Archive for Turkey

OPPRESSION: CONTINUED . . .

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2009 by Mizgîn
“A desire to resist oppression is implanted in the nature of man.”
~ Tacitus.

Having mentioned the murder of Kurds in Iran by the mullahs yesterday, it’s rather coincidental that the following was in my inbox today:

I am a twenty-seven year Kurdish woman who has been sentenced to death by the Iranian Judiciary authority for my political activities. After I was given death sentence last year I appealed and my case was reviewed by the Iranian High Court. The High Court sustained the lower court’s decision.

I am under constant torture and humiliation. I was put on an orchestrated trial without a legal representation and after a few minutes I was sentenced to death. I don’t have a lawyer to defend me. The Court only dedicated a few minutes to my case. The Court told me that I was an “Enemy of God,” and in a short period of time all enemies of God would be hanged. All the judges in my trial voted for my execution.

I asked the Judge if I could say good-bye to my mother. He told me “shut up.” The Judge rejected my appeal and refused to let me to see my mother. Since I cannot defend myself, I ask all advocates and activists of human/women’s rights to campaign on my behalf and support me. I need your help.

Zaynab Jalalian

Zaynab’s crime? She’s a Kurd.

You can see the document at the KNCNA website, under the homepage heading “Documents and letters”.

I wanted to point out that last week PRI’s The World program aired a segment on The Forbidden Letters in Turkey. Mahmut Alınak–I love this guy–was quoted. A TSK’er insisted that people who use The Forbidden Letters should be imprisoned. Of course, the TSK’er should logically include himself among the imprisoned, if we consider a defense that Diyarbakır’s mayor, Osman Baydemir, used in a recent court case against him for using The Forbidden W:

[Murharrem] Erbey [of the Diyarbakır İHD] said his client [Osman Baydemir] asked everyone, “Do you log onto the justice ministry’s website?” The judge and the prosecutors said yes. Then he asked “What do you type when you go there?” The answer was something like “www dot gov dot TR. Then the mayor said, “Aren’t you breaking the law? Every time you type W three times and you go to the site hundreds of times a day. But when W is used in the Kurdish context it’s a crime.”

Touché, Heval Osman!

You can visit the site and read the transcript of the segment or listen to it via mp3.

Let me add that if the nationalists want to be consistent about The Forbidden Letters, some of the Alparen Ocakları types need to go around knocking The Forbidden W off the BMW’s of the elites.

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UPDATES FROM DIYARBAKIR’S IHD OFFICE

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 5, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Today’s human rights violations are the causes of tomorrow’s conflicts.”
~ Mary Robinson.

Here are a couple of statements from the Diyarbakır IHD office. The first is an update on the human rights situation in the Kurdish region of Turkey:

PRESS STATEMENT

27 October 2009

(Give the Republic’s biggest project a chance)

Dear press members

Although we’ve seen partial advancements regarding democracy and human rights in Turkey in recent times, we can still say that there are serious problems concerning the exercise of basic rights and liberties. Two forms of power are needed for human rights to find life in a country; the first is the power of Democratic Public Opinion, and the second is the power of the law. If these two forms of power don’t exist in a given country we can’t mention human rights. When we look at practices in Turkey in recent years, it’s clear that there are very serious complications obstructing the exercise of each of these forms of power.

In the European Union progress report released on 13 October 2009, it says that Turkey has made progress in the areas of economic competition and statistical and scientific research, but that there’s a chequered picture in the areas of human rights and democracy.

According to the EU report, with respect to the primacy of human rights and democracy, the protection of minorities, civil and political rights, civil oversight of expenditures on security forces, reform of the constitution, freedom of assembly and protest, freedom of belief, reform of local administration, the independence of the country’s forensic medical foundation, the independence of the judiciary, children being punished with sentences of 25 years in prison, the use of languages other than Turkish, the right to unionize, the rights of disabled people, the Kurdish question, the Cyprus question, the question of cultural rights, the problem of novels and discrimination, in some areas we’re still witnessing serious fluctuations – that is, regression – instead of halts to violations.

