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Open letter to German President : Please do not mince words : Demand that the Turkish president take a clear stand for the rights of Kurds and Christians in Turkey

mercredi 21 septembre 2011, par Maison Populaire de Genève

Dear Mr. President,

On Monday, you will be receiving President Abdullah Gül of the Republic of Turkey. In the name of the Society for Threatened Peoples, as well as in the name of 800,000 Kurds and 100,000 Christians from Turkey who are living in Germany, I urge you to not only exchange pleasantries, but also to speak up clearly on the human rights situation of the Kurds and Christians in Turkey. We appeal to you urgently to ask the honored guest from Ankara to take a stronger stand for a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question, which has gone unsolved since the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

Society for Threatened Peoples

Open letter to President Christian Wulff

Göttingen, September 16, 2011

Please do not mince words : Demand that the Turkish president take a clear stand for the rights of Kurds and Christians in Turkey

While President Gül is visiting Germany, the Turkish air force and ground troops are cracking down as harshly as ever on the Kurdish civilian population in Turkey and in Iraq. Think of just one tragic case, that of the Iraqi-Kurdish Hasan family who were attempting to flee to safety in two cars near the village of Golle on the Iran–Iraq border, when they were wiped out by a Turkish air strike : Hasan Mustafa Hasan (father), Mer Haci Mam (mother), Rezan Hussein Mustafa (34 years old), Oskar Hussein (10 years old), Sonya Shemal Hasan (4 years old), Solin Shemal Hasan (6 months old) and Zana Hussein Mustafa (11 years old).

The battle against the banned Kurdish rebel organization, PKK, and their attacks on Turkish security forces, must finally be rejected as the reason for the continuing armed conflict with the more than 15 million Kurds in Turkey. An end to the violence on both sides cannot be put off any longer. This conflict, which in the course of more than 27 years has claimed the lives of at least 45,000 Kurds and Turks, cannot be won by either side – neither the Turkish military nor the PKK.

The fate of some 17,000 Kurds, abducted and murdered during the civil war in the Southeastern Anatolia Region, still has not been investigated. Not until recently were the eyewitness reports evaluated, and already 120 mass graves containing the bodies of more than 1,500 people have been found. They show the brutality and the war crimes against the Kurdish population by the Turkish army and police. For more than ten years the Saturday Mothers and the Peace Mothers, human rights movements and relatives’ organizations, have faced extremely difficult conditions in the struggle for clarification of murders by the Turkish army in the regions of Siirt, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Van, Batman, Hakkari, Bingöl, Sirnak, Mardin, Elazig, Agri, Dersim, Igdir and Antep.

The so-called "KCK trial," too, going on since October 2010 in Turkey, is a political and judicial outrage. It is the largest mass trial since the military coup in Turkey in 1980 against Kurdish politicians, members of parliament, mayors, journalists and human rights activists, and thus is directed against the entire Kurdish civil society. Since the beginning of a wave of arrests in April 2009, some 2000 Kurds have been jailed in Turkish prisons – for example, solely because they took part in a demonstration, gave a speech or pursued their work as journalists. For many, the progress of this mass trial is a measure of the Turkish state’s willingness to seek a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. The Turkish judiciary has already taken a stance : the defendants were forbidden to speak Kurdish in the courtroom.

The 100,000 Christian Assyro-Aramaeans living in Germany are also counting on you, Mr. President. Please ask President Gül to make sure the land rights of the Mor Gabriel monastery are ensured. The trial, which is being conducted as an attempt to strip Mor Gabriel of the majority of its property, must be called off now. This monastery is the focal point for the Syrian-Orthodox Christians remaining in Turkey. All religious and ethnic discrimination against Christians in Turkey must finally be stopped.


Tilman Zülch, President, Society for Threatened Peoples International

Translated by Elizabeth Crawford

Für Menschenrechte. Weltweit. Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker / Society for Threatened Peoples

P.O. Box 20 24 - D-37010 Göttingen/Germany

Nahostreferat/ Middle East Desk

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