Leyla Zana

Turkish MP Leyla Zana, a Kurdish activist and winner of the Sakharov award, has released a letter condemning Turkish bomb strikes on Kurdish civilians, warning the Turkish Prime Minister about starting an ethnic war in the region.

Zana released the letter addressed to the UN General Secretary, the U.S. president, the head of NATO, the head of the European Parliament, the head of the EU and the prime minister of Turkey, emphasizing that further massacre of the defenceless Kurdish people will threaten world peace.

She writes that war and conflict have gripped this region for close to 200 years. She adds that Kurdistan must not be allowed to turn into another Palestine, and the Sri Lankan model would lead to ethnic war in the region.

Pointing to the Kurdish people’s long history of oppression, Zana speaks out against the “shelling of homes and villages and foreign military operations and air strikes that are carried out in the region without regard to women or children, old or young.”

Zana adds that all the governments in the region perpetually treat the Kurdish people with aggression aimed at “eliminating” them.

The Turkish parliamentarian goes on to criticize the Turkish government’s insistence on describing the air strikes against the Kurdish people, which have killed civilians, as a legitimate operation.

Zana warns against “the appearance of modern dictatorships in the region willing to oppress large sections of society that differ from it in thinking.”

She adds that Kurdish leader Abdollah Ojalan has made attempts to end armed conflicts in the region to make way for a democratic solution, but according to Zana, the Turkish government has repeatedly opted for oppression and force.

Leyla Zana was first elected to the Turkish Parliament 1991 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for searing her oath of office in Kurdish. When her term in office ended, so did her legal immunity, and she had to serve her sentence.

In 1995, European Parliament awarded her with the Sakharov award and, in 2011, she was once again elected to the Turkish parliament.

The Turkish military has been bombing the Ghandil region of Kurdistan over the past week. The Turkish administration and media insist that the attacks are in response to the military and political operations of the Kurdish militant group PKK, but human rights groups say the region holds only civilian residential areas.