests across the country, despite harsh security measures, turned the Green Movement into a nationwide uprising against the regime.

In this speech, Said examines the weight of the national minority communities in the politics of the Green Movement. He argues that the right national minorities in Iran has received little attention in the recent oppositional movement. This speech enlarges upon this topic using political perspective and conceptual framework characteristic of the recent Iranian movement aiming at the human rights and democracy. The emergence of intellectual debates on reformism, establishment of the law-state, the reaffirmation of Persian nationalism as hegemonic and liberating discourse, are shared characteristics which shed lights on democratic developments that is currently occurring in Iran. The speech suggests that by a continued silence about the multi-national fabric of Iranian society and by reluctance over multi-ethnic definitions of the conditions of citizenship, the leaders of the Green Movement are increasingly turn away from liberal and democratic rhetoric towards the less privileged nationalities of Iran. It is argued that a democratic movement must have a democratic agenda. In Iranian’s context, it must not only aim for the human rights values but must also incorporate national rights and justices for peoples of Iran.


Said Shams was born and educated in Iran. From the early 1970s, he was an active revolutionary. After the revolution of 1979, he continued his political activities, subsequently he lost his job as teacher and suffered persecution and then repeated threats before he was able to immigrate to the UK in 1990 where he continued his studies: B.A. (University of East London, and PhD (Royal Holloway). He managed a range of projects and conducted researches and surveys from 1996 to 2008 while working for the voluntary sector in London. He is presently an independent researcher. Further information on

Committee for Prevention of Torture Visits İmralı Prison

Tolga KORKUT- A delegation of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture from the Council of Europe examined the conditions of detention on the island of İmralı, where PKK leader Öcalan is imprisoned among five other convicts.A delegation of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) initiated an examination of the conditions of detention in the F-type prison on the island of İmralı in the Sea of Marmara. Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the illegal Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been imprisoned on the island since 1999. Another five convicts were brought to the prison two months ago.
A delegation of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) initiated an examination of the conditions of detention in the F-type prison on the island of İmralı in the Sea of Marmara. Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the illegal Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been imprisoned on the island since 1999. Another five convicts were brought to the prison two months ago.

CPT President Mauro Palma is one member of the delegation that came to the island on Tuesday (26 January) to examine the newly built F-type prison.

The delegation talked to Öcalan and the other convicts, namely Şeyhmuz Poyraz, Cumali Karsu, Hakkı Alkan, Hasbi Aydemir and Bayram Kaymaz and returned to Bursa on the south-eastern coast of the Sea of Marmara in the evening by helicopter. The observation was continued on the following day. The delegation was joined by Nizamettin Kalaman, General Director of Prisons and Detention Houses in the Justice Ministry.

Öcalan was transferred to the new building in November 2009. He had informed his lawyers about the deterioration of his health situation. He told them that he was not able to breathe properly and that he had been transferred to a smaller cell. These announcements caused protest actions in several provinces. Hereupon, the Ministry of Justice published pictures of the new prison and stated that conditions of detention had not worsened. Öcalan's lawyers claimed that the photographs might be misleading and said that their client's complains should be considered. Later on, Öcalan had told his attorneys that two additional windows had been built in his cell.

The new prison was designed according to the recommendations mentioned in a previous report of the CPT.

The government had declined the request to examine the conditions of detention in the new prison. The request had been submitted by the three human rights organizations of Turkey, namely the Human Rights Association (İHD), the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV). The issue was not brought to the agenda of the parliamentary Commission for the Investigation of Human Rights. (TK/VK)

Click here for further information about the CPT.


"Turkey and the Kurdish conflict:Political dialogue & Peace-building"/ European Parliament, Brussels 3rd & 4th February 2010 - Room ASP 1G2 - Patrons; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu,Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, South Africa; Dr. Shirin Ebadi,Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Iran; Bianca Jagger,Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador,Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, UK; Professor Noam Chomsky,Writer, USA; Yasar Kemal,Writer, Turkey; Leyla Zana, European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Rafto Prize Laureate, Turkey

Wednesday, 3rd February 2010, 15h00-16h00
Opening Session, Room ASP 1G2

Opening Remarks
Ms. Kariane Westrheim, PhD, Chair of the "EU Turkey Civic Commission" (EUTCC), Associate Professor at the University of Bergen, Norway

Opening Speeches
Ms. Leyla Zana, EP Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Rafto Prize Laureate, Turkey
Mr. Lothar Bisky, MEP, Chair European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), Germany
Mr. Ahmet Turk, former Co-Chair of Democratic Society Party (DTP), Turkey
Mr. /Ms. ..............., representative of South Africa (name to be confirmed)

