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British-based Kurds demand action after attack of author on ‘Erdogan hit list’

BRITISH-BASED Kurdish organisations have called on the government to urgently investigate Turkish ultranationalist political activity and violence after an author was attacked in Wales.

Gokhan Yavuzel was assaulted by a mob on Tuesday, soon after his name appeared on a hit list of critics of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

He was knocked unconscious during the attack, which he said was carried out by four people swearing at him in Turkish.

“They shouted insults … and said: ‘We can kill all of you [on the hit list] if we want. You deserve worse than this,” he told the Arti Gercek news website.

The attack came after the list of 55 people was posted on the Jitemkurt Twitter account, named after the notorious paramilitary Jitem organisation known for the massacre, torture and disappearance of thousands of Kurds.

Publication of the names of exiled Kurdish dissidents has been followed by attacks on journalists in Germany. Former Cumhuriyet newspaper editor-in-chief Can Dundar and former Peoples Democratic Party MP Osman Baydemir are among those identified as targets.

On Tuesday, the German federal government admitted the existence of the hit list after a parliamentary question from Die Linke MP Helin Evrim Sommer, saying that it was “consolidating evidence” at this stage.

London-based Kurdish People’s Assembly spokeswoman Elif Sarican told the Morning Star that the “callous attack” on Mr Yavuzel was just the latest of a series of assaults on civilians conducted by “thugs linked to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s AKP regime.”

She cited the 2013 murder of three Kurdish women at a Paris community centre and the activities of the Grey Wolves, a Turkish nationalist paramilitary organisation linked to the killing of thousands of Kurds and leftwingers, along with the “execution list” as evidence that “the Erdogan regime" is capable of carrying out attacks without fear of reprisal.

“The UK government and other European governments are culpable for these shocking acts of political violence,” she said.

“The Johnson government is unwilling or unable to stand up against rising fascism in Turkey. Instead, they turn a deaf ear to Erdogan’s ultranationalist, anti-women, anti-Kurdish xenophobic rhetoric, with the UK increasingly reliant on Turkey as a post-Brexit trading partner.

“The UK government should condemn this assault carried out on its own territory, include the Grey Wolves on its terror list … and launch an urgent investigation into Turkish ultranationalist political activity and violence in the UK.”

Peace in Kurdistan said the attack was the result of Britain’s continuing “toxic relationship” with Turkey. The group accused the government of colluding in a genocide of Kurds.

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