Posted by: hevallo | March 15, 2011

>Meeting: Turkish State Terror and Struggle for Kurdish Language Rights.


Turkish state terror and the struggle for
Kurdish language rights

Public meeting on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 at 6:30pm

Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3LJ

Chaired by Margaret Owen OBE
Barrister and member of Bar Human Rights Committee

Addressed by
Desmond Fernandes
Author; Peace in Kurdistan Campaign & CAMPACC

Dr Tim Jacoby
Senior Lecturer in Conflict Studies
Institute for Development Policy and Management, Manchester University

Birgul Yilmaz, Britain Peace Council

Deniz Arbet Chair Kurdish Federation UK

Guest speaker from Turkey Nezir Karabas
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP for Bitlis

Turkish state terror under the guise of ‘counter-terrorism’ has historically enabled the eradication of Kurdish identity and culture. The legacy of Turkish state violence against the Kurds remains in the unsolved mass disappearances and the lack of justice and accountability for torture and other crimes against humanity. Kurds today still routinely face collective repression for speaking in their mother tongue. Prosecutions under terrorism laws for simply saying the words ‘Kurd’ and ‘Kurdistan’ indicate the scale of the institutional violence of denying an entire people the right to speak their language and express their true identity.

This seminar will explore how escalating Turkish state terror has enabled the continuing genocide of the Kurdish people by repressing their language and identity. Resistance against state terror in the campaign for Kurdish language rights, however, demonstrates a growing social movement at a time when Turkey is being heralded as a ‘model’ for democracy in the region.

The language issue has come to the forefront in recent weeks with the mass trial of Kurdish politicians which opened in Diyarbakir in October last year; hundreds of Kurds, who stand accused of “links with terrorism”, have demanded the right to defend themselves in their Kurdish mother tongue in the courtroom which has so far been refused and only delayed the court proceedings. By the end of February 2011, 1.1 million signatures were presented to the Petition Commission of the Turkish Grand National Assembly two months after the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) initiated a campaign on ‘Education in the Mother Language’. This campaign has been supported by many Kurdish and Turkish organisations, NGOs and trade unions including the Human Rights Association (İHD), the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER), the teachers Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen).

The legal recognition of language rights in Turkey ultimately need to be anchored in a democratic constitution and to date the slow pace of reforms has fallen far short of what is required.

NOTE: Peace in Kurdistan Campaign briefing paper“The struggle for Kurdish language rights in Turkey” by Desmond Fernandes –available on request

The meeting is supported by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Britain Peace Council, Kurdish Federation UK, Roj Women Association, Kurdish Community Centre, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)

For further information please contact Peace in Kurdistan Campaign & CAMPACC e-mail: Tel 020 7586 5892


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