11th The European Union, Turkey, the Middle east and the Kurds
10-11 December 2014
The 11th EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) conference, on EU, Turkey and the Kurds was held 10-11 December 2014 in the European Parliament, under the theme “THE CHAOS and CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: NEW REGIONAL ORDER AND THE KURDS“. The conference was opened with messages from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan and the president of the European Parliament, Mr. Martin Schulz. EU parliamentarians, civil society activists, journalists, academics and politicians from across Turkey, Europe, America and the Middle East attended the conference. The conference provided an opportunity for in depth discussions regarding the Kurdish question in Turkey. In particular it discussed the peace process between the Turkish state and the PKK. Participating organisations and individuals expressed support for a political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey and put forward recommendations. Recognition was given to the importance of women’s participation in the negotiation process and implementation of UN article 13.25.
The conference believes that Turkey’s accession to the European Union will increase the possibility of achieving a permanent peaceful solution but that such an outcome can only be achieved through genuine negotiations between the two parties. However the conference notes that the current peace process is still facing an impasse. The conference believes that this impasse can be overcome soon and that the peace process will be revitalised by recognising that a negotiated peace is a necessary precondition for the implementation of democracy for the peoples of Turkey.
With regard to;
The Peace and Negotiation Process the Conference notes that:
The Kurds and all other peoples of Turkey need a solution to this question and understand that only genuine negotiations between the key parties will lead to a permanent solution and that the peace process undertaken by Turkey’s President Mr. Erdogan and the leader of the PKK Mr. Ocalan is vitally important and must immediately be implemented;
The Peace and Democratic Negotiation Process Draft prepared by Mr Ocalan and discussed by the Turkish state delegation should be considered as the basis for genuine negotiations;
A third party facilitator needs to be introduced to oversee and guarantee the success of the peace process;
The formation of a monitoring committee is essential to supervise a consolidated ceasefire once the formal peace process is initiated. This will provide the necessary transparency that will ensure the success of a public peace;
The government should introduce legislation that guarantees a legal basis for the negotiations; and Mr. Ocalan should be released in order to freely lead his negotiating team;
The delisting of the PKK in Turkey, EU and US is a necessary step for making a political solution possible;
These negotiations must aim to secure legal and constitutional amendments and be included in the official framework by the parliament;
The Turkish constitution written in 1982 by the generals who had seized power on September 12, 1980 is too authoritarian, statist and tutelary. Thus, it needs to be replaced by a more democratic one that reflects Turkey’s new political maturity and promotes greater civil liberties. Such a document would befit a candidate for European Union accession while also contributing to a solution to the long festering Kurdish problem;
A comprehensive political amnesty should be instituted to permit everyone to take part in the democratic political process;
The Obligation of the EU and the US for the Success of the Peace Process The Conference calls on the European Union and the United States to show active support for a genuine negotiation process in Turkey and in this context in particular:
The peace talks that were first announced at the end of 2012 and following a ceasefire called by Abdullah Ocalan laid the basis for the start of negotiations that have the potential to achieve peace in Turkey and Kurdistan. However, as long as the PKK remains on the terrorist list, these talks are unlikely to succeed as genuine negotiations. The blacklisting of the organization in EU, US and Turkey has led to the widespread criminalisation of political dissent and suppression of pro-Kurdish voices, creating many political prisoners whose amnesty must also be seen as a necessary part of a genuine negotiation process;
This in turn has allowed the French authorities to disregard the Turkish responsibility in the Paris assassinations of three Kurdish women politicians. The conference calls on the French government to admit the evidence accumulated by the French judiciary and make an official statement on the Turkish monitoring of these political murders;
The struggle that the PKK has been engaged in against the ISIS in the wake of the attacks on Sinjar on 3 August and on Kobanê on 15 September demonstrates the necessity of ending the criminalization of the Kurds across Europe and the need to delist the PKK from the terrorist list now.
The creation of Democratic Autonomy that implements grassroots democratic self-administration in Rojava offers a democratic alternative for the entire Middle East, moving beyond the moribund nationalist, religious fundamentalist and patriarchal structures of the traditional nation state that attempts to impose an oppressive homogenization of society and excludes other peoples;
Central to the project of democratic autonomy is the participation of women in all aspects of social and political life and embodied in the social contract of Rojava. The conference believes this to be an important step towards greater participation of women in politics and in shaping the future of Rojava and Syria;
The Kurdish region of Kobanê has been besieged for the last year by the ISIS from three sides and from the Turkish border to the north. Since 15 September 2014 Kobanê has been under brutal attacks by ISIS forces equipped with heavy artillery and tanks. YPG and YPJ (Peoples Defence Units/Women’s Defence Units) units have successfully resisted with the help from the Kurdistan Regional Government forces and US led coalition airstrikes.
The conference calls for more logistical support for the resistance in Kobane;
The struggle of the PKK against the ISIS has not only saved the lives of tens of thousands in both Sinjar and Kobanê, but it has also prevented the ISIS from succeeding in their plan to capture these strategic regions inhabited by Kurds and other peoples and communities by means of savage massacres. The Kurdish resistance in Kobanê has inspired the world, especially their courageous women guerrillas who instill fear in ISIS terrorists. Solidarity with the people of Kobane has been growing steadily around the world. The Kurds in Kobanê are aware that they do not stand alone but they need political recognition and more active support now. The Conference calls for the lifting of the de facto embargo on Rojava to provide the essential humanitarian aid that is urgently needed in the camps where the Ezidis are now living;
The EU should fulfil its obligations by sending urgent aid to the region’s grassroots associations in Kobane and we call upon the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to take immediate action;
There is an urgent need for the opening up of a humanitarian supply corridor to Kobane from Turkey in order to break the siege and provide the city with logistical and medical supplies;
The canton administrations in Rojava, Syria should be immediately recognized as the legitimate representative of the peoples in the cantons;
The international community should also ensure the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2170, for sanctions against ISIS by all member states. This is critical in the light of ISIS’s continued cross-border access at the Syrian-Turkish border and while it is using locations within Turkish territory to facilitate its operations in Kobane and the rest of northern Syria;
The conference calls on the international institutions and community to declare 1st of November as the “International Day of Kobane”.
13 december 2014