SP-fractievoorzitter Eindhoven Murat Memiş vast in Turkije

SULAYMANYA – Murat Memiş, voorzitter van de SP-fractie in de gemeenteraad van Eindhoven, werd op 30 april in het bijzijn van zijn vrouw en twee jonge kinderen opgepakt in de Turkse badplaats Antalya. Inmiddels is hij weer vrij, maar hij mag van de Turkse autoriteiten het land niet verlaten. Memiş (31), een Koerdische Nederlander, wordt verdacht van lidmaatschap van, recruteren voor en het maken van propaganda voor een terroristische organisatie. Op die vergrijpen staan in Turkije lange gevangenisstraffen. Burgemeester John Jorritsma zal de Eindhovense gemeenteraad vanavond aan het begin van de raadsvergadering over de kwestie informeren.

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Undermining the peace process

It is not very likely concrete political steps will be taken in the peace process between the PKK and the government in the months to come. That has everything to do with the local (Spring 2014) and presidential elections (Autumn 2014) coming up. However frustrating that is for Kurds, who are longing for peace and constitutional rights, you could consider it part of the political game. Relatively fast peace processes, like in South Africa, are inspiring, but also exceptional. But a peace process doesn’t only contain political steps. Crucial for it to succeed are serious efforts to restore trust. The government is doing exactly the opposite. Continue reading “Undermining the peace process”

Castle of resistance

Diyarbakir, biggest city in the Kurdish southeast of Turkey, is remarkably quiet these days, while in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir the police are violently attacking people who are peacefully using their democratic right to assemble and demonstrate. Why are the Kurds not flooding onto the streets to join the protests against the government? They are demanding liberties too, aren’t they, so why don’t the Kurds rise up together with the Turks? Continue reading “Castle of resistance”

The way to peace, according to the citizens of Diyarbakir

‘The PKK’, an elderly man says, ‘should not withdraw from Turkey. Why not? Because they are our children!’ He gets the biggest and longest applause from the people attending the first public meeting of the ‘wise people commission’ in Diyarbakir. At least five hundred people attended, in a theatre that can seat 375 people. The ‘wise people’ didn’t come to explain the current peace process to the people, as their task is described by the government, but to listen. Continue reading “The way to peace, according to the citizens of Diyarbakir”

To please a friendly nation

‘Should I worry?’ a friend in the Netherlands asked me. ‘It scares me that the PKK is right around the corner.’ She was referring to the arrest of 55 alleged PKK members in the Dutch province of Zeeland. They were holding a ‘secret meeting’, according to the police. I can imagine that’s kind of scary if you don’t know anything about Kurds or the PKK in Europe.
Continue reading “To please a friendly nation”

From Tansu Ciller to Tayyip Erdogan

Today, the biggest court case against journalists in the history of the Turkish republic starts. No less than 44 Kurdish journalists are being tried for ‘membership of an illegal organisation’, namely the KCK, the Union of Communities in Kurdistan. To cut it short: they are not members of any group, there is no proof against them whatsoever, the indictments are full of nonsense. They are being put on trial just because of their writing about the Kurdish issue. Continue reading “From Tansu Ciller to Tayyip Erdogan”

Ask the sun

‘You don’t ask the sun why it rises in the morning either, do you?’ I couldn’t believe what I was reading. A Turkish journalist replied with this question to tweets of mine in which I wondered why Turkish journalists in the Kurdish areas of Syria just reported there were flags of Öcalan seen on the streets there, without asking the people why the flags were there, if they approved, and if so why, and if not, why not.
I find this the perfect example of what’s wrong with Turkish media.
Continue reading “Ask the sun”

Five in the morning

When you wake up at six in the morning as a Kurdish intellectual, politician, administrator or activist, you must feel relieved. Because when the police come to get you, they always knock on your door in the early hours of the morning, around five. That’s what also happened to some thirteen youngsters on Monday, two days after a banned protest demanding the release of PKK leader Öcalan got out of hand in Diyarbakir. Continue reading “Five in the morning”

One step ahead

Ever heard of a weekly that is only published once a month? In Turkey, there is one. Hüseyin Aykol, editor in chief of daily paper Özgür Gündem which publishes a lot about the Kurdish issue, shows it to me: it’s called Demokratik Ulus, or “democratic nation”. It gets banned from publishing for a month practically every time it appears. But like many bans, there is a way around it. Continue reading “One step ahead”

The KCK suspects you never heard of

‘I see him, I see him!’ says Delal. She, her sisters and mother go up the stairs of the public gallery to see him better. By “him” they mean their father and husband, Kemal Seven. He is one of the accused on trial in KCK probe which started yesterday inIstanbul. ‘Does he see us?’ Delal’s sister asks. Yes, he does. They wave to each other like crazy, as do the other accused, around 140 of them altogether. Continue reading “The KCK suspects you never heard of”