Fourteen days after the 29 March 2009 local elections, a major operation was carried out against the Democratic Society Party (Demokratik Toplum Partisi – DTP). Three operations have been carried out against the party in the last six months. More than 1,000 people have been detained. Due to a judicial decision prohibiting access to files concerning the situation of the detained people, 450 DTP members and activists have remained under arrest for months without knowing what they’re being charged with. The principle and practice of being released pending trial is violated for DTP members and child victims of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law. There country’s prison population now exceeds 120,000. In the last four years, security forces have increased the use of disproportionate force against children and children’s deaths have increased as a result. In the latest EU progress report this matter is raised by mentioning police officers who have been “acquitted” after facing trial for “killing outside legitimate self-defence”.

In recent years the army’s repression and tutelage over politics, the judiciary, media and society have reached extraordinary dimensions. The military very frequently goes before the press and makes statements on all varieties of political issues. In the EU progress report it’s requested that the 1997 EMASYA secret Protocol on Security, Public Order and Assistance Units be terminated.

When we look at our table of confirmed violations in the East and Southeast Anatolia region, we can’t say that a heart-warming picture emerges. When we evaluate violations in the last nine months of the year 2009, we see an erratic picture. The number of lives lost in clashes has decreased compared to last year, but we’ve observed that these losses continue and that there’s been a sharp increase in extrajudicial killings as well as murders carried out by unknown perpetrators.

We’ve also seen that the number of people killed and injured by mines and stand-alone explosive articles has increased. A serious increase of complaints regarding torture and maltreatment has been seen again. An increase in incidences of interference in and beatings at social actions has been confirmed in the last nine months. The disproportionate use of force has been triggered by a failure to open sufficient inquiries against those who use excessive force, the abscence of anger control, and the forcing of security forces to work excessive overtime hours.

It seems that everything changed for the worse following the Prime Minister’s July 2005 action and greatly important speech on the Kurdish question in Diyarbakır, especially in 2008, when violations reached their highest levels. Violations decreased considerably in the first three months of 2009 and have continued to increase since April. At a time when a democratic solution for the Kurdish question is being debated, we’re curious as to why violations are increasing non-stop.

In recent years the government has introduced an extremely hardline approach to policy and matters related to children. Slapping children with sentences of between 10 and 25 years in prison due to their flashing of the ‘V’ for victory sign with their fingers or for throwing stones, the aquittal of those responsible for the death of Uğur Kaymaz, the 28 September killing of Ceylan Önköl with an artillery shell, and the fact that those responsible for the loss of 18 month-old Mehmet Uytun’s life – who died as a result of a gas bomb that was deployed as his mother was breastfeeding him on the balcony of their home in Cizre – still haven’t been found, has damaged the trust of the region’s people in the state and judiciary and increased mistrust between local people and the state. Why has there been a serious increase in children’s deaths? Why haven’t the perpetrators been tried following these deaths? What’s the explanation for the fact that 98% of judicial and administrative inquiries opened about security forces between 2003 and 2008 ended in their favor and that 2% ended with light punishments?

The increase in human rights abuses in recent times has been caused by intensified operations and clashes in northern Iraq and Turkey’s Eastern and Southeastern regions, the repression of peaceful and nonviolent social movements and political parties, and the growth of hardline nationalism.

We find the work the government’s doing concerning the ‘Democratic opening’ to be meaningful and positive. However, the rapid increase in human rights violations that this process has coincided with perturbs us. We don’t understand the extreme reaction that’s been shown to the return of those who came from Kandil and Mahmur. They returned with the goal of opening the clogged political process and were met with a peaceful gathering, without throwing a single stone, initiating any violent rallies or shouting anti-state slogans. We think that there needs to be an end to the speeches to the effect that after this, every word and every step taken must be taken within an approach that considers all of the emotions in Turkey, that those who are going to contribute to a solution must be ‘more careful’, and that ‘we’ll turn back, we’ll start from the beginning.’