Wednesday, 3rd February 2010, 16h00-18h30
Session I, Room ASP 1G2

Recent Peace Initiatives in Turkey & Different Perspectives

Professor Michael Gunter, Board member EUTCC, USA
Ms. Jean Lambert, MEP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Vice-Chairwoman, UK

A. Turkish Government Initiatives
Mr. Hasan Cemal, Journalist, Turkey

B. Kurdish Peace Initiatives
Ms. Emine Ayna, MP BDP, former Co-President of Democratic Society Party (DTP), Turkey

C. European Union, Turkey and the Kurds: a European Perspective
Ms. Helene Flautre, MEP, Co-Chairman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, France

Mr. Jurgen Klüte, MEP, European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), Germany

European Commission (to be confirmed)

Questions and discussion followed by closing remarks by moderators

Thursday, 4 February 2010, 09h30-13h00
Session II, Room ASP 1G2

Review of EU-Turkey Accession Progress, Human Rights & Democratization

Ms. Jill Evans, MEP, Greens/European Free Alliance, Vice-President of Plaid Cymru, UK
Mr Jon Rud, Lawyer, Advisory Board of EUTCC, Norway / Spain

A. Human Rights Violations - Commitment and Implementation
M.Emin Aktar, Chairman of Diyarbakir Bar Association, Turkey

B. EU & Human Rights in Turkey
Mr. Richard Howitt, MEP, Socialists & Democrats Group, UK

C. EU-Turkey Relation and the Kurdish issue
Baroness Sarah Ludford, MEP, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, UK

D. Freedom of Expression
Mr. Oral Calislar, Journalist, Turkey

E. Human Rights Defenders & Implementation of European Court of Human Rights Judgments
Mr. Ibrahim Bilmez, Lawyer, Turkey

F. Social & Economic situation
Ms. Ece Temelkuran, Journalist, Turkey

G. Women's Rights
Ms. Sabahat Tuncel, MP, Turkey

H. EU Enlargement Policy and the Kurdish issue
Mr. Soren Bo Sondergaard, MEP, European United Left - Nordic Green Left Group, Denmark

Questions and discussion followed by closing remarks by moderators

Thursday, 4 February 2010, 15h00 - 18h00
Session III, Room ASP 1G2

Possible Roadmap for the Kurdish Resolution & Role of the EU

Mr. Hans Branscheidt, Board of Directors, EUTCC, Germany
Ms. Ramani Muttettuwegama, Lawyer, Sri Lankan Human Rights Forum, Sri Lanka

VIDEO MESSAGE of Mr. Osman Baydemir, Mayor of Diyarbakir, Turkey (*)
(*) "video message" because Mr Baydemir has been recently prohibited to travel outside Turkey, this means that Turkish authorities are not allowing him to participate to the Conference

A. State Policy Towards the Kurdish Resolution
Prof. Dogu Ergil, Ankara University, Turkey

B. Recognition of the Conflict &, Political Dialogue
Mr. Kerim Yildiz, Chief Executive of KHRP and Board Member of the EUTCC, UK

C. The role of the European Union in the democratization process in Turkey
Mr. Takis Hadjigeorgiou, MEP, European United Left - Nordic Green Left, Cyprus

D. Prospects for Peace and Democratic Reconciliation
Mr. Felat Sumerkan, KNK representative, Turkey

E. The role of the EU in the implementation of a "road map for peace"
Mr. Rui Tavares, MEP, European United Left - Nordic Green Left, Portugal

Tuesday, 4 February 2010, 18h00-18h30
Closing Session, Room ASP 1G2

Discussion and Adoption of Conference Resolution
Final Remarks by the Board of the EUTCC

Ground-Breaking Decision on Early Marriage

BIA 29.01.2010- Lawyer Kayar appreciated Judge Karınca's decision to take the families economic situation and the children's education into account in cases related to early marriage permit. Kayar emphasized that families should be counselled throughout the entire case.
Judge Eray Karınca from the Ankara 8th Family Court decided not to give permission to the marriage of 16-year-old girl F.Ş. with a relative of hers. Karınca decreed for social support for the family and for the children to be sent to school.

