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Allow Kurdish Interfaith Council to resume peace talks NOW!

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Following the June elections in Turkey, President Erdogan reignited military intervention in Southeast Turkey, undoing years of progress toward peace. Since then, thousands of people, including hundreds of civilians, have lost their lives in the renewed conflict. Now it is winter and 200,000 people have been displaced due to curfews, blockades and state violence. Can effective efforts be made to stop the bloodshed and allow these people can return to their homes?

The Council of the Forty (Kırklar Meclisi) is an interfaith council built of 46 community leaders and clergy from all communities in Diyarbakır, including Kurds, Armenians, Turks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Alawites, Muslims, Yazidis, Christians, Doms, and Naqshbandis. Their mission is to promote dialogue and fruitful engagement between the city’s many ethnic and religious groups. Meanwhile, since April 2015, Kurdish political leader Abdullah Ocalan has been held in total isolation, and all peace negotiation meetings between him and AK Party representatives have ceased. Abdullah Ocalan has spent the last 17 years of his life in imprisonment on Imrali Island, yet he holds great influence over the possibility for peace in the region.

If the Council of Forty are able to meet with Abdullah Ocalan, it may have a positive influence on the peace process. We call on you to allow the Council of Forty to meet with Abdullah Ocalan and to resume talks for a political solution of the conflict. Furthermore, we ask that amnesty be granted to the Kurdish Mayors who have been wrongfully imprisoned during the conflict, as well as the 720 ill political prisoners in Turkey. 

The decision to wage war is killing people and destroying the environment, historical monuments, cultural heritage, kinship and companionship.  If nothing improves another 2,000-3,000 people may die in the coming weeks and months. We ask that decision makers that the weapons be laid down, that the killing and death cease, that negotiations are urgently resumed with Parliamentary involvement, and that the discussions take place in a democratic environment.



Abdullah Demirbas, the former mayor of Diyarbakir’s Sur district and a founding member of the Council of Forty.

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Silvia Federici, Professor Emerita, Hofra University.

Fatih Seyhanoglu, managing editor for Encompassing Crescent; an Overseas Associated Member of CAEI (Argentine Center for International Studies). For press inquiries, please email Fatih at:

Eleanor Finley, Co-director at the Institute for Social Ecology.

Kani Xulam, Director of the American Kurdish Information Network.

Mary N. Taylor Assistant Director, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics CUNY Graduate Center

Havva Kıran, Peace Mothers Initiative.

Kelley Stuart, Lecturer & Playwright, Columbia University.


The Council of 40 (Kırklar Meclisi):

A. Gafur Türkay, Surp Giragos Foundation/ Diyarbakir

A. Bari Erkaplan, President of the Lice Associatioon/ Diyarbakir

A. Kadir Girgin, Chairman of Shoemaker Guild/ Diyarbakir

Şeyhmus Diken, the Diyarbakır Representative of PEN.

Yilmaz Demiray, President of Ezidi/ Yazdi Association

Yusuf Akbulut , Syriac Orthodox priest from St. Mary's Church in Diyarbakır.

Yusuf Karadayı, The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church Foundation

Abdurrahman Baskan, Mukhtar (Reeve) Diyarbakir

Ahmet Guvener, Protestant Church representative in Diyarbakir

Ahmet karavil, Opinion leader

Ali Haydar cavil, Opinion leader

Ali Karakas, Opinion leader

Ali Urün Mukhtar (Reeve )/Diyarbakir.

 Aydın Atlı Busak, Turkmen Alevi representative in Diyarbakir

Aynur Leygara, Representative of women initiative in Diyarbakir.

Bahri Ileri, Opinion leader

Can Sakarer, President of the Foundation of the Virgin Mary Church in Diyarbakir

 Celal Efe , Spiritual leader

Hasan Kan, Spritual leader

Ergun Ayik, Head of the Diyarbakır Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation

Hadi Koç, Spritual leader

Hasan baykuş, spiritual leader of Turkmen Alevi community in Diyarbakir (Turkmen Alevi dede)

 Hidayet Ulugercek, spiritual leader of Alevi Community in Diyarbakir.

İsa Deniz, representatives of people with disabilities in Diyarbakir.

Muhyettin Cınakli, Spiritual leader and traditional scholar in Kurdish Sufi lodge.

Mehmet Ali Ok, Spiritual leader

Mehmet Demir Domani (Roma) Head of the Diyarbakir Dom Association.

Mehmet Günden, Spritual leader

Hadi Kabak, Mukhtar (Reeve) in Diyarbakir.

Salih Medenı, Opinion leader.

 Sirin Güzelsoy Mukhtar (Reeve) in Diyarbakir.

Mehmet Ustün, Opinion leader.

Muhammed Dara Akar, Lawyer

Muhammed Fakioglu, Spritual leader Nurcu movement

Muhittin Toprak, Spiritual leader in Diyarbakir

Sheikh Nakdi Sayar, Sufi Master in Diyarbakir

Nevruzu Elkan, Women’s nitiative in Diyarbakir.

Sukru Erciyes, Opinion leader.

Yusuf Kaya, Omeriyan Association.

Zahit Ciftkuran, Opinion leader.

Sedat Bayhan , Opinion leader.

Selahattin Bağlan, Spritual leader/ Nurcu movement

Sitki Eken, representative of Armenian in Diyarbakir. 

Seyhmus Akın, President of Omeriyan Association. 

Havva Kıran, barış annesi






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