Kurdish flag with protesters

Green Lanes’ Kurdish community protest against Turkish oppression

Green Lanes Kurdish community protested for freedom against Turkish state oppression in Piccadilly Circus earlier this month.

Kurdistan Workers’ Party co-founder Abdullah Öcalan has been a political prisoner in Turkey since 1999 and Kurds continue to face contested homelands and genocide. 

Green Lanes in Haringey has been home to the Northern Kurdish diaspora since the 1980s, when many fled intensified conflicts in their homelands.

The 6.3miles between Newington Green and Winchmore Hill was first home to Turkish Cypriots in the late 1950s then Greek Cypriots, followed by mainland Turks, Kurds, Bulgarians, Kosovans, and Albanians.

As well as the community-run restaurants, bakeries, and delicatessens, Green Lanes has several community centres to support diasporas.

Watch the video to find out more:

Nergiz Slemani of the UK’s Kurdish Youth Movement said: “The most aggressive force that continues to implement genocidal policies against civilians of Kurdish origin is the Turkish State; both within its borders and in the diaspora. Through diplomatic and international power, they have the ability to control the narrative and silence the voices of the Kurdish people.

“The denial of racism against Kurds is a major pillar of the Turkish state’s attempt to uphold a fantasy of ‘equal citizenship’ while at the same time asserting the superiority of Turkishness. The Kurdish people within Turkey are under constant threat of assimilation, as well as physical, systemic and cultural genocide. The underdevelopment of the Kurdish region affected by the recent earthquakes is merely one example.”

In response to the video, the Turkish Embassy said: “Diversity is the source of richness in Turkish society. 

“It is composed of citizens, who are equal before the law irrespective of their origins in terms of language, race, colour, ethnicity, religion or any other such particularity, and whose fundamental rights and freedoms are enjoyed and exercised individually in accordance with the rule of law. 

“Turkish citizens are not subject to discrimination due to their origin. 

“Citizens of Kurdish origin are [an] integral part of the nation, actively taking part in local administrations, in the municipalities, the Parliament and the Government as elected representatives of these bodies. 

“There is a clear distinction between PKK terrorism and the citizens of Kurdish origin in Türkiye. 

“In that regard, any presentation of counter-terrorism efforts of Türkiye are against the citizens of Kurdish origin is biased and reflects the efforts of circles that serve for PKK propaganda.”

The UK’s KRG representative did not comment.

Featured image and video credit: Steffie Banatvala

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