JUSTICE FOR KURDS IN TURKEY
Socialist Worker Online
March 17 2010
A RECENT demonstration in Turkey led to the arrest of and an 8-year
prison sentence for a 15-year old Kurdish girl named Berivan.
Convicted of "terrorist" offenses, Berivan allegedly had thrown stones
at police during a rally of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
With over 2,600 minors serving time in Turkish prisons, the recent
arrest of Berivan comes as no surprise. Kurdish children are being
systematically imprisoned for merely singing their native songs,
peacefully voicing concerns within their communities or simply being
at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Although the Kurds represent the largest linguistic minority in Turkey,
comprising about 20 percent of the population, they have been subject
to methodical oppression since the 1920s. The Turkish government and
military has continuously targeted the Kurdish minority with hateful
sentiment and denied it national and human rights.
The PKK, a separatist guerilla movement, emerged as a voice for
Kurdish citizens in the early 1980s. Since its foundation, the PKK
aimed to overcome the oppression of the Kurdish minority in Turkey
through the establishment of an independent nation-state.
In order to combat the suppression endured by the ethnic Kurds, the
PKK felt obliged to take matters into their own hands. Its members
adopted what some might deem "terrorist" acts after it was made clear
that institutional structures of the Turkish political system would
consistently work against them.
This resulted in the Turkish government and media’s classification
of the organization as a terrorist group. The truth is Turkey’s hands
are far bloodier than those of the PKK.
Turkey claims to be a country devoted to democracy, yet principles
of democracy are not implemented. The cycle of oppression committed
against the Kurds is clear evidence that Turkey is far from being
a democratic state. The arrest of the innocent Berivan is just one
example of the countless human rights violations faced by minorities
in Turkey today.
Let us make clear that these injustices will not go unnoticed. Join
the United Human Rights Council (UHRC) on March 24 for a protest
outside the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles to demand the immediate
release of Berivan and all children in Turkish jails.
The UHRC is a committee of the Armenian Youth Federation. By means
of action on a grassroots level, it works toward correcting the human
rights violations of those governments that distort, deny and delude
their own history to disguise past and present genocides, massacres
and human rights violations.
Nora Kayserian, Los Angeles