If we turn away from a Democratic solution to the Kurdish Question – the Republic’s biggest project – our country will be brought back a hundred years, and if there’s a solution it’ll be the end of an era and we’ll move into a bright period. It’ll be brought closer to Europe. We’re either going to forget the pain of the past and open a new page or we’re going to dig new graves. Believing in everyone’s dream of peace, from now on we request that prejudices and the past be left aside, that work be done to stop the flow of blood, and that steps be taken mindful of the weight of every word and action.

With our respect,

Muharrem Erbey, Attorney at Law

Vice President of the Human Rights Association

President of the Diyarbakir Branch of the HRA

The second statement, below, is an IHD statement on the murder of Ceylan Önkol:

PRESS STATEMENT

13 October 2009

(Why aren’t those who killed Ceylan being investigated?)

On 28 September 2009 at 11:30, 12 year-old Ceylan Önkol lost her life as a result of being fired upon while tending sheep. The incident occured in Xambaz hamlet near Şenlik village in the Lice district of Diyarbakır province. A Human Rights Delegation drafted a report after visiting the village where the incident took place and gathering everyone’s statements. Ceylan’s mother, father, older brother and indeed every witness asserted that they had heard a humming and vooming-type sound that came from the direction of Tabantepe police station, followed by an explosion. Even this assertion implies that a mortar had been fired at that time. They didn’t know the exact type of weapon that was used, but the family identified the item as a mortar shell. But the type of artillery doesn’t change the identity of the perpetrators. The perpetrators are the ones who have these very special weapons.

The UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child was published in Turkey’s official gazete in 1994 and went into effect in the country the same year. The Convention’s sixth article states: ‘1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life. 2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.’ The state has to protect and safeguard children. The fact that perpetrators aren’t being tried in an active and effective way as the number of children’s deaths increases leaves us human rights defenders concerned.

In the criminal report it says that a mortar had been fired before the incident occured. But that contention can’t be used to absolve the suspects of responsibility for Ceylan’s death. Has even the most minor inquiry about the perpetrators been carried out up until now? What was the sound that was heard before the explosion, and why was it heard by everyone? Is the topic of the mortar that had been fired before being removed from the line of inquiry?

Do sounds like that emerge when mortar shells are tampered with while they’re on the ground? According to the witness statements, was there or was there not a humming and vooming sound after it was fired? How come the criminal report that wasn’t given to Serdar Çelebi and Keziban Yılmaz (the Önkol family’s lawyers and members of the Human Rights Association’s Steering Committee) by the Lice public prosecturor’s office was given to the entire press in a surreptitious way? We’re interested in the answers to these questions.

In this region, we’ve seen other incidents resulting from articles that resemble unexploded ordinance and remants of war being tampered with or hit with a rock in areas where there are children. We showed that such incidents resulted in the child’s hand being severed and her entire body wounded.

In conclusion, we’ve been told that this incident result from Ceylan hitting an unexploded shell with a farming tool that she was holding in her hand. The report prepared by the criminal investigation unit at Diyarbakır Metropolitan Police Headquarters was not objective, and when the case file comes to the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, we’re going to object as the Human Rights Association and as the family’s lawyers.

We’re going to request that research be done to determine whether or not it’s possible to ascertain that a bomb had been deployed or not by looking at the components of the case file.

Muharrem Erbey, Attorney at Law

Vice President of the Human Rights Association, President of the Diyarbakır branch of the HRA

WOMEN IN TURKISH POLITICS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 29, 2009 by Mizgîn
“We take action both for the woman raped in Istanbul or the woman stoned to death for adultery in Iran. But this is not enough. For this is not simply women’s problem, the source of this politics is the male mentality.”
~ Sebahat Tuncel.

