Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Turks Refuse Letter from Desmond Tutu

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 10th August, 2010

As a strong friend of Turkey, I was disappointed today when the Turkish Embassy in London refused to accept a letter from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which was scheduled to be hand-delivered — by prior arrangement — by the Archbishop’s former assistant, the South African Anglican priest and campaigner for Kurdish rights Matthew Esau, accompanied by Ken Livingstione, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Siobhain McDonagh MP and myself. This really was something of an own-goal on Turkley’s part. The letter (of which I have a copy) congratulated Turkey for the principles stand that it has taken in defending the rights of the Palestinian people and then went on to argue that peaceful negotiations are the only way to resolve the ongoing and bloody conflict involving the Turkish state and sections of the country’s Kurdish minority. Indeed, as a conference in the eastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir which I attended earlier this year, it was agreed that much could be learned by Turkey from the experiences of both South Africa and Northern Ireland. As Archbishop Tutu writes in his letter (addressed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan), ‘We want to appeal to you as the political head of Turkey, to use your office and your influence to bring a lasting end to the conflict in your Country. This could serve as a springboard to seek a similar resolution of the problems in the other parts of the Middle East. History will remember you for such a contribution — like history so eloquently acknowledges Mr. Nelson Mandela for the peace he brought in South Africa through peaceful means.’ Yesterday, the Embassy said they would welcome the delegation. But today, alas, the door remained firmly closed.

4 Responses to “Turks Refuse Letter from Desmond Tutu”

  1. Ron said

    I am sorry Jonathan but I think that your polical judgement is failing. I am sure that I agree with the sentiments expressed in the Archbishops letter but..

    1. If Tutu was serious about influencing the Turkish government he would have gone to see the Turkish ambassador in South Africa, had a coffee and discussed the matter with him for 30 minutes.

    2. Instead the letter was sent to London (why?) and an attempt made to deliver it to the London embassy by a group of people of no real politcal influence who the Turkish embassy clearly felt it could snub. I am surprised that you allowed yourself to be put in that position. Teaming up with Corbyn and Livingstone could hardly enhance the effectiveness of the delegation (I do know that they have a good reputation concerning the region – but do you really want to be closely associated with them- clearly the emabasssy doesn’t).

    I assume that despite the good sense expressed in the letter, no prominent british politicial figures could put their name to it and no suitably impressive group of politicians found to deliver it.

    Far from the embassy shooting itself in the foot, from where I stand, the shoe is on the other foot.

    With a bit of luck the snub will go unreported in the press.



  2. Turkey crimes against humanity are known by the world now
    Since the collapse of Ottoman Empire the Turkish constitutions are denying the right of Kurdish people officially and in written document. The constitutions of Turkey are similar to the Apartheid laws of South Africa.
    From nationalist Turkish Government to the Islamist Turkish Governments are using the same mentality and same laws to deprive Kurdish citizen of Turkey fro human right.
    The international communities especially Israel, USA and EU have been in agreement with Governments of Turkey for over eighty years to deny Kurdish people right.
    Today the equations are changing. Honorable people below went to Turkish embassy to deliver letter from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu but Turkish Government refusing to accept peace letter.
    Day after day the people around the world will know true Turkish Governments policy.
    Honorable Nelson Mandela of South Africa has been aware of Turkish unfair practice long time ago that is why he not accepted Ataturk Peace prize from Turkey. Mr. Ataturk will burn in hell for eternity because he was an arctic of Turkish constitutions’.
    Indeed the world knows the true faces of Turkey now. Thanks for struggle of Kurdish people under the leadership of PKK the world know the unjust practice by Turkey, Israel, USA and EU toward the Kurdish people.
    It is time for USA, EU and Israel to stop support of Turkey in favor of peace for Kurds. The Kurd is in control of pathway for commerce. The western world and Israel will better off with Kurds of Turkey than the Turks of Turkey.

    Read my book of the “Return of the Medes (Kurds)” to understand the history of Kurdish people.

  3. Esen Uslu said

    Dear Mr. Fryer,

    In your note you mentioned that you had a copy of Mr. Tutu’s letter. I have seen news reports quoting parts of the letter, but not able to find the full text. Was the full text of letter in public domain? If so, would you consider publishing it in full?



  4. KB said

    You can download the full letter at this site:

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