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The Kurdish Question in Turkey

The Spokesman 119

Edited by Tony Simpson

Ayse Berktay has been locked up in a Turkish prison since October 2011. She and some 200 others are, periodically, before Turkey’s Tribunal with Special Powers as part of the ‘KCK trials’. KCK stands for Kurdish Communities Union, which the Turkish government has labelled a ‘terrorist’ organisation, although the actual basis for this draconian claim is not at all clear.

In December 2012, many Kurds, some Turks and various others gathered at the European Parliament in Brussels to consider ‘The Kurdish Question in Turkey’. The conference was sponsored by the United European Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) political group, with support from Greens and Socialists. It had the sub-title, ‘time to renew the dialogue and resume direct negotiations’. Notwithstanding attempts by the Turkish authorities to restrict Kurdish participation, the conference heard from many speakers of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. They included two prominent Kurds, Leyla Zana, now a member of the Turkish Parliament, who was previously imprisoned there, and Zübeyir Aydar of the KNK, who participated in the aborted negotiations with the Turkish intelligence services (the so-called ‘Oslo Process’) that ceased in 2011. We publish their papers here, alongside Ayse’s own statement from prison on receiving an award from Turkish PEN, part of an international organisation which supports persecuted authors. Our Dossier section includes eyewitness accounts from some of the KCK trials.


The arduous business of peace – Leyla Zana MP

Time to talk – Zübeyir Aydar

Questioning 'terror' – Ayse Berktay


We the peoples – Roger Waters

Nottingham departed – Tony Simpson

In praise of troublemakers – Colin Firth

The problem of China, revisited – Ben Thompson

How I became a Socialist – William Morris

This morning's surprise – Mike Marqusee

Middle East nuke free – Yayoi Tsuchida

Dossier: Kurds on Trial – Tony Fisher, Barry White

Reviews – Michael Barratt Brown, Paul Brennan, Cathy Davis, John Daniels, Glyn Ford, Barry Baldwin, Abi Rhodes and Nigel Potter


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