Lawyer Habibe Yılmaz Kayar appreciated the decision and emphasized that full support of counselling should be provided for cases related to marriage permit. "Why is that marriage necessary, what are the intentions and does the child give her consent? Only after having received answers to these questions is it useful to consider the file", Kayar said.
"Parents' opinion not enough on its own"

Kayar drew attention to the fact that in Turkey many applications have been made for the permit of early marriage. The lawyer argued that a large number of those early marriages were arranged regardless of the child's consent.

Kayar stressed the need for a careful investigation into requests of marriage for under-aged children. It should be confirmed that there is a crucial reason for the necessity of that marriage which should correspond to human rights, Kayar underlined. "The approval of the parents on its own should not be considered sufficient for changing a child's life that way. It must also be determined whether the child agrees to the marriage on the base of her free will".

Kayar continued: "Eray Karınca interpreted the law from a magnificent point of view. While the applicants do not refer to their economic situation, judge Karınca realized that families arrange early marriage for their daughters because of poverty. He took a wise decision that officials should be informed in writing abour economic support for the family and to the continuation of the children's education". (BB/VK)

Draft Law Pending - Children in Prison and on Trial

BIANET 27-28 01 2010- A court sentenced a 15-year old girl to 8 years imprisonment. Tanrıseven and Aktaş from the Batman and Diyarbakır Bar Association respectively urged the goverment to pass necessary legal amendments as soon as possible. However, these changes will still be insufficient to protect the children.
The Diyarbakır Special Authority High Criminal Court sentenced a 15-year old girl from Batman in south-eastern Turkey to 8 years imprisonment in the scope of the Anti-Terror Act. Batman Bar Association Chair Yusuf Tanrıseven and Eshat Aktaş, Coordinator of the Children's Right Centre of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, evaluated the court decision and urged the government to enact the suspended draft laws regarding the prosecution of children as soon as possible.
Prison sentence in first hearing

In the first hearing held on 26 January, 15-year old girl B.S. was sentenced to a total of 13.5 years imprisonment. The sentence was reduced to 7 years 9 month because of the young age of the defendant. The girl stood accused of "committing crimes on behalf of an illegal organization", "meetings and demonstrations in opposition to the law" and "spreading propaganda for an illegal organization".

The girl was taken into custody in the course of a demonstration in Batman on 9 October 2009. She did not accept the charges brought up against her in the hearing. 15-year old B.S. said that was beaten by the police and forced to accept the accusations. However, she stated that she did not know the meaning of the term "propaganda".
"Almost 1,300 children tried or in detention"

In an interview with bianet, Aktaş from Diyarbakır explained that almost 1300 children were detained or tried under the Anti-Terror Act (TMY) in the pre-dominantly Kurdish region of eastern and south-eastern Anatolia in 2009.

"Under the rule of law, the main criteria are objective regardless of persons, incidents and geography. Whereas the implementation to the contrary varies in respect to the incident, the person and the geography".

The government had suspended the draft law regarding children to be tried before juvenile courts. Tanrıseven and Aktaş urged the government to enact the stalled draft law as soon as possible. Otherwise, hundreds of children are likely to experience the same sort of victimization.
Stalled amendments not sufficient

An analysis carried out by the Justice for Children Group revealed that the foreseen amendments are not sufficient to protect children "victimized by the TMY". The initiative pointed out the following issues when the draft law was brought to the agenda:

Blocking increase of punishments for children: A 90 months prison sentence for children can only reduced by 20 months according to the amendments. There are children who received prison sentences of up to 190 months. This clearly reveals that the proposed amendment of a 20-months mitigation does not solve the problem.

Prosecution of 16-18-year old children at juvenile courts: It is important to try all children at juvenile high criminal courts, regardless of age. Judges at juvenile criminal courts will not be able to take any different decisions from the ones currently made, if the referring lay articles will not be amended.

Suspension of sentences, redemption, postponed disclosure of the verdict and alternative sanctions: It is important to allow alternative sanctions for the age group of 16-18-year olds. However, in order to be able to implement an alternative sanction like postponement for instance, the sentence must not be longer than three years. Therefore, the article allowing sentences of more than three years for children needs to be amended.

According to the Justice for Children Group, six articles of the TMY and one article each of the Turkish Criminal Code and the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations need to be amended for the protection of children. (TK/VK)

UNICEF Report about Children Accused for "Terror Crimes"

In a report stemming from visits to the provinces of Adana and Hakkari in March 2009, UNICEF Turkey demands to protect the right to life for children who attended demonstrations. The report furthermore recommends amendments of the Anti-Terror Law.

