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November 10, 2012

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Kurdistan, Turkey and the West’s immoral hypocrisy again!!

Kurdishaspect.com - By Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

Dr Kamal Mirawdeli’s Memorandum to the British Prime Minister

His Excellency David Cameron, the Prime Minister 

10 Downing Street City of Westminster, SW1A

8th November 2012

Dear Prime Minister,

Kurds in Turkey and Syria

I am writing to express my grave concerns about the fate of Kurdish hunger strikers in Turkey’s prisons, the general deterioration of human rights and democratic freedoms under the increasingly authoritarian Islamic government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the continued oppression of Kurdish people and denial of their basic human, civil and political rights in Turkey. 

Also I would like to express my strong disappointment and anger at the hypocritical double-standard attitude of the British government regarding human rights issues in the Middle East especially the situation of over 20 million Kurds in Turkey and another 20 million Kurds in Syria, Iraq and Iran. 

It is really shameful that the Foreign Office has so far failed to even express a timid opinion about this grave human rights situation in Turkey and Middle East which will have a great impact on the reputation and image of Britain. There are over 200,000 Kurdish citizens in UK, never mind that they are still not recognised even statistically as ‘Kurdish’ by the Home Office, who expect ‘their’ government to be fair and principled in its approach to all issues of human rights, democracy and self-determination in the world especially the Kurdish issue as Britain still has serious historical and moral questions to answer regarding the destiny of the Kurdish nation and its continued sagas of political division and fragmentation, human tragedy, forced assimilation, national oppression and genocide.

Over 700 Kurdish hunger-strikers facing death in jail

1) According to Turkish CNN, “Turkey's Justice Ministry announced Friday 2nd November 2012 “that at least 682 inmates were participating in a hunger strike in at least 67 prisons across the country. The strike has entered its 52nd day’ and “Dr. Aytug Atici, a medical doctor and a lawmaker from the secularist Republican People's Party, told CNN that prisoners he met during a tour of detention facilities were starting to lose basic brain functions and were showing symptoms of starvation.”  http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/02/world/europe/ turkey-prisons-hunger-strike/index.htm

2) Turkey’s main medical association warned two days ago that the jailed hunger strikers in Turkey may start to die within the next 10 days, saying the prime minister’s dismissal of the protest as a “show” risked hardening their resolve.  The hunger strike entered its 51st day yesterday, with some 700 prisoners refusing food in dozens of prisons across Turkey, demanding the government grant greater Kurdish minority rights and better conditions for their jailed leader.” http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/middle-east/212843- kurdish-hunger-strikers-could-die-in-10-days-warn-doctors-.html

Turkey encouraging and sponsoring Kurdish civil war in Syria

3) According to London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that on Friday 2nd November, forces belonging to the so-called Syrian Free Army backed Turkey and some Arab countries killed a female Kurdish leader in the northern city of Aleppo, which could further grow tensions between anti-regime fighters and the Kurds who control most of the Kurdish areas in the country. Shaha Ali Abdu, who also known as Nujeen Dirik, was captured by the anti-regime rebels while she was on a humanitarian mission, then killed on Friday, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group says.  She was the head of a Kurdish popular defence unit that is part of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey accuses of being a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.). “She was killed a week after she was captured by rebels,” the Britain-based watchdog added. According to the Observatory, 42-year-old Dirik was captured when she went to hand over to the rebels the bodies of opposition fighters killed in the fighting earlier with the PYD. http://ikjnews.com/?p=5532

The situation in Syria

During his visit to Jordan the Prime Minister met refugees escaping from of the brutality of the Syrian regime and heard the stories of their ‘horrendous suffering.”  Later he said that Britain would begin talks with armed Syrian rebels in a bid to unite the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, and that the discussions are due to take place in Jordan and Turkey. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20232491]

Dear Sir,

I am extremely concerned that Britain’s Syrian policy is leaning towards arming and supporting motley fighting groups in Syria including many foreign Sunni Jihadist groups supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, that have chosen to use indiscriminate violence and extreme jihadist ideologies and may pose serious threat to Christian, Kurdish and Alawite minorities. The last thing that these groups think of is democracy, and human rights and freedoms. After the bitter experience of creating the Taliban and the persistent lethal knock-on effects of this folly including the death of hundreds of British soldiers in Afghanistan, and the tragic human cost of US and Britain’s invasion of Iraq, one would expect Britain to act in a more rational, balanced and humane way and in line with its long-term interests and standards of fairness and democracy in its foreign affairs especially in the Muddle East.

