Three Kurdish activists killed in Paris, France — statement of migrant workers from Turkey

3kurdsWe abhor the murder of the three Kurds in Paris!

ATIK | 15.01.2013 | In the evening of the 9th January 2013 was a barbaric attack on the Kurdish Information Bureau in Paris, capital of France, by people that have still not been identified. Through this cold-blooded murder, the co-founder of the PKK Sakine Cansiz, the Paris representative of the KNK Dogan Fidan and the youth activist Leyla Söylemez were executed. This attack Sakine Cansiz and Dogan Fidan were killed by head shots and Leyla Söylemez with shots to the head and abdomen.

This attack was discovered on 10 January 2013. A journalist of Kurdish newspaper Özgür Politika could not reach Dogan Fidan, so he and some other people decided to go to the Kurdish Information Office. On entering the office, they were confronted with the bodies of three Kurds. As the office is located in a busy street, this murder was unnoticed, which could be a sign that this attack was planned and carried out by professionals.

Thousands of Kurds mourned the activists killed in Paris -- Funeral in Turkey, 16 January 2013

Thousands of Kurds mourned the activists killed in Paris — Funeral in Turkey, 16 January 2013

Sakineh Cansiz the women who was murdered in Paris, was born in 1957 in Dersim. In her youth, she was active in the pupils and students movement of Elazig. She is also one of the founders and a cadre of the PKK.  She was arrested during the 1980 military coup in Turkey in Amed, severely tortured and imprisoned for years in prisons in the fascist Turkish state. Since her first day of participation in the political struggle, she always led a revolutionary life and was therefore one of the first women cadres of the Kurdish national liberation struggle.

Dogan Fidan, was born in 1982 in Maras-Elbistan, emigrated in childhood with her family to Europe. Since 1999, she was active in the revolutionary struggle in Europe. Dogan had long been active as a Parisian representative in the National Congress of Kurdistan. Also murdered in the attack, Leyla Söylemez was an active member within the Kurdish youth movement.

It is well known that in the past many times such murders were carried out by the fascist Turkey. That the fascist Turkish government and its representatives, the current AKP try to portray this as an internal party dispute, is no coincidence. As long as the real perpetrators of this massacre are not found, France will have to bear the responsibility for it.

We as ATIK abhor this massacre and press the Kurdish national movement, its sympathizers and relatives of the victims of our sympathy. We call upon all democratic-minded people and our members to be on the side of the victims. The people will one day bring the murderer to justice.

Sakineh Cansiz, Dogan Fidan, and Leyla Söylemez are immortal!

ATIK-Confederation of Workers from Turkey in Europe

10th 01. 2013

PKK Revokes Cease-Fire in Turkey

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) ends the six-month cease-fire in a statement published on its news agency, Firat. The statement blames intransigence on the part of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the decision.

The PKK had said it would hold the cease-fire until June, the month in which Turkey is to hold general elections. Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union list the PKK as a terrorist organization. The group has been fighting a war in Turkey since 1984, in which 30,000-40,000 people are estimated to have been killed.

The status of Turkey’s Kurds is among the most politically explosive issues in the country. Any compromise by the government was unlikely in the lead-up to elections, while an uptick in violence could influence voting, analysts said. Opinion polls suggest the AKP will win re-election easily.

In its statement, the PKK said that from now on “our forces will defend themselves more actively, but will not carry out military actions against the forces which do not attack, which do not carry out operations and attack the public.” Continue reading

Turkey: Army jails stone-throwing children, sentences them to up to 50 years for ‘terrorism’

Jailing Kurdish Children to Undermine Dissent

By Daan Bauwens

DIYARBAKIR, Southeastern Turkey (IPS) – Turkey is signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, but that does not stop minors in the country’s Kurdish dominated eastern and southeastern regions from ending up with stiff jail sentences.

In fact, after amendments were recently made to the country’s anti-terror law, it is possible to charges children as terrorists and put them away for up to 50 years in jail.

According to official figures, there are currently 2,622 minors serving time in Turkish prisons. Earlier this week officials admitted that the figure was rising.

Lawyer Canan Atabay who represents the Diyarbakir Bar Association at the European Union and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and is also a member of the Justice for Children Initiative (JCI) that has opposed indiscriminate arrests and sentencing of children for the last three years believes that the law targets Kurdish children.

According to figures maintained by the JCI there are currently no fewer than 3,000 children being held in Turkish prisons. ‘’Almost all of them are Kurdish,’’ Atabay told IPS.

Turkey’s crackdown on children began in the aftermath of the 2006 street riots in Diyarbakir, a predominantly Kurdish city where support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that is struggling for the rights of Kurdish citizens runs high. In 2006, after the public funeral of 14 PKK members who were allegedly killed with chemical weapons, clashes between demonstrators and security forces broke out. Continue reading

Turkey: Security forces torture dissenters, enjoy impunity

Hooded prisoners take part in a protest in Istanbul against torture in Turkish prisons.

Torture – Live and Well in Turkey


By Jake R. Hess

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey  (IPS) – Six years after the ruling Justice and Development Party government declared ‘zero tolerance’ for torture, the practice prevails in Turkey, human rights monitors in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern region say.

As part of its EU membership bid, the Turkish government has expanded legal protections against torture, which is explicitly banned in Turkish law and now carries a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence. Detained individuals now have the right to immediately access legal counsel and limits have been placed on the amount of time they can be held in custody without appearing before a judge, though these provisions can be temporarily withheld in the case of terror suspects.

