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PKK ban debated in British Parliament

PKK ban debated in British Parliament
03.11.2021
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The British Parliament has debated the suppression of political opposition in Turkey and the review of the classification of the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Members of the three largest parties in the British Parliament (Labour, Conservatives, SNP) have called on the British government to take action against the rampant Turkish attacks on the Kurdish population and the political opposition in Turkey. In the debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday, the procedure by which the PKK is automatically placed on the British terror list was questioned at the same time.

The parliamentary debate was based on the report “Kurdish Political Representation and Equality in Turkey” published by the All-Party Parliamentary Commission (APPG) on Kurdistan in Syria and Turkey in the British Parliament in June 2021. In the inquiry report, the inter-party group gives the government in Ankara a devastating report card. It says there is a “crisis of human rights and freedom of expression” in the country, as well as a fundamental crackdown of democracy. The treatment of Kurdish society and mandate holders is one of the greatest threats to democratic conditions in Turkey and the entire region. The APPG sees the urgent need for a political solution to the Kurdish conflict, stating that, in this context, the listing of the PKK as a “terrorist organization” must be reviewed.

The intergroup recommends that the British government propose to the PKK and the Turkish leadership a “clear process to resolve the conflict politically” and advocates that procedures for including “terrorist organizations” on appropriate lists should be subject to constant review and based on public criteria. In the case of the PKK, it argues that its classification as a terrorist organization should be reviewed on the basis of current evidence and recent rulings by courts in Belgium and European courts. The All-Party Commission points to a January 2020 ruling by the Belgian Court of Cassation that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is not a “terrorist organization” but a party to an armed conflict. The British government should use its experience from the Northern Ireland conflict to support a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict, the group demands.

Lloyd: Britain must support the peace process

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Labour MP and co-chair of the APPG, expressed solidarity with all democratic forces in Turkey during Tuesday’s parliamentary debate and said he supported the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom, self-determination and democracy. Turkey, he said, is the country in the modern world with the most opposition figures in prison, there is no freedom of the press and the media has become a monopoly of the government.

In his speech, Moyle also addressed the isolation of Abdullah Ocalan and pointed out that the situation in Turkey has increasingly deteriorated since the coup attempt in 2016. The Labour MP called on the British government to review the classification of the PKK as a terrorist organization and to commit to restarting peace talks in Turkey.

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