Thursday, July 10, 2008


"The German citizens under detention will not be released until the German state issues a statement [indicating] that it has given up its hostile policies against the Kurdish people and PKK."
~ HPG Statement, 10 July 2008.

HPG issued a statement today regarding the detention of three German citizens (Helmut Johann, Martin Georpe, and Lars Holper Reime) on Mt. Ararat. What follows is a translation of HPG's statement as carried on Fırat News Agency. The first three paragraphs of the Fırat article are a repetition HPG's statement and, for that reason, they are not included here. HPG's statement is the last paragraph in the Fırat article and is in quotes:

"Three German citizens were detained by our forces on 9 July. They are in good health. However, for their security and protection, the operations that are ongoing by the Turkish state must be halted immediately. We have neither any enmity toward the German people nor have we engaged in any bad treatment against the German citizens that are under detention. The German citizens under detention will not be released until the German state issues a statement [indicating] that it has given up its hostile policies against the Kurdish people and PKK."


"9 Temmuz günü Ağrı dağında 3 Alman vatandaşı güçlerimiz tarafımızdan gözaltına alınmıştır. Sağlık durumları iyidir. Ancak can güvenliklerinin sağlanması ve korunması için Türk devleti tarafından alanda yürütülmekte olan operasyonların durdurulması gerekmektedir. Alman halkına karşı bir düşmanlığımız olmadığı gibi şu an gözaltında bulunan Alman vatandaşlarına karşı her hangi bir kötü müdahale veya uygulama olmamıştır. Alman devletinin Kürt halkına ve PKK’ye karşı yürütmekte olduğu düşmanca politikalarından vazgeçtiğine dair bir açıklama yapmadığı sürece, gözaltında bulunan Alman vatandaşları bırakılmayacaktır."

Meanwhile, according to Deutsche-Welle, some "specialists" have been sent to Turkey in order to obtain the release of the detainees:

A team of German diplomats who specialize in solving abduction cases have been assigned to seek the release of three Germans seized by Kurdish guerrillas in eastern Turkey, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said late Wednesday on German TV.

HA! Good luck with that. I mean, first you have to find them, right? Deutsche-Welle does admit its crimes, however:

Germany has in recent years upped cooperation with the Turkish government in attempts to stop PKK activities inside Germany. Just last month, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble banned broadcasts of the Copenhagen-based Roj television, a station that Turkey accuses of being a PKK propaganda channel.

Germany has also been active in extraditing to Turkey suspected PKK members. Last year, two PKK members wanted in relation to attacks in Turkey were extradited after Turkey abolished the death penalty.

The problem is that Turkey has not actually abolished the death penalty. The culture of impunity that is rampant in Turkey among the security forces is the guarantee that the death penalty survives. The reality is that people can be tortured to death in Turkey, which itself is a death penalty, and it doesn't matter that some little piece of paper says that the death penalty is rescinded.

The German foreign minister also had the chance to use the very worn cliche, saying that "Germany 'will not let itself be blackmailed.'" Oh, but Germany did allow itself to be blackmailed when Black September whacked a bunch of Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics. From TIME, November 1972:

FOR weeks, West Germany's government had been uneasily aware that the Black September movement, which struck so viciously in Munich two months ago, would almost certainly strike again. The Arab terrorists' objective this time: freedom for the three young fedayeen who had been confined in separate Bavarian prisons since they were captured during the Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes and coaches. Last week Black September acted—and took the Germans by surprise. In one of the boldest skyjackings so far, two Palestinian terrorists commandeered a Lufthansa 727 with eleven other passengers aboard and forced the release of their three captured brethren.

Not only does Germany allow itself to be blackmailed, it's also a state sponsor of terror. The Mezopotamian Development Society (MESOP) has just released the findings of the Council Of Representatives of the Iraqi Parliament, in which the evidence is presented of German-supplied weapons being used against Kurdish civilians in South Kurdistan:

"Call upon the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs to summon the German Ambassador in Iraq to demand clarifications about the German highly sophisticated weapons in the Turkish bases inside Iraq, that are not supposed to be used against the Kurdish people –according to the terms of the sale-agreement - . The Iraqi Ambassador in Germany is to present a protesting letter about using these weapons."

Part 1 and Part 2 are available at KurdishMedia.

It may be a long summer, and maybe an even longer winter, for those three Germans, but they will be well cared for by their hosts.

Again, Hevallo has a warning about tourism in Turkey:

If every democratic offer of negotiation is ignored and answered with bombs, lies and psychological misinformation then a pressure cooker is building up. If the anger, humiliation and frustration that is building up cannot find expression and is kept out of the so called democratic process, then the outlook is looking increasingly grim.

I am very afraid that the time is very close when Kurdish patience, understandably, will run out. And if I am right, I am picking up signals from different places that that time has very nearly come.

So, I would again urge, if you read this post, DO NOT GO TO TURKEY FOR YOUR HOLIDAYS THIS SUMMER!!!

