Online meeting of the SI Kurdish Working Group

1 May 2021

Representatives of SI Kurdish member parties took part in an SI virtual working meeting on 1 May, in which exchanges were held on their respective circumstances and current political challenges, including respect for their human and political rights. Participants also put forward views and ideas in relation to future work within the SI.

The challenges outlined included many common elements, while remaining specific to the particular circumstances faced in each country. In the current global context, all had been impacted by the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic, and the crucial and much-debated issue of global access to vaccines as a way out of the crisis was touched upon. Participants were also united in their desire for future in-person meetings on the issues that were being discussed, as soon as it was safe and feasible.

In Iraq, the key political objective was decentralisation and a transfer of power to elected authorities, which was considered to be advancing at a very slow pace. There had been some positive developments as far as the security situation was concerned, following the fall of ISIS, however its ideology still continued to pose a threat. In Syria, where the Kurds had similarly had a major role in the battle against terrorism and extremism in the region, it was reported that their struggle to establish democratic rights and freedoms continued, and there was a feeling that more international solidarity was required to support them in this effort.

The struggle for the human rights of the Kurdish people in Iran was underlined, along with the destructive approach of the Iranian regime against the peaceful aspirations of the Kurds. Iran continued to employ violent internal policies against its own people. A particular concern for many was the absence of human rights in the recently restarted discussions on the nuclear issue, while the situation for women and minorities in the country was as bad as it had ever been. In Turkey, where the Erdogan regime was trying to suffocate democratic struggles, the persecution of the Kurds was continuing, with the government using anti-democratic measures and mass detentions to suppress all opposition, as could be seen with the current Kobani trial, while pursuing a militaristic approach both domestically and abroad.

With regard to the political aspirations of the Kurdish people, all those present expressed a great willingness to work with other parties and to cooperate with other groups having similar values and principles. Participants highlighted that the Kurdish issue was relevant to all countries in the region, and a positive outcome for the Kurdish people could have hugely beneficial effects on the whole of the Middle East. It was considered necessary to ensure that Kurds are a part of any roadmap to future democratisation and reforms in the region. In this context, other progressive forces from the region could be included in future discussions on the Kurdish question. It was noted that the SI had a long track record of advocacy on the Kurdish question, and through its global meetings had led to a greater understanding of the issue by political parties worldwide.

Turning their attention to the future work on the Kurdish question, participants were in agreement that this would need to be done taking into account the significant and complex issues discussed that are present in all regions inhabited by the Kurdish people. Suggestions put forward for future actions included the opening and development of a dialogue between Kurdish and non-Kurdish political parties in the region, building understanding and bridging the cultural gaps.

There was a will among those present to pursue these discussions and hold further exchanges of views with interested member parties of the Socialist International, building on the work within the SI in favour of the political and human rights of all Kurdish people, in line with the basic principles and objectives of the global social democratic family.

The meeting was attended by the SI Secretary General, by Soran Jamal Taher and Sarkawt Muhammed Ghafour from the PUK, Iraq; Khalid Azizi and Mouloud Swara from the KDP of Iran; Loghman Ahmedi from the PDKI, Iran; Kako Alyar and Diniya Rahemzada from the KPIK of Iran; Salih Muslem and Iebrahem Muslem from the PYD of Syria; and Hişyar Özsoy, Evren Çevik and Lokman Sazan from the HDP, Turkey.