News Release

Analysts on Kurdish Situation

With Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan now a prisoner in Turkey, the global spotlight is on the Kurds. In the United States, interviews are available with these analysts who can shed light on Kurdish perspectives:

VERA BEAUDIN SAEEDPOUR
Founder of the Kurdish Library and the Kurdish Museum, and editor of Kurdish Life and International Journal of Kurdish Studies, Ms. Saeedpour said: “While the U.S. is attacking Iraq almost daily in its self-declared `no-fly zones,’ saying that it does so because it cares about the Kurds, it is backing Turkey in its attacks against the Kurds. Turkey has destroyed, drowned villages with dams. They deny or punish any manifestation of Kurdish identity, yet Clinton has called Turkey a `shining example to the world of the virtues of cultural diversity.’ Kurdish parliamentarians are in prison for their words, some spoken in the U.S. The Iraqi Kurds, under U.S. pressure, have helped Turkey in its attacks on the Turkish Kurds. European countries didn’t give Ocalan safe-haven because of the pressure from Turkey and the U.S., which insisted that Ocalan face justice in Turkey; but there isn’t any justice for a Kurd in Turkey. Ocalan asked for an international trial in Europe, but Turkey refused since they didn’t want their Kurdish policy to get any scrutiny.”

KANI XULAM
Director of the American Kurdish Information Network, Mr. Xulam said: “There’s a war against the Kurdish people in Turkey. Turkey gets its helicopters and jet fighters from the U.S. and Europe. If it didn’t get these weapons, it would have made peace. But as it is, Ocalan’s repeated offers for dialogue and cease-fires were ignored. When you don’t have talks, more violence ensues. Kurdish fighters — thousands of them — may fight to the bitter end.”
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ASLI AYDINTASBAS,
Correspondent for the mainstream Turkish daily Radikal who has specialized in Kurdish issues, Ms. Aydintasbas said that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “has been trying to gain European legitimacy, to change their image as a militant organization and has a wide grassroots network in Europe. Lately, they have been using the ANC as a model…. This arrest is a blow to the PKK, which continues a revolt in Southeastern Turkey.”

HUSSEIN AKTAS
A molecular biologist at Harvard University and former president of the American Kurdish Society of Boston, Mr. Aktas said: “The Kurds are in several countries and that was planned by Britain. If you have a problem with Iraq, you can use them against Iraq, same for Iran and Turkey…. There are millions of Kurds who have been displaced from their homes since 1993 in Turkey — hundreds of thousands of people have been tortured. None of the neighboring countries have even thought of denying Kurdish identity, as Turkey has done.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167