Petition: Stop the Criminalisation of the Kurdish Movement!

Initiated by: Kurdish Institute of Brussels, Nav-Bel – organisation of the Kurdish community in Belgium, Solidarity Committee of Rojava (Belgium)Supported by: Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPCC) (UK)

33 Kurds are currently being prosecuted by the Belgian courts. What heinous crime are they supposed to have committed? They spoke out for the Kurdish cause and promoted Kurdish culture. At the behest of the Turkish state innocent people are criminalised in Belgium for alleged involvement in terrorist activities. The trial is an outrage and affront to Belgian democracy and its implications pose a danger not only for Kurds, but for everyone who stands up for his or her opinions.

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Turkish military is bombing Kurdish Guerrillas and civilians in South-Kurdistan (Iraq)

(Kurdistan National Congress – KNK)

Since the 24th of July, Turkish war jets have indiscriminately bombed Kurdish areas (Xakurke, Qandil, Behdinan, Zap, Gare, Basye, Amedia, and Avasin) in south Kurdistan, where the PKK guerrillas and civilians are situated. These attacks are still continuing, with heavy civilian casualties.

Turkey is insisting on war against the Kurds:
This attack by the Turkish regime on Kurdish areas is an attempt to end the ceasefire proposed by the Kurdish leader, Mr. Abdullah Ocalan in 2013. Before these attacks began, the AKP government banned all outside contact with Mr. Abdullah Ocalan starting from the 5th of April 2015, including access to his legal team. Furthermore, since the ceasefire began in 2013, the AKP government has repeatedly attempted to provoke the PKK, hoping that they would break the ceasefire first. These provocations failed. And so, on 24th July 2015, Turkey launched a new war. Continue reading

From armed peace to democratic confederalism by way of elections?

Abdullah Öcalan’s Newroz statement is a message of peace. He calls for a cease-fire and total commitment to peaceful co-existence in Northern Kurdistan (Turkey). This is not the first message of its kind: since Öcalan’s arrest in 1999, he and the PKK have announced six previous unilateral ceasefires.

On its way to Rojava, our delegation is stranded in Qandil, the hinterland of the guerrilla forces. Öcalan’s cease-fire call is widely supported here. During our stay in the mountains of Northern Iraq, we have the opportunity to speak to Cemil Bayik, one of the founding members of the PKK and general secretary of the KCK, The congress of the people of Kurdistan. We ask him what Öcalan’s message means for the Kurdish cause, which starts us off on a conversation which will last several hours.

“The PKK has experienced time and again that whenever we announce a cease-fire, paramilitary units start their provocations. In the villages surrounding Amed (Dyarbakir), schools are set on fire, people are arbitrarily murdered. The aim is self-explanatory: the Turkish regime wants to incite the Kurdish population into the kind of frenzy that leads to terrorist acts. Since the early 2000’s, however, the PKK has opted to make an all-out effort for political and democratic struggle in Turkey. The violence of the 1980’s and 1990’s has claimed a steep human death toll on both sides. On the one hand, armed resistance has allowed us to gain support among the Kurdish population, but on the other hand it has alienated the Turkish population. In the long term, that does not benefit our struggle.” Continue reading

Interview with Mustafa Abdi, the co-mayor of Kobane

2015-03-29_22-09-10Sunday March 29th. We return from the Hart Boven Hard-parade, all rain-soaked, and meet with Mustafa Abdi, the co-mayor of Kobane, to discuss the current situation in Kobane following the victory over the terrorist gangs of Daesh. Mustafa is a Kurd with a Syrian passport and was allowed to leave the country to attend a meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Together with Rogin Dogan, Mustafa forms the mayoral team in charge of the reconstruction of the heavily damaged city.

How does the model of self-government currently function on the Kobane city level?

I have been elected as co-mayor and I cannot sign any document without the agreement of my female colleague. In this way, we share all of the power at the top and guarantee the presence of female authority. Kobane has 13 districts and each of these has elected a council with 31 members. They are elected on the basis of affinities of various types, which may be political but may also be based on involvement. Every district council elects an executive committee consisting of 5 persons. Representatives of the districts form the city council. The elected members of the district councils have elected Rogin Dogan and me as mayors. Like all other elected functionaries, I can be recalled at any time and am not allowed to execute more than two consecutive identical mandates. Continue reading