The Turkish representation of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that the government did not yield any results regarding the prosecution of children that participated in demonstrations and as a deterrent stand accused for terrorist crimes. UNICEF recommended to refrain from trying children "under the same conditions as adults" to prevent a victimization of the children.

The "Field report about children standing accused of terror crimes because of attending demonstrations" contains seven recommendations. It is based on talks and meetings during visits to Adana on the eastern Mediterranean coast between 9-11 March and Hakkari on the south-eastern tip of the country on 23-24 March 2009. A cooperation of UNICEF Turkey and the Human Rights Department of the Prime Ministry visited the provinces and talked to public officials as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The amendments of the criminal code made in 2006 due to an escalation of the clashes regarding the Kurdish question paved the way to prosecute children under aggravated conditions. Even though the government announced further amendments in the scope of the "democratic initiative", the corresponding discussion in the parliament was postponed after an attack of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on soldiers in Tokat (central Anatolia).

"Anti-Terror Law needs to be amended"

The recommendations of the report can be summarized as follows:
1 - The report states that "interventions during and after demonstrations seriously jeopardizes the children's right to life". Precautions against torture and ill-treatment should be increased.
2 - "Legal amendments should be made to ensure the prosecution of children at specific courts and the implementation of specific procedures. The children should be tried before juvenile courts". Therefore, the report recommends the amendment of articles 9 and 13 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK). Regarding crimes related to children, the "principle of one single responsibility for several crimes" should be acknowledged.

Children should not be treated like adults

3 - "The implementations must provide for the children's needs and should be done in accordance with the basic principles of the juvenile judiciary system. It must be possible to intervene against unlawful proceedings". The report particularly emphasizes to ensure that only police officers trained to deal with juveniles should be concerned with children; children should be taken to children branches instead of anti-terrorism branches and should be brought to the prosecutor right away; their families should be informed immediately and access to the file must be provided for the interrogation by the lawyers. Additionally, the indictments should refrain from keeping the children out of school. Effective measurements should be established to prevent children from being detained together with adults and to control that the entire process advances according to the law.
4 - Regulations should be developed that meet the children's needs and give them the opportunity to develop. Education should be of high quality and free of charge. The number of play areas should increase. The allocation of a larger budget to this area is only one of the recommendations.
5 - The political, social and economic dimensions of this problem should be recognized in order to work out political, social and economic solutions.
6 - Susceptibility should be increased for precautions regarding the protection of children from risks and their right to organize and participate in meetings and demonstrations.
7 - Systems for collecting and compiling data should be reinforced to track implementations and to establish the necessary politics in due time.

Yaman from DTP: 800 Kurdish Politicians Arrested in One Year

BIA 25.01.2010- Peace and Democracy Group Chairman Yaman said: "The AKP government takes revenge by arresting mayors of the provinces they did not win in the elections". He urged the government to stop the operations.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Group Chairman Nuri Yaman said in the party's regular weekly general meeting that almost 800 Kurdish politicians were arrested in the course of political operations throughout the last year. Yaman reminded the latest incident when Nuri Günes, Mayor of Igdir (a province on the Armenian border) was arrested together with another seven people, among them members of the city council. "The Justice and Development Party (AKP) takes revenge by arresting the mayors of the provinces they did not win in the elections", Yaman argued.

Yaman stated that executives of the recently closed pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) and of BDP were taken into custody together with about 20 Kurdish artists and intellectuals in the scope of so-called "KCK" operations. KCK (Koma Civaken Kurdistan) is the Union of Kurdistan Societies, the umbrella organisation that includes the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Numerous cases have been filed against Kurdish artists, Yaman claimed and urged the government to stop the operations.

Intervention against the people's free political will

"The arrests of mayors are nothing else but interventions against the will of the people. They try to intimidate DTP Chairman Osman Baydemir of the Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality with notifications and threats. Is this not the indication for a new complot?" Yaman pointed out. He criticized that what is currently experienced is nothing else but a coup attempt of AKP on behalf of the democratic initiative and the AKP government's imposing the 12 September on the Kurds, referring to the military coup in 1980.

Yaman stated that the operations are carried out on the directive of Interior Minister Besir Atalay. "The aim is to eliminate the BDP staff, the elected mayors and the people's free political will in order to make room for AKP politics", Yaman added. "The coup attempts are carried out within the scope of the AKP's democratic initiative itself"; he argued and compared the incidents with the military coup of 1980, saying that "the AKP government imposed another 12 September to the Kurds".

