A group of 78 prominent politicians, journalists, intellectuals and artists gathered in Istanbul on Saturday to issue a powerful ‘Call for Peace’ demanding a democratic and peaceful solution to Turkey’s ongoing Kurdish question.
In line with this call for peace and a solution to the longstanding Kurdish conflict in the country, a number of organisations in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakır (Amed) also reaffirmed their commitment to the cause on Sunday.
The peace statement stressed the importance of addressing the Kurdish question’s historical roots and wider implications in Turkey and the Middle East. Central to the declaration was the recognition that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan must play the leading role in resolving the question, and an urgent appeal to the government to end the isolation measures imposed on Öcalan.
Opening the Istanbul meeting, Akın Birdal, honorary president of the Human Rights Association (İHD), highlighted the alarming increase in militarisation and the vital importance of building peace, not only by ending the politics of war, but also by advancing the cause of democratisation.
“The democratic resolution of the Kurdish question will pave the way for the end of isolation. Insisting on the end of isolation means insisting on the democratic and peaceful solution of the Kurdish question,” Birdal said. “Therefore, we repeat our demand: No to further militarisation. We once again call for peace and we encourage everyone to become an advocate for peace.”
Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk underlined the significant efforts for peace and urged both the Kurdish and Turkish populations to work together to build a system based on democratic values and lay the foundations for a better future.
Referring to the volatile state of the Middle East, often referred to as a “powder keg”, Türk stressed the need for the nations of the Middle East to come together and seek peace, recognising its profound importance for their future and the potential consequences of continued chaos in the region.
Türk highlighted the oppressive treatment of all Kurds and the urgent need for their voices to be heard. He recounted conversations with Öcalan in which they had been adamant about the need to solve problems through democratic means.