The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) welcomes the step of Japan’s Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) to remove the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from their list of terrorist organizations, which complies with the framework of UN 1267. We believe that the Ministry of Justice of Japan have made a responsible decision informed by the facts, rather than misinformation spread by the Turkish state.
This decision pleases millions of Kurds, who recognize that the PKK has been carrying out legitimate self-defense against genocide for the past 45 years. We hope that this step is the first in many other countries also to strengthen the chances for a peaceful political solution to the unresolved century-old ‘Kurdish question’.
The area where these freedoms are most under assault is within Turkey, a state that for several decades has burned down over 4,000 Kurdish villages, deployed death squads to assassinate Kurdish journalists, tortured thousands of Kurdish human rights activists, outlawed the Kurdish language, and banned the Kurdish culture. These are the conditions that have fueled the resistance against the Turkish state by the PKK since 1978.
Currently, the Kurds are still facing brutal repression from Ankara, as Turkey is increasingly developing into a lawless state, with both the European Parliament and the European Commission confirming in their 2022 reports that the Turkish government is no longer a constitutional state. Since 2017, the legislative, judicial, and executive branches have been under the de facto control of Erdoğan’s regime. The cruelty of his authoritarian leadership is seen by the ever-increasing number of political prisoners, now estimated to be in the tens of thousands.
Meanwhile, the fundamental difference between the PKK and Turkey could not be starker. The PKK advocates for the principles of women’s rights, ecological sustainability, ethnic co-existence, religious diversity, and democratic inclusion—while also saying they are willing to sit down for a peaceful negotiation to end the conflict. Turkey on the other hand is a dictatorship that denies freedom of speech, jails Kurdish mayors, removes laws protecting women, and supports most of the jihadist proxy groups in the Middle East. For their part, the PKK has fought against these Turkish-backed terror groups and in August 2014 saved over 40,000 Yazidis on Mount Sinjar from genocide by ISIS—showing their true nature.
We should add that those states which originally added the PKK onto their terror lists like Japan have never suffered a single threat, attack, casualty, or even injury from the group.
We as KNK thank Japan for their decision and invite them to play a constructive role in international politics to bring about a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey.
Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress
29th November 2023