Lift the ban on the PKK – Freedom and Justice for the Kurds

New Appeal – add your name to the list of supporters!

 pkk3To the UK government, the European Union and the Turkish Government

The case for the delisting of the PKK is now quite overwhelming. We believe that the time is now right for all parties to consider this move in order to give an additional boost to the peace process.  

The new chapter in the peace process to resolve the Kurdish conflict with the start of tentative talks between the government side and Abdullah Ocalan has been heralded as the Kurdish opening. It has been greeted as the start of a genuine breakthrough that could bring about an enduring peace and final end to a conflict that has done so much damage to Turks and Kurds alike. This could not have been achieved without goodwill and willingness to compromise on both sides.

Recent initiatives to secure peace through talks can still be jeopardised by the continued listing  of the PKK as a terrorist group in Turkey which is reinforced by the UK and European Union’s ban on the organisation.

We believe that it time to recognise that the PKK is a major political force inside Turkey and the main party that enjoys the trust and loyalty of the vast proportion of the Kurdish people living in the country and in the Kurdish diaspora. The Kurdish people have remained steadfast in their support through thick and thin. To this day, the PKK is able to exercise great influence on the Kurdish community and has shown itself to act responsibly as a force for stability and democratic change inside the country.

Turkey last made amendments to its anti-terrorism law in April of this year and is now reported to be on the verge of introducing new terrorism legislation in the wake of the Taksim Square and Gezi Park protests. Turkey is now facing the prospect of a renewed clampdown on civil rights that might mean a reversal of the real progress on reform.  This would be a dangerous development.

We are convinced there is a need to strengthen the social forces that want peace and reconciliation. Abdullah Ocalan and the PKK have demonstrated their readiness to work for peace through constructive engagement with the elected government in Turkey. They continue to adhere to the terms of the peace process and call for a deepening of democracy in the country.

Bringing an end to all the needless suffering and countless casualties are at the forefront of our minds as we seek to encourage and move the peace process forward to an agreement that will satisfy all parties. We believe that this is the only way to secure the peace in the long term. In this context, we believe that it would be a helpful move at this stage to consider the delisting of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party from the banned terrorist groups. Our reasons for making this proposal are twofold – it will boost the prospects for the successful outcome of the peace process, and it will recognise the constructive moves that the PKK has made towards the search for peace and the bringing about of a final end to the conflict.

The ban on the PKK distorts the whole political process by ensuring that anyone who expresses an opinion on controversial issues in Turkey can be held to be an associate of terrorism and prosecuted with the full force of a law that is as indiscriminate as it is unjust. This, we are sure you will agree, is an intolerable situation in any modern democracy.

We have in mind the need to bring the party ‘’in from the cold’’ and believe that lessons can be learned from the history of contemporary conflicts in other countries which had been brought to an end by the taking of bold and imaginative measures such as occurred, for example, in Northern Ireland and South Africa where former combatants now occupy important positions in post-conflict politics. Learning from these experiences, there is an urgent need to look again at the proscription of the PKK as this may become an obstacle to any future negotiations that will be required to achieve the peace settlement to which everyone is publicly pledged.

We appeal to you to take the appropriate measures to review the listing of the PKK because we want to see an end to the conflict in Turkey. A true peace will need to respect and reflect the wishes and traditions of the Turkish nation and the Kurds who form an integral part of it.

On this basis, we the undersigned certainly feel that it is time to delist the PKK.

