Kurdish solidarity activist John Tully has had a lengthy and informative article on the Renas Lelikan case published in the online journal Tasmanian Times. Lelikan has been charged with being a member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).Tully’s article is entitled Australia panders to a despot and a loyal citizen pays the price ….It provides an overview of the case, vital background to the Kurdish freedom struggle and exposes Australia’s shameful support for the Turkish dictatorship. John is an honorary professor at Melbourne’s Victoria University and the author of a number of works of history as well as several novels.
I wish to begin by acknowledging that we are rallying on Aboriginal land and pay my respects to the elders past and present, as well as emerging leaders. I bring you greetings of solidarity from the National Tertiary Education Union who are unwavering in our support for academic freedom and freedom of speech and political opinion. Continue reading
[By John Tully] On July 20 this year, Kurdish-Australian journalist Renas Lelikan was charged with membership of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK. He was refused bail and has since been detained in Sydney’s Silverwater Prison. He returned to Australia last October after spending nine months trapped in the Makhmur refugee camp in Iraq after being denied a passport by the Australian government. If he is found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment. Continue reading
[By Ciaran Tully] In July two of the largest unions in the UK, UNITE and GMB, released a letter calling for the release of Abdullah Öcalan so that he can play a leading role in an urgently needed peace process. Citing a petition last year in which 10 million people called for his release and after delegations to the region the unions stated that they were “now totally convinced” that the current conflict could only be resolved by Öcalan’s release and his participation in a new peace process.
The full letter can be found here: GMB and UNITE – Freedom for Ocalan
[By Dave Holmes] An August 11 meeting at the Melbourne Trades Hall heard a truly inspiring report on the rebuilding of Kobanê and the progress and problems of the Rojava Revolution. Hawzhin Azeez, a former University of Newcastle academic and now a central figure on the Kobanê Reconstruction Board, spoke for almost an hour outlining the significance of Kobanê to the Kurdish freedom struggle and the importance of the rebuilding effort. Continue reading
[By Peter Boyle] July 28 — A bail hearing in Sydney Central Local Court today opened an extraordinary and an important political trial. Kurdish journalist Renas Lelikan, 38, who spent the last five years reporting from the war-ravaged Iraqi Kurdistan, silently watched the proceeding via video link from the high security section of Silverwater jail while the prosecution opposed bail. He was arrested on July 20 and charged with being a member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is on the Australian government’s list of proscribed “terrorist organisations”. Continue reading
In 2014-15 the northern Syrian city of Kobanê was besieged by the barbaric Islamic State. After months of desperate struggle Kurdish defence forces won an epic victory but Kobanê was wrecked. Today, despite a vicious Turkish embargo, Kobanê is slowly rebuilding. Continue reading
[The following appeal is being circulated to Australian academics by John Tully, Honorary Professor at Victoria University, and Australians for Kurdistan. See below for information on how to endorse. Please circulate to your colleagues.]
As scholars associated with universities and higher education institutions in Australia, we are extremely disturbed by Turkey’s recent treatment of academics who have spoken out against atrocities being committed by the Turkish state against Kurdish civilians in the eastern parts of the country. Continue reading
[The following statement was released by the Kurdish National Congress (KNK) Australia on January 8, 2016.]
After the June 7, 2015 elections in Turkey, in which 80 representatives of the pro-Kurdish HDP won seats in parliament, President Erdogan launched a war against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for political gain. The war involves the collective punishment of Kurdish civilians. Since August, 127 security zones and 52 curfews have been imposed on Kurdish towns. In these urban centres, the Turkish state has employed tanks, rockets and sniper fire to kill 260 civilians, including women and children. Continue reading