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Lift the ban on the PKK – Justice and Freedom for the Kurds

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Lift the ban on the PKK:

Justice and Freedom for the Kurds

To the Attorney General and the Australian Government

For the past 30 years, the Kurdish region of South-Eastern Turkey has been wracked by conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The PKK are a Kurdish liberation movement committed to the recognition and establishment of Kurdish identity and the rights of Kurdish people. A peaceful settlement could be achieved – but efforts to secure peace have been jeopardised by Australia’s ban on the PKK as a ‘terrorist’ organisation. As a result, the only organisation that enjoys the mass support of Kurdish people has effectively been excluded from the negotiating table.


The Kurdish people seek peace. The Turkish government says it wants peace. The European Union wants a stable and democratic Turkey to become a member of the EU.  But no armed conflict as deeply rooted as the one between Turkey and the Kurds has ever been resolved without first reaching a political settlement that is formally binding and verifiable. Of necessity this demands a willingness by all parties – in this instance, representatives of the Turkish state and of the PKK - to negotiate on equal terms.  The ban on the PKK has placed a block on such dialogue even starting.  


We believe that PKK has clearly demonstrated over many years that it commands the loyalties of the vast proportion of the Kurdish people living in Turkey and the Kurdish diaspora. We also believe that the organisation has successfully given voice to the Kurdish people’s demands and has articulated these demands in responsible and measured ways. In so doing, it has shown that it is fully entitled to be regarded as the representative body of the Kurdish people. Indeed, no peace agreement is likely to be reached without the PKK’s active participation. Lifting the ban is a thus a pre-requisite to peace.


We are also concerned that the continuing conflict between Turkey and its Kurdish minority remains a serious obstacle to lasting peace and democratic reform in Turkey and inhibits progress on its accession to the European Union.


Despite being held in prison by Turkey for more than ten years, Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK’s founder and leader, still commands the loyalty and support of millions of Kurdish people. During his decade of detention and indeed long before, Ocalan has issued many constructive proposals for peace and dialogue and the PKK has adopted numerous unilateral ceasefires.

We believe that both Ocalan and the PKK have an important role to play in the pursuit of a lasting peace between Turkey and the Kurds. We the undersigned are convinced that by delisting the PKK the deeply longed for peace will be brought that much closer.


Supported by Australian Kurdish Federation, Kurdish Association of Victoria,  Kurdish Association of Australia, Kurdish Association of Western Australian, Kurdish Youth of Australia, Kurdistan Women’s League.          


Submission by Kurdish organisations to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on the listing of the PKK:

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