Signatories: Gareth Peirce, solicitor, Birnberg Peirce; Melanie Gingell, barrister, Doughty Street Chambers; Professor Bill Bowring, Professor of Law, president of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH); Mike Mansfield QC, President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Dr Michael M. Gunter, Professor of Political Science, General Secretary of the EUTurkey Civic Commission; Barry White, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, EFJ; Ozlem Galip, University of Oxford; Ali Has, solicitor advocate; Bronwen Jones, barrister, Tooks Chambers; Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Bruce Kent, Vice President Pax Christi UK; Margaret Owen OBE, Director, Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD); Mary Davis, Visiting Professor of Labour History at Royal Holloway, University of London; Jean Lambert MEP; Hywel Williams MP; Elfyn Llwyd MP; Jonathan Edwards MP; Martin Caton MP; Nick Hildyard, policy adviser; Tony Simpson, Editor,  The Spokesman, journal of The Bertrand Russell Peace  Foundation;  Phil Shiner, Solicitor, Public Interest Lawyers; Francis Webber, retired barrister; Louise Christian, human rights lawyer; Alastair Lyon, solicitor; Dr Vicki Sentas, Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales; Hugo Charlton, barrister and human rights lawyer; Radha D’Souza, School of Law, University of Westminster; Johanna Alberti, Keswick Peace and Human Rights; Councillor Jonathan Bloch, Liberal Democrats; Cynog Dafis,  Plaid Cymru; Andrew Penny, translator; Isabel Käser, Monocle Magazine; Seyithan Sansur; Prof. Hovhannes I Pilikian; Jawad Mella, KNC; Saleh Mamon, CAMPACC; Philip Khaled Brennan, CAMPACC/PiK; Les Levidow, CAMPACC; Amed Yaduz; Juan Efrin, MGRK-Britaniye; Seyfettin Cabuga; Rusen Unlu; Osman Ismail, freelance writer; Roj Gunay; Prof. Katchatur L. Pilikian; Laurence Goodchild, postgraduate student, Oxford Brookes University; Jandan Candan, lawyer; Bianca Benvenuti, student; Anna Bragga, journalist; Alexandra Lort Phillips, researcher; Kardo Bokani, PhD candidate; Cemalettin Cinkilic, artist; Joseba Karlos Gonzalez, cleaner;  Mauro Desira, NGO worker, Kurdish Institute Brussels; Aonghas MacNeacail, Poet/Songwriter; C.T.V.Dorp, biologist; Joy Hall, housewife; Kariane Westrheim, Associate Professor, University of Bergen; Alain Hertzmann, Branch secretary London North West Branch  9708,  UNITEtheunion, UK; Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor, UNISON Scotland; Nelly Bocchi, pharmacist, Centro Immigrazione, Asilo, Cooperazione Internazionale (CIAC); Donatella Perfetti, tourist guide; Alessia Montuori, researcher, University la Sapienza, Rome; Dogan Sahin, interior designer; Ann Alexander, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities; David Polden, peace worker, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; David Murray, engineer; Professor Penny Green, International State Crime Initiative, Dickson Poon School of Law. King’s College, London; Micheline Maire, PhD Student; Myrta Grob, ritual master; Shiler Amini, PhD researcher, Exeter University; Rossella Piscontii, researcher, Exeter University; Sally Mousaawi, digital editor; A Gelawej, Laurea University; Paige Rosner, Gallery Educator, Southern Alberta Art Gallery; Peter Käser, school director; Gemeinde Goldach; Alan Rezai, student; Abul Hassan, biologist; Hashim Ul-Hassan, student, University of Edinburgh; Paul Barbara, retired minicab driver; Cahit Cetinkaya, painter and decorator; Anne Crozier, teacher; Ruken Akansu, engineer; Matthew Greenan, journalist; Sheila Mosely, social worker, International Support Kurds In Syria Association; Shirzad Ahmed, barrister and solicitor;  Delshad Rasoul, lawyer, Win Solicitors; Dana Abdullah, doctor, Birtley Medical Group; Gary Hewitt, education consultant; P. Selvaratnam, retired teacher, Women for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka;  David Landau, project worker/case worker; Stuart Crosthwaite, asylum rights campaigner, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group; Jude Bloomfield, urban researcher and writer; Annemarie Haest, painter and peace worker; John Daniels, retired printer, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation; Nihat Gümüs, student; Shakhawan Jaf, PhD student; Ayse Tekagac, postgraduate researcher; Zoroister Kebik; Lukasz Firla, Human