Labeling of the PKK as a terrorist organization is controversial; as an array of organizations, people, and NGOs contend that the PKK does not engage in organized terrorist activities, or systemically target civilians. In 2020, the supreme court of Belgium ruled that the PKK was not a terrorist organization, instead labeling the group as an actor in an internal armed conflict.
PKK terrorists plotting on Working Women’s Day in Nusaybin before the Turkish NATO airforce demolished their city
In 2008 and in 2018 the EU court of Justice ruled the PKK was classified as a terror organization with a lack of due process. However, the EU still classifies the PKK as a terror organization. In 2020, the supreme court of Belgium ruled that the PKK was not a terrorist organization, instead labeling the group as an actor in an internal armed conflict.
The PKK was founded in November 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice), by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan. For many uyears it was a Kurdish armed guerrilla movement, which has historically operated throughout Greater Kurdistan, but is now primarily based in the mountainous Kurdish-majority regions of southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.
In 2013, the PKK unilaterally declared a ceasefire and began slowly withdrawing its fighters to Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a peace process with the Turkish state. The process followed the new program led by Abdullah Ocalan which changed the PKK from a top down underground Stalinist resistance to a horizontal community wide democratic movement with women’s equality. The inspiration of Ocalan was seen as making the transformation accepted.
Kurdish Spring lasted 2 years
Kurdish cities like Cizre declared Autonomy from Turkey, following the Municipal Anarchist blueprint of their imprisoned leader, Ocalan, and called for solidarity uprisings elsewhere.
This ‘ Kurdish Spring’ in Turkey lasted 2 years, until July 2015 with a huge cultural political and economic revival and proliferation of civil society among the 20 million Turkish Kurds.
The PKK’s new philosophy also renounced the aim of separating into a new Kurdish State, declaring itself anti- state and against offensive armed actions, seeking local autonomy, and a municipal anarchist society, recognition 0f existence of minorities and the Kurdish language, and many other long denied basic rights.
Kurdish parties swept to power in local councils and set about anti authoritarian government with co-mayors.
The labelling of the PKK as terrorist was however never lifted by the USA, EU and all its satellite states, and from then on all parties, movements, media and social organisations opposed to Erdogan’s repression were branded as PKK linked, and banned or severely limited, with members often imprisoned and killed.
When the ruling AKP lost ground in 2015 elections and Kurdish and left wing parties aspired to the balance of power the Turkish regime, under Erdogan decided to destroy the revolution and return to the old repressive status quo.
Nusaybin, May 2016, a European city after a Turkish ‘peacekeeping operation’ by the Turkish Special Force butchers, as in dozens more Kurdish majority towns, while Europet urned a blind eye.. The journalist Zehra Dogan spent 20 months in jail for painting the copy of this photo above. Hundreds of journalists are still jailed. Zehra is a founder of JINHA, Turkey’s first women’s news agency, which was shut down in 2016 under Statutory Decree No. 675 along with 180 other media outlets.
Nusaybin: Last volunteers surrender after 74 days. How Turkey treats democratic reform.Genocide in Europe: Nusaybin surrenders after 74 days: All they asked for was autonomous local government, feminism and real democracy. Nusaybin is one of many Kurdish towns wiped out by the dictator Erdogan, the darling of Europe.
A series of bombings, supposedly by ISIS, were blamed on the Kurds until a Kurdish group killed a few police in revenge and Erdogan began open war on all Kurds, since all were PKK.
….On July 20 2015—a suicide bomber killed 33 people and wounded dozens more in Suruc. The attack targeted a gathering of Kurdish youth activists planning relief efforts for Kobani due to the ISIS attack. The Erdogan regime was doing everything to provoke an end to the ceasefire at the time. Many Kurds believed that MIT, the secret service of the Turkish regime, was behind the attack or, at a minimum, that MIT had turned a blind-eye to let the attack happen. In retaliation for the Suruc attack, two Turkish police officers were killed by members of a radical youth movement. In response, Turkey was ready and prepared for the causus belli and cracked down, arresting hundreds and launching airstrikes targeting Kurds in Turkey. As part of the deal Turkey granted permission for U.S. warplanes to use Incirlik Air Force Base in Southeast Turkey on July 22, 2015.
Young people flocked to join the PKK and defend their homes but Erdogan ordered the bombing and destruction of entire cities including Diyarbakır, the capital of Turkish Kurdistan, Cizre and Nusaybin,with mass killings and hundreds of thousands of refugees, .