Hürriyet’s English news is moaning over the lack of women politicians in Turkey:

The lack of political representation for Turkish women is the heaviest factor dragging on Turkey’s quest for gender equality, according to a global index that puts the country in 129th place out of 134.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2009 comes as a disappointment, with Turkey falling two places compared to last year’s ranking.

For a country whose NGOs, women’s groups and government are constantly launching initiatives in an attempt to close the gap, the poor ranking shows that Turkey lags desperately behind due to its lack of political empowerment and participation of women in Parliament.

The article quotes an AKP female parliamentarian, Özlem Türköne, and some other non-governmental Turkish women, but it completely ignores the one party with the largest number of women politicians for its size in Turkey: the DTP.

In the local elections of 29 March, DTP’s women mayors took 14 cities (See: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5302 ) and it has 8 women parliamentarians: Ayla Akad Ata, Aysel Tuğluk, Gülten Kışanak, Pervin Buldan, Emine Ayna, Sevahir Bayındır, Fatma Kurtulan, and Sebahat Tuncel. Why did the Horrible Hürriyet ignore these women politicians? Was it because they’re Kurds?

What does this say about the differences between Kurdish men and Turkish men, if so many Kurdish women are able to run for public office and and succeed? Moreover, what does this say about the influence of the PKK’s emphasis on gender equality on the Kurdish people?

Part of the reason for the success of Kurdish women politicians in Turkey is the fact that the DTP has a quota for women:

Gabriela Cretu (PES, RO) asked which Turkish political parties supported women’s rights most. In reply, Yesim Arat pointed to the Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), which has a quota for women and thus more elected women politicians than in “developed” regions of Turkey.

The idea of a quota for all Turkish parties was not addressed at all by the Horrible Hürriyet, even though the DTP parliamentarians have made proposals to impose a 40% quota for women on political parties in Turkey.

Of course the situation of Kurdish women in Turkey is still difficult. Many families still forbid girls from going to school, which is an unacceptable situation, as is the reality of “honor” suicides or “honor” murder. Living situations in the villages continues to be extremely difficult for women. Still, the Kurdish women politicians are proof that good education for girls can make a huge difference for all Kurdish women.

And I’m willing to bet that all of our women politicians had parents that supported and, perhaps, sacrificed for their educations. Not only are these women the models for all Kurdish girls, but their parents are the models for all Kurdish parents.

In the meantime, a Turkish judge has convicted Aysel Tuğluk for “spread[ing] the propaganda of a terrorist organization” for a speech she gave in 2006, in which she praised the signature campaign for Öcalan. Tuğluk’s lawyer will be preparing an appeal.

FRIDAY NOTES

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2009 by Mizgîn
“One joy shatters a hundred griefs.”
~ Chinese proverb.

Let me catch up with some things that I have wanted to post here this week but have not had the chance to do.

Firstly, thanks very much to the heval who pointed out to me that there is a series of twenty-one videos of the Peace and Democracy Groups in Diyarbakır on Youtube which were taken from Roj TV. When you watch these videos you will notice the celebratory mood of the people, something that has received intense criticism in Turkish media.

With that in mind, one should ask why these people are celebrating. Is it because this is a victory for PKK? In a way it is, but that’s not the primary motivation for the celebration. Do the people celebrate because they are finally reunited with guerrilla family members that they never thought they’d see again? For some of these people, that is certainly the reason. They are seeing fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles that they never dreamed they’d see again. Every guerrilla goes to the mountains with the realization that they will not be coming back. Either they will die in the mountains or they will live out the rest of their lives there.

But the reunification of eight guerrillas with their families does not explain why ten thousand people descended on Silopi in joy, or why one hundred thousand showed up to greet the peace groups in Diyarbakır. So this cannot be the primary motivation for celebration either.

The primary motivation for the rejoicing we have witnessed in the last few days is that all of these people believe they can see the faint light that heralds the end of the long, dark tunnel of war. If there are tears being shed during these celebrations, they are not the tears of victory; they are tears of joy at the prospect of peace.

