Open letter to David Cameron from Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan

Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan is a new organisation set up by a number of Kurdish people living in Scotland and Scottish supporters of the Kurdish struggle for peace and democracy.

Please see below an open letter addressed to David Cameron calling on our UK government to call on the Turkish government to stop attacking the Kurdish community and the PKK bases in Iraq. We hope to get a number of Scottish political, trade union and community representatives to agree to add their name to the letter and publish it in the press and send it to the Prime Minister.

If you are happy to support the letter please let us know and if you know of other people who would consider signing it please pass it to them.

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Open letter to David Cameron, Prime Minister

Dear Mr Cameron

Protest against Turkey’s attacks on the Kurdish community

We are writing to you in response to the developments in Turkey where the AKP government have initiated attacks on the Kurdish community in Turkey and the bases of the PKK in Iraq.

Hundreds of Kurdish activists in Turkey, supporters of the HDP which recently won 13.5% of the vote in the general election and secured 80 MPs, have been arrested and detained. Undisclosed numbers of PKK members and civilians have been killed in bombing attacks by the Turkish air force.

These actions follow the murder of 32 young people by a suicide bomber in Suruc, near the Syrian border, carried out on behalf of ISIS. Revulsion at this horrendous attack was widespread and added to the determination of many to defeat the forces of ISIS.

Statements by the Turkish government that they were to act against ISIS were welcomed. This contrasted with the previous policy of the Turkish government which had been criticised as being soft on ISIS with some claiming that state forces had aided ISIS by allowing fighters to cross the Turkish border and enabling the supply of resources and money.

However the Turkish government’s actions in the weeks following the Suruc murders have been to focus on attacks on the Kurdish community and the PKK in particular.

The fight against ISIS is one of the most important issues in the Middle East today. On the ground the Kurdish people have not only suffered along with the other people of the region but have also been the most successful forces resisting and defeating ISIS forces. The YPG and YPJ in Syria, the Peshmerga of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and the PKK have fought and sacrificed to defend the Yazidis in the Shengall region, force back ISIS in Iraq and defended Kobane and taken the fight to ISIS, pushing them out of many parts of northern Syria.

The decision of the Turkish government to, at this crucial time in the struggle against ISIS, attack the PKK is contrary to the aims of defeating ISIS and defending the people of the region.

Coming over 2 years after an agreed ceasefire between the Turkish government and PKK, and the encouraging progress made in the peace process, the declaration of war against the PKK not only jeopardises the fight against ISIS but risks returning Turkey to the misery and destruction of civil war that previously resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

We ask that the UK government makes the strongest possible representations to the Turkish government to change their current policy. We ask that the UK request that the Turkish Government;

1.       Cease the attacks against the PKK and the Kurdish community;

2.       Take immediate steps to stop the supply of fighters and resources through the Turkish border;

3.       Urgently open up a humanitarian corridor to Kobane to allow the city to defend itself, to live again and for the reconstruction to begin, and call on all international institutions, including the UN, and European governments to exert their influence with the Turkish Government to this end

4.       Re-start the discussions, initiated by Abdullah Ocalan the imprisoned Kurdish leader, with the PKK and working towards a peaceful and democratic solution to Turkey’s Kurdish issue.

The UK government could take immediate steps to pressure the Turkish government by raising with its EU partners and the US that the PKK, due to its role in fighting ISIS, be removed from the terrorist classification list.

Yours sincerely

Signed by the following

Roza Salih, Glasgow Girl and Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan

Stephen Smellie, Secretary UNISON South Lanarkshire