Chris Locke Matt Locke <> on Wed, 14 Jan 1998 01:27:00 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> ! HRH Duke of York and Kurdistan Exhibition<nettime> Kurdistan exhibition


I think I spoke to you about the dodgy business of HRH the duke of york not
turning up here on friday.... Here's a press release I'm working on to send
out to the papers etc... If you want to forward it to anyone you know in
the media who may want to run it as a story, please do...

Press Release

Prince Andrew misses Exhibition on the plight of the Kurdish people

Last Friday, January 9th, Prince Andrew was due to visit Impressions
Gallery to launch Photo 98, The Year of Photography and the Electronic
Image, and to be shown around the exhibition Kurdistan: In the Shadow of
History  in the company of its curator, Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas.
Meiselas has spent the last six years researching an archive of photos,
texts and memories recording the historical plight of the Kurds, and their
struggle to establish a homeland in the disputed territories around the
borders of Turkey and Iran

However, Prince Andrew was recalled for one hour by the Ministry of Defence
early Friday morning to perform duties in his capacity as Lieutenant
Commander in the Royal Navy's Directorate of Naval Operations. This caused
the Prince to catch a later train to York, thus missing the press
conference due to be held in the exhibition at Impressions. The Duke of
York was still able to attend all his other appointments, including a
hastily re-scheduled launch for Photo 98 at a luncheon in York's Mansion

The exhibition opens at a time of renewed European interest in the Kurdish
situation, as Italy has faced harsh criticism from Germany and other
signatories of the Shengen agreement for their decision to grant asylum to
some of the 1,200 Kurdish refugees who have arrived on Italy's southern
coast over the New Year. Some EU countries are worried that, despite
Italian reassurances of increased border security, the aim of some refugees
is to seek refuge outside of Italy.

Germany's Interior Minister, Manfred Kanther, told German Radio that those
on the edge of the Schengen zone had a particular responsibility. "The
Schengen agreement [on relaxed border controls between mainland European
countries] must be upheld and for that reason the Italians must step up
their efforts a great deal," he said. Germany is already home to around
half a million Kurdish refugees, the largest concentration of such refugees
in Europe.

Turkey has been criticised by EU countries for its human rights record in
the disputed territories, with frequent skirmishes between PKK (Kurdish
Workers Party) guerillas and Turkish government troops. More than 30,000
civilians, troops and freedom fighters have died since fighting started in

Turkey has also been at odds with the EU since the union last month put on
hold Turkey's decades-old bid to join the bloc. "There is without doubt a
link between the most recent exodus and the failed admission of Turkey to
the European Union," said Semsi Kilic, European representative of the
National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK).

Following the recent inauguration of Britain's EU presidency, Tony Blair
and European Commission Jacques Santer said they would jointly present
proposals to EU foreign ministers at the end of the month to help Italy
cope with the influx of Kurdish refugees, and to prevent any uncontrolled
flow of refugees into other EU countries. Tony Blair promised "intensive
diplomacy" to repair EU ties with Turkey, stressing "the tremendous sense
that we want Turkey to be part of the family of Europe". This follows
recent complaints from Turkey's foreign ministry spokesman about comments
by Britain's Foreign Minister, Robin Cook.

The spokesman said Cook had told BBC television in an interview that
Turkey's Eastern border was "not one that's very clear, even perhaps to the
Turkish government at times." Turkish and British officials said the
comment appeared to be a reference to the frequent Turkish military
incursions against Turkish Kurd rebels in a Kurdish enclave in Northern
Iraq. Cook also said there were serious reasons, such as human rights
concerns, why Turkey was not a "credible candidate" for European Union
membership, the spokesman said.

The exhibition Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History traces the 120-year
history of the Kurdish people and their attempts to establish a homeland.
The exhibition includes documentation from Kurdish refugees and communities
throughout the century, including rare photographs from the short-lived
Kurdish Republic of Mahabad taken in 1946.

Peter Warn, Chairman of Impressions Gallery, expressed his disappointment
at Prince Andrew's inability to visit the exhibition. "There must surely be
no better exhibition for a European to visit to discover the complex
realities of what it really means to be a citizen of the European Union,"
he said, "Unfortunately [Prince Andrew] became the victim of a last minute
re-scheduling of plans and was unable to experience 'first-hand' its power
and the uncomfortable truths within it".

Magnum Photographer Susan Meiselas, who curated the exhibition and
accompanying book over a period of six years of research in the region,
also expressed her regret. "[quote from susan]" The exhibition has proved
extremely popular, with visitors queuing at weekends to enter the gallery,
prompting the gallery to extend the exhibition's run until April 5th

well, thats it.... If you want to sent it to anyone, do!


Chris Locke
Xerox Lecturer in Electronic Communication & Publishing
University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
(0171) 380 7204 (SLAIS office - messages)
(0171) 504 2476 (direct line)  ICQ#6859303

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