Saturday, January 9, 2010

Interview with Abdullah Demirbas

Abdullah Demirbas' letter from prison:

Dear Sir/Madam,

First of all I would like to tell you about my health problems that really give me unbearable pain in my legs which this illness called (deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and need to be controlled by my doctor all the time. If I will not be controlled by the doctor that it may cause bad illness while I am in the jail."

As you may know I have been arrested and jailed with another 23 members of the BDP political party including 7 mayors. The Turkish state have started a new war against the civilian Kurdish political movement in 11 provinces from Diyarbakir and neighboring cities to İstanbul and İzmir.

Homes of prominent DTP (the Kurdish party recently banned by the Constitutional Court) leaders houses were broken into 5 a.m. and around 60 party members, including mayors of Kurdish provinces and districts and the human rights association chairperson in Diyarbakir were arrested. Also these party members and mayors brought up to court building with handcuffs on their hands. All the media were recording and taking pictures of this shameful scene. I would like to point out an important fact to you that those party members never use a gun or never connected with the violence acts. All we have been trying to do to solve the Kurdish problem in a democratic ways.

The Turkish court has charged 23 Kurdish officials, including eight mayors. This was the third operation during this year. More than 100 people have already been charged in the investigation led by the chief prosecutor’s office in Diyarbakir. 54 party members got arrested and jailed on the March 2009.

Unfortunately they haven’t brought up the court or Turkish Court hasn’t opened a case against these jailed party members. As you can see that the government categorically rejects dialogue with the Kurdish movement. The Kurdish question cannot be resolved without recognizing the will of the Kurdish people and holding dialogue with its interlocutors. I believe that Turkish government refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as adistinct minority.

I believe that Turkish government refuses to recognize its Kurdish population asadistinctminority. The European Union, which Turkey wants to join, has praised Turkish Prime Minister R. T. Erdogan’s efforts to end the conflict. His so-called democratic initiative. But as you see the government instead of making dialogue with the Kurdish, they make these operations. The Turkish Government cannot endure the Kurdish people and their party as a free decision so this operation is against the Kurdish free volition and they want to break the Kurdish free volition.

As I mentioned above that I also have a seriously bad medical condition which I have to be under the doctor control all the time. Therefore I cannot stay in the jail with any conditions. Even Turkish law agreed that it was inappropriate for me to stay in the jail. But still they put me in jail with (POLITICAL) reasons.

Therefore, I kindly wish from you dear friends;

• We are waiting considerably your quick reaction for this unjustice act,
• If you take this act and shared in international arena which you connected with society, associations and etc.. and If you request from them to respond about our situation that we will be really appriciated,
• I hope to see you soon in a near future together in our free live days. All best wishes to you,

Yours Sincerely.

Abdullah Demirbas
Mayor of Sur Municipality Diyarbakir

info below if from Wikipediaş

Abdullah Demirbaş (born 1966, Diyarbakir, Turkey) is mayor of the municipality of Sur in the city of Diyarbakir, Southeast Turkey, of the former Democratic Society Party (DTP).
After graduating in sociology at Firat University in Elazig, Abdullah Demirbas worked as a philosophy teacher from 1987 to 2007, contributing to setting up the Mardin Branch of the Turkish Union of Teachers. [1]
When he was elected as Mayor of Sur in 2004, he made a commitment to his electorate to serve them in their own languages. [2] In 2007 he was removed from his functions, together with the entire municipal council, for using the Kurdish language in official business. [3] He was accused of the misuse of municipal resources, having printed a children’s book and tourist brochures in Kurdish. [4] The Congress of the Council of Europe took up his case in its 2007 report and Recommendation 229 on Local Democracy in Turkey. [5] [6]

In the Turkish local elections in March 2009, he was re-elected with a stronger majority. However, the prosecutions against him continued and in May 2009 he was sentenced to 2 years in jail for language crimes. [7]
He is a campaigner for minority languages and has called on Turkey to ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. [8]
His latest project - "A Story for each night and every house is a School" - aims to publish 365 stories for children in Kurdish and other minority languages. [9] A court case against him concerning this project was dropped in September 2009. [10]
On 24 December 2009 he was detained as part of a widespread crackdown against members of the former DTP party. On 30 December he issued an open letter from prison pleading for medical treatment and drawing attention to the political nature of his arrest. [11]

^ "Abdullah Demirbas". World Conference on City Diplomacy. 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
^ "Dismissed Turkish Mayor Continues Quest to Make Kurdish Language Official". Kurdish Academy. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
^ "Multilingualism as a Separatist Crime". Quantara. 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
^ "Minority Rules". New York Times. 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
^ "Local Democracy in Turkey". Congress of the Council of Europe. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2009-12-31.
^ "Recommendation 229 - Local Democracy in Turkey". Congress of the Council of Europe. 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2009-12-31.
^ "Kurdish mayor Abdullah Demirbas sentenced to jail". Transnational Middle East Observer. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
^ "Former Kurdish mayor Demirbas blames Turkey for everything". Kurd Net. 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
^ "Transforming Every House into a School". Kurdish Herald. July 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
^ "No Trial for Teaching Kurdish". Bianet. 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
^ "Open letter of Abdullah Demirbas". United States of Kurdistan. 2009-12-30. Retrieved 2009-12-31.