#TwitterKurds takes the civil disobedience campaign online

A campaign on Twitter is underway to raise awareness of the situation of the Kurds in Turkey and to bring the situation to the attention of the international media.

The campaign, dubbed #TwitterKurds, has been organised by UK-based blogger and human-rights activist, Hevallo, who says that journalists in the UK tend to shy away from reporting on the Kurds saying ‘there is no real link to the UK and there are other conflicts that are more newsworthy.’

While other conflicts across the globe capture the world’s attention, the Kurds’ struggle for ethnic and linguistic equality in Turkey goes largely unnoticed in the mainstream press. Hevallo says that one of the main issues hindering the ability of global media to report on this particular conflict fairly and accurately is that ‘Turkish propaganda and psychological misinformation cloud the issue and many people still regard the Kurds’ legitimate struggle for basic rights in Turkey as “terrorism.”’

The Kurd as ‘terrorist’ is an all too common theme in the Turkish press and often in European press as well. Little effort is made to reach beyond the Turkish propaganda machine and clichés to reveal the truth.

The #TwitterKurds campaign will attempt to do just that by reaching out to journalists, politicians, bloggers and social media activists, policymakers, news agencies and human rights organisations with the message: ‘Speak Out About the Repression of the Kurds in Turkey’ and to give the Kurdish people a voice as they struggle daily on the streets of Turkey against a repressive regime.

Kurdish politician and leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, said acts of civil disobedience planned by the BDP and the DTK (Democratic Society Congress) will be democratic and peaceful. ‘Don’t send the security forces against us; if you are going to send someone, send government representatives, send the interior minister. Security forces aren’t our counterpart to talk to; our counterparts are the politicians,’ he said.

However, security forces have been sent against them. The civil disobedience campaign has been met with batons, tear gas and high-pressure water cannons. In fact, just since the beginning of this year Turkish police have already used up their entire annual stock of tear gas in repressing demonstrations. In the same amount of time thousands of Kurdish protesters have been arrested.

Given the difficulties of getting this information to the attention of the global press, #TwitterKurds plans three days of mass Tweeting to get the message out. Turkey’s general election is slated for 12 June, just three weeks away. Over the next three Fridays (27 May, 03 and 10 June) in the run up to the elections, while Kurds are boycotting the official Turkish Imams and praying outside of the mosques instead, Kurds and friends of Kurds will be Tweeting en masse to speak out with one voice against the suppression of the Kurds in Turkey.

This collective suppression of the Kurdish population is due, in part, to ‘the silence in the international community,’ says Hevallo. By Tweeting, he says, ‘we are able to reach a wider audience than say, Facebook. If we are disciplined and smart about this, a well-constructed Tweet with a link to a well-written article, photograph or video can convey our message and give the Kurdish side’s point of view. Our Tweets will expose the truth about the Kurdish question in Turkey.’

Politicians are making the rounds in Kurdish areas of SE Turkey trying to garner votes. Yesterday Turkish PM Erdoğan was on the campaign trail in the city of Şirnex (Şırnak in Turkish). Surrounded by rooftop snipers and army helicopters he announced to the crowd of Kurds: ‘My brothers, we will build new hospitals, airports, schools and health clinics. For us [the party in power], there is no separation between a Turk and a Kurd. Let us serve you.’

Kurds have four demands and hospitals, airports, schools and health clinics are not among them, though this is a step up from the washing machines and dishwashers offered in the 2009 election.

Kurds are engaging in a massive campaign of civil disobedience for the right to education in Kurdish, the immediate release of imprisoned Kurdish politicians, an end to Turkey’s military operations against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and the abolishment of Turkey’s 10 percent election threshold law for parliamentary representation.

‘Until our demands are heard by the government and until concrete steps are taken, we will remain on the fields and on the squares,’ said Demirtaş.

#TwitterKurds says that until Kurdish voices are heard by the international media and until people start paying attention, the campaign will remain on the Twitter timelines.

Join the campaign at #TwitterKurds!

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8 thoughts on “#TwitterKurds takes the civil disobedience campaign online

  1. Dear KB Thank you so much for this! Excellent! Let’s hope that now there are more Kurds and friends of Kurds online we can begin to seriously challenge the lies and labels of the Turkish Psychological Misinformation Department of the Turkish Government and show the world the legitimacy of the profound struggle of the Kurdish people for basic human and political rights in Turkey! #TwitterKurds

    Geleki Sipas heval!

  2. i am working on friday, 12 hours, all day, but i will join in the early morning and evening – if it helps.

  3. You are very welcome, Hevallo. Here’s hoping the #TwitterKurds campaign makes a difference!

  4. honestly its still completly new for me – and i will answer your message here, coz its more space :) – i asked about posting on someones page, coz i saw on profiles there were post from different users, but i read in help, that it apper when i click retweet button – so in fact only i can post someones message on my profile. well – i am learning slowly :)))

  5. talk talk talk … i guarantee you: no state, no oil, no free countryland – the state is not possible because it would be ruled by a puppet government – made in eu. the oil – … i dont need to open that chapter do i ? and the countryland – the only way to get free countryland today is by beeing jewish and an complete asshole. most kurds are muslim and non assholes … so that means no countryland for you too.

  6. Pingback: Digitaler ziviler Ungehorsam – Was ist das und wie schreibt man darüber eine Doktorarbeit? | Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft

  7. Pingback: Digital civil disobedience – What is it and how do you write a PhD thesis about it? | Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft

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