US State Dept. delist the PKK as an FTO
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Today is Tuesday, April 11th, 2017. The co-leader of Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Figen Yuksekdag, a vocal supporter of participatory democracy, feminism, minority rights, was sentenced to a one-year prison on terrorism charges. Figen Yuksekdag was accused and sentenced for "making propaganda for a terrorist organization". Figen abruptly had her Turkish parliament seat canceled, after a Turkish court upheld her initial conviction on Sept. 22, 2016, on terrorism-related accusations and charges. Thereby making Figen ineligible to run for elected office after the Turkish court upheld the accusations and sentence.
Figen had been openly and fairly elected by the people of Van, as a female human rights activist lawmaker for the eastern province of Van in November 2015.
Figen was suddenly detained by Turkish authorities in November 2016 along with 13 other HDP lawmakers on terrorism-related accusations. Ten of them, including the party’s other co-leader, Selahattin Demirtas, remain in custody pending trial to this day. The duly elected lawmakers began facing accusations and then prosecution under anti-terrorism legislation after their parliamentary immunity was lifted in March 2016 in Turkey. Turkey’s government accuses the HDP of participating and working with the PKK.
The PKK is presently listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, EU, and the United States. The United States State Department list the PKK as an FTO. According to the United States Department, an FTO is “Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.”
The Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, has been listed as an FTO by the US State Department since October 8th, 1997. The US State Department legal qualifications for FTO designation, under Section 219 of the INA (Immigration Naturalization Act) as amended, declares that an FTO is an “organization’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States.”
For several years now the PKK and our United States Armed Forces have been directly collaborating and successfully working together side by side, to directly fight the Islamic State and other terrorist’s groups in Syria and Iraq. The PKK and their affiliates like the PYD, YPJ, YPG in Syria, and the political party HDP in Turkey have come under targeted intimidation, attack and retribution by the Turkish government under the pretext the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the EU.
I have always clearly stated that we owe it to our children to leave a better functioning and robust democracy, and a more inclusive election process for everyday citizens, from every socioeconomic background like you and me. Not just in the United States, but anywhere in the world where people like Figen Yuksekdag mirror our all-inclusive ideals of a functioning democracy that has the basic truths such as an independent and fair judiciary, universal voting rights for all, freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and protest and complete unconditional gender equality, which is the hallmark of the HDP, hence the co-leadership of one woman and one man as complete equals.
There’s a lot of work ahead to be sure. More than ever I believe that one very important and crucial pathway for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East is unconditionally complete gender equality in society, government, and education. Figen Yuksekdag represents the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of not just the young girls, mothers and women in Turkey, but in the entire Middle East. From Tehran to Riyadh, the world needs more independent women like Figen Yuksekdag to say no to gender discrimination and yes to unconditional gender equality for women.
I am an Independent Candidate for California Governor in 2018. I am proud of being a native son of California and the modern ideals of democracy and gender equality. I am asking for your support today to sign this petition to send a message to our State Department.
According to our State Department, Revocations of Foreign Terrorist Organization designation and the Immigration and Nationality Act sets out three possible basis for revoking a Foreign Terrorist Organization designation:
1. The Secretary of State must revoke a designation if the Secretary finds that the circumstances that were the basis for the designation have changed in such a manner as to warrant a revocation;
2. The Secretary of State must revoke a designation if the Secretary finds that the national security of the United States warrants a revocation
3. The Secretary of State may revoke a designation at any time.
Here are the three reason to delist the PKK as a Foreign Terrorist Organization:
1. For several years now the PKK and our United States Armed Forces have been directly collaborating and successfully working together side by side, to directly fight the Islamic State and other terrorist’s groups in Syria and Iraq thereby serving United States national security interests.
2. The PKK and their affiliates like the PYD, YPJ, YPG in Syria, and the political party HDP in Turkey have come under targeted intimidation, direct attack and retribution by the Turkish government under the pretext the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States. The PKK and their affiliates like the HDP, have come under persecution and prosecution by Turkey for political reasons. It is in the national security interest of the United States to support gender equality in the Middle East for peace, stability, and prosperity.
3. Our Secretary of State should act as soon as possible to revoke of the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation of the PKK or the Kurdistan Workers Party since our United States Armed Forces are already directly working with the PKK and their affiliates like the YPJ and the YPG in Syria and Iraq in successfully combating the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations that threaten Unites States interests and national security. To revoke the PKK as an FTO will expedite, facilitate and compel the Turkish government for the release of Turkish political prisoners like Figen Yuksekdag and other HDP lawmakers like herself.
Thank for your time and consideration,
God Bless the United States of America and Our Kurdish allies fighting terrorism.
H. Fuji Shioura
Independent Candidate for California Governor June 7th, 2018
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