Joint Declaration, 27 March 2012
To Distinguished US Policymakers
To the US Congress, US Senate, US Public and Press:
Newroz is a traditional festival and a special day for the Kurds to commemorate their history of struggle against tyrants and dictators. Every year, on this day, Kurds express their determination for liberty of suppressed national identity. They voice the oppression currently facing them from governments throughout the northern (Turkey), southern (Iraq), eastern (Iran), and western part (Syria) of Kurdistan.
This year’s Newroz celebrations organized by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Turkey and were illegitimately banned by the Turkish government. The Turkish government’s systematic oppression and killings of Kurdish civilians made Newroz 2012 more crucial for the Kurds to gather and demand democracy, justice, and dignity. As Kurds went out to celebrate Newroz despite the arbitrary ban, police brutality began and people were attacked, including women, elderly people, children, and BDP parliamentarians (MPs). As a result of police violence, BDP Arnavutköy District chair in Istanbul, Mr. Hacı Zengin, was killed and hundreds of others were wounded and jailed. Among the countless victims of the police brutality was a prominent Kurdish MP, Mr. Ahmet Turk, a veteran and prominent and co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK).
Kurds in all part of Kurdistan and the US and Europe need international grassroots scrutiny over Turkey’s systematic oppression of Kurds and activists who support the rights of the Kurdish people. They demand justice, fairness, and dignity from those who turn a blind eye to massive human rights violations in Turkey.
We, as Kurdish-American organizations and US citizens, condemn the Turkish government’s authoritarian policies against the Kurdish people, including the arbitrary banning of Newroz celebrations and use of violence against Kurdish people. We believe that the Kurdish conflict in Turkey can only be solved through inclusive democratic practices that require dialogue and negotiation with the Kurdish political movement.
We call upon US President Barack Obama, US Congress, the American Embassy in Ankara and US policymakers not to remain silent regarding Turkey’s gross human rights violations against the Kurdish people, and encourage developing democracy, peace, and human rights in Turkey.
- American Kurdish Association (AKA), 27 Autumn Street, Lodi, NJ, 07644, 201 456-3706
- Greater DC Kurdish Community, 614 McKinway, Severna Park, MD, 21146, 443 889-7847
- Kurdish American Human Rights Campaign (KAHRC), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kurdish Cultural Center (KCC), 1798 Montreal Cir, Tucker, GA, 30084, 404 797-9191
- Kurdish Human Rights Watch (KHRW), 10560 Main Street, Fairfax, VA 22030, 703 385-3806
- Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNC-NA), P.O. Box 5016, Irvine, CA, 92619
- New England Kurdish Association (NEKA), 350 Prospect Street, Pawtucket, RI, 02860, 401 837-5161
- The California Kurdish Community Center (CKCC), 353 Beach Road, Burlingame, CA, 94010, 650 347-2522