The Kurdish people in Syria, due to decades of oppression, have suffered the most from the Ba'athist regime (about 200,000 Kurds do not have even citizenship in Syria). Therefore, they have always been the vanguards in resistance to the regime. The first real mass uprising against the regime started in the Kurdish city of Qamishli in March 2004, but this was labelled as riots by the Western media and ignored as usual by Western governments supporting the brutal despotic regimes of the Middle East.   [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Al-Qamishli_riots]

Dear Sir,

I am sorry that I have to say frankly that It is absolutely immoral to recognize, legitimize, arm, finance and support various murderous groups in Syria and support the century-long brutality of the Turkish racist/fascist regime against the Kurdish people, while labeling Kurdish political representatives and politicians in Turkish jails demanding the right to use Kurdish in courts, Kurdish children on Diyarbakir streets demanding education in their mother tongue or Kurdish women freedom fighters in Qandil  mountains sacrificing  their young lives for their people’s  survival and dignity, as ‘ terrorists’. History will not forgive you! This immoral policy just like the British government’s criminal support to Saddam Hussain in his genocide against our people, will haunt you forever and our people whether this generation or next ones, will definitely be able one day to take Britain and other Western supporters of Saddam and Turkey to the International Criminal Court to make them accountable for persistent deliberate war crimes against Kurdish people.  

I wrote similar letters to Mrs. Thatcher while her government was arming Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. Her reply was that Britain’s trade interests would be jeopardized if Britain stopped selling arms to Saddam while other competing countries would do it anyway. But this simple logic meant that the village I was born in was annihilated, the town I studied, taught and grew up in was razed to earth with 4000 other villages and towns and 182,000 children, men and women were taken to be buried alive in different mass graves around Iraq.  Even after Halabja, the British government continued to offer credit facilities to Saddam to buy British arms. Now according to a report in the Guardian (6th November 2012) still “Britain is owed hundreds of millions of pounds of unpaid debt on loans to autocratic governments in Argentina, Indonesia, Iraq and Zimbabwe for UK weapons and equipment that were used against civilians.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/nov/06/britain- owed-millions-weapons-regimes]

This proves that while supporting the genocide of a whole people, British people did not even get much economic advantage from this inhumane policy. The immoral hypocrisy of this policy reached its climax when Tony Blair and George Bush used the tragedy of Halabja to justify their disastrous invasion of and war crimes Iraq.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/sep/02/tony -blair-iraq-war-desmond-tutu

Dear Sir,

Human morality, like his mortality, is indivisible. You can’t be moral, just and democratic in London while being barbaric and merchant of blood in the Middle East and Kurdistan. Exterior immorality will undoubtedly slowly but steadily creep into the very interior fabric of those who exercise it. For over a century Western governments have prided themselves in their civilized and democratic ‘rational’ institutions and democratic values.  But just taking Britain as an example, we have seen in the last few years the moral decay of the civilized institutions of its social system, from the church, to parliament, to Banks, to the Murdoch and Tabloid media, to BBC, to hospitals and child care institutions, to the culture of celebrity and even the heart of the government: the workings of the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence which yet to be revealed. These are not separate occurrences.  They are all serious natural upshots of deep-rooted immorality (in the form of unrestricted and irresponsible profit-seeking, fraud, dishonesty, sexual exploitation, greed and corruption, inhumanity) that has become the substance and structure of the capitalist system and its institutions whose marginalized victims so far have been the Other: the helpless nations like Kurds, Tamils, the people of Darfur, etc, as well as the poor, the children, the women, the disabled and people needing care and compassion. 

