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Anger over raids on Kurdish community

NOVELIST James Kelman has accused British authorities of cracking down on Kurds “when Turkey barks,” following police raids on family homes.

The Scottish writer issued a statement this morning as the Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan group raised the alarm over “the criminalisation of Kurdish people living in Scotland.”

The campaign said warrants for raids had been issued under Prevention of Terrorism legislation, with detectives in Edinburgh searching for evidence of “support” for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Turkish government deems the PKK a terrorist organisation and has persuaded Nato, the European Union and individual countries such as the United States, Britain and Japan to outlaw the group.

In a statement, the campaign said: “So-called ‘evidence’ includes scarves and flags in the colours of Kurdistan. Last year police confiscated flags, magazines and other materials, including badges of the Syrian-Kurdish YPG, the very people who have led the fight so bravely against Isis. None of this material has been returned. Yet none of it is linked to terrorism.”

The campaign has called public meetings in Edinburgh and Glasgow to address the issue.

Mr Kelman said: “It is shocking to hear this is happening in Scotland. No doubt the police will defend their actions on the grounds of ‘just following orders.’

“The Scottish people have a right to ask: Whose orders are we talking about here? When Turkey barks, Britain jumps. Is that what it is about?”

Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan has called on Scottish politicians to reassure Kurds they are still welcome north of the border.

Police Scotland could not be reached for comment.

Meetings will take place at the Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL, on Tuesday December 11 at 6.30pm and at the STUC, 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow G3 6NG, on Wednesday December 12 at 6.30pm.

Conrad Landin is Morning Star Scotland editor.

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