All they asked for was peace and democracy: This is what Erdogan did to Kurdish cities just over the border in Turkey in 2015.
Young ‘PKK terrorists’ in Nusaybin before it was destroyed
The PKK went underground again, in the mountains of SE Turkey and Iraq, and resumed a defensive guerilla war, starring in the rescue if the Yazidis from ISIS in Iraq.
However the revolution continued and blossomed south of the border in Rojava, defeating ISIS and creating a new and amazing direct feminist and multi ethnic democracy for the first time in the middle East .
In response Erdogan has launched 3 invasions into Rojava and installed far right jihadi mercenary guerilla groups, recruited from the collapsing Syrian revolution, ethnically cleansing the local mainly Kurdish population and ‘Turkifying’ the language, economy, police, etcetera.
300 on Hunger Strike – How Ocalan Transformed the PKK into Anti-Terrorists In 1999, following his capture, Ocalan decided to abandon demands for independence in favor of campaigning for Kurdish rights and self-rule WITHIN a democratic Turkey. The PKK agreed and initiated its first unilateral ceasefire in 1999 and that lasted until 2004. Neither of the PKK, the SDF or the YPG/YPJ are secessionist, but in favour of a decentralised municipal anti-state.
This could be done while always branding resistance as ”PKK Terrorists” which gives the excuse to Russia and NATO to continue turning a blind eye to Turkey’s invasions, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and occupation of its neighbour, in exchange for gas pipelines, juicy contracts, military purchases, stopping refugee flows to Europe, etc.
This is why its imperative to continue demanding the legalisation of the PKK, , the release of the illegally imprisoned Abdullah Ocalan, and implementation of the progressive peace and disarmament plan, which only he has the support and inspiration to see carried out.
French institutions continue to protest police raids of Kurdish community centres and the arrests of members of Kurds in France.
Human Rights League (LDH) Marseille, the World March of Women, the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP), the Peace Movement, the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), the French Communist Party (PCF), the Left Party 13 and the Departmental Union CGT, all reacted to the operations against Kurds in a joint statement.
They demanded the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) be removed from the list of banned organisations. “Human rights are targeted in Turkey, Kurds are oppressed in front of the world, and, while this is happening, the oppressive politics against Kurds in France is unacceptable.”
A protester was murdered in eastern Turkey after clashes broke out over the removal of the statue of the founder of the PKK, a Kurdish rebel group.
The statement continued:
“It is time to remove the PKK from the list of banned organisations. European member states, including France, are now acting outside the law in terms of European justice The inclusion of the PKK in the list of banned organisations is illegal, as stated in the decision of the European Court of Justice T-316/14, dated 15 November 2018.”
European courts deal a serious blow to British support for Turkey’s anti-Kurdish war
Two European courts have just dealt a serious blow to the UK’s ongoing support for the Turkish state’s war against occupied Kurdish communities. In particular, they’ve taken aim at Turkey’s highly questionable use of the word ‘terrorism’ to justify its abuses.
Terrorists? Says who?
But today, the PKK condemns all attacks on civilians; and has reportedly never attacked Western targets. In recent years, a peace agreement looked increasingly possible; until Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ended the process in 2015 and repressed his political opponents by calling them ‘terrorists’.
Britain’s Conservative-led government, meanwhile, is a “real friend” of Erdoğan and gave him the red-carpet treatment earlier this year. This helped to boost his legitimacy just before an election campaign which came amid allegations of war crimes, ethnic cleansing, support for jihadi forces in Syria, alliances with neo-Nazis, looting, and lying.
Despite all this, the British government has fostered a close relationship with Turkey, especially in the run-up to Brexit, selling it over $1bn worth of arms in the last two years. And this alliance has seen Westminster actively campaign to ensure the world keeps seeing the PKK as a ‘terrorist’ group.
On 15 November, however, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the Council of the European Union – “supported by” the UK – had “failed to indicate sufficiently the actual and specific reasons” for keeping the PKK on the EU’s list of terrorist groups, particularly in light of recent peace talks.
North-East of Syria, Rojava: The Kobani canton. Demonstration in a street of Kobani for the release of Apo, Abdullah ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Young Kurdish women in the crowd of demonstrators. (Photo by: Andia/UIG via Getty Images)
Court: Turkey’s pre-trial detention of high-profile “political hostage” must end
Turkey’s most high-profile ‘terrorist’ smear focuses on peace campaigner and former presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş.
