Friday, April 30, 2010

    • Document: International Experiences of and Approaches to Conflict Resolution

  • Conference for a Democratic Society 27-28 February 2010, Diyarbakir, Kurdistan- A timely conference looking at international experiences of and different approaches to the solution of political conflicts took place on 27-28 February in Diyarbakir. It was attended by more than 120 participants amongst them academics, writers, politicians and former diplomats from various countries.
    Discussions held ranged from international experiences of conflict resolution to giving advice and suggestions on how to approach a peaceful and democratic settlement of the Kurdish question. The following is giving an overview of the findings and valuable insights gained by the conference. There are many lessons to be learnt from countries across the globe having experienced prolonged and violent civil conflicts.

    The participants of the conference agreed that the Kurdish question has the potential to be solved on the basis of political convergence and a democratic dialogue. Past conflicts around the world demonstrate that fear of a solution leads to unneccessary delay in the political process creating deep wounds which are difficult to heal. The experience of countries such as Irland, Galicia, Wales, the Basque country, Catalonia, South Africa and Bolivia show clearly that at a crucial point violence will reach a dead end. Violence will not lead to any solution. The only way forward is to initiate truthful reciprocal negotiations and a broad political dialogue.

    Thus, it is crucial to precisely define the conflict in question and identify the relevant parties. The foundation of any solution must be built upon an acknowledgement of the problem, understanding for the counter-part and the development of a shared language describing the issues at stake. Measures creating trust and understanding on both sides are vital for any negotiation process that is to follow. The conference pointed out the importance of creating a trustful relationship between the conflicting parties removing existing doubts, distrust and feelings of exclusion. It seems indispensable that all relevant partners in both societies are involved in a process of dialogue and deliberation. Lasting peace can only be created by the engagement of the state, opposition forces and society as a whole.

    Experiences of conflict resolution across the world show clearly the significance of acknowledging and dealing with the past in a truthful, critical and cooperative manner. The conference urged all parties of the Kurdish conflict to face and deal with their common past with frank discussions and a redefinition of history. This includes all political representatives of the Kurdish people generally as well as the PKK particularly. Such a process of coming to terms with the past will impact positively on finding solutions to the Kurdish question. In turn it is essential for the Turkish state to critically discuss its own history, its approach, pursued practices and the public discourse regarding the Kurdish 'problem'. This will help to transform existing opposing perceptions hopefully leading to a common sense of political responsibility to solve the conflict at hand. In order to achieve such understanding the dialogue between the conflicting parties has to start with all forms of communications being free and accessible to all.

    The international community is called upon to positively support that process of deliberation and political dialogue. The Kurdish desire and struggle for equality, freedom and democracy should be recognised as such. It is misleading to label that struggle as terrorism or separatism. Such an approach obstructs a peaceful solution creating an atmosphere of exclusion and further conflict.

    A roadmap to peace which outlines the democratisation of Turkey is still missing. The conference emphasised the importance of such a roadmap for which all sections of society ought to be consulted. The involvement and participation of civil society is essential for creating understanding and lasting peace.

    Finally, the conference underlined the fact that those actors that are perceived to be part of the problem are at the same time indispensable part of the solution. Each side of the conflict has the right to define its own demands and freely choose its own representatives for future peace negotiations.

    Democratic Society Congress

    Translated by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
  • © Kurdish Info,

    • Calling Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan as Mr. Ocalan cost seven years nine months imprisonment for 9 people.
      Diyarbakir 6th Criminal Court sentenced nine people to seven years nine months in prison for addressing Abdullah Ocalan, Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader, as Mr. Ocalan. Sentenced people had signed the petition which says “I’m committing crime if saying Mr. for Abdullah Ocalan is considered as criminal by laws”. The mentioned petition was part of campaign to protest punishments of people for addressing Ocalan as Mr. The campaign is being lasted since 2008. The signers of the petition symbolically turned themselves in for saying Mr. for Abdullah Ocalan.