This is something that is not even remotely fathomed in Western Turkey because the people there–with rare exception–have no idea what has happened in The Southeast for the last twenty-five years. They have no inkling of the level of destruction that has taken place, whether that destruction has been physical or psychological. They have no idea of the level of poverty that still exists. They have no idea of the numbers of the missing, or the tortured, or the displaced. They have no idea . . .

Anyway . . . enough of that for now because I hate crying.

Next, Military.com ran a feature earlier this week on Sibel Edmonds and her claims of espionage at the Department of Defense. What’s unique about this piece is that the author managed to get statements from some of the worst vermin that Sibel has named. Here’s something from the Prince of Darkness himself:

“This woman is a nutcase. Certifiable,” [Neocon extraordinaire Richard] Perle said. “She makes wild accusations. She was fired from her job, and has been on a vendetta against … imagined demons ever since.”

There’s also something from the guy General Tommy Franks called “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet”:

[Doug] Feith, in an email to Military.com, said: “What I’ve read on the Internet about Ms. Edmonds’s claims about me is wildly false and bizarre.”

The only one who couldn’t–or wouldn’t–speak for himself was Mr. Susurluk, Marc Grossman:

Robert S. Tyrer, co-president of The Cohen Group, a Washington lobbying firm where Grossman is now a vice chairman, told Military.com in an email that Edmonds’ allegations against the former ambassador “are completely untrue and ludicrous.”

Okay. If these three little roaches think that Sibel Edmonds’ claims are “completely untrue”, “wildly false and bizarre”, or that she “makes wild accusations”, why don’t they bring suit for defamation? Why don’t they bring suit against all the publications who’ve printed Sibel’s story or against those media that have interviewed her for television or radio? And that seems to be the general argument in the comments to The Brad Blog’s report on Military.com’s piece.

Thirdly, Luke Rosiak, who’s been documenting the Turkish lobby for the Sunlight Foundation, notes that Robert Wexler (D-FL) has suddenly decided to abandon his seat in Congress to take a job at a little-known pro-Israeli think-tank. What’s interesting about Rosiak’s piece is that he discusses the sad state of Wexler’s financial affairs. What links Wexler to the Turkish lobby is the fact that he was a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on US-Turkish Relations. One year from now we should definitely expect to see Wexler take a nice job working for the Government of Turkey as a lobbyist and–POOF!!–watch his financial woes disappear forever!

“Happy days are here again . . . “

Finally, from a friend in Diyarbakir, the DTP’s Union of Southeast Anatolian Municipalities has produced a tourist book for North Kurdistan which you can view at their website. If you click on the main photos for each city, you will be able to download a .pdf file which contains lots of photos of the cities and their surrounding areas as well as the history and culture of each region. The books are available in both Turkish and English and if you’re going to the region, you should definitely read through the available files. I mean, there are tons more information about The Southeast in this book than in any generic travel book of Turkey that I’ve seen.

I have also posted a link to the book in the right margin under “Kurdish Cities”.

WHO IS SUPPORTING THE PKK’S PEACE GROUPS?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 22, 2009 by Mizgîn
“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”
~ George Bernard Shaw.

The Federation of [Turkish] Martyrs’ Families isn’t happy that there may be a political solution to the Kurdish situation:

[President of the Federation of Martyrs’ Families Hamit] Köse compared the reception of the PKK envoys to a funeral that made the martyrs turn in their graves. He said they were received with open arms, “without regretting the terror and the murders.”

Ayşe Çelik, the mother of a martyr, questioned the fairness of the amnesty. “Bring back our children like you are bringing them [PKK members] back from the mountains,” she said. “You can’t, because our children are buried in the ground.”

Aside from the fact that these ghouls would prefer to see more people on both sides die, let’s consider a few things here. What is their real beef?

A conservative number of dead from the Dirty War in The Southeast is 40,000. Let’s go along with the claim that 6,000 of those dead were TSK and, for the sake of argument, let’s say that those 6,000 were all ethnic Turks–although we know they all weren’t. That means that 34,000 of the dead in our conservative estimate were Kurds.

