Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland
67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Fax: +33 388 412 799
Dear Secretary General
As a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate I am writing to you as a matter of urgency and with the sincere hope that you will spare some of your valuable time on the matter we hereby wish to share with you.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates are against war; we work for peace and seek an end all on-going armed and political conflicts. Our sincere hope is that all people in the future can enjoy rights and liberties on equal basis.
For years now we have been watching closely the intense conflict surrounding the Kurdish question in Turkey. Unfortunately, thousands of Turks and Kurds, many of them women and children, have been killed in this conflict. Our primary wish is that the international community and the institution that you represent, will make efforts to end this conflict and help developing a peaceful and democratic climate in the region and between the parties involved in the conflict.
It is of utmost urgency that the atmosphere and public discourse in Turkey changes from one of war to one of peace. Dialogue between the two sides is very important for this to happen. Mr. Abdullah Öcalan, who is accepted by the Kurds as their political will and as the prospective dialogue partner, has been kept in solitary confinement in the island prison of Imrali for 13 years. For the last 8 months there has been no contact with Mr. Öcalan through his solicitors or his family. This situation is deeply worrying for the Kurds.
In order to raise awareness of their worrying concern, the Kurdish people have started indefinite hunger strikes. In Turkey hunger strikes have been going on for 45 days and in Strasbourg for more than one month. We believe that the CPT which is part of your institution, of which Turkey also is a member, is able to respond to a few of the humane demands of the strikers.
We ask you kindly to play your part in ensuring that the Kurdish and Turkish people can live together in peace and democracy.
We thank you in advance for any action you might take that will serve humanity and peace by seeking to fulfil some of the political demands raised by the Kurdish people – and expressed by the hunger strikers.
God bless you.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1984