      Bahri Erdem, Musata Kurt, Süleyman Bakýr, Haydo Özalp, Nedim Biçer, Eyüp Sar, Garip Kandemir, Alim Çiftçi and Ahmet Güneþ who applied to the Diyarbakir Prosecution of the Republic due to present the signed informing petition, convicted seven years nine months imprisonment on the grounds that being member of organization and making propaganda for organization.
    • © Kurdish Info,

      • 29.04.2010- Kurdish women director Sirin Cihani said that women movement needs to be developed due to create common conscious on common problems of Kurdish women.
        Kurdish women are gathering to find answers for their questions, to solve the problems and to establish a way in order to fight against. The Kurdish Women Conference has been held in Diyarbakir due to share the experience about those cases. Kurdish intellectuals such as writers, producers, scientists and politicians took place in the Conference lasted 2 days.

        Sirin Cihani, director in Kurdistan province of Iran, spoke at the conference;

        “Kurdish women need to be gathered and raise the struggle for common problems in all countries where the Kurds live. Rights violations, violence and anti-democratic practices against women are all our common problems which we have to find collective way to struggle and solve as Kurdish women. This is the first and very important step for it. Each woman counts on herself as responsible for this duty and has to recognize that this fight cannot be successful by our own but only together. Iranian women are living in very harsh environment if we are regarding laws and traditions as well. Traditions are really significant block in front of women’s rights. Still, there is a great effort against system which keeps women in their houses.”

        Cihani also emphasized that Kurdish women’s struggle has to be spread all four parts in where Kurdish population lives.
      • © Kurdish Info,

        • Erol ÖNDEROĞLU-The family of killed Baran Tursun is tried for raising against the court during the law suit filed related to the death of their son and brother. Tursun's parents and his sister are facing prison sentence. The case was postponed to 9 July to hear eight witnesses of the defence.

          Berrin Tursun, mother of Baran Tursun who was killed with a police bullet in 2007, his father Mehmet Tursun and the victim's sister Şelale Tursun stand trial at the Karşıkaya (Izmir) 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance.

          They are facing imprisonment of up to ten years under charges of "influencing an official of the judiciary", "threat" and "insult". Reason for the accusations is their reaction against a court decision in the case related to the death of their son and brother. The case was postponed to July in order to hear eight further witnesses presented by the defence.

          The Ministry of Justice refused to issue permission for a trial under article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) under charges of "Insulting the state, the judiciary, the military and the Police forces". Thus, the case was launched under the above mentioned allegations.
          Eight witnesses to be heard

          Family lawyer Nezahat Paşa Bayraktar talked to bianet after the hearing on 27 April. He said that he had evaluated camera records, television footage and police records by an expert for the hearing on Tuesday. In the coming hearing, it will be the turn to hear the witnesses of the defence, Bayraktar said.

          20-year-old Baran Tursun was killed by the police on 25 November 2007 in his car when he allegedly ignored the police's stop warning. Tursun's family showed a strong reaction when defendant police officer Oral Emre Atar was released pending trial on 14 January 2008. His mother, Berrin Tursun, rose against the court's decision and his father had stated that he did not trust the judiciary and broke a pen after the hearing.
          Second case: Mother faces 41 months in prison

          The Karşıkaya 1st High Criminal Court decreed for imprisonment of 25 months for defendant Atar by reason of "causing death by negligence of duty". He had been released pending trial after the first hearing of the case. Tursun's mother, who protested the court's decision for release, is facing imprisonment of 41 months on the other hand as requested by the prosecutor in the hearing on the previous day (26 April).

          Besides the family members, representatives of the Human Rights Association (İHD) and member of other non-governmental organizations stand accused in this law suit. The case will be continued on 17 May. (EÖ/VK)

            © Kurdish Info

          Thursday, April 29, 2010

          Roj Tv Special Dossier

          Roj Tv Special Dossier

          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE /Freedom for Mr Muharrem Erbey

          Kurdish Info 27.04.2010- 102 of members of parliament, human rights defenders, professors, and intellectuals demand the release of imprisoned Kurdish human rights lawyer Mr Muharrem Erbey.
          In an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one hundred two prominent politicians, human rights activists, and thinkers from around the globe have called on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Mr Muharrem Erbey, the imprisoned Vice Chairperson of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), the country’s oldest and largest human rights monitoring group.