Dear Sir,

Britain’s unconditional support to the fascist Turkish state, turning a blind eye to a century-long plight and repression of the Kurdish people in Turkey, is absolutely immoral. There are over 10,000 Kurdish political prisoners. Many of the hunger strikers have been imprisoned without trial, while others are serving long terms for carrying out nonviolent political activities. Kurdish prisoners are subjected to lengthy solitary confinement, sudden night raids, and even torture, according to rights groups. The Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) has received reports that the hunger strikers have been beaten, isolated and denied vitamin B1, salt and sugar water. (Hurriyet Daily News, Nov. 7; Al Jazeera, Nov. 5) 

Turkish government began its witch-hunt after the local elections in Turkey in April 2009 when pro-Kurdish Peace and Democratic Party (BDP) won 99 municipalities in the local elections in March 2009. More than 10,000 Kurds have been jailed in the last three years. Many solicitors, mayors, journalists, human rights defenders, BDP members, unionists, students, mothers and children have been arrested and imprisoned. About 181 children have been killed since AKP came to power in 2002. In a press statement on June 26 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Human Rights Association (IHD) Diyarbakir Branch reported that 281 people in Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia Regions were subjected to torture and ill treatment in the first four months of this year. (ANF news agency, 26 June 2012)  According to Turkish Medical Association the possibility of deaths from hunger strikes in Turkish jails is a grim reminder of a number of deaths since 1980. Some 144 people, including Kurds and leftists, have starved themselves to death since then according to the medical association.  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204 755404578103082322885730.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

According to a recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) the situation of freedom of press in Turkey has reached a crisis point. Turkish authorities are engaging in widespread criminal prosecution and jailing of journalists, and are applying other forms of severe pressure to promote self-censorship in the press. [http://www.cpj.org/europe/turkey/]

Peaceful Kurdish demonstrations in Istanbul and other cities in support of hunger-strikers and Kurdish rights have faced violent crack down by police without this arousing any interest of Western media or governments. 

[http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/31/world/europe/ turkey-protests/index.html]

However, these are all continued symptoms of the larger issue: the denial of Kurdish identity and equal citizenship rights of Kurds in Turkey.

Dear Sir,

Old thinking and old solutions do not work in a new changing interdependent globalised world dominated by revolutionary information sharing technology. The loss of the Republican Party in the US in spite of billions of dollars they spend to brainwash people to elect Mitt Romney did not succeed. While Mitt Romney was calling for small government, meaning stopping the government little support schemes to the poor, and reproductive medical care to women and families, he was thinking very Big Government in terms of supporting the gigantic American military-industrial complex, thinking that US can still kill its way out of its problems by exporting its crises to other countries and increasing killing fields in the Middle East. But this did not work either. I am afraid that our Prime Minister’s drive to sell more arms to the despotic sheikhs of the Gulf and arm jihadist murderers to prolong death, destruction and misery of the Syrian people and remove Assad, just like Saddam, without having a clue about alternatives other than creating some external political puppets with no roots and legitimacy among Syrian communities, is a recipe for failure, disaster and further spiralling human tragedies. The Syrian children, women, ordinary people in Aleppo, Damascus and other cites and towns just want peace, they want bloodshed to stop and normal life to return. Already many neighbourhoods have disappeared, more than one million people have been uprooted, more than 50,000 civilians are dead and now PM thinks of arming the rebels in the name of liberation while there are clear evidence that the rebels are also responsible of committing crimes against humanity and massacring civilians and captives. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/03/world/middleeast/un- says-syria-execution-video-shows-apparent-war-crime.html?_r=0

