Twenty MEPs including José Bové and the President of the GUE / NGL Gabriele Zimmer, called on the Council of Europe to put the Kurdish question on the agenda of the Council. The deputies said the Kurdish question and its solution is indeed a “European problem”.
In a petition addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland, parliamentarians drew attention to the hunger strikes conducted in Strasbourg and in Turkish prisons.
Kurds are on an unlimited hunger strike since 1 March in the St. Maurice Church in Strasbourg, while a thousand political prisoners in Kurdish begin unlimited strike, 400 of them since mid- February. Health of the hunger strikers is worringly and quickly deteriorating.
MEPs ask the Council of Europe to consider the cry of the Kurds in Turkey and to respond favorably to their demands.
Here is the full text of the letter:
“Mr. Secretary General,
Since 2009, trampling unrestrained democracy and freedoms, the Turkish government has jailed nearly 9,000 Kurds, including 6 members, 31 mayors, 96 journalists, 36 lawyers, 183 leaders of the BDP (Party for Peace and Democracy ), trade unionists, human Rights, students, … and nearly 2,000 children, known as “children throwing stones,” are currently in prison.
Moreover, the Turkish army led military operations across the border with Iraq, in violation of international law. Just recently, 41 civilians were killed in these operations and chemical weapons were most likely used.
To top it off, the Turkish authorities, who had begun negotiations with the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan M. (jailed since 1999 on the island of Imrali), have stopped dialogue and placed Mr Ocalan in total isolation since July 27, 2011, in violation of all international laws.
Such violations of human rights by the Turkish government, is unjustifiable.
To claim their rights, 400 Kurdish political prisoners are on hunger strike in Turkey since February 15, 2012, at the peril of their lives.
For the same reason, 15 Kurds in Europe have begun an indefinite hunger strike in Strasbourg on March 1.
They demand justice, the release of Abdullah Ocalan and all political prisoners and a fair and democratic resolution of the Kurdish question.
Mr. Secretary General, we urge you to listen to the cry of these men and women and to respond favorably to their demands. Therefore, you must require the Turkish government to stop its repeated attacks on human rights and encourage them to engage in the path of peaceful negotiation with Mr. Ocalan, to solve the Kurdish question.
Otherwise, the relevance of Turkey to be a member of the Council of Europe would be asked.
For our part, we consider that the Kurdish problem is not simply a problem of Turkey, but also that of the Council of Europe, especially since the member states, France and Germany in particular, not hesitate to sell arms to the Turkish government.
We therefore ask that you put on the agenda of the Parliamentary Assembly a resolution about the Kurdish problem; refusing to do so is nothing less than to endorse all the anti-democratic practices and to freedoms mentioned above.
Be assured, Sir, of our active vigilance for respect for human rights throughout the world in general, and the territory within the scope of the Council of Europe in particular. “
ANF / STRASBOURG