          “The fact that leading human rights defenders like Mr Erbey are being imprisoned for political reasons casts serious doubt on the sincerity of the ruling party’s stated intention to expand democracy in Turkey,” said Ms Estella Schmid, spokesperson for the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, the organisation which prepared the letter-petition to Prime Minister Erdoğan.

          Mr Erbey, who is a renowned lawyer and published author, was arrested in the early hours of 24 December 2009 as part of so-called anti-terror operations launched simultaneously in 11 Turkish provinces. Mr Erbey is being charged with membership of a terrorist organization due to speeches he’s given in Europe concerning human rights abuses, and other activities he’s participated in within his capacity as a senior human rights lawyer.

          Along with some 1,500 other Kurdish activists and politicians, including elected mayors, Mr Erbey is currently in prison awaiting trial. Many international human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have criticized Mr Erbey’s imprisonment.

          “The arrest of Muharrem Erbey and the wider wave of repression directed at Kurdish activists and political leaders jeopardizes Turkey’s EU membership bid and undermines prospects for a negotiated solution to the Kurdish issue,” Ms Schmid said. “International civil society mustn’t be silent in the face of these anti-democratic attacks on lawful and peaceful dissent, especially since Turkey is taking these actions with US and European backing.”

          Open Letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

          Appeal against the Prosecution of Imprisoned Kurdish Human Rights Lawyer Muharrem Erbey, Vice Chairperson of the Human Rights Association of Turkey

          We express our strongest opposition to the arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights lawyer Mr Muharrem Erbey, General Vice Chairperson of the Human Rights Association (Insan Haklari Derneği – IHD) of Turkey and Chairperson of its Diyarbakır Province Branch.

          We refer to the charge against Mr Erbey issued by the Diyarbakır Special Heavy Penal Court on December 26, 2009 of “being a member of an illegal organisation” pursuant to Article 314 of the Criminal Code, with reference to Article 220/6 of the Criminal Code in the Law No. 5237. We have had the opportunity to review the record of Mr Erbey’s interrogation and official documentation objecting to the decision to arrest. The accusation that Mr Erbey is a member of the KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) has been made without any proper basis. We note with grave concern that Mr Erbey has been denied access to the evidence against him and has been subject to illegal search warrants.

          Questioning by the prosecution of Mr Erbey indicates that he was arrested for his legitimate human rights work conducted within the legal framework of the Human Rights Association and in furtherance of international human rights agreements. The record of interrogation indicates that the charge was made on the basis of Mr Erbey’s participation in a workshop in Diyarbakır in September 2009 to discuss constitutional amendments aimed at ensuring a greater respect of minorities' rights. Further, that Mr Erbey delivered speeches on Kurdish rights to the parliaments of Belgium, Sweden and England. The charges are also sought to be substantiated on the grounds that Mr Erbey attended the “Kurdish Film Festival” in Italy in 2009 and that he was the legal adviser of the Mayor of Diyarbakir, Mr. Osman Baydemir.

          The arrest of Mr Erbey is in clear violation of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998. We urge you to ensure that human rights defenders are not subject to unfounded accusations and reprisals because of their human rights work. We call upon you to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Erbey as well as all other detained human rights defenders.

          Signed by:

