Thursday, 21 March 2019

Wales becomes the first country to show its solidarity with the Kurds

Yesterday  Welsh AMs behaved like a proper parliament and  criticised the treatment of a rebel Kurdish leader imprisoned in Turkey.
The BC reports that 

Abdullah Ocalan is not being held in line with human rights law, a Welsh Assembly motion passed following a Plaid Cymru-led debate said.Foreign affairs are not devolved, but Welsh minister Eluned Morgan said she had discussed the issue with the Turkish ambassador.Tory AM Darren Millar called the motion distasteful.Abdullah Ocalan, who has been in a high-security prison in Turkey since 1999, leads the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which is considered a terrorist organisation by the UK government.Who are the Kurds?Kurds make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, stretching across Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Armenia, but they have never obtained a permanent nation state.The debate came about following a hunger strike by Newport's Imam Sis, which began in December last year and was started to protest against Mr Ocalan's treatment.It follows the hunger strike of Leyla Güven, an elected member of the Turkish Parliament, and others.Ms Guven has argued that by isolating Mr Ocalan and by refusing to allow visits from his family or lawyers, the government has placed major impediments towards maintaining peace in Turkey.

The BBC report that
The Welsh Assembly motion, passed by 25 AMs with 14 abstentions and 11 against, said Mr Ocalan's imprisonment was "under conditions which are understood to contravene the Turkish state's legal obligations in relation to human rights".
It said Mr Sis, along with other hunger strikers, wanted to see a peaceful, political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey.
It called for the Welsh Government to lobby a Council of Europe committee to assess Mr Ocalan's condition.
Delyth Jewell, the Plaid AM for South Wales East, said: "Surely, it is incumbent on the National Assembly and Welsh Government to recognise and support the part that a Newport man is currently playing in an international struggle for justice, equality and human rights."
Former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said the hunger strikes aim to pressure the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture to "pay a visit to check on the situation of the Kurdish leader".
She called for the assembly to send a "clear message today that Turkey must cease its barbaric treatment of Kurdish people".
Here is Leyla Güven's letter to . Leyla Güven is an MP in the Turkish parliament who was imprisoned last year for speaking out against Turkish attacks on . She is on DAY 133 of her hunger strike

In 2009 Turkish local elections Leyla Güven's
was elected Mayor of Viranşehir. She was appointed a member of the Congress of the Council of Europe in September 2009 and was a key speaker during the Congress Plenary session debate, 14 October 2009, on the situation of local democracy in Southeast Anatolia.]
On 24 December 2009 she was detained in a large crack-down of Kurdish politicians.[11] Her trial began in October 2010. Commenting on these arrests, the head of the BBC office in Istanbul suggested that the Turkish prosecutors were "closing down the already limited opportunities for dialogue between the state and its largest minority"
In May 2010 Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, visited her in prison in Diyarbakir and issued a declaration expressing his concern at the continued detention of so many Kurdish local elected representatives.
In July 2014, after four years of detention, she finally got released with 30 other local elected representatives held in Diyarbakir.[14] On 26 March 2016 she was elected co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress together with Hatip Dicle.[15]
On the 22nd January 2018 she was detained and on the 31st arrested for her criticism of the Turkish Military Operation Olive Branch in Afrin.[16]It was argued that the Democratic Society Congress of which is a Co-Chair of, is a part of the Kurdistan Communities Union and therefore she was accused of the foundation and leadership of a forbidden organization.[17]
In the Parliamentary Elections of the 24th of June 2018 she was elected an MP for Hakkari. According to the Law as an MP she is granted immunity and her release was issued by a judge on 29th of June 2018. The prosecution appealed the verdict and the release was reversed before she was released.[18] On 7th November 2018 she declared she was going on a hunger strike to protest the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan who is in prison on the island İmralı[19] About 250 political prisoners have joined Güven with an indefinite hunger strike. During her hunger strike she only consumed Vitamin B and salty and sugary liquids.
On the 25 January 2019, after 79 days in hunger strike Güven was released pending trial.
] After her release she declared, that she will hold on to the hunger strike. It was not her aim to get released but the isolation of Öcalan to be ended.On the 4 February 2019 she was awarded with the Honorary Citizenship of Paris
Tory AM Darren Millar questioned whether the debate was a good use of the assembly's time.
"Many will also find it to be extremely distasteful that we're debating a motion today that sympathises with the leader and founding member of a proscribed terrorist organisation," he said.
Mr Millar recognised the desire among "many Kurdish people for an independent state", but he said terror should not be used to achieve that goal.
But Leyla Güven's is not a terrorist and unless Mr Millar's definition of terrorism , is different from mine if criticism of the state or seeking independence is terrorism, then many of us in Wales are in touble.

It not long ago that the Kurds were praised for their role in defeating Isis but it seems that as before they wil be betrayed by the west
Five years ago the New Yorker reported  that 

Obama has spoken carefully in public, but it is plain that the Administration wants the Kurds to do two potentially incompatible things. The first is to serve as a crucial ally in the campaign to destroy isis, with all the military funding and equipment that such a role entails. The second is to resist seceding from the Iraqi state. Around Washington, the understanding is clear: if the long-sought country of Kurdistan becomes real, America’s twelve-year project of nation building in Iraq will be sundered. Kurdish leaders acknowledge that the emergence of isis and the implosion of Syria are changing the region in unpredictable ways. But the Kurds’ history with the state of Iraq is one of persistent enmity and bloodshed, and they see little benefit in joining up with their old antagonists. “Iraq exists only in the minds of people in the White House,” Masrour Barzani, the Kurdish intelligence chief and Masoud’s son, told me. “We need our own laws, our own rules, our own courntry, and we are going to get them.”

Yesterday's vote in the Assembly  my not be a devolved issue , but it's a humanitarian one and the AMs who supported and passed the Plaid Motion should be proud that they are the first legislature in the World to support the most betrayed people in the world and as we have sen in Catalonia , Turkey's actions are being echoed in what is supposed to be a European democracy and have met with similar silence by the EU, internal legislatures, and  media , who have no problem with criticising events in Venezuela.

As we face a Brexit in which the Unionists in the UK will undoubtedly seek to increase their authority with a British Nationalist agenda , can we be absolutely sure that it "Couldn't happen here."

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