Dear Sir,

Kurdish people everywhere are very anxious and apprehensive about Turkish government’s plans to create civil war in Kurdish areas in Syria and even encourage an intra-Kurdish civil war by creating, financing and arming a pro-Turkish kurdish militia on the one hand, and inciting and supporting hard-line Arab and Turkoman jihadist militia to attack the Kurds and occupy Kurdish lands. Turkey has a lot of experience in these diabolical schemes. The Turkish state used Turkish Hezbollah in Kurdish areas in the 1990s to murder tens of Kurdish political activists on the one hand and accuse Kurds of being backward Islamist terrorists on the other. Now Turkey as a Nato regional power neighbouring Syria, is almost the sole direct sponsor and influencer of the anti-regime violence in Syria. One of the main aims of Turkey is to deny the Kurdish people in Syria the opportunity to obtain their natural national rights and possibly the creation of a federal region for Kurds like that in Iraq. The Kurds have been able so far to get organised, to liberate their areas, to protect religious minorities, and avoid violence and civil war. But Turkey is doing everything to change the situation on the ground and extend bloodshed, destruction and civil war to Kurdish areas. The recent attacks by Turkish-backed Salafi militia against Kurdish neighbourhoods in Aleppo and their attempt to attack Kurdish town of ‘Afrin and the bloodshed resulting form these including the criminal murder of a Kurdish female captive leader, are ominous developments demonstrating the diabolical plans of the Turkish government in collaboration with extremist jihadist salafi groups. The most vulgar excuse is to accuse Kurds of being terrorists, allied to PKK or pro-Assad while the Kurds have been the main victims of the Ba’thist nationalist regime of Bashar Assad and his father before him.  http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/kurdwar/ articles/20121101.aspx

If the Kurds were terrorists, if they followed the examples, tactics and schemes of super-powers, they could burn down the whole Istanbul in one week. If the Kurds were terrorists, if everyday a car bomb blew up women and children in crowed markets, if a road -side bomb threatened every passenger car in every road around Turkey, if the Kurds abducted and beheaded Americans, surely they would not be labelled terrorists. But, like the Taliban, they would be recognised as a genuine political force that Ankara must negotiate and compromise with.  This is the American Administration’s aim. Turkey must use drones and indulge in indiscriminate killing of Kurds the way Obama does in Afghanistan and Pakistan so that the Kurds would finally resort to lethal terrorism, eternal ethnic conflict between Kurds and Turks would materialize and PKK would qualify as a genuine political force recognized by CIA and, like the Iranian terrorist group MEK would be removed from terrorist black list!

Dear Sir,

Britain should never trust and support regimes that repress their own people.  The government of the Islamic AKP party in Turkey is becoming increasingly authoritarian, ideological and non-tolerant. It has revived the old dream of Pan-Ottoman Middle-East and its inclination to use the current crisis in Syria to strengthen its military power and technology by cynically exploiting its position as a member of NATO, is part of its long-term forward thinking in this direction. That is why Turkey is asking Nato to put Patriot missiles on border.

I appeal to British government not to go along with Turkish demands. 

Please put pressure on the Turkish government to respond to the just demands of the hunger-strikers, to legalize and formalize the use of Kurdish language in all stages of education, to release the jailed Kurdish leader Abdulla Ocalan and all Kurdish political prisoners and start a political dialogue with PKK and BDP representatives, to take serious and urgent steps to amend the Turkish Constitution to make it more democratically inclusive and recognizing national identity and rights of Kurdish people in North Kurdistan, to stop its negative interference in Syrian Kurdistan and its military attacks in Southern Kurdistan. Britain’s experience in dealing with IRA and establish peace, stability and prosperity in Northern Ireland is an invaluable successful experience and process. 

Children and women of Syria want peace, In the name and for the sake of humanity and justice and protecting the lives and livelihoods of innocent people and stopping death and destruction, Britain must work for peace first and then think of any further plans for change in Syria. 

British government should ensure that there would be a real democratic process in Syria in which all the ethnic, religious and sectarian constituents of Syria would be represented. And are not marginalized or discriminated against.  The start should be a secular democratic Constitution that would recognize the ethnic identity, languages and diverse religions of the Syrian citizens. To compensate for 100 years of colonization and oppression the Kurdish people in West Kurdistan should be allowed to have their federal region within the unity of the Syrian state. Britain should encourage Turkey to adopt the same sort of Constitution and strategy to solve its own Kurdish problem. 

Children of Syria and Kurdistan do not want any more wars, violence, bloodshed and genocide. Stop selling arms and spreading blood markets. Support peace, human rights and democratic Constitutions and institutions.

Yours sincerely,

Kamal Mirawdeli (Dr.)

Kurdish writer, politician and presidential candidate in Kurdistan Region of Iraq (July 2009) 

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