20 January 2015 – Judge Essa Moosa, Chair of the Kurdish Human Rights Action Group, Matthew Esau, vice Chair of KHRAG, and Roj Welat, KNK representative in South Africa met with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at his offices at the Cape Town Waterfront.
Archbishop was to be a keynote speaker at the European Union Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) in December but due to ill health he was not able to attend the conference of which he is a Patron of long standing. The conference in December 2014 was the 11th conference on “the European Union, Turkey and the Kurds” and had as its theme “Turkey, the Kurds and the Imrali Peace Process: An historic opportunity”.
The conference opened with messages from Archbishop Tutu, Mr Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish people and Mr Martin Schulz the president of the European Parliament.
In his message Mr. Ocalan said “For the past two years now we have been working on the democratic solution and peace process with determination and hope, and are now entering a(n) historic period in which these efforts have brought us to the negotiating stage. This process of democratic negotiation will not only bring a fair and permanent solution to a century old problem, but at the same time, the democratic consequences of this will enhance and promote peace in the Middle East. In such an important and meaningful time, it is important for those institutions that are in favour of peace and a solution; the democratic civil society organisations and political institutions.
In Turkey and Europe to continue their work and promote discussions; this will serve to enhance the democratic process. It is important that the European Parliament takes its place in these discussions, while proposals towards a solution will be highly valuable and historic…..We are on the verge of an era in which history will no longer be written by the arbitrary will and language of the dominant powers. Humanity is witnessing the meltdown of the borders drawn by the dominant powers of the First World War as part of the Sykes-Picot Agreement in which the region from Anatolia to Mesopotamia and from the Maghreb to the Orient wad divided and shared; the dissolution of artificial “nation states” constructed by imperialist forces; the fall of dictators; the resurrection of the Kurdish people whose existence and identity was denied, and the awakening and liberation of the Arab world from autocratic structures.”
Mr Ocalan said he was “proud to be a modest member of the Kurdish nation.” Using the recent involvement of the Kurds in Kobane and Sinjar, Mr. Ocalan said that “ the Kurdish people are most suited to playing an historic role” in the settling of matters in the Middle East and Turkey. “In Kobane and Sinjar there is a major awakening and struggle for honour. The significance of the woman’s role in life, without the emancipation of women no one can emancipate the world. In Kobane and Sinjar young women and men (are) putting their bodies on the line for democracy…we are leading a struggle for freedom and democracy. The objectives of the negotiation process we are currently involved in are based in the history and spirit of our struggle.”
Archbishop Tutu in thanking the delegation for the report asked that they convey to Abdullah Ocalan and the Kurdish people that they are to have HOPE. “We in South Africa have struggled for a long time to get what we have today. At times we did not think that it would happen, but it did. So the Kurdish people must not lose HOPE, they will be free even with all the obstacles that are seemingly in the way of peace now. Peace will come and for that I will pray!