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Pierre Laurent: "Turkey’s amalgamation of the PKK and Daesh is unacceptable"

Translated Saturday 5 September 2015, by Adrian Jordan

The national secretary of the French Communist Party wrote to François Hollande, enjoining him to act “so that Turkey stops its operations against the PKK and returns to the negotiating table”. Entire text.

Dear Mr President,

I wish to make known to you my deepest concerns invoked by the military operations President RT Erdogan has engaged upon over the last ten days.

Under evident pressure from the United States, president Erdogan launched attacks against Daesh positions in Syria but at the same time accompanied them with attacks against PKK positions in Iraq and Turkey, breaking the ceasefire initiated by the PKK in 2013. The Turkish head of state announced he would break peace negotiations with Abdullah Öcalan.

These actions are unacceptable and must be firmly condemned.

Since the attacks of 20 July, killing 32 youths and causing hundreds of casualties, an attack which has not been claimed by Daesh, these military operations outside of Turkish territory have been accompanied by a climate of terror and repression against the population inside Turkey, with the use of live rounds against protestors and more than 1,500 arrests – of, essentially, HDP politicians, trades-unionists, feminist activists and youths.

What is more, proceedings “for supporting rebellion” have been initiated against Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdag, co-presidents of the HDP who received 13.1 percent of the electoral vote on 7 June and who are now the 4th parliamentary party, with 80 members of parliament, offering Turkey a long-awaited hope of peace and democracy.

I ask you to immediately intervene in support of the HDP co-presidents, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdag. Selahattin Demirtaş responded to these accusations with clear words of peace, stating that he will not let the country breakout into war and appealed for unity and forethought.

However, the Turkish head of state demonstrated that his priority is not the fight against the Islamic State, nor the “fight against terrorism”.

President Erdogan, thwarted in his dictatorial plan, now wants to rid himself of a democratic opposition committed to creating a future for the country and which enjoys popular support. We cannot remain indifferent to these attacks on democracy nor the violence which accompanies them.

The politics of President Erdogan are filled with dangers for democracy, for peace and for the whole population of Turkey, as it is equally so for the people of northern Syria and Rojava and also for those of Iraqi Kurdistan, whose minister of foreign relations, on Friday, demanded the cessation of bombardments.

The repressive military action by Turkey is set to plunge the region, already at war, into a turmoil, the result of which, as you will understand, no one can predict.

Many now recognise what I have long since denounced following my observations during my visit to Suruç last October. Daesh forces have broadly benefited from Turkey’s support, easily crossing the Turkish-Syrian border to stockpile arms, supplies and recruit combatants, while the Kurdish volunteers going to the aid Kobanî people are denied passage. I was also able to note the extent to which the Turkish authorities burdened the only HDP led towns (Diyarbakir, Suruç, Nusaybin, Cizre, Mardin) with the responsibility of receiving and aiding tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian refugees, particularly Yazidis and those coming from Kobanî - in other words, those saved and assisted by the PKK.

You, who personally received the commanders of the YPG and Kobanî forces last February, underlining the significant action of the YPG who inflicted the initial military and political defeat upon the obscurantist Daesh, you are not ignorant of the invaluable role played by the PKK in the search for peace, liberty, progress and democracy in the region.

France cannot, therefore, remain silent and should actively work to re-establish peace and democracy, a ceasefire, and a return to negociations with the PKK, negotiations PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, committed to last March, in the historic step of disarmament, a step saluted by President Erdogan himself.

It is France’s duty to clearly dissociate itself from the support, particularly American, given to Turkey during the NATO sitting last 28 July. This means the suspension of all military operations, policing or judicial cooperation with the Ankara regime, which has chosen to brutally repress whoever opposes its policies. France cannot, in any way, be complicit in such policies nor in such abuses of human rights.

Our duty is, equally, to put all political and diplomatic means to work in obtaining a ceasefire with PKK forces and in re-establishing the peace process in Turkey, which should be placed under the auspices of the “international community”.

The dramatic advances of the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria cannot be stopped by striking the few progressive forces who courageously succeed in resisting Daesh. Here, I reiterate my solemn demand that France takes the initiative in getting the European Union to remove the PKK from its list of terrorist organisations. France’s political courage should be as strong as that of the women and men who, without adequate means, battle against the Islamic State, a force which is considerably better equipped and supported, either directly or indirectly, by regional powers.

The amalgamation Turkey makes of the PKK and Daesh is unacceptable and should be denounced. Our country cannot support the Turkish bombardments and should act to get Turkey to stop its operations against the PKK and return to the negotiating table.

The future of the Near and Middle East can in no way be prescribed by the support, even implicit, of a powerful member of the UN such as France, for the opportunistic authoritarian strategy of the Turkish president.

Yours sincerely,

(Pierre Laurent)

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