Judge Moosa recalled Arch. Tutu committment for peace in Turkey

Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for the resumption of dialogue between the Turkish Government and the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan
Judge Essa Moosa from South Africa spoke at the launch of the International Peace Initiative (IPI). The IPI was launched following a call by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for the resumption of dialogue between the Turkish Government and the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. The call has the support of a number of World Leaders and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. “It is common knowledge – said judge Moosa – that the Turkish state and Öcalan were engaged in prolonged discussion to find a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey. These discussions culminated in August 2009 when Öcalan handed the Turkish authorities his Road Map to Peace for consideration”.
Recalling the long standing committment of Archbishop Tutu for peace in Turkey, judge Moosa said that “On the 2nd April 2012 Archbishop Tutu wrote to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. He further appealed to the Council of Europe to play its part in ensuring that that the Kurdish and Turkish people can live together in peace and democracy. The Archbishop made this appeal after 15 Kurdish activists embarked on a 52 day hunger strike in Strasbourg which ended on the 21st April. They had three demands namely, that the isolation of Öcalan ends; that education be introduced in their mother tongue; and that the right to defend themselves in court in their mother-tongue be permitted”.

Judge Moosa said that “It appears that measures have been introduced by the Turkish government to meet some of these demands. The draft Bill to allow legal defence in the mother-tongue is to be presented to Parliament in due course. Öcalan’s brother Mehmet has been given permission to meet him on ?mrali Island recently. There is talk in political circles that mother-tongue education will be introduced”.

The objectives of the International Peace Initiative (IPI) – said judge Moosa – “are to work towards finding a lasting and durable peace in Turkey through a process of dialogue and negotiations between the Turkish Government and Abdullah Öcalan, representing the Kurdish people, and to seek the support of the international community and international institutions to support, promote and encourage such process for the good of all the people of Turkey”.

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