This video from Turkey is called Van Earthquake (23.10.2011).
By Ron Margulies in Istanbul:
Turkey: Earthquake highlights oppression of Kurdish minority
This week an earthquake has killed hundreds in south-eastern Turkey, in and around the Kurdish town of Van.
This is a very poor part of the country. The town’s population has swollen in the past 20 years from a few hundred thousand to well over a million, as a result of the war between the Kurdish national movement and the Turkish army. Peasants from the surrounding countryside have flooded in to escape the war and to search for work.
The creaking infrastructure cannot cope, and there are no jobs.
When I visited two years ago there were ramshackle, poorly-built buildings everywhere—even in the town centre. One newspaper has reported that none of the 10 sellers of ready-mix concrete in the town hold the necessary official quality certificates.
It is these buildings, inhabited by the poorest, which collapsed when the earthquake hit. They include a student hall of residence. So far, the official death toll is 366 and this is expected to rise.
The earthquake hit in the middle of extensive military operations by the Turkish army against the Kurdish PKK.
The fighting has been intense for the past two months, with dozens dead on both sides. It was revealed at the beginning of the summer that the Turkish state and PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan had been holding talks and negotiations for the previous five years. Clearly these have now broken down.
In recent weeks the PKK has been reminding the state that there is no military solution, that the PKK cannot be defeated by arms. Last week, 25 Turkish troops were killed in one day. The army’s response, as always, has been to wage further war, blindly and needlessly causing further bloodshed.
See also here.
‘Bad’ construction work to blame for Turkish death toll: here.
Quake death toll now over 500
Turkey: Rain and snow made conditions even worse for thousands of people left homeless by Sunday’s earthquake.
Over 500 people have since been confirmed dead, 2,300 people injured and 185 people have been pulled from the rubble.
A moderate earthquake hit the Hakkari province today, sending people rushing out of buildings in fear and pani, but no damage was reported.
Scores of teachers killed in disaster
TURKEY: Sixty four of the 600 people who were killed in the massive quake that struck Van province on October 23 were teachers the head of an education foundation reported today.
Ihsan Ozcukurlu, chairman of the National Education Foundation, added that “40 teachers are still unaccounted for.”
Juveniles moved after abuse fears
TURKEY: Two hundred Kurdish youngsters will be moved from a juvenile prison and receive psychiatric help following allegations of mistreatment by prison officials there and sexual abuse by adult inmates, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin announced today.
Mr Ergin said that inspectors have launched a probe into the allegations that adult inmates raped the minors at the prison in Pozanti.
Abuse at the facility first came to light last summer when seven Kurdish boys told human rights activists about their ordeal there.
Pro-Kurdish paper banned for month
TURKEY: A court banned a pro-Kurdish newspaper for a month at the weekend for spreading “terrorist propaganda” and police raided its offices in Istanbul to confiscate the Sunday edition.
Ozgur Gundem editor Huseyin Aykol said the court cited its reporting of Kurdish New Year celebrations from the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq, where Kurdistan Workers Party guerillas have bases.
Police detained several of the newspaper’s journalists.
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Newsletter of the BRussells Tribunal – June 14, 2012
Please help set up an international delegation to support our colleague and friend Ayse Berktay Hacimirzaoglu
Ayse Berktay, one of the founders of the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI), has been held in prison in Istanbul since October 2011. Her trial with others begins on July 2nd, 2012. She was apprehended in a wide sweep of arrests (up to 8,000 people), in an attempt to silence protest and criminalize activism under the guise of fighting terrorism. Read all about it in Ayse’s letter from prison (see below)).
It is very important that there is an international delegation to attend her trial to give a strong signal to the Turkish authorities (via the local press) that the international community is watching. Now that we know that her involvement in the WTI process is being held against her, it is all the more important that we are there. We hope to raise some 2000€ to pay some of the costs of sending a small delegation.
Our account number is: 132-5251479-37 (IBAN: BE35 1325 2514 7937 – BIC: BNAGBEBB), Delta Lloyd Bank, Sterrenkundelaan 23 – B-1210 Bruxelles – Reference: ” Ayse Berktay”
For the time being the delegation consists of:
Fabio Marcelli, a lawyer, who represented the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights at the World Tribunal on Iraq
Paloma Valverde & Pedro Rojo, of the Spanish antiwar organisation CEOSI, which has been very active in the WTI endeavour
Lieven De Cauter, philosopher, president of the BRussells Tribunal
Tony Simpson, director of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation
With your help, we will stand in solidarity with Ayse! Thank you!
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