Sara Glynn: Countries serious to end violence, need to de-list PKK

Reportaj Summay

Sara Glynn: Countries serious to end violence, need to de-list PKK
3 January 2022   03:33

Scottish author and political activist, Sara Glynn, indicated that  Western governments can make a real difference to the chance of peace in the middle east by removing the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, from their terrorism lists.

In an interview with ANHA Sara Glynn responded to a question on the effect of keeping the party in the U.S. and EU terror list, says:

''This is used to legitimise attacks on the PKK, and to delegitimise the PKK’s perspective. It is also used to delegitimise other Kurdish organisations that can be accused of links with the PKK. Articles about the PKK often include a sentence saying that it is listed as a terrorist organisation, immediately prejudicing the reader.

What is a ‘terrorist act”? There is no agreed definition. In UK law it need not involve terror, or, indeed, action, as it could consist of planning future action. The Belgian court case is important in showing that the PKK has been taking part in a non-internationl armed conflict. Good actions are, of course, really important, but they can’t demonstrate that a party is not also terrorist – whatever that may mean.

Recently, many calls and initiatives were undertaken worldwide, calling for the removal of the party from the black list. Are these campaigns fruitful?

No one campaign will achieve this but together they can get the idea normalised and accepted. Politicians will only act if they feel sufficient pressure from below, when acting becomes the popular option.

On December 21st an article was published on Bella Caledonia where politicians and intellectuals called for the delisting of PKK from the terror list. Did this affect the  people in Scotland?

I wrote the article and have written others for Bella. I also always share my articles about the Kurds in Scottish social media, and am quite well known on the Scottish left – Scotland is a small country! Again, one article won’t make a difference, but a steady stream of articles can get people engaged. I do also think it helps, with this particular issue, that people could see that some well-known Scottish names were supporting the  delisting.

Do you have a call for the U.S. AND EU to remove the PKK from the terror list?

Just by the stroke of a pen, Western governments can make a real difference to the chance of peace in the middle east. By removing the PKK from their terrorism lists, they could increase the prospects of a negotiated settlement to Turkey’s Kurdish Question – a settlement that would allow the Kurds to live in peace and dignity and would provide the basis for removing the bigotry that has corroded Turkish society.

Nearly two years ago the Belgian courts ruled that the PKK should not be considered a terrorist organisation because it is a party in a non-international armed conflict, which makes it subject to the laws of war and not criminal law. Listing the PKK as a terrorist group has no justification in law. It is also important to look at the reasoning behind the law on which this judgement is based. The law developed as a response to anti-colonial and anti-fascist struggle, and acknowledges that in some circumstances there is a place for armed resistance. For very many Kurds the PKK is respected as the defender of their rights and very existence and as warriors for a better form of society.

Recent history shows that peace is possible when both sides are ready to negotiate – as we’ve seen in South Africa and Northern Ireland. The PKK have been ready to negotiate for a long time, but Turkey prefers to try and crush Kurdish identity with violence. They treat every expression of kurdishness as a terrorist act.

Those countries that follow Turkey’s lead and outlaw the PKK, make it easier for Turkey to choose violent suppression over peace, and even to use their elastic definition of terrorism to extend this suppression to anyone who shows support for the Kurdish cause – including to Kurdish communities out with Turkey. Any country that is serious about wishing to see an end to violence, needs to de-list the PKK and push for a genuine resumption of the peace process.''