Talking Peace

Kurds against wall of shame

The ruling AKP government has sped up the building of the unlawful wall between Mardin's Nusaybin district and the Qamishlo city in West Kurdistan. The construction companies building the wall are kept secret and the municipality of Nusaybin is provided with no information about the wall being built.

Speaking to ANF about the 'wall of shame', mayor of Nusaybin Ay?e Gökkan remarked that the wall is being built at a time when the Kurdish people expect the government to remove wire fences and demine the border region.

Calling attention to the refusal of such walls across the world, Gökkan reminded of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's 'wall of shame' comment for the wall Israel built between Gaza and West Bank.

Öcalan: New mechanism needed to advance progress

BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) parliamentary group deputy chair ?dris Baluken spoke to Sterk Tv about Monday's meeting with Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in ?mral? prison. Baluken was accompanied by Pervin Buldan while co-chair Selahattin Demirta? was prevented from going to the island.

Baluken said Öcalan said that he continued to work intensively on the project he has put forward for the achievement of a solution to the Kurdish question.

"Mr. Öcalan states that he is working for one year now and the result of his efforts have enabled the allayment of public concerns as well as a remarkable progress towards a solution. He expresses that the government's opportunist and unilateral approach towards the process has however created critical problems to the creation of a favourable environment and the start of a negotiation process", Baluken said.

Baluken said Öcalan put emphasis on the fact that it was indispensable for the government to launch a deeper negotiation process and to take some urgent steps in order for the continuation of the process.

Baluken remarked that the Kurdish leader thought his deep work for peace should get legal recognition and the state should also perform some work on a legal basis.

Belfast Mayor: Everybody must contribute to a peace with justice

Donostia. Sinn Fein mayor of Belfast, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, opened on Thursday the international conference "Building Peace Starting at Local Level" organised in Donostia/San Sebastian (Basque Country) by the Donostia city council.

How municipalities can turn peace and reconciliation work into something genuinely lasting?

We must build peace with justice, and that's a job for everyone. Sometimes big governments talk of peace, but they actually work very little for it. So you have to work for peace with the people, the communities, cities, nations. In Belfast I believe we are all connected .

You said at the opening of the Donostia's conference that your Belfast has changed a lot after the Good Friday agreement of 1998. How?

Fifteen years have passed. The first time I walked in the Belfast City Council as a councillor it was in 1987, and back then peace was a project. The big change since the 1994 IRA permanent ceasefire is that now in our city there is no more war. The end of the years of conflict has brought many benefits and some of them are related to the 1998 peace agreement. Now we have a government that is just and in which all parties are represented. Peace itself is rewarding, but sometimes it presents many challenges. It has brought improvements in labor, industry, tourism ... this is a great reward for those who support the peace process, but I think there is work which still needs to be done and to be consolidated.

The clash between two communities was much harder in Ireland than in the Basque Country, for example. How do you transform all that negative energy into a positive one?

Although the intensity of the conflict was greater, the Basque Country's conflict is also a great shadow for Europe. There have been many years of political conflict here, many people lost their lives. I think we should be positive all the time and always see the glass half full if we want peace to win. But peace requires progress, and I know the great difficulties there are in Euskal Herria. However, those who believe in peace achieved democratically, rather than violence, will be rewarded. In Belfast we follow that path to political change and get more benefits for our people. Time will help peace prosper, and even if a political segment is against peace, I think we will find more and more people interested in this cause.

International Magazine Issue#8