Statement regarding recent police raid on Kurdish newspaper in London

The Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign has released the following statement on the recent dawn raid on the house of a distributor of a Kurdish newspaper in London. The BBC News report can be found here.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent disturbing police raid on a distributor of a legal Kurdish Daily Newspaper, Yeni Ozgur Politika in London.

Yeni Ozgur Politika is a pro Kurdish daily newspaper published in Germany. It is the only daily newspaper in Europe published in both Turkish and Kurdish languages. Yeni Ozgur Politika first started publishing in 2006 and is now distributed in 6 countries across Europe, every day with around 5,000 copies. Yeni Ozgur Politika have journalists located all across Europe and Kurdistan. The newspaper covers daily news reporting about the issues affecting Kurds in Turkey and Europe. The paper reports on the political developments in Turkey, cultural aspects of the Kurdish people’s lives and daily news from the countries where the Kurdish diaspora lives.

The aim of the paper is to be a bridge between Turkey, Kurdistan and the Kurds living across Europe. The paper also helps to keep Kurdish culture and identity alive with articles about Kurdish culture, arts and music.

The Kurdish press in Turkey is under sustained brutal suppression and all Kurdish newspapers and magazines including TV and radio stations have all been shut down, especially intensified after the attempted coup in Turkey. Hundreds of Kurdish journalists have been jailed. It has reached a situation where it is nearly impossible to cover pro-Kurdish news or human rights abuses against Kurds in articles in Turkey.

This all makes the role of Yeni Ozgur Politika even more important, of being the voice and ears of Kurdish people not just in Europe but also to all Kurds worldwide through the online version.

An attack on this newspaper, this Kurdish voice, by the UK authorities will be read by the Kurdish people in the same way as the brutal attacks of the Turkish state.

The UK will be seen as a direct partner of the Turkish state with this shocking attack on freedom of expression of the Kurdish people.

Turkey is indeed one of the world’s worst human rights abusers and suppressors of freedom of expression. According to Reporters Without Borders, ‘Turkey is the largest prison for journalists’.

That the UK should be aiding Turkey to suppress the Kurdish voice on Turkey’s behalf will come as a shock to British people but sadly will not to the Kurdish community, who continue to suffer the indignity of being labelled as criminals for bravely struggling against a brutal repressive regime. The brutal political suppression of the Kurds' democratic struggle in Turkey has especially intensified since the pro-Kurdish HDP party won historic representation in the Turkish parliament in the last elections.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP government have been carrying out this ‘political genocide’ against the Kurds, to not only the deafening silence of the UK government, but it seems that the UK government are actually collaborating in that suppression with these shocking and worrying raids against ordinary Kurdish families carrying out perfectly legal activities in the UK.

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