Stop Erdogan’s war on the Kurds

[Text of a speech given for Socialist Alliance to protest rally organised by Kurdish Association of Victoria at Melbourne's State Library, December 21, 2015.]

Turkish dictator Erdogan has now taken his war on the Kurds to a new level of barbarity. Cities and towns across the southeast are today under curfew and are being attacked by police and army units. Tanks have fired into populated areas; many people have been killed by the security forces. Many areas have been wrecked by the attacks.

'We need our version of the Rojava Revolution right here'

[The following is the text of a speech given to a meeting and concert to mark the founding of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Some 400-500 people attended the November 28 event organised by the Kurdish Association of Victoria at the Kurdish House centre in Melbourne’s Pascoe Vale.]

Friends and comrades,

I would like to thank the Kurdish Association for the invitation to participate in tonight's very important function and to mark the publication of our pamphlet The Kurdish Freedom Struggle Today.

Socialist Alliance joins with you in celebrating the founding of the Kurdistan Workers Party 37 years ago. We honour the heroism and commitment of the activists of the PKK over this decades-long struggle for the rights of the oppressed Kurdish people. We salute the thousands of martyrs who have fallen fighting for a just cause.

The importance of the Kurdish struggle

[This is the edited text of a talk presented at the Melbourne launch of the pamphlet The Kurdish Freedom Struggle Today, September 29, 2015.]

This pamphlet aims to provide a short introduction to the Kurdish question for non-Kurdish readers in Australia. The focus is on Turkey and Rojava (the Kurdish majority liberated zone in northern Syria) where the struggle is being led by the revolutionary democratic wing of the Kurdish movement, i.e., the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD). This is a mass struggle, involving hundreds of thousands, even millions of people.

Stop Turkey’s war on the Kurds

[Speech given at Kurdish solidarity rally in Melbourne, 12.09.15]

Regime killed peace process

Turkey is creeping towards civil war. This is a deliberate decision of the Erdogan regime. It killed the peace process with the PKK. At the start of this year agreements had been finalised to enable the guerillas to safely withdraw across the border to their camps in northern Iraq.

Government keeps PKK on terror list

[10.09.15]

On August 11, the Tony Abbott government re-listed the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist organisation. This means it is illegal for Australian citizens to belong to it, actively support it or raise funds for it.

The Kurdish Freedom Struggle Today: Introduction

[From Dave Holmes & Tony Iltis, The Kurdish Freedom Struggle Today (Resistance Books: Sydney, 2015)]

The eruption of the brutal fundamentalist 'Islamic State' in the Middle East has placed the Kurdish people at the centre of the political stage. The Kurdish communities in Iraq and Syria have faced the full weight of the IS assault. The Kurdish people in Turkey have also been inescapably affected by the struggle over the border. It has even had an impact on the Kurdish population in Iran.

The Kurdish Freedom Struggle: Oppression and Resistance

[From Dave Holmes & Tony Iltis, The Kurdish Freedom Struggle Today (Resistance Books: Sydney, 2015)]

The Kurds are the largest ethnic group without a state of their own. They are divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. There is also a sizeable diaspora.

Turkey: War on the Kurds or a Serious Peace Process?

[From Dave Holmes & Tony Iltis, The Kurdish Freedom Struggle Today (Resistance Books: Sydney, 2015)]

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Recip Tayyip Erdogan, is an Islamic-based neoliberal party. It first won office in 2002 and ruled Turkey alone for 13 years. In August 2014, Erdogan became the first popularly elected president; Ahmet Davutoglu, formerly foreign minister, took over as prime minister. The AKP lost its majority in the June 7, 2015 parliamentary elections.

Turkey: Erdogan's ruthless bid to retain power risks return to dark days

[Green Left Weekly, #1064, August 11, 2015]

The outcome of Turkey's June 7 parliamentary elections promised so much. The leftist, Kurdish-based People's Democratic Party (HDP) resoundingly surmounted the undemocratic electoral threshold and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recip Tayipp Erdogan suffered a sharp rebuff, losing its ability to rule on its own.

As Erdogan manoeuvres to retain power, Turkey faces an uncertain future

[July 7, 2015]

One month after Turkey's June 7 parliamentary elections, the country still does not have a new government. Ahmet Davutoglu of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) remains as caretaker prime minister. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains the dominant figure in the AKP and is actively manoeuvring to retain his party's leading position. The president is supposed to be an impartial figure above party politics but Erdogan pays scant regard to such constitutional niceties.

Turkish elections: HDP's bold move puts party centre stage

[Green Left Weekly, #1054, May 26, 2015]

The June 7 elections to Turkey's Grand National Assembly are clearly the most important in a long time. The bold decision of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) to run as a party and strive to exceed the grossly undemocratic 10% threshold has put the organisation at the political centre stage.

Call to de-list PKK gathers support

[Green Left Weekly, #1053, May 19, 2015]

An open letter to the Australian government calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the list of proscribed terrorist organisations is gathering support. Initiated by the Melbourne-based Australians for Kurdistan campaign committee, the open letter has attracted some notable endorsements. The letter and endorsements can be viewed at the website Lift the ban on the PKK.

Turkish elections: High stakes for both Kurds and government

[Green Left Weekly, #1048, April 20, 2015]

Turkey's parliamentary elections will be held on June 7. A lot is at stake, both for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and especially for the oppressed Kurdish population.

Campaign launched to de-list the PKK

[Green Left Weekly, March 31, 2015]

The Melbourne-based Australians for Kurdistan committee has launched a campaign calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the Australian government's list of terrorist organisations. The PKK was first listed in 2005; its listing comes up for review this August.

Kobanê: A great victory, the struggle continues

[Speech given to a celebration of the liberation of Kobanê, at the Kurdish House in Pascoe Vale in Melbourne, January 28, 2015.]

Socialist Alliance joins with you in saluting the heroic defenders of Kobanê. After four and a half months, the IS killers have at last been driven out of the city. Considering everything, that is a great victory.

Paris: Different killings, different standards

[Green Left Weekly, #1037, January 21, 2015]

The day before the massive Paris demonstration against the killings at the Charlie Hebdo office, another demonstration marked another set of killings in the capital.