Turkey brings in $18 Billion from tourism, and is the biggest earner in the Turkish economy. It is also used in the psychological war to promote Turkey as a 'paradise preserved' and cover up the atrocities and suppression being committed against the Kurds.

Very well said, Heval.


madtom said...

Tourist are not valid military targets.
You have no collateral damage defense.
This can only be seen as sign of weakness and desperation.
This is an act premeditated terrorism.

I advise you rethink this position.

The Germans would be well within their right to send commandos to rescue their citizens from these criminal gangs. The perpetrators should be hunted down and brought to justice.

rodi tekin said...

Rethink the position! What the hell man! Any tourist coming down there better think their position of having a nice and adventurous trip into the middle of the WARZONE, while people are being TERRORIZED( with Capital T). Only idiots like you will call it desperation. Don`t worry about PKK, they have been fighting for more than 13 yrs and they have never been stronger or strongly supported. Screw the germans! Your government with every piece of it belong to the so called CRIMINAL GANGS you mention. Screw u matdom too...PREMEDITATED...PUHHHHHH...

What a joke ignorants like you present themselves as.

Rethink position (bunch of wealthy pricks on the top).....

Anonymous said...

I read hevallo and your blog daily, but as an american citizen who must travel to Turkey this summer for a language course (in Antalya of all places), I am really saddened by this threatened violence against tourists.
I am exceptionally aware of what Kurdish people in Turkey are facing, and you--no one for that matter--can have any idea why I will be in Antalya this summer. But if I am dead, you will only have known that I was there. You will not have had the chance to that I was there with the aim of helping Kurdish people. You will not have had the chance to know all that I will add in this life to the Kurdish people.
Instead of killing tourists the aim should be to educate them. After all, when compared with Turks they are the least biased, least racist people in Turkey.
Please be more aware of these facts.

Mizgîn said...

Madtom, you are too funny. Send commandos? Hell, yeah, let them send commandos! Turkey's been sending commandos for 24 years and where has it gotten them?

Remember, the mountains of Kurdistan are not the streets of Palestine, nor are they the streets of Baghdad, Fallujah, or Istanbul for that matter.

Weakness and desperation? I don't think so. You haven't been around Ararat. You don't know how the area is crawling with TSK. Still, PKK went into the middle of that and managed to take away three people. It's a sign of just how well PKK operates and how much support it gets from the population.

The perpetrators of the Kurdish genocide are the ones who should be brought to justice and then they should hang. Those who've closed the doors to democratic resolution for the sake of money--like Joseph Ralston--and others should be brought to justice.

Anonymous, I have no idea what you're talking about. You should reread the statement as no one has been killed and no one will be killed. On the contrary, finally some Westerners will learn what it is to be civilized.

Remember the Oremar prisoners.

madtom said...

"PKK went into the middle of that and managed to take away three people."

How impressive, they took unarmed tourist. I am sure they feel really big right now. They could just as well have told the tourist that the area was closed, explained why, and asked them to return home. They could have tried to educated them on the realities of Kurdish life in Turkey.

But somehow they chose to reinforce the image of the PKK as a terrorist group. Are you sure this operation is not in fact one of your "black Operation, False Flag, or a Deep state" operation to discredit the PKK. Are you sure this was sanctioned at the central committee?

You could not have handed your enemies better propaganda. Your sure Dick Cheney is not running your operation?

And how silly to try to claim that your hostages are being treated nice or civilized. Compared to what? Is it a race to the bottom?
Treated nice would be serves tea and cookies, not taken hostages. To deny innocent people of their liberty is a hostile act in and of itself. You don't treat guest by locking them up, and then try to claim, "but the rooms are comfortable". That is insane.

madtom said...

Hey look your kindness is already paying dividends.

"After the soldiers were freed in November, Turkish prosecutors opened a probe into the Kurdish lawmakers and their links with the PKK.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in largely Kurdish southeast Turkey since 1984 in a conflict that has left about 40,000 people dead. Turkish officials accuse Democratic Society of being the PKK's political wing, and the country's top court is considering a case to shut down the party, which has 20 seats in the Ankara parliament.

With friends like these...

Gordon Taylor said...

Oh boy. I don't know if I want to get in the middle of this one.

First of all, "threatening tourists." I don't think Hevallo was QUITE doing that, but if you read it a certain way it can be so understood. The point is, the PKK has never targeted tourists and it's unlikely that they will. But if not, that should be more clearly stated. If the Kurds want to run a "Boycott Turkey" campaign, that's certainly their right. But threatening tourists is totally counter-productive.

Second, an "act of desperation." No, I wouldn't put that label on it. Any objective look at the facts will conclude that the PKK is actually very strong right now. I do think, however, that it was a major mistake on the part of the unit commander who took the captives. Remember, all of Europe has just recently been transfixed by the story of Ingrid Betancourt's release from captivity in Colombia. There couldn't be a worse time for the PKK to be taking hostages if it wants to maintain a public image as "freedom fighters" and not "terrorists." With this act the PKK has played right into the hands of its enemies.

