The Washington Post

Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, July 31, 2001

On the July 15 Close to Home page, Kani Xulam discussed the vigil being held at Sheridan Circle for four Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent who are serving prison sentences in Turkey. He alleged that citizens of Kurdish origin lack basic human rights and that the vigil is also intended to highlight “the right of an entire people to hold onto their past and future without persecution.”

But Mr. Xulam does not discuss the most fundamental human right– the right to life. The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, has deprived thousands of Turkish citizens of this most basic right. For its innocent victims, there can be no liberty or happiness. Their lives have been ended by a ruthless terrorist organization.

So when Mr. Xulam, whom PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan has described as his “friend” in the United States, details his vigil for four convicted prisoners, I ask: “Where is the vigil for these thousands of murdered innocents?”

Namik Tan

First Counselor Spokesman

Embassy of Turkey

Washington