Despite such widely-acclaimed changes, torture is far from being history in Turkey.

According to data provided by the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), documented cases of torture dropped consistently in the years immediately following the announcement of the ‘zero tolerance’ policy, before more than doubling in the year 2008. Continue reading

UK Delegation in Turkey to observe the trial of 151 Kurdish political activists and human rights defenders

Kurdish woman on trial in Diayarbakir


Press Statement as read out to the Turkish media – 19 October 2010

For and on behalf of the UK delegation:
Mr. Jeremy Corbin MP, Mr. Hywel Williams MP, Mr. Ali Has – Lawyer/Spokesperson of Peace Council Britain, Mr. Hugo Charlton – Barrister, Mrs. Margaret Ann Owen – Barrister/Human Rights Activist and Serife Semsedini – Human Rights Activist.
We, as delegates from Britain of varying backgrounds and ethnicities, welcome the opportunity that has been afforded to us to have firsthand insight into these historic trials. During our observations thus far we have had the opportunity of meeting and speaking with Mayors, Parliamentarians, Lawyers, Academics and many other interested parties. This has given us the opportunity to explore at firsthand the issues in these trials and have helped to shape our understanding of the actual meaning of these trials.

We had firsthand experience of being in the Courtroom with the 151 defendants and their 250 lawyers yesterday and today. We can confidently express our observations thus far in the following manner:

Turkey, in its desire and aspiration to become a member of the European Union has not shown that it has progressed very much in terms of its treatment and approach to the Kurdish people, their politicians and the Kurdish question generally so as to pave a way forward for peaceful dialog and solution. We are confident in finding that these trials are politically motivated and are an attempt to suppress the political struggle of the Kurdish people through the judicial system. Continue reading

Turkey: 151 Kurdish politicians and rights defenders go on trial

KCK Trial Starts with Protests

BIA News Center, Istanbul,  October 18, 2010

151 Kurdish politicians and rights defenders will appear at court for the first time on 18 October in the scope of the KCK trial. The case is being observed by many local and international organizations. Some defendants face life sentences.

The so-called ‘KCK case’ against 151 defendants, 103 of them detained, will start in Diyabakır (south-eastern Turkey) today (18 October). Several members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and executives of non-governmental organizations such as the Human Rights Association (İHD) are incriminated in the trial which is going to be observed by many politicians and rights advocators from Turkey and Europe.

Police raids on 14 April 209 right after the local elections on 29 March 2009 resulted in the first wave of arrests.

The indictment comprises a total of 7,500 pages and was prepared in June 2010. Some of the defendants are facing life sentences, others imprisonment of up to 15 years. They are indicted with “disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the country”, “membership and leadership of a terrorist organization” or “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”. Continue reading

Turkey: Reporters jailed for covering human rights abuses of Kurds

Jake Hess was arrested in the city of Diyarbakir in the southeastern Turkey on August 11, 2010

The Independent,  August 31, 2010

My reporting on the Kurds landed me in a Turkish prison

When Jake Hess began investigating human rights abuses, he didn’t expect to be locked up and interrogated himself

I bumped into a local journalist friend on a recent afternoon in Diyarbakir, the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan. “This is Turkey,” he said wearily when I asked if the police were still harassing him because of his work. “If the police didn’t bother us [journalists], we’d think something was wrong.”

In retrospect, it was a silly question. After all, only three months before, a  judge in that very city had sentenced Vedat Kursun, the former editor of  Turkey’s only Kurdish-language daily newspaper, to 166 years in prison for “doing  propaganda for a terrorist organisation”. Hamdiye Ciftci, a young  Kurdish reporter known for her coverage of state violence in the  southeastern province of Hakkari, had been thrown in jail on “terrorism”  charges in June.

Critically reporting on the Turkish government’s treatment of the Kurds is  risky business indeed. I was barely surprised, then, when civil police from  the anti-terrorism branch of the Diyarbakir Security Directorate knocked on  my hotel room door and declared that they had come to arrest me for “being  in contact with and carrying out activities on behalf of terror organisations”,  namely the PKK and a related civilian body, the KCK. Continue reading

Turkey: Two Kurdish newspapers suspended; magazine copies seized

IPS Communication Foundation,  7 September 2010

Kurdish newspapers “Azadiya Welat” and “Rojev” have been suspended for one month under allegations of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. Similarly, copies of the left-wing “Guney” magazine were confiscated.

The “Rojev” paper had just resumed publishing after a long break on 24 August 2010 before the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court decreed the one-month publication ban. The decision was based on the 36th issue of the Kurdish paper, published on 28 August, which featured a picture of Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and a PKK flag on the front page.  Additionally, a chart depicting Ocalan and other members of the militant organization published on page eight of the same issue was given as a reason for the ban.

On 21 August, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court suspended the publication of “Azadiya Welat”, the only nation-wide Kurdish daily published in Turkey, on the grounds of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization” and “praising criminals”. The decision stemmed from the paper’s 21 August issue.

Editor-in-chief M. Nedim Karadeniz said that the newspaper has “faced unlawful bans” for eight issues within the past four years. He added that the daily had already been closed down three times since the beginning of the year.

“None of these suspension punishments were in line with universal law. As a matter of fact, Turkey was convicted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in similar cases related to newspapers stemming from the tradition of the Free Press. Imagine a judiciary system where all the news and articles in the current issue of a twelve-page newspaper are considered a crime,” the editor-in-chief said. Continue reading