Rights International NGO worker; Mohammed Kalo, staffer; Fatma Murat, support worker; Berzan Amedi, journalist; Mehmet Uyar, student; Sinan Arslan, student; Neil Taylor; solicitor/journalist; Sevket Ince, teacher; Ariadni Antonaki, physicist; Resit Murat, actor; Sema Bolek, trainee solicitor;  Hadi Elis, sociologist; Kohderz Temir, author, The Kurdish Youth Movement TCK; Pešār Apestām;  artist; Rodi Khalil, blogger and reporter; Dilyar Deriki, poet, youth activist; Ali Battal, political activist; Shevan Atti, doctor; Khoshnav Hasso, teacher; Egemen Turan; Ahmet Roj, student; Annabelle Wiley; Azad Sello; Reber Verpleger; Delil Agbaba, tech manager; Raman Khalil; Jemshid Ahmad, freelance decorator; Rebar Hajo, translator/interpreter, Refugee Council; Imat Sello; Amy L Beam Ed.D, retired IT, Mount Ararat Trek Tourism; Mayrine Horo; Sibel Tas, accounts assistant, Australian Kurdish Association; Neil Taylor LL.M, MCIPR, press and PR consultant; Selim Besli, Gemologist; Ali Aydogdu, youth activist; Veli Tosun, teacher; Caterina M, student, Coordinamiento Kurdistan Italia; Kulka Iwona Bugno, sociologist; Joseph Edward Smith, student; Jamie West, student; Arfon Rhys, lecturer; Alun Williams, county councillor, Plaid Cymru; Rex Philips, trade union official, NASUWT;  Sally Kemp, teacher; Alun Llewelyn, councillor, Plaid Cymru; Mark Jones, journalist; Colin Mann, councillor; Keith Parry, railway worker; Michael Hughes, contractor;  Sue Jones-Davies, yoga teacher; Steffan Williams, translator and councillor; Dr Paul Rawlinson, translator; David Thomas, parliamentary researcher; Allan Wynne Jones, UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere; Sereke Welat Bona Vida, farmer; Jahan Badri, geophysicist, Halliburton; Rami Perin, bookseller; Hasan Boz, director; Hamma Mirwaisi, author; Ray Kangavari, UMDCP; Sukru Oduncu, student, Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin; Marwan Nabo, USA Kurdish Association; T. J. Levin, researcher, UNA; Tahra Ahmed, events organiser, Seek Speak Spread Truth; Matin Sariker, student; Usama Shabibi, pharmacologist; M Yaseen; Makwan Azmar, engineer; Ibrahim Yuksel, PhD candidate, Birmingham University; Brendan D. Davison, student/activist; Mark Campbell, pro-Kurdish rights campaigner; Selah Kemaloglu, journalist; Marcel Kocaman, aromatology; Sara Witt, Psychotherapist, Witt Counseling Service; Aaron Hudson, doctor; Patrick Tobin, student, University of Warwick; Ramazan Demir, lawyer; Muslim Cengiz ; Diyar Kaya, student; Abdullah Ates, physical therapist; Aysel Aslan; Selim Besli, gemmologist; İdris Polat, student; Nedim Türfent, English news editor, Dicle News agency; S. Scott, tube worker, RMT; A. Guler, solicitor; D. Atwal, Indian Workers’ Association; Simarjit Kaur, NGO director,  TARAN; Mehmet Orhan, student; David Ayrton, trade union official, NUJ; Helen Dagley, public policy, Guardian; Giorgio Riva, journalist; Fiona O’Cleirigh, journalist; Kevin Cahill, journalist; Jenny Vaughan, writer; Assan Kayum, student; Jack Silverman, photographer; Faiz Baluch; Onrar Sangha, Indian Workers’  Association; Val Swain, researcher, NETPOL; Matt Salisbury, journalist, NUJ; Radha D’Souza, academic, University of Westminster; Marcus Relton, documentary film-maker, NUJ; David Nery, student; Tim Gopsill, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom; Sean Vertigan, lecturer, UCU; John McCallister, MLA, NIZI; Joe Byrne, surveyor; P. McDaid, student; Jackie Hall, T.O.M.; Noel Hurley, member, Sinn Fein; ID McDeson, UCATT; Jason De Souza, student; Fern Lane, registrar; David Cartley, member Sinn Fein; William Bardett, retired; Geraldine Toman, retired; Silan Ozcelik, student; Aysegul Erdogan, student; B Batra, policy advisor; Susana Costa, student, University of Westminster; Norq Fernandes, sociologist; M. R. V. Rajan, retired banker; Simar Kaur, teacher, TARAN; Brian Christopher, teacher; Conor Muldon, teacher; Carole Geers, teacher; Alia Arif, business woman; Margaret Bowden, human rights activist, Liberation; Katja Richter, student; Jannie Duggan, retired; Evin Zengin, student;

To add your name to the appeal, fill in the form below or write to with your name, profession/organisation and email address. *Please include your first name AND surname.

Read more on the consequences of the UK ban on the PKK in this excellent CAMPACC briefing on the issue published in 2010.