TURKISH STATE BEARS RESPONSIBILITY

As more children die from what has been confirmed as the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, this statement comes from KNK, via Kurdish Media:

Kurdish mayor of bird flu town complains of lack of support from Turkish government

1/6/2006
KNK

Mukkades Kubilay, the Kurdish woman mayor of Dogubayazit, the town that is at the centre of the bird flu crisis in Turkey, has complained to the Turkish media that the Turkish authorities are not doing enough to combat the bird flu crisis and are leaving the local Kurdish council to struggle with limited resources. She is concerned that the virus could spread.

In a phone conversation to a member of the Kurdish community in London, Mukkades complained that the Turkish authorities are leaving the local council to slaughter birds and doctors are demanding money before coming to the area. The council do not have the finances to deal with the bird flu and are concerned that not enough is being done. The Mayor has also complained that continued lack of resources to the Kurdish area have left the town in poverty and with no proper medical facilities. She said that if proper medical facilities had been in Dogubayazit the lives of those who died perhaps could have been saved.

The Halkevi condemns this discrimination of the Kurdish people in Turkey and is concerned that if proper resources are not made available to the local council this could threaten a further spread of the virus. We demand that further resources are made available to the local council immediately.

If you wish to speak to Mukkades Kubilay her telephone number is 0090 472 312 6396, 0090 5338140930 (You will need a Turkish/Kurdish interpreter).

For further information please contact:
Ibrahim Dogus: 020 7249 6980
Mark Campbell: 07865 079 415

There is also this telling statement at the end of a recent Reuters report:

The WHO said in a statement dated Thursday that Turkish authorities had told it that the district had been placed under quarantine, with no people or animals allowed to move in or out. However, a Reuters reporter there on Friday saw no controls.

Enforced poverty of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, as well as lack of services, have been part of the policies of the Turkish state used to wipe out the existence of the Kurdish people. Are these policies now beginning to bear fruit for the Turks? What they could not do with all their armies, they are permitting a tiny virus to do.

If I believed the international community were concerned about Kurds, then I would have some hope that this dangerous situation would be handled aggressively. But since the international community has served as enablers of Turkish fascism and has ignored the situation of Kurds under Turkish-occupation, they will do nothing now.

Too bad. It will end up being their funeral as well.

UPDATE:

More information about the purposeful mishandling of the outbreak of the H5N1 virus among humans in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, from the Washington Post:

Six specialists, representing the World Health Organization, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Union, were en route to the area of Mt. Ararat near the borders of Armenia and Iran, where chickens had been reported dying last month in the poor village of Dogubayazit. “It is very important to get the results on the genetic and virulent characteristics of this virus,” said Caroline Brown, head of the World Health Organization mission in Turkey. “I think that’s crucial.”

Officials apparently did not report the bird flu outbreak in the village of Dogubayazit last month, despite indications that birds in the vicinity had contracted the disease.

[ . . . ]

International health officials were reluctant to criticize the Ankara government, which after initially denying bird flu had caused any deaths, has welcomed foreign assistance. But others question how well the government was prepared. When bird flu first surfaced in Turkey in mid-October, believed to have been carried over the Black Sea by migrating wildfowl, the Health Ministry announced it was ordering 500,000 boxes of Tamiflu, the only anti-viral medication effective in treating the disease once passed to humans.

But doctors treating the Kocyigit children apparently had none of the medicine, even though their hospital is a university hospital in a major city. It was unclear whether Turkey did in fact order the anti-viral. There is a global shortage of the drug, which for commercial sale is made exclusively by the Swiss firm Roche. “There was no order that was placed,” said a spokeswoman for the firm’s Turkey office. She said the Health Ministry’s stock of Tamiflu stood at 15,000 boxes.

[ . . . . ]

As reports of suspected additional cases arrived from other remote provinces — Diyarbakir, Erzurum and Siirt all reported new patients — commentators slammed the Turkish government for downplaying the possibility that the disease had surfaced in Van.

“The Kocyigit siblings did not die only because they were in close contact with birds,” columnist Umur Talu wrote in the mainstream daily Sabah, “but also because those who should have been alarmed long ago about a danger which had been expected for months did not move their bottoms fast enough . . . because they tried to hide the truth . . . because they chose denial.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the government’s response. But his justice minister, who also serves as spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party, on Friday apologized for having denied that bird flu had infected a human and for questioning the motives of those issuing the report.

If H5N1 makes the transition to a human-to-human transmitted disease in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan as a direct result of Ankara’s policies toward its occupied Kurdish population, will international health officials and the international community continue to refuse to criticize Ankara?

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