          Hélène Flautre, MEP, Chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee; Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT; Tony Benn, President, Stop the War Coalition, UK; Prof. Dr. Robert Olson, University of Kentucky, USA; Prof. Dr. Michael Gunter, Tennessee Technical University, USA; Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP; Jean Lambert MEP; Caroline Lukas MEP; Bairbre De Brun MEP, Sinn Fein; Frieda Brepoels, MEP; Lord Rea; Lord Hylton; Lord Wallace; John Austin MP; Hywel Williams MP; Bob Russell MP; David Drew MP; Jeremy Corbyn MP; Mike Mansfield QC; Louise Christian, Human Rights Lawyer; Dafydd Iwan, LL.D., President of Plaid Cymru, Party of Wales; Bruce Kent, Vice-President Pax Christi; Elaine Hagopian, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College, USA; Ms. Souhayr Belhassen, President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH); Abdol-Karim Lahidji, President of the Iranian League for the Defense of Human Rights, Vice President of FIDH; Michael Ellman, Solicitor, ex-Chair, Solicitors International Human Rights Group, FIDH International Board Officer; Prof. Bill Bowring, President, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (EDLH); Thomas Schmidt, Lawyer, Secretary General of ELDH; Christian Herrgesell, Commissioner for Prisoners, Foundation for Basic Rights and Democracy, Germany; Joseph K. Grieboski, Chairman of The Institute on Religion and Public Policy, USA; Mr. Eric Sottas, Secretary-General of the World Organisation Against Torture; Liz Davies, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Alex Wilks, Lawyer; Dr. Victoria Sentas, School of Law, King's College London; Frances Webber, Human Rights Lawyer, Vice-President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Mario Lana, President, Forensic Union for the Protection of Human Rights, Italy; Margaret Owen, Director, Widows for Peace through Democracy, International Human Rights Lawyer; Francisco Soberón Garrido, Executive Director, Human Rights Association of Peru; Nick Hildyard, Policy Analyst; Desmond Fernandes, Genocide Scholar and Author; Dr. Felix Padel, Anthropologist; Ara Sarafian, Historian; Professor Ben Bowling, School of Law, King's College London; Dr. David Whyte, School of Sociology and Social Policy, Liverpool University; Sugin Praisoody, Lawyer; Les Levidow, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC); Jonathan Bloch, Author and LibDem Councillor; Khatchatur I. Pilikian, Prof of Music & Art; Robert Brown MSP; Marlyn Glen MSP; Ken Macintosh MSP; Elaine Smith MSP; Michael Matheson MSP; Christina McKelvie MSP; Dr. Bill Wilson MSP; Cathy Peattie MSP; Richard Haley, Secretary, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities; Stephen Smellie, UNISON Public Sector Trade Union, Scottish Committee; Roger Tompkins, international lawyer (retired), Cyprus; Prof. Dr. Raimund Rütten, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Joachim Rollhauser, Lawyer, Greece; Maria Paradeisi Assistant Professor, Panteion University, Athens, Greece; Katerina Papagika, doctor, Greece; Dimitris Stergiopoulos, student, Greece; Iosifina Iakovidou, Doctoral Student, Greece; Dimitris Tsirkas, Student, Greece; Stratis Bournazos, Journalist, Greece; Giorgos Karatzas, Human Rights Activist, Greece; Manolis Hatiris, Doctoral Student, Greece; Internationalist magazine "Resistencias"; Kurdish Federation UK; Janroj Keles, Research Fellow, London Metropolitan University; Kelly Stuart, Playwright and Lecturer at Columbia University; Mustafa Gundogdu, Turkey and Iraq Desk Officer, Kurdish Human Rights Project, England; Carla van Os, Human Rights Lawyer, The Hague; Sally Eberhardt, Producer, New York Kurdish Film Festival; Daniel Steinvorth, Turkey Correspondent, Der Spiegel; Karim Hassan, Independent Kurdish Scholar, Canada; Dr. Edel Hughes, School of Law, University of Limerick, Ireland; Kevin McKiernan, Author and Filmmaker; Jesse McLaren, Vice-Chair, Santa Cruz County Chapter, American Civil Liberties Organization, Santa Cruz, USA; Hugo Charlton, Barrister; Anna Karamanou, Former MEP, Greece; Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), Canada Chapter; Wolfgang Betrup, Theologian, President, ACAT-Germany; Natsumi Ajiki, Kurdish Herald Editorial Board; Nasser Amin, General Director, Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession (ACIJLP), Cairo, Egypt; Dr. Helene Jaffe, Founder and President, Association for Victims of Repression in Exile, France; Danial Saoud, President, Committees for the Defense of Democracy, Freedoms, and Human Rights in Syria; Manuel Lambert, Legal Counsel, Human Rights League, Belgium; Nicole Filion, Coordinator, League of Rights and Freedoms, Canada; Margarita Lacabe, Executive Director, Derechos Human Rights, USA; Margaret Riley, teacher, South Korea; Tunisian Council for Liberties; Abdulla Alderazi, Secretary General, Bahrain Human Rights Society; Ezzadine Alasbhi, Chairman, Human Rights Information and Training Centre, Yemen; Tunisian Council for Liberties; Guillermo Presa Suaŕez, Lawyer, Observatory for the Defense of Rights and Liberties, Galicia, Spain; Gilberto Pagani, President, European Democratic Lawyers; Hans Gaasbeek, President of the Dutch chapter, Lawyers Without Borders; Yiannis Rachiotis, Lawyer, Greece; Eugenia Kouniaki, Lawyer, Greece.

