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Message-Id: <199801110023.SAA23120@mailhub.cns.ksu.edu>
Sender: owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 98 10:35:55 CST
From: Arm The Spirit <ats@locust.etext.org>
Subject: ERNK Press Statement On Refugee Crisis
Article: 25193

Press Statement concerning the plight of the Kurdish refugees

By the National Liberation Front Of Kurdistan (ERNK),
Rome, 7 January 1998

Dear Members of the Press,

Italy encountered 1998 with the Kurdish refugees. Even in recent days over 1000 Kurds have been brought to your shores by the Turkish state. Their plight has become the headline news. This incident is also affecting your relations internationally.

For this reason, we think it is important that we let you know of our stand on the issue and address some of your obvious questions beforehand.

The migration of the Kurds is not a new thing. The land of the Kurds has been the scene of wars for centuries now; the Kurds have been on the move ever since. But the migration of the Kurds, en masse, to the outside world began with the fascist-military coup of September 12, 1980 in Turkey. With the beginning of the Kurdish national liberation war that began in Kurdistan, the Turkish government stepped up its policies of depopulating the region of its youth by having thousands of Kurds embark on a journey of hope abroad, often to Europe.

Now is the turn of the Kurdish villagers whose villages have been destroyed, who have been wandering homeless both in Kurdistan and in Turkey. We view their departure as part of Turkish state's policy of ethnic cleansing.

No doubt, there is a direct relation between the recent upsurge in mass migration from Turkey and that country's rejection to be a member of the European Union. When the Luxembourg meetings of December 12 and 13 did not produce the desired results for the politicians in Ankara, the Turkish government began to resort to its time-honored policies of blackmail.

The sentiment common among the European countries not to alienate Turkey or not to lose it has enabled Ankara to use its importance as something invaluable. The Turkish state has always used its strategic location to exact a heavy price from its allies. Instead of adopting to the values of advanced European countries, it is wishing European countries to adopt the Turkish norms.

The Turkish government's decision to force migrations on Europe at this time is to punish Europe for its decision to bar Turkey's entry into the European Union.

Two years ago, the infamous Susurluk Accident revealed the nature of state-sanctioned gangs in Turkey. The mission of these gangs, which were directly linked with the Turkish Chief of Staff, has been to depopulate Kurdistan and with their earned proceeds to finance the war.

In 1980, in a number of European countries, the underground networks of a number of drug dealers were exposed and their profits were curtailed. A number of reports produced in England, Germany, Sweden and the United States substantiate this point. But the Turkish state-sanctioned gangs moved into the vacuum. For example, the Turkish Parliament's Commission, entrusted with the investigation of the wrongdoing of the gangs that were exposed at Susurluk, revealed that close to 50 billion dollars money had entered the country by means other than legal ones. Today, the Turkish government is engaged in another method of adding revenues to its coffers by trading in human cargo.

Today, the Kurds who have witnessed massacres in their settings are making their way to the shores of Europe. Many who make it have had modest incomes. There are million of others - the villagers - who cannot afford the fare to undertake the trip. Considering the crisis in its totality, one sees the need to address the Kurdish Question in its entirety.

We welcome the recent pronouncements to this effect by the President of Italy, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Pope John Paul II and the German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel.

Last year on April 29, the committee of the European Union - entrusted with the task of making recommendations for Turkey's entry into the EU - noted in its Luxembourg deliberations, among other things, that Turkey needs to resolve the Kurdish Question by political means.

In the same spirit, we, the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan, welcome the December 10, 1997 decision of the Italian Parliament to hold an International Conference on the Kurdish issue. We stand ready to do our share to expedite the work of such a gathering.

As to the Kurdish refugees who are now in the camps, we urge the Italian authorities to consider them as victims of war. They should only be returned back when the peace conditions exist in Kurdistan.