Saturday, February 10, 2007


"The subsequent court appearance of Ocalan reinforced the image of the totalitarian nature of the trial. Ocalan's testimony was an exact replica of the Turkish regime's virulent propaganda against the Kurdish movement, and the person of Ocalan. His "confession" to being a "terrorist" and "murderer" of the Turkish people, his "admission" to receiving military aid from Turkey's enemies (Greece, Syria, Iraq) was essentially a propaganda exercise orchestrated by the Turkish intelligence agencies. The political purpose of the trial was to defend the Turkish regime's bloody repression of 15 million and to "justify" its denial of elementary cultural and political rights of all minorities."
~ James Petras.

Strasbourg, 10 February 2007 (REUTERS/Vincent Kessler).

From a State Department press release on Friday, 9 February, with Daniel Fried:

Assistant Secretary Fried: [ . . . ]

And yes, of course we discussed the issue of the PKK, a terrorist organization which we believe should be eliminated and the threat to Turkey reduced to zero. In that context I was delighted to learn that European officials, French officials have arrested a large number of PKK operatives. This does, as has been reported, follow some close cooperation between the United States and Turkey. This cooperation is continuing. It will continue, and our cooperation is not limited to Western Europe, let me put it that way.

[ . . . ]

So it was a good visit. We appreciate this dialogue. Our dialogue with Turkey is intense. Under Secretary Burns was recently in Ankara. General Ralston has been traveling to the region. He's our envoy for countering and combating the PKK. Our Economic Partnership Commission is taking place this week in Turkey. Policy planning talks will be held later. Our dialogue with Turkey is very rich and there is a lot to talk about.

Media: Mr. Fried, my name is Hilal from Radikal daily. Actually I'd like to ask a question about combating the PKK in Northern Iraq, but also nowadays in Central Europe, in Belgium, in France there are some operations, and members and leaders of the PKK have been captured through this. Is there any direct link between these operations and that visit, Mr. Gul's visit United States? Just how do you evaluate this issue? How do you see these operations [inaudible]? Thank you.

Assistant Secretary Fried: I doubt that the French police arrested PKK terrorists to help the atmospherics around the visit of the Turkish Foreign Minister in Washington. We appreciate our French friends' efforts, but the timing is clearly a coincidence.

But it is true that the United States and Turkey have been working with our West European friends about the problem of the PKK. And it is true that West European governments understand the nature of the problem, and these arrests have been made. This is good news. These aren't the first arrests; I doubt they will be the last arrests.

But you are also correct when you suggest that the problem of the PKK is obviously not confined to Western Europe. It's also a problem in Northern Iraq. We are cooperating with Turkey to deal with that problem.

Solving it will require cooperation between Turkey and Iraq, both the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government and I think this cooperation is moving forward.

We are working together on projects like the closing of the Makhmour camp which had become, frankly, very heavily infiltrated by the PKK. This process is underway now. There are other things which might be done, but they are of a nature that should not be discussed with the media openly.

[ . . . ]

Media: Zeynep Gurcanli from Vatan Daily Newspapers. You said in your opening remarks that the Western European operation towards PKK was not limited to Western Europe. So can we expect also a new operation in Northern Iraq? And also what is the U.S. government position for a possible cross-border operation, military operation, of Turkey towards PKK in Northern Iraq?

Assistant Secretary Fried: To state the obvious but to start from it, of course there is a problem of the PKK presence in Northern Iraq. Of course this problem has to be dealt with. We are discussing with Turkey and our Iraqi friends this problem. I'm not going to say any more in this channel about it.

I understand in the press there has been speculation about unilateral Turkish cross-border operations. I understand perfectly Turkish frustration with the PKK bases and camps in Northern Iraq. This is understandable. But the responsibility for the outcomes of such an operation is something Turkey needs to think about.

Of course this week's assault against Kurds in Europe has nothing to do with Gul's visit to the US. Nor does it have anything to do with the upcoming anniversary (15 February) of the international community's betrayal of the Kurdish people's suffering under a brutal Turkish occupation as symbolized by the joint US-Turkish-Israeli capture of Ocalan. Instead, the current assault on Kurdish leaders and intellectuals in Europe has everything to do with Apo's application to the European Court of Human Rights for having received a completely unjust trial.

