How Turkey has got Europe over a barrel

[Sarah Glynn, co-convenor of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan, attended the recent conference on ‘The European Union, Turkey, The Middle East and the Kurds’ at the European Parliament, and writes about what she found out.]

Relations between Europe and Turkey demonstrate an unedifying realpolitik in which there are many losers, and the only winners are the usual coterie of financiers, arms manufacturers and authoritarian politicians. Continue reading

Thousands march to free Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan

[By Peter Boyle] STRASBOURG, February 20 — Thousands of Kurds and their international supporters converged for a huge march and rally in Strasbourg on February 15 [see photo above], to demand the release of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan. Öcalan has been imprisoned by the Turkish state for the past 21 years, after being illegally abducted in Kenya with the help of the CIA. Continue reading

Belgium Court of Cassation: PKK is not a terrorist organization

[By Maxime Azadi] BRUSSELS — The Court of Cassation of Belgium ratified the lower court’s judgement and ruled that PKK is not a terrorist organization.

During the first hearing held on January 14, the Court of Cassation prosecutor requested ratification of the ruling of the Court of Appeals in the PKK case. A lower court prosecutor and lawyers for the Turkish state requested time to respond to the opinion of the Court of Cassation prosecutor. Continue reading

Posted in PKK

PKK letter to the US: ‘We are not terrorists’

To the American people and President Donald J. Trump,

We refuse comparisons being made between our movement and the inhumane thugs of ISIS. Our response is as follows: There are more than 40 million Kurds living in the Middle East today. At the end of the First World War, outside powers divided them among four autocratic states: Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, where our movement began. Continue reading

Renas Lelikan judgement gives background to freedom struggle

6882556-3x2-700x467Justice Lucy McCallum’s judgement in the Renas Lelikan case makes very interesting reading. Lelikan admitted to informal PKK membership but stated that his role was that of a journalist reporting on the Kurdish freedom fighters. McCallum freed him with a community service order. The prosecution has appealed seeking a custodial sentence to deter anyone from supporting PKK. For more background see below.

Call for Australia to support an end to Kurdish leader’s isolation

leylguvs[The following is the text of a letter submitted to the Melbourne Age. It was not published.] Kurdish MP Leyla Güven has now spent 90 days on hunger strike, calling for an end to the total isolation of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.  Despite being released from prison by a recent court order, Güven’s hunger strike continues.  Over 300 Kurdish political prisoners – including MPs, journalists and academics – are following her example, at various stages of indefinite hunger strikes. Continue reading

PKK ban: Submissions to PJCIS

Three submissions were made in August-September to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be de-listed as a terrorist organisation.

  • Australians for Kurdistan‘s submission is posted below.
  • The law firm Stary Norton Halphen (associated with the well-known Melbourne criminal lawyer Rob Stary) made a submission on behalf of the Democratic Kurdish Community Centre of NSW and the Kurdish Democratic Community Centre of Victoria.
  • Dr Vicki Sentas, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of NSW in Sydney also made a submission.

In the event the PKK was retained on the list of terrorist organisations. The government’s extremely flimsy and unconvincing rationale can be found here.