Again, let’s review the math: 6,000 TSK “are buried in the ground”, to quote Ayşe Çelik and 34,000 Kurds “are buried in the ground”.

Who has suffered more?

Maybe the Federation of Martyrs’ Families is upset about the forcible displacement of Turkish citizens? How many Turkish citizens were forcibly displaced by TSK in Western Turkey? None. How many Turkish citizens were forcibly displace by TSK in The Southeast? At least 2,000,000.

Who has suffered more?

On the other hand, it could be that the Federation of Martyrs’ Families has a problem with economic disparities? Western Turkey has an unemployment rate of 25 – 30%. What’s the rate in The Southeast? Sixty to seventy percent.

Who is suffering more? Who longs for peace more?

Of course, it’s only fair to mention that not all martyrs’ families associations are opposed to the idea of the Kurdish initiative or the PKK’s peace groups sent from Kandil, Maxmur, or the one that will soon arrive from Europe.

The comparison here of the reactions of these organizations to the events of the last few days seems to be consistent with the initial reactions of the population. On the day the peace groups arrived from Kandil and Maxmur, Turkish TV news channels sought the reaction of the “man” on the street. It appeared that about half were supportive of the arrival of the peace groups while the other half opposed. I have seen no numbers on the matter so, at this point, these are my observations of what has gone on in Turkish media.

It would also appear that those who are braying the most against the arrival of the peace groups are the two “opposition” party jackasses–Baykal and Bahçeli.

What may be more significant, however, are two other things I’ve noticed about Turkish media in this last week:

1. At this point, the paşas have been absolutely silent on the matter. There has not even been so much as a hint of an e-coup; there have been no mysterious postings of opposition statements on the website of the Turkish general staff.

2. According to Milliyet, Emre Taner’s position as the head of MİT has been extended again, this time until May 2010.

For those having difficulty reading between the lines, here’s something from June 2009:

Avni Özgürel of daily Radikal writes that Gül’s announcement is based on a report by Emre Taner, the Director of the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT), which proposes an administrative reform for partial devolution of power to the regional/local authorities, finding an appropriate way of accommodating the guerrillas coming down from the mountains, a formula for the PKK leadership’s accommodation and an amendment in the conditions of imprisonment of Abdullah Öcalan. This proposal, Özgürel asserts, has been agreed upon in principle by all the participants of the National Security Council (MGK), including, most remarkably, the military’s high command.

If this attempt at a solution actually goes through this time, given the silence of the paşas and the extension of Taner’s tenure as MİT chief, the jackasses are screwed. But, seeing is believing, as they say, so let us see what will happen.

WELCOMING THE PEACE AND DEMOCRACY GROUP IN SILOPI

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 20, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Some of us, on the other hand, opted to take active part in the Kurdish Freedom Struggle and remained in the mountains for years under immensely difficult conditions in order to protect an honourable identity. This was in the face of an otherwise unsolvable Kurdish question, with inequalities in the living conditions of Kurds and injustices lived by the Kurds. This became our struggle for our existence – for a democratic, equal and freedom-based solution.”
~ Letter of the Peace and Democracy Group from Maxmur and Kandil.

Here are some more photos from Silopi showing the welcome that the Kurdish people give their returning sons and daughters:


Additional photos can be found at http://www.firatnews.com/gallery/index.php?rupel=galeri&gid=2035

The Kurdish people love their guerrillas!

Hevallo has posted the letter that the Peace and Democracy Group has brought for the Turkish government, so go take a look at that.

In the meantime, stand by . . .

FIREWORKS IN SILOPI

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by Mizgîn
“If the government takes one step, PKK will take ten steps.”
~ Ahmet Türk.

