April 16, 2015
Dear Mr. President, dear Mr. Kerry, dear Congresspeople,
I am writing to urge you to remove the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. This organization presents no threat to the United States nor any of its citizens. It never has. In fact, as time has gone on, it has become clear to more and more US citizens that the Kurdish people are important allies of the United States. They are essential to the control of the spread of extremist Islamic forces in the near east, and they are a key force in creating and maintaining the stability and safeguarding of Iraq and Syria.
In recent months, there have been talks between the Turkish government and jailed PKK head Abdullah Ocalan, who is a prime mover for an end to armed conflict in the Kurdish region in Turkey. Declassifying his organization from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list would help a great deal in letting this group emerge as a force for peace and stability. It would further expedite the movement of its military wing to places where it truly is needed.
It may not be necessary to underscore the threat that ISIS presents to democracy and peaceful development. Whether in the form of ISIS, IS, Daesh, al-Nusrah etc. a glance at what happened to the Yezidi on the plains of Nineveh, particularly the Yezidi women now being sold at auction, or to the beleaguered people of Rojava in Syria should make this clear.
As a person with more than 20 years of experience through constant contact with groups of writers in the area and many trips there, I am convinced that it is not a good time to maintain obstacles in the way of competent Kurdish allies. Please declassify the PKK.
Lucina Kathmann, International Vice-President, PEN International
1132 W. Lunt Av. 3B – Chicago IL 60626