The ECHR first ruled in 2003 that Ocalan received an unjust trial from the Ankara regime with a second and final ruling coming in 2005. Human Rights Watch noted the flagrant violations of the right to a just trial in 1999:

When Ocalan was brought to Turkey after his abduction from Kenya in February, he was held in incommunicado police detention for nine days - far in excess of international standards, and even of the limits imposed by Turkish domestic law. Sugden therefore disagreed with observers from the Council of Europe, who said on June 21 that "the trial . . . has been correct and in accordance with the applicable Turkish law."

Meanwhile, Ocalan has been permitted only limited access to legal counsel. During meetings with his lawyers, which were restricted in frequency and duration, one or more security force members was present and within hearing. During the initial stage of the investigation, lawyers were not permitted to bring notes to interviews with their client.

Sugden noted also that once the process reached the courts, there were other reminders of common State Security Court practice: the judges refused to hear any of the witnesses proposed by the defense, and barred at least one piece of their evidence from being read to the court on the grounds that it was "propaganda".

HRW also has a backgrounder on the nature of the Ankara regime's State Security Courts. The State Security Courts represented a legal system very similar to the one that is now in place in the US by virtue of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The events this last week in Europe, with the arrests of ordinary Kurds in France, the detentions of Kurdish political leaders, and the destruction of the Ahmet Kaya Kurdish Cultural Center by French state security forces, reaffirms that the international conspiracy to bury the Turkish genocide of the Kurdish people, with the full backing of the United States, is alive and well.

A retrial of Ocalan's case and the wider implications of an international debate over the Ankara regime's butchery of the Kurdish people would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the West--and the US in particular--has benefited financially. The most recent example of financial benefit is alluded to in the State Department's press conference by the mention of Lockheed Martin's "special envoy" for "countering and combatting the PKK," Joseph Ralston. Without so much as taking a breath, Fried then notes that their "Economic Partnership Commission," will be held in the coming week. No doubt the American war industry will take a prominent role in the commission.

The use of silence and the manufacturing of a phony War on Terror to further joint US-Turkish business interests can be seen elsewhere, for instance in Fried's statement that the Washington regime will oppose a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus and subsequent military occupation of that European country, repeated Turkish invasions of South Kurdistan--thus violating the "Iraqi" territorial integrity for which Abdullah Gul falsely expresses so much concern--the labeling of Kurdish resistance to genocide as "terrorism", the rejection of the fifth PKK unilateral ceasefire by both the Ankara and Washington regimes along with the rejection of of the possibility of a negotiated political settlement for the Kurdish people under Turkish brutality are more subjects which a retrial of Ocalan would inconveniently bring to light.

As a result of a condemnation of the assault on Kurds in Europe and calls for protest against the attacks earlier in the week by Murat Karayilan, a massive protest took place in Strasbourg to show support for Ocalan and to condemn the recent unjust attacks against the Kurdish people by Europe. Other protests have been planned in Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, and Sweden.

In spite of the fact that American raids of the Maxmur Camp reveal not a single bullet, and that a UN census showed the camp to be civilian in nature, the US State Department continues to perpetuate the Turkish lies about the Kurdish refugees:

We are working together on projects like the closing of the Makhmour camp which had become, frankly, very heavily infiltrated by the PKK. This process is underway now.

There are other things which might be done, but they are of a nature that should not be discussed with the media openly.

Certainly, but it's not good for American image--euphemistically referred to generally as "US credibility"--to simply bomb the refugee camp at Maxmur for hours like the US did to a PUK checkpoint yesterday. Massive bombing of Kurdish women and children by the US simply wouldn't look good if such an incident leaked out to the press, but former State Department mass murderer Richard Holbrooke's visit this week to Maxmur indicates that the US is looking for an easier way to rid the world of the Maxmur refugees. Like the case of Ocalan, the stories these Kurds could tell of Turkish atrocities would further tarnish Turkish and US "credibility."

In the meantime, there is a spot of good news in the Kurdish world today: One hero of the Kurdish cause, Dr. Kristiina Koivunen of Finland, has a new blog on the Kurdish situation in English, called Kurdish Question and a permanent link to her blog has been added to Rastî's blog list.

Pîroz be û Serkeftin, Dr. Kristiina!

Note: All photos of the Strasbourg demonstration are from 10 February 2007 by Vincent Kessler/REUTERS. Murat Karayilan photo courtesy of RojTV via TECAK.

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