Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Last Friday I had yet another visit to the dentist to repair the artificial tooth with a spike that extends into all that was left of the root of its genuine predecessor. Her two previous attempts to glue the tooth in didn't work, and it just fell out. Maybe its third time lucky.


Saturday I met Akin Birdal, Diyarbakır MP for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Akif Wan, UK representative of Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), and Ali Has, lawyer and member of Kurdistan National Congress (KNK). They had a sad story to tell about the repressive measures taken recently by the Turkish government against representatives of the Kurdish people in Turkey.

The arrest of some 80 leading members of the new Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) that took place in Turkey last Christmas Eve was very serious for the country’s future peace and stability. The action followed the banning of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) on December 11, 2009 by Turkey’s Constitutional Court, and it was the prelude to further mass arrests of some 1,500 ordinary members of the party at every level. The Party is unable to provide lists of the detainees because their offices are constantly being raided and their members taken into custody.

The leaders detained were all former pro-Kurdish deputies or mayors and included the former DEP deputy and co-president of Democratic Society Congress, Mr Hatip Dicle; the Mayor of Sur Municipality, Mr Abdullah Demirbas,; the Mayor of Kayapinar, Mr Zülkif Karatekin; the former DEP Deputy and Mayor of Siirt, Mr Selim Sadak; the Mayor of Batman, Mr Necdet Atalay; the Mayor of Viransehir; a member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Mrs Leyla Guven; the Mayor of Kiziltepe, Mr Ferhan Turk and vice-president of Human Rights Association, Mr Muharrem Erbey. There is an online petition calling for the release of all these political detainees: Free Kurdish Mayors, Politicians, DTP and BDP Members from Turkish Prisons www.gopetition.com/petitions/free-kurdish-mayors.html

And since our meeting, the Ankara Republic Court Prosecutor has opened a case against the ex-Chairman of Turkey's Democratic Society Party (DTP), Ahmet Turk, for a speech he has made in Kurdish on February 24, 2009, in the Turkish National Assembly's DTP Group Meeting. He had spoken in Turkish on February 21 - the World Languages Day's Celebration – when he said: "The public should have the right to express themselves in their own language" and followed this up three days later in Kurdish. The offence he is alleged to have committed, carrying a minimum sentence of 6 months imprisonment, is a violation of Article 117 of Political Parties Law in Turkey.


Yesterday I saw the consultant gastroenterologist at King's, who will try to find out where I'm losing blood. He ordered samples of blood and faeces to be analysed.


Today I saw Romany Rose, who told me that Germany, with 70,000 Roma, is making an effective contribution towards recognition of Romany culture in Europe, and are actively commemorating Roma and Sinti victims of the Holocaust. He is here as part of our Gypsy/Roma/Traveller History Month, which has been supported by the Government. There is no guarantee that funding will continue in the future.

This evening, the AGM of the Peru All Party Support Group.

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