"This process increasingly pervades Turkey from the east to the west. While opposing the abettors of the "Balyoz" coup plans in the west, AKP should also stop the putchists in the east at the same time. This is the only way to make both banks of Euphrates get closer", Yaman stated. He called all Turkish democratic forces to strive together with intellectuals and writers. (BB/VK)

Ocalan: The AKP’s Fascist Mentality

Kurdish Info 25.01.2010- The concept put before us is one of, ‘Showing us death and persuading us to make do with fever.’ We didn't come out of for joint recreation time. Our protest is continuing. As you know our weekly 10 hour joint recreation time was only being implemented for an hour. This isn't a problem for me, I am used to it. I have spent 11 years here on my own. They weren't letting me see anyone anyway, this right was not recognised.
The Protest against the Non-Implementation of Regulations
However, I feel sorry for the comrades, it is a shame for them. I don't know if they can endure it. Our last meeting was cut down from 1 hour to 50 minutes. It was meaningless to continue the meetings under these conditions. This is why we decided to boycott the joint recreation time. We are not requesting anything special for ourselves. All we want is for them to implement their own rules and regulations. Sometimes I am astounded and cannot fathom these people. Their approach is so crude; they don't even implement their own laws or show respect for these laws. On the other hand they expect us to obey. It is saddening.

The AKP's Fascist Mentality
I also met with the prison director recently. They told me that they would give me a television if I behaved and didn't speak. In other words they are telling me to be quiet. Of course I am very angry regarding these crude approaches. I told them as well, I am a person with honour, I have principles. I am living for my honour. You cannot approach me so crudely. They think they can trick me with a television, it is bewildering! This is the real face of the AKP. This reality must be seen by everyone. You cannot solve this issue by branding me a 'terrorist' or any other names. The AKP is responsible for all these policies. They are small minded enough to make a television a bargaining issue. This is not what being a statesman means; it is not the approach of a serious State. Such simple-mindedness will not do. This isn't how a State should be run. I am really bewildered, amazed and saddened. Are we so contemptible that we should accept games such as these? Am I, are the comrades, or are the people so contemptible that they should fall for such cheap tricks? This is the mentality of the AKP. This is why I termed this process an elimination process. This is a fascist mentality, this is fascism. This mentality must be unmasked and laid bare. Everyone needs to be alert and our people need to comprehend these things. They need to begrudge even their votes to this mentality. The Kurds must ensure their unity. They must beware the AKP's games.

The AKP's facade needs to be seen
The AKP are imposing hunger on the Kurds and then trying to buy them off with supposed 'investments' in the region. The Kurds must scorn these advances and beware of these tricks. It is our people who are going to be killed and lose out in the end. For this reason I am very angry, I am angry at everyone, angry at the Kurdish people as well, but I'm not just saying this to the Kurds but also to the Turkish people. Why can't they realise these games, why do they vote for this kind of mentality, they must not give even one vote to this mentality.

This Is the Policy of Showing Us Death and Persuading Us to Make do with Fever
While playing these games the AKP are also pointing to the nationalist-fascist side of Baykal (The CHP Leader) and Bahçeli (The MHP Leader) and asking us to make do with fever. As I said before, the AKP are showing us death in the form of the MHP and CHP by saying ''if the MHP and CHP come to power they will massacre you, they will not even give you a chance to exist, so you should make do with us, the AKP.'' They are very openly threatening us by using the MHP-CHP and trying to force us to accept them. This is the concept that has been put before us. There is no difference between the nationalist-fascist approach and the Sunni-Islamic approach. Before, Nationalist-Fascism was implemented now Sunni-Islamic fascism is being employed by the AKP. This is the situation for our people. The Kurds were tricked and governed by Nationalist-Fascist policies in the past and now the same is trying to be done with the AKP's Sunni-Islamic policies. As you know the majority of the Kurds are Sunni. This is what the AKP are trying to manipulate.

The USA and Britain are Supporting the AKP
Of course, the USA and Britain are behind all these policies. With these policies Turkey is going to make top-security agreements with countries in the region and pressure the PKK with the help of the Southern (North Iraq) powers. Furthermore the Kurds in Turkey are going to be tricked by the AKP and this problem is going to be solved. This is what they are aiming to do. The AKP's only intention is to prolong its own existence and maybe get two or three more terms in government. They will try to stay in power by using the same methods they have been using in the past seven years. Their only aim is to stay in government.

