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Frederike Geerdink on Turkey’s Kurdish question

February 5, 2016

This week’s podcast is with Frederike Geerdink, author of “The Boys are Dead: The Roboski Massacre and the Kurdish Question in Turkey” (Gomidas).

We chat about her time as a journalist in the Kurdish-majority city Diyarbakır, her deportation from Turkey last year, and the troubled history/present of the issue in the wake of the collapse of the peace process last summer.

Download the podcast, or listen below:

Here’s my review of the book at Hürriyet Daily News.

The boys are dead

Subscribe to the Turkey Book Talk podcast via iTunes or via PodBean.

Follow Frederike Geerdink on Twitter.

Added bonus: I’ve dug out this interview from last year with sociologist Cem Emrence, co-author of “Zones of Rebellion: Kurdish Insurgents and the Turkish State” – quite a thought-provoking book.

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2 Responses to “Frederike Geerdink on Turkey’s Kurdish question”

  1. B Nelson Says:

    Yet another book, painting a bias picture about Kurds and denying Turkey’s right to defend itself against a terrorist organisation/army. Agree with your view that { “Geerdink is genuinely concerned not to be seen as partial, but you have to question a description of the PKK as “an organization based on communist ideals that fights the Kemalist state system as well as exploitation by the ruling class.”}
    Here is the answer of Minister for Europe, David Lidington to question about the recent events at UK Parliament: “We believe Turkey has a legitimate right to defend itself against the PKK, whose attacks we condemn as we condemn all terrorism.”
    If Geerdink does not accept Turkey’s position, what about the UK’s foreign policy stance?

  2. Betula Nelson Says:

    Dear William,

    I have read your article regarding Geerdink’s book and agree with you about the many points you make, especially about the unrealistic representation of PKK and almost idealizing a terrorist organisation.

    Below response by the UK minister for EU to a parliamentary question clearly identifies the PKK for what it is and Turkey’s right to defend itself against it. Perhaps you can pass this message on. Best wishes.

    Betula Nelson

    *David Lidington* The Minister for Europe

    The ongoing violence in the predominantly Kurdish areas of south east Turkey is extremely concerning. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK ) continues to kill members of the Turkish police service and security forces in violent terrorist attacks. The Turkish Government has responded by striking PKK targets in Turkey and Northern Iraq . They have also launched large-scale security operations involving curfews in some towns and cities in order to clear them of suspected terrorists.

    We are aware of reports of civilian casualties in the region, and a worsening humanitarian situation in certain areas in south east Turkey. The Turkish Government have said that 48 civilians lost their lives in clashes between 23 July and 23 December 2015 . They also said that 93,000 people have fled their homes. We also understand that there have been investigations launched against elected officials and politicians. Any such investigations should be undertaken transparently and fully respect the rule of law.

    *We believe Turkey has a legitimate right to defend itself against the PKK, whose attacks we condemn as we condemn all terrorism*. Our thoughts are with the victims of these attacks, and the civilians who have been caught up in the violence. As in any conflict, civilian casualties should be avoided and human rights need to be fully protected. We have been clear, in public and private, that PKK violence must end and we support a return to the peace process, in the interests of Turkey and the region. We stand ready to help in any way we can.

    We continue to monitor the situation closely. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge and our Ambassador to Turkey have emphasised to the Turkish government the need to respect human rights, avoid civilian casualties and return to the peace process. I raised these issues with my Turkish counterpart the last time we met in August 2015 .


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