14 Sep 2015

KURDS TO DEMONSTRATE AT THE DSEI ARMS FAIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
London, 14th September 2015
 
KURDS TO DEMONSTRATE AT THE DSEI ARMS FAIR
Kurds are being massacred by the Turkish State and the world is watching…
The 'International Partner' of the Arms Fair is the Turkish government's Defence and Aerospace Industry Exporter's Association.
 
Right now London is hosting one of the biggest arms fairs in the world, with tanks, guns, drones and missiles being showcased at the DSEI Arms Fair in the EXCEL Centre.  Since Monday, protesters have been successfully blocking the vehicles that are transporting the weapons, and even gate-crashing the set-up inside the EXCEL building.
The 'International Partner' of the Arms Fair is the Turkish government's Defence and Aerospace Industry Exporter's Association. Turkey is keen to promote itself as a key exporter of arms, with Turkish companies building new drones, producing new MPT rifles and designing the Altay battle tank for the Turkish military. Turkey is also developing its own TFX fighter jets, the first prototype to be ready in 2023 to coincide with the hundred year anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.
As it steps up its new attacks on the Kurdish population, Turkey is also importing more weapons. It is currently buying F35 fighter jets and Chinook helicopters for its military and police force. Numerous arms companies supply weapons to the military and police of Turkey. The weapons they manufacture are used by the Turkish state in its repression of Kurds and have been used in the suppression of uprisings such as 
Gezi. Evidence has shown that Turkey has been colluding with ISIS and supplying them weapons (read here and here), so arms purchased by Turkey may also fall into ISIS hands.
With Kurdish citizens dying daily in Turkey's 
latest attacks on Kurdish people within its borders, it is essential to campaign against arms sales to Turkey.
Since the pro-Kurdish HDP party passed the 10% threshold in the general elections in June, resulting in winning of seats in the Turkish parliament, the Turkish state has once again carried out vicious attacks on the Kurdish population living within its borders with 100s killed in clashes over a month. In the town of Cizre, which has been under curfew for most of this time, the Turkish military and police killed at least 23 people, almost half of them children, in the last one week.

Purchasing weapons from Turkish military companies also supports Turkish militarism, so at the same time supports the brutal attacks against innocent Kurdish people - It will help Turkey to become a massive, independent military power - We are therefore calling on those who oppose this state terrorism against the Kurds and the collusion of the Turkish state with ISIS to join us at this important demonstration to tell UK and Europe to stop this multi-billion dollar arms trading with the Turkish State (military).
We believe that soullessly exhibiting and marketing guns, bombs and equipment, which will later be used to take the lives of people is against the fundamental principles of Humanity and Life.

Date: Tuesday 15th of September
Time: 14:00
Location: 
Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL
 
For information please contact
Zeynep Kurban: Zeynep Kurban z.kurban83@gmail.com
 <mailto:z.kurban83@gmail.com07799285812
Mark Campbell: "Hevallo@gmail.comHevallo@gmail.com
 <mailto:Hevallo@gmail.com07865079415
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign: estella24@tiscali.co.uk
 <mailto:estella24@tiscali.co.ukhttp://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com

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7 Sep 2015

Women goes on trial for allegedly wanting to fight against #ISIS



Shilan Ozcelik trial begins at the Old Bailey*) in first PKK trial in over a decade
 
The trial against Kurdish woman Shilan Ozcelik, who was arrested in January for allegedly attempting to join the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), will appear in court on Monday 7 September, 2pm, for the first day of her trial. 
 
The 18 year old was charged with ‘engaging in conduct in preparation to for giving an effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism’ under section 5 (10) (a) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and has been held on remand in Holloway prison since early March.
 
Her arrest and charge was met with outrage by the Kurdish community in the UK and supporters of the Kurdish struggle, who condemned it as a blatant example of selective and political criminalisation of the Kurdish community, which has continued since the PKK was listed as a ‘terrorist organisation’ in 2000.
 
We reject this labelling of the PKK, which we believe confuses the Kurdish people’s legitimate struggle for self-determination with terrorism and has the effect of criminalising anyone in the Kurdish community who is part of peaceful political activity. We know that Shilan has never committed any act of violence and poses no threat to the people of this country. As such, we reiterate our call for the charges against her to be dropped.
 
Her arrest also came at the height of the ISIS siege on Kobane, Rojava, when the YPG and YPG, the Kurdish self-defence forces, resisted a fierce onslaught which garnered them international recognition. These forces, along with the PKK, have been coordinating with the US authorities to fight ISIS in northern Syria, despite the terrorism designation that looks increasingly nonsensical. 
 
Ali Has, solicitor, said: 
 
"This case for me highlights the clear hypocrisy designed to submerge human rights defenders. No matter how the trial of my client pans out and what the result, the underlying rational and political drivers behind this and such prosecutions are clear; the PKK (which is embraced by millions of Kurdish people as being a legitimate defender of their basic rights) is banned as a "terrorist" organisation and therefore any allegiance to it will not be tolerated. This seems to be the world's response to the plight of the Kurdish people whom have suffered decades of brutality at the hands of the Turkish state, in Iraq and most recently at the hands of ISIS.”
 
He continued: “The case also highlights the fine line between the freedoms of thought and conscious and potential illegality, with the latter acting as a constant threat to expressing the former. Most importantly however, it is a clear demonstration of the potential for criminalising an entire community and thereby assisting in legitimising state terror. Indeed, Turkey has for decades used the proscription of the PKK, in legitimising its terror on the Kurdish people, and criminalising Kurdish people as its main discourse of submerging their demands for basic human rights and freedoms."                 
 
The PKK was, until the end of July, holding to a two-year long ceasefire while early stage negotiations between PKK leadership and the Turkish government were taking place. The party has made numerous statements declaring their commitment to a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish question in Turkey, and currently plays a key role in the stabilisation of northern Syria and Iraq. Given this context, the arrest of a young Kurdish woman for allegedly attempting to join the fight against ISIS seems more than a little contradictory.
 
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has begun a postcard campaign calling for the government to drop the charges against Shilan. We aim to send hundred of postcards to land on the Home Office doorstep and we need as many people as possible to send them.
 
Contact us on estella24@tiscali.co.uk
 <mailto:estella24@tiscali.co.ukknklondon@gn.apc.org<mailto:knklondon@gn.apc.organd we will send you a set of cards. 
 
Old Bailey London EC4M 7EH Maps and directions 
<https://maps.google.com/maps?q=51.515492052,-0.101996674451
REFERENCES
CAMPACC Briefing: The UK Ban on the PKK – Persecuting the Kurds
http://campacc.org.uk/uploads/kurds.pdf?phpMyAdmin=I8srdJ5PC9Q2-jYJb4LpEkCqV17
<http://campacc.org.uk/uploads/kurds.pdf?phpMyAdmin=I8srdJ5PC9Q2-jYJb4LpEkCqV17
Campaign to Delist the PKK: www.delistthepkk.com