Greens leader speaks out for Kurdish rights

di-natale[By Dave Holmes] Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale expressed his strong support for the embattled Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey. The left-wing party has a strong base among the country’s oppressed Kurdish community.  Speaking at a November 17 Kurdish solidarity meeting at Melbourne’s Trades Hall, Dr Di Natale condemned the current crackdown by the regime of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The HDP’s joint leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, have been arrested along with a number of the party’s other MPs. Continue reading

Online petitions target Turkey’s move toward dictatorship

Two online petitions targeting Turkey’s moves towards dictatorial rule are appealing for public support.

  • Bring President Erdogan to International Criminal Court for the hate crimes he committed can be found here.
  • The second petition (the English-language text is at the end) hits the repression of Turkey’s left-wing pro-Kurdish Democratic Freedom Party, especially the recent arrest of most of its parliamentarians.

Public meeting to call for dropping of Lelikan charges

The Australian government’s prosecution of Kurdish-Australian journalist Renas Lelikan will be the focus of a public meeting to be held at Melbourne’s Trades Hall on November 17. The meeting will also call for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the government’s list of terrorist organisations. Imposed in 2004, the ban has been kept by successive Coalition and Labor governments to curry favour with the Turkish regime. Today Turkey’s Erdogan regime is waging a brutal war against its Kurdish minority and the Kurdish-led liberation forces in northern Syria.

The gathering is being organised by Australians for Kurdistan and the Kurdish Democratic Community Centre. Speakers so far confirmed include civil liberties lawyers Jessie Smith and Rob Stary.

Thursday, November 17, 6:30pm. New Council Chambers, Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South. Entry $5/$3. For more information email Australians for Kurdistan.

Tasmanian Times article hits at Renas Lelikan arrest

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.

NTEU president addresses Kurdish protest rally

download[The following speech was delivered to a Kurdish protest rally in Melbourne on September 17 by Jeannie Rea, National President of the National Tertiary Education Union.]

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

Drop the charges against Renas Lelikan!

6882556-3x2-700x467[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

UK unions call for freedom for Öcalan

GMB_logo ee9621cc7694eec92deea5d28f2f2457_400x400[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

Meeting given an inspiring glimpse of Rojava’s revolution

[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

A court case that could affect the future of every Kurdish family in Australia

6882556-3x2-700x467[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