We Wanted to Attain Peace despite the Difficult Conditions
We tried to bring peace despite all our difficult conditions. We struggled for this. However it wasn't to be, we would have liked to be successful, but we weren't. Due to being at the beginning of 2010, I would like to touch upon this issue. Essentially the requirements for peace were clear and very simple. The tears of people can be stopped with two words: Peace Negotiations. Those who have lost their loved ones could pressure the government by saying these two words. This is how simple it is. Due to it being 2010 I would like to appeal once again to the President, Prime Minister, General Chief of Staff, Security Forces and the Intelligence Service. Everyone must play their part for peace. This is the prerequisite for being a State; it is what a serious State must do. The resolution of this issue is really not that hard. I have analysed and examined all the universal experiences and models of a road to peace, and as a result of this I made a great effort, worked and wrote about how our country could attain peace. However these efforts were disregarded. If you collected everything I have written in the past 11 years regarding this issue, it would make up a very large document. I am also very saddened by the disregard shown in this matter. It is being said that 40-50 thousand people have died in total on both sides. Yes, but how much of a lesson has been learnt? You cannot account for this by saying it is ''terror.'' You cannot trick people by using these definitions. If there are 50 thousand casualties this isn't ''terror'' but war. If there were this many casualties in any other country, they would come together, negotiate and find a solution. I did not insist that somebody should come and speak or negotiate with me. I pointed out different addresses, different methods and made assessments, however these were also disregarded.

We have prepared our People for Peace
I listened to it on the radio the other day. I heard about the incident (the father of a dead Turkish soldier fainted) that occurred at the ceremony attended by President Abdullah Gül. It was also repeated at the ceremony that the struggle would continue until ''terror'' was annihilated. As you can see they are exploiting the emotions of the people and making policies using blood. They are saying we have martyrs, but they do not even respect their own martyrs. Considering that there has been a war and people have died then peace must be attained so that deaths can be stopped. Being a statesman requires doing this. We have been struggling for peace since 1993 and for the past 11 years I have been trying to continue it here. We tried to attain peace, but our efforts were futile. 50 thousand people have died and yet rather than prevent further deaths they are using these deaths to exploit people. They are fomenting the fire by calling it ''terror'' and ''separatism.'' We have never wanted to separate this homeland. They are saying that they have martyrs, what about our martyrs? Despite all our suffering, the suffering and losses of our People, we persuaded and prepared them for peace, but what did you do? You fomented the suffering and pain. We tried to make a breakthrough for peace before (in 1999) as well and it cost us the lives of hundreds of our comrades. And lastly our friends came from Kandil, despite knowing all the dangers that would face them, they came to contribute to peace.

They are Exploiting the Blood and Pain of People for their Policies
We saw how the Government-State treated the arrival of our friends from Kandil. What we aimed for with the arrival of the Peace Groups was to show that; despite all their suffering the Kurds were ready for peace and to also prove that our attitude would be positive if a solution was developed. However this was ignored. I would once again like to thank the peace groups for coming and our people for their reception. As I said before, despite all our suffering, the suffering and losses of our people, we persuaded and prepared them for peace. However you are still making policies by exploiting the blood and pain of people. The State has no respectability here. There is a war and humans are dying, statesmen need to prepare (the people) for peace like they prepare (them) for war. Those who know how to fight must also know how to make peace.

The AKP is trying to Eliminate the Kurds with the Support of International Powers
Iran is executing, Syria is arresting (Kurdish people). Our people are under pressure everywhere. Operations are being carried out everywhere and they are being shackled, handcuffed and arrested. Lawyers are also being arrested.
(To his lawyers) You must also be careful and aware of the dangers that await you. The AKP are trying to make top-security agreements with Iran, Iraq and Syria and are also attempting to get the support of the Southern powers, Europe, Britain and the USA in eliminating the Kurds. However it must not be forgotten that these plans can be reversed. The AKP is trying to eliminate us with the support of international powers.

The Tension between Israel and Turkey
Actually the tension between Israel and Turkey is due to some of Israel's policies. It is evident that Israel's current policies will not receive much support from Britain.

The backdrop of the Blue Stream Pipeline Project
A BOTAŞ (Turkish Energy Company) bureaucrat has said that following my extradition from Russia they received the go-ahead for the Blue Stream Pipeline project that had been stopped. He has said that with my extradition and capture, the Blue Stream Pipeline project was carried out. Yes, this is very important. I had touched upon the alliances and agreements of that period. This situation is on-going and continues. Moscow, Turkey and many other powers are continuing these alliances against us.