There were fireworks in Silopi on Monday night as thousands of people crowded around the Habur border crossing to stand watch over the processing of the Kandil and Maxmur peace delegations sent to Turkey by the PKK. The eight members of the Kandil delegation are guerrillas. They are: Hamiyet Dinçer of Başkale, Elif Uludağ of Pazarcık/Maraş, Hüseyin İpek of Ömerli/Mardin, M. Şerif Gençdağ of Siverek, Mustafa Ayhan, Vilayet Yakut of Diyarbakır, Lütfü Taş of Kığı/Bingöl, and Gülbahar Çiçekçi of Kığı /Bingöl.

So far, from Ozgür Gündem:

The Processing of the Peace Groups Are Being Done at the Border Garrison

The processing of 34 members of the Peace and Democracy Groups who came to the Habur border by [order of] the Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan is being done in the garrison at the border. After crossing into Turkey, they have been taken to the Habur Border Jandarma Garrison. While they are being processed, they are expected to give statements to prosecutors.

Just now, 24 Haber reported that 29 of the 34 members of the Maxmur and Kandil groups have been cleared to leave freely and we are awaiting a judgement on the remaining 5 members. Four prosecutors and one judge were sent to the Habur Border Jandarma Garrison to clear the members of the groups to enter Turkey and thirty-four lawyers arrived to represent the groups’ members.

Earlier, on a replay of CNN Türk’s Beş N Bir K, Cuneyt Özdemir read the nine demands of PKK and his guest commented favorably on them. Özdemir then remarked that it was amazing that these people had just arrived from the mountains and that, if everything went smoothly, tomorrow they’d present their demands in the TBMM. Özdemir’s guest–whose name I never got due to a frantic surfing through channels–replied that if the guerrillas go to the TBMM tomorrow to present their nine points, it means that PKK is serious about a democratic solution and an end to the conflict.

At this moment, the morning talking heads on Turkish media are reading the newspapers . . .

Here’s a rough breakdown of PKK’s demands:

1. Öcalan’s road map for the peaceful and democratic solution of the Kurdish Question must be given to the addressees.

2. Ending the military and political operations and opening up a peaceful, democratic, and political solution to the Kurdish question.

3. As a part of Turkey’s democratic nation, living under free and equal conditions on the basis of our Kurdish people’s identity, assured by the constitution.

4. Using our Kurdish mother tongue everywhere and freely; Improving it and living our geography, culture, and historical values in our mother tongue.

5. Naming, educating, and raising our children in Kurdish.

6. As Kurdish people, living our culture, art, and literature freely, improving them and protecting them.

7. Improving our democratic social organization with our identity, doing politics and expressing ourselves freely.

8. Living in Kurdistan’s villages, towns, and cities away from the pressures of village guards, police, and “Special Teams”; Living there with sufficient possibilities {i.e. infrastructure] and in security.

9. Having a new civil democratic constitution for the democratization of Turkey.

Below are some photos of the Kandil group, from http://www.firatnews.com/gallery/index.php?rupel=galeri&gid=2026




Now ask yourselves: Do you see Hamas taking steps like this, or Al-Qaeda, or the Taliban? Did you see the LTTE take steps like this? And then you should ask yourselves: Who, then, are the “terrorists”?

Make no mistake: This has nothing to do with Article 221 of the Turkish Penal Code–the Repentance Law. There is no one here who will claim the Repentance Law because there’s nothing to repent. In fact, these guerrillas have rejected Article 221 for themselves.

Nor let anyone make the mistake of assuming that the Kandil Peace and Democracy Group has made this trip from a position of weakness. Some 400 new guerrillas have joined PKK in the last three months. There is no weakness of arms or of morale here.

It’s time for the Ankara regime to shit or get off the pot on doing its part to create a just and honorable solution to this 25-year-old conflict.

At this moment, CNN Türk is reporting that five members of the Kandil group may be arrested and they are trying to decide if the judge at the Habur Border Jandarma Garrison can make any decision on those arrests or if these five guerrillas will have to be taken to Diyarbakır.

Stay tuned.