Stop Turkey’s war on the Kurds

[Speech given at Kurdish solidarity rally in Melbourne, 12.09.15]

Regime killed peace process

Turkey is creeping towards civil war. This is a deliberate decision of the Erdogan regime. It killed the peace process with the PKK. At the start of this year agreements had been finalised to enable the guerillas to safely withdraw across the border to their camps in northern Iraq.

Then Erdogan junked the whole thing. It wasn’t going to benefit him and his gang so he went instead towards war, conflict and hatred.

The consequences are ruinous — not only for the Kurds who are bearing the brunt of the violence — but for the whole country. The economy is vulnerable. The Turkish lira is going down and people are switching to dollars and Euros. A return to full-scale military conflict is the last thing Turkey needs. Business doesn’t want it and ordinary people certainly don’t.

Mainstream media silent on level of violence

The mainstream media here hasn’t reported the real level of anti-Kurd violence in Turkey. Kurdish towns like Silvan have been wrecked by the security forces. You can see the photos online: it looks like a war zone — that is because it is. Precious forests have been set on fire by the military to deny them to the guerrillas. This is complete madness.

West won’t confront Turkey over Kurds

Washington signed an agreement with Turkey giving the US access to the Incirlik air base. Turkey was said to be joining the fight against the Islamic State gangs. Except this is a lie. The only war Turkey intends to fight is against the Kurds, both at home and in Rojava.

The West won’t confront Turkey over the Kurds. Washington is silent on Erdogan’s war on the Kurds.

PKK supported peace process

The PKK has retaliated but at a limited level. HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas has called on both sides to cease fire. It is important to remember that the PKK agreed with the peace process; it began to withdraw its forces. It endorsed the perspectives Abdullah Öcalan put forward for laying down the gun and turning to the open political struggle.

Moreover, the PKK is most effective force fighting the IS killers. PKK fighters are on the frontlines in Iraq at Maxmur, Kirkuk and Sinjar; they are fighting with the YPG and YPJ in Rojava.

Abbott government keeps ban on PKK

In the midst of this wave of violence, the Abbott government did its bit for the war and conflict. On August 11 it re-listed the PKK on the Australian list of terrorist organisations.

This is obviously a favour to the Turkish regime because the arguments on the national security website are pathetic. There is not one mention of the discrimination Kurds face in Turkey or the violence of the regime. The PKK is blamed for the failure of the peace process.

This ban should be overturned. Australia should call on Turkey to resume the settlement talks with the Kurds.

Stop Turkey’s war on the Kurds! Re-start the peace process! Lift the ban on the PKK!