          For more information, contact:

          Jake Hess
          Human rights activist and friend of Muharrem Erbey

          Estella Schmid
          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, Bairbre de Brún 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 2531

          © Kurdish Info,

          Norwegian professor denied entry into Turkey

          OSLO (AP) 25.04.2010- The chairwoman of a Norwegian civic commission monitoring human rights in Turkey said Sunday she had been denied entry into the country for political reasons.Kariane Westrheim told The Associated Press she was detained at the airport in Istanbul on Saturday and put on a plane back to Scandinavia.
          She said Turkish officials gave no clear answer as to why she couldn't enter the country, but accused her of "supporting separatists" and being "very critical toward Turkish politics." "They told me, you will never, never, never enter Turkey again," she said.

          Westrheim, who was traveling to Turkey to attend a women's rights conference, is the chairwoman of the European Union Turkey Civic Commission, an organization that monitors Turkey's compliance with EU's accession criteria. She is also a professor at the University of Bergen and has published research about the PKK - the Kurdistan Workers' Party - and Turkey's conflict with the Kurds.

          The PKK has fought for independence for Kurds for decades and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the EU.

          Turkey began membership talks with the EU in 2005, but has made little progress since. France and Germany have expressed opposition to its bid while negotiations over some policy areas such as energy are frozen over Turkey's refusal to allow ships and planes from Cyprus to enter its ports and airspace.

          The EU Turkey Civic Commission says it supports Turkish EU membership, provided that Turkey solves the "Kurdish problem" and becomes a genuine democracy, with "respect for and protection of minorities."

          Turkish officials weren't immediately available for comment.

          KHRP Condemns Turkey’s Ejection of EU Turkey Civic Commission Chair

          On Saturday 24 April, Kariane Westrheim, Chair of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), was stopped by authorities at the airport in Istanbul before being officially deported and placed on a return flight to Scandinavia. Westrheim, an Associate Professor at the University of Bergen had been en route to speak at a conference on women’s rights in Diyarbakir, and to conduct fieldwork with support of University of Bergen about education in areas of war and political conflict. The treatment of Ms. Westrheim, who has published significant works on the Kurdish issue, appeared to be politically motivated. She asserted that the Turkish authorities had accused her of “supporting separatists” and being “very critical toward Turkish politics”, and had assured her that she would never be allowed to enter Turkey again.

          KHRP Managing Director Rachel Bernu denounced the decision saying, ‘Unfortunately, Turkey still seems confused about what its commitment to free expression actually means. So, let us be clear. When Turkey does not allow foreigners who criticize its policies into the country, it is in violation. By arresting, detaining and imprisoning its own citizens who are critical, it is again in violation. If Turkey is truly committed to the principle of freedom of expression, it must find a way to ensure this commitment filters down to its security and judicial apparatus.’

          The EU Turkey Civic Commission, of which KHRP is a founding member, was established following a conference in 2004 on ‘The EU, Turkey and the Kurds’. Other founding members are the Bar Human Rights Association of England and Wales, Medico International and The Thorolf Rafto Foundation.

          Five further conferences have been held subsequently at the European Parliament in Brussels, the most recent of which convened in February 2010. The Commission is supportive of Turkish accession to the EU under compliance with the Copenhagen membership criteria. Accordingly, the work of the EUTCC regularly involves monitoring and disseminating information pertaining to Turkish compliance with the Copenhagen criteria.

          The Turkish authorities are yet to issue comment on the matter.

          FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Pranjali Acharya / Rachel Bernu - Kurdish Human Rights Project - 11 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1DH -

          © Kurdish Info

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