Posted by: hevallo | April 21, 2009

Public Meeting House of Lords: Kurdish Question After the Turkish Elections?

Public meeting

Turkey after the elections: new prospects for a solution to the Kurdish question?

Tuesday, 12 May, 6.30pm

Committee Room 2, House of Lords, Westminster Hosted by Lord Rea

This meeting has been called to hear a report back from some members of a UK delegation who acted as observers during Turkey’s recent local elections on 29 March and the Leyla Zana trial on 31 March;

the observer mission included Lord Hylton, Margaret Owen, Barrister, Director of Widows for Peace through Democracy and advisor to the KHRP on Women and Children’s Rights; Eurig Wyn, Plaid Cymru candidate for European elections; Jonathan Fryer, writer, lecturer and Chairman, Liberal International British Group; Roger Tompkins, retired international human rights lawyer; Omer Moore, Xhen Maman and Sherri Semsedini from Trott & Gentry Solicitors, Kurdish solicitor Eylem Guler and Ozgur Selby.

The meeting will provide an early opportunity to assess the new political landscape in Turkey following the elections which were marked by an upsurge in support for the DTP.

There will also be discussion of the renewed threat of a jail sentence facing Leyla Zana, whose trial resumes on 2 June; the UK observers witnessed a court hearing during their visit.

In the recent elections despite widespread coercion and intimidation, Kurdish voters gave overwhelming support to the Democratic Society Party (DTP) which as a result saw its elected local candidates increase from 54 to 99.

The voting patterns unambiguously demonstrate the resilience and determination of the Kurdish people to stand up for their rights and it means their demands cannot now be easily ignored.

Among the new DTP members returned were many women as well as some prominent members of Abdullah Ocalan’s legal team, which itself is an indication of the strength of feeling among Kurds.

In the run up to the election, the ruling AKP had confidently predicted that it would sweep the board in the main Kurdish cities of the southeast and Prime Minister Erdogan had declared that his aim was to “take Diyarbakir”.

The outcome has confounded the AKP as well as all the pundits who were expecting the eclipse of the DTP. Quite the reverse has happened and this means that a major rethink is essential.

The DTP needs to be listened to more attentively as it articulates the voice of the Kurds at the political level and its input will prove invaluable to break the deadlock and find a solution acceptable to both Turks and Kurds.

The meeting is supported by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, Kurdistan National Congress and Kurdish Federation UK

For information contact: Estella estella24@tiscali.co.uk tel 020 7586 5892 orRachel knklondon@gn.apc.org tel 020 7272 4131

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