Call for inquiry into attack on Kurds
By Karen Fletcher
SYDNEY — At a rally in Town Hall Square on August 29, the Committee of Solidarity with Kurdish People called upon the Australian government to investigate an unprovoked attack by the Turkish military on Kurdish patriots celebrating Newroz (the national celebration of Kurdish people) in the province of Sirnak in Turkish Kurdistan.
A formal request for members of the Australian parliament to travel to the region, to bring international attention to the recent attack, has been made by members of the Australian Turkish and Kurdish communities. The request follows military activity in Sirnak, from August 18 to 21, in which 500 people have been reported killed or wounded.
Turkish media reports say that the attack, which included heavy gunfire from six tanks, was provoked by a previous attack on the city of Sirnak by the National Liberation Army of Kurdistan (the ARGK). Guerilla leaders have denied this, pointing out that the districts targeted by the security forces were areas populated predominantly by ARGK supporters.
The commander of the Haftanin Guerilla Camp says the military action reveals the desperation of the Turkish government in the face of the refusal of Kurds to cease their struggle for self-determination.
"They wanted to intimidate Kurdish people by attacking Sirnak. The guerillas never entered Sirnak. What the state has done is a massacre", he said.
The Australian Turkish and Kurdish Community Public Relations Centre has received reports from three journalists who entered Sirnak two days after the attack subsided (journalists were not permitted to be present in the city during the onslaught). The report bears out the statements by the guerilla commander and gives details of human rights abuses by military officers during what amounted to an occupation of the city.
The Association of Migrants from Turkey and the Australian Turkish Childcare Co-op have urged Kurdish and Turkish people living in Sydney not to yield to "provocation" by the Turkish consulate over the attack and cover-up, but to live "as brothers", as they have been able to do in the past.