Monday, July 19, 2010

PKK peace group returnees back to Southern Kurdistan

Monday, July 19 2010
Members of the peace groups that arrived in Turkey on 19 October upon the call from Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan are reported to go back to Kurdistan Region in Iraq.Peace groups that came from both Qandil Mountain and Makhmur Refugee Camp are going back to Makhmur due to pressure and prosecution they are subjected by the Turkish government.

Eight PKK members from Qandil and twenty six refugees, inlcluding four children, living in Makhmur Refugee Camp in Iraq arrived in Turkey upon the call from imprisoned Kurdish Leader Abdullah Öcalan. While they were initially released by the authorities in October they were on trial 8 months after they returned from exile.

While the aim of sending exiles back to Turkey was to perform sincerity of PKK in solving the Kurdish conflict in Turkey it was also a test for the Turkey state to show whether they really have a new approach to the problem as they promised.

Although the decision by the authorities not to prosecute the peace group, like it happened against other peace groups in 1999, was seen as a gesture of reconciliation by the Kurdish side the government’s approach soon became harder towards the PKK and Kurds.

Police used excessive and disproportionate violence against Kurdish demos in which hundreds of Kurdish children were arrested, sent to prison and charged with terrorist crimes merely because of throwing stones to the police.

The group members are also charged with disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organisation and if found guilty, they face up to 20 years in prison.