Certainly Mad Tom is right that depriving innocent bystanders of their liberty is a criminal act, even if they are being "treated well." As for the purpose of this kidnapping: to force the German government to change its policy regarding the PKK, ROJ-TV, Kurdish rights, etc., well, let's get real. This isn't going to do that. The best we can hope for now is that the German climbers will emerge unscathed, after having the adventure of a lifetime, and ABOVE ALL that the TSK doesn't find them. If they do, we know what will happen: the T's will open up with everything they have, the earth will be strewn with blood and corpses, and in the end the PKK will be blamed for the tourists' deaths.

Last of all, let's remember: if the PKK were really a terrorist group, there wouldn't have been any climbers left at all. Look at what the Islamists did to the busload of tourists at Luxor several years ago. Now that was terrorism!

madtom said...

"Second, an "act of desperation." No, I wouldn't put that label on it. Any objective look at the facts will conclude that the PKK is actually very strong right now."

You misunderstood, apparently you have all misunderstood. the weakness and desperation is in relation to the Kurds relations in Germany. Not their strength on the ground in Turkey.

You know the old saying, when you run out of arguments, pound the table, and if that don't work stomp out of the room.
Well the Kurds look like a child pouting because he's not allowed a sweet before dinner.

Anonymous said...

I am writing to you from Dogubayazit at the foot of Mount Ararat. The people losing money from tourism are Kurds, not Turks. So once again it is Kurds suffering.

Anonymous said...

I am confused about this situation. as much as i support a lot of the acts of pkk this clearly wasnt one of their best. on the other hand, no matter how Germany acts, they will be the losers TOGETHER with the pkk. if they open ROJ again, by any chance, they will show themselves as non democratic people who censure things without evidences. if they decide not to do anything there will be a lot of frustration from germans going to turkey, afraid of not getting home support.

but they should not target civilians like that. its not the right way forth. even though they have not been killed. lets hope they have some good words about pkk when they get released. after all ,this may just be one of their greatest experiences. to meet the children of the civilisation.

Janice said...

Very interesting exchange. After some quick research, it appears the PKK last kidnapped foreign tourists in 1997 (Bulgarians) but released them 2-3 days later (unharmed). Further review shows that the PKK kidnapped several foreign tourists from 1993-1997. However, in no case that I saw were any injured or killed.

Gordon: I think your comments are well placed. Emotions on the issue aside (whether in Turkey or Europe), this act appeared to come out of the blue. Unfortunately, the same day the US Consulate in Istanbul was the scene of a terrorist action. Other than getting some press coverate (most was dedicated to the Istanbul event), I cannot see any real "win" for taking three Germans hostage? I wonder if it was an accident--something the PKK had to do (e.g., climbers discovered weapons cache or camp, etc.).

My prediction is that they will be released (obviously without harm) shortly--if anything happens to them (regardless of what), the PKK will be forced to shoulder the blame and that won't look good for Kurdish activists in Europe trying to wage a democratic effort for more rights.

Anonymous said...

The PKK has been living with this tension for so long -- philosophically, it rejects terrorism and yet, there is a "real politik" (for lack of a better word) realization that using force, and terror, achieves results and the US as well as other European countries reward those who use terror -- but only those who employ it with skill. So, I think it is out of this internal philosophical conflict that sometimes the PKK threatens the use of terror.

I think that the PKK has already chosen how it would like to conduct itself and what its philosophy is, however, it has to be clear about it and either reject terrorism once and for all or in the alternative, own up to it. But, if the latter, then it should do it well and get results -- not this clumsy mess we hear about now and then.

In keeping with PKK's commitment to the democratic struggle, I would hope the German climbers are released as soon as possible.


hamo said...

I don't think anybody should enter the war zone unless they have necessary permissions from the Kurdish authorities namely the PKK. If the person decides to go to war-zone and top of that if the person belongs to citizen of the enemy country then I don't see how the authorities would not capture them. Germans have always being one of the great supporters of the Turkish nationalism and the army. Armenian, Assyrian and Kurdish genocides would have not happened if Germans did not provide Turks with their expertise... In recent interviews with Turkish grey wolf members revealed that Maras, Corum massacres against the Kurdish alevis were directly conducted and orchestrated by the German neo-Nazi organizations that were getting direct support from the German government.

I don’t think anyone would have been moaning here if the PKK detained an American citizen into their custody because of their government known direct involvement in the conflict. As a nation of several genocide perpetrators and a country of neo-Nazi views, I would suggest to Germans to be more careful where they chose for their holiday destinations.

Anonymous said...

You're finally right on the ball, hamo! I doubt anyone would be "moaning" if an American citizen was 'detained' -- aside from maybe the detainee.


Sorry, it was just too hard to resist.