To the UK government and the European Union
For the past 30 years, the Kurdish region of South-Eastern Turkey has been wracked by conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). A peaceful settlement could be achieved – but efforts to secure peace have been jeopardised by the UK and European Union’s ban on the PKK as a ‘terrorist’ organization. As a result, the only organization that enjoys the mass support of Kurdish people has effectively been excluded from the negotiating table.
The Kurdish people seek peace. The Turkish government says it wants peace. The European Union wants a stable and democratic Turkey to become a member of the EU. But no armed conflict as deeply rooted as the one between Turkey and the Kurds has ever been resolved without first reaching a political settlement that is formally binding and verifiable. Of necessity this demands a willingness by all parties – in this instance, representatives of the Turkish state and of the PKK – to negotiate on equal terms. The ban on the PKK has placed a block on such dialogue even starting.
We believe that PKK has clearly demonstrated over many years that it commands the loyalties of the vast proportion of the Kurdish people living in Turkey and the Kurdish diaspora. We also believe that the organisation has successfully given voice to the Kurdish people’s demands and has articulated these demands in responsible and measured ways. In so doing, it has shown that it is fully entitled to be regarded as the representative body of the Kurdish people. Indeed, no peace agreement is likely to be reached without the PKK’s active participation. Lifting the ban is a thus a pre-requisite to peace.
We are also concerned that the continuing conflict between Turkey and its Kurdish minority remains a serious obstacle to lasting peace and democratic reform in Turkey and inhibits progress on its accession to the European Union
Despite being held in prison by Turkey for more than ten years, Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK’s founder and leader, still commands the loyalty and support of millions of Kurdish people. During his decade of detention and indeed long before Ocalan has issued many constructive proposals for peace and dialogue and the PKK has adopted numerous unilateral ceasefires.
We believe that both Ocalan and the PKK have an important role to play in the pursuit of a lasting peace between Turkey and the Kurds. We the undersigned are convinced that by delisting the PKK the deeply longed for peace will be brought that much closer.
Supported by Kurdish Federation UK, Kurdish People’s Council, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
First signatories to PKK appeal Mark Thomas, journalist/comedian; Tim Gopsill, Editor, National Union of Journalists; Margaret Owen, Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD); Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer; Hugo Charlton, barrister; Roger Tompkins, international human rights lawyer, retired; Michael Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennessee Technological University, US; Dr Felix Padel, writer, UK; Caroline Austin, photographer, NUJ; Tony Gard, Movement for Justice; Hywel Williams MP; Martin Caton MP; Bill Etherington MP; Ronnie Campbell MP ; Nick Harvey MP; David Drew MP; Les Levidow, CAMPACC; Saleh Mamon, CAMPACC; Ann Alexander, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities; Richard Haley, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities; Norman Horne, retired; Prof. Dr. Raimund Rütten, Universität Frankfurt am Main; Sarah Parker, translator, Socialist Resistance, London; Dave Hewitt, Nottingham; Carmencita Karagdag, Coordinator, Peace for Life (WWW.peaceforlife.org <http://www.peaceforlife.org/> ); Patrick Mac Manus, Foreningen Oprør / Rebellion (Denmark): www.opror.net/blog/ <http://www.opror.net/blog/> ; Navn Karl Aage Angri Jacobsen, Red-Green Alliance (Denmark)/Retired; Raymond Swing Frederiksberg, Denmark; Janni Milsted , Pædagog, Denmark; Ove John Nielsen, Denmark; Ion Meyer, Kopenhagen University, Denmark; Ulrik Danneskiold-Samsøe, Denmark; Gitte Thomsen, Denmark; Jette Englund, Denville, New Jersey USA; Ricardo Gustavo Espeja, historian, Argentina; Xusrew Zeki , IT Consultant, Hans Branscheidt EUTCC-Germany.
3,275 have signed the appeal by 1 June 2009 – PLEASE SUPPORT AND ADD YOUR NAME!
Deadline for signatures 15 July 2009!