Old wine into new wineskins?
As early as 1997, a Europe-wide human rights delegation to Kurdistan was criminalized with German assistance and the passage of the "Musa Anter Peace Train" was denied at the instigation of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. One participant remembers.
As early as 1997, an Europe-wide human rights delegation to Kurdistan was criminalized with German assistance and the passage of the "Musa Anter Peace Train" was denied at the instigation of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. One participant remembers.
As early as 1997, a Europe-wide human rights delegation (350 people) organized by Medico International and including parliamentarians, journalists, Kurdistan Solidarity activists and other interested parties was criminalized and the passage of the "Barış Treni" (Peace Train), named after the Kurdish writer Musa Anter, was banned by the then Federal Minister of the Interior Manfred Kanther a few days before its departure. The long arm of Ankara, led by then-Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, was meant to intimidate and keep European critics out of the country.
This outrageous treatment of the delegates culminated in Kanther's statement, made in consultation with Yilmaz, that there were "peace terrorists" on board. The destination of the train trip was to be Amed (tr. Diyarbakir) on September 1, International Anti-War Day.
In view of the ban and the shortness of time, Medico International managed in an almost unbelievable way and organizational intensity to rebook all delegates on flights. Even today, they are expressly thanked for this substantive and logistical achievement. Departing from Brussels and from other European cities, the planes landed at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport.
After passport controls with questions about the whereabouts and background of the entry, it became clear that the entire arrival area was occupied by "gentlemen of the dawn" (political police, secret services) with black sunglasses and newspapers under their arms, from which the antennas of their walkie-talkies peeked out. The trip to the hotels was accompanied by them as well.
During the two-day stay in Istanbul, the same figures loitered in front of the hotels and asked questions ("What are you doing here?"). An obsessive surveillance scenario took its course. When the tour buses were seen off by many thousands of people from a central square in Istanbul, a journey began that the participants will not forget. To begin with, the delegation never arrived at Amed on September 1, 1997.
In the Kurdish town of Siverek near Urfa, a tank blockade was initiated on the street under massive threat, armed soldiers surrounded the buses. In view of this military demonstration of strength, insights could be gained into arms deliveries by the then German government (CDU) from stocks of the "depleted" DDR (Democratic German Republic) now for the NATO partner Turkey. NVA (National People’s Army) helmets for the Turkish Mehmetçiks (soldiers), firearms and tanks, helicopters for air surveillance.
Following the blockade, all buses were diverted to a nearby barracks and negotiations and questioning began. With the result that Amed, about 120 kilometers away, remained inaccessible and the delegation set off on its return journey to Istanbul under tightened conditions. In front of, at the end of and between two buses in each case a military jeep that drove at a maximum speed of 40 kilometers per hour. Temperature in the buses close to 45 degrees. Departures to rest stops to buy water and use the toilet or other places on the route were prevented by massive military presence by means of blocking. After an interminably long time, a rest stop could be approached. However, it quickly became known that it belonged to a village chief who wanted to earn money from us.
After two days of travel and arrival in Istanbul at nighttime, it became clear that all hotel rooms were occupied despite the booking, so the argumentation. Better said: the hotel staff was forbidden to rent rooms to "peace terrorists". 600 delegates had to find their own accommodation.
Not only since yesterday the BRD (Federal German Republic) is a war party in the murderous conflict in Kurdistan. Not only since yesterday there are worldwide people who oppose a dictatorship in Turkey. Not the defamatory word "peace terrorism" is primarily important and as it were absurd, but the reality of the Turkish state terror in Kurdistan. For a political solution and the right of self-determination of all Kurds. In freedom and dignity.
*To protect the author from criminalization and legal harassment, we have changed his name.