Congress of the United States

Washington, DC 20515

March 15, 2002


Dear Colleague,

We invite you to co-sponsor House Resolution 133 urging the Turkish government to release four Kurdish parliamentarians who have been in a Turkish jail for the last eight years.

In so doing, we would be adding our voice to the list International organizations and institutions such as Amnesty International, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament going on record for asking that these parliamentarians be freed.

In 1997, 153 Members of Congress signed a letter to President Clinton urging him to intervene on behalf of Leyla Zana, one of the Kurdish parliamentarians, then entering her fourth year in prison.  Unfortunately, nothing came of that effort.

These Kurdish parliamentarians are out of reach today, but their ideas are not.  The demands for linguistic and cultural rights have now become the sine qua non for Ankara’s long-awaited dream to become part of the European Union.

This House should stand ready to support Europe in urging Turkey to fortify its ties with Occident.  Freeing the Kurdish parliamentarians will endear Turkey in our hearts and enable us to speak for it forthrightly.  Let us do our share and hope and pray Ankara will do its.

To join us in our own effort, please contact Gabi Chojkier with Congressman Filner at 225.8045

Bob Filner                                                              Chris Smith

Member of Congress                                             Member of Congress

David Bonior                                                         Frank Wolf

Member of Congress                                             Member of Congress

Frank Pallone                                                        Mark Kirk

Member of Congress                                            Member of Congress