A 2017 letter from numerous public figures and UK MPs explained how he was in prison on “trumped-up charges” amid a fervent government crackdown targeting Demirtaş’s left-wing and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) ever since its electoral successes in 2015 helped to take away Erdoğan’s majority.
The government targeted the HDP by claiming it had links with the PKK, even though the HDP and PKK are different organisations. By late 2017, it had reportedly arrested around 11,000 HDP members – including elected politicians. And this witch hunt continues today.
Landmark decision declares Kurdish group a ‘party to conflict’ and ‘not a terrorist organisation’
The decision is especially significant because it means that terrorism laws can no longer be used against Kurdish people in Belgium simply for supporting the PKK. And it’s yet another legal move which calls into question the hostile stance towards the PKK of governments like the UK’s.
The Belgian court’s decision in March 2019 is in line with another recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In November 2018, the CJEU determined that it was wrong for the Council of Europe to list the PKK resistance group as a terrorist organisation from 2014 to 2017.
Party to a conflict, not a terrorist group
While the PKK used to struggle for an independent Kurdish state, the PKK and its sister organisations (like the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in northern Syria) now practise Democratic Confederalism.
This left-wing ideology rejects nationalism and the nation-state in favour of a feminist, grassroots, direct democracy seeking environmental sustainability. We can see this in practice today in the region of Rojava in northern Syria.
The Peace in Kurdistan Campaign (PiK) said of the Belgian decision:
According to the defence, the conflict had reached an intensity sufficient to be regarded as a war and not as terrorist activity or a collection of armed clashes.
The Kurdish guerrilla HPG, the defence said, was sufficiently organized and structured to be regarded as an armed force and not just an irregular group.
This meant that the law of war had to be applied, as opposed to the anti-terror law, and that attacks on military targets could not be assessed as criminal acts.
(De)criminalising Kurdish people
In 2001, the UK government labelled the PKK a terrorist organisation. Therefore, any support for the PKK can result in arrest, seizure of assets, and conviction under terrorism charges.
A trial in the UK is ongoing for a British father who is charged with attending ‘terrorist’ training camps with the PKK in Iraq and its YPG allies in Syria; even though he was training to fight against Daesh (Isis/Isil), and the YPG are not banned in the UK.
In 2018, The Canary revealed a Metropolitan Police terror training document that listed far-right British and Islamist groups along with animal rights groups, the PKK and the YPG. In January 2019, the office of London mayor Sadiq Khan reportedly placed pressure to stop a Kurdish solidarity event from being held in City Hall by union groups and local councillors.
Could the PKK really be ‘delisted’ from terrorist groups?
Delisting could be a catalyst for peace in Turkey. In exchange for delisting, the PKK would be required to renounce political violence, reiterate its willingness to resume the ceasefire with Turkey, and engage in political negotiations. In exchange for greater political and cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey, Ocalan would give his okay and the country would see sustainable peace
INFO: The State Department has updated the FTO terrorist organisations list by adding and removing groups, and amending designations with new aliases. Currently, 59 groups are listed. Both FTO and SDGT designations trigger an asset freeze. FTO designations, however, go further by imposing immigration restrictions and making it a crime to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to the FTO…..
Thousands of prisoners and activists around the world joined the hunger strike of Leyla Güven demanding the end of the isolation against Abdullah Öcalan, eventually successful though with at least 6 deaths
Why delisting the PKK would bring Peace
…In February 1999, Turkish forces had captured Abdullah Ocalan in Nairobi, Kenya. At his trial, Ocalan apologized to the families of those killed during the conflict and called for an end to violence, committing the PKK to a democratic transformation.
He announced his commitment to a democratic solution for Kurds within Turkey. The PKK then implemented its first unilateral ceasefire, which lasted until June 2004; halting efforts to reach a peace agreement ensued. In March 2013, Ocalan again called for a ceasefire and withdrawal of forces in exchange for political reforms…..
Unfortunately any progress is blocked by the current dictator in Turkey who has boasted publicly that he will ”take back all countries once in the Ottoman Empire”. Nevertheless having gained supreme power it would benefit him and everyone else to restart the peace process by rehabilitating Ocalan.
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