Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 4 – 10 MAY 2012

NEWS
1. Writing of Turkey’s new constitution to begin tomorrow
2. Thirty people detained today
3. Demirtaş: AKP has secret agenda for constitution
4. Demirtaş: We won’t accept any constitution
5. Cemil Bayik’s messages to Ankara: The Kurdish Problem
6. The Constitution Congress in Istanbul organised by Democratic Congress of the People (HDK)
7. Symposium on Economics in Democratic Autonomy underway
8. Türk: Kurdish congress to take place in early summer
9. PKK-State Dialogue To Continue?
10. Kurds use Twitter to highlight Dersim Genocide
11. Turkey tired of ‘government controlled’ media
12. Thousands of lawyers protest Specially Authorized Courts
13. “Freedom to Büşra Ersanlı
” Video Support from Her Students
14. Mardin has record of BDP executive in prison
15. Kurds call for boycotting Syria’s parliamentary elections
16. Syrian Kurds, U.S. meet to streamline opposition to Assad
17. US State Department: F-16 Sale Will Go Ahead
18. Over 15 nations to join US-led military drill near Syria border
19. Kurds boycott Iraq cabinet meet in disputed city

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
20. Saving the lost generation of Kurds
21. Leyla Zana Describes Vision for a New Kind of Federalism
22. What is behind these schools associated with Gulen?
23. [JTW Analysis] How Strong is Turkey in the Middle East?

24. The Peace Process in the Philippines: Lessons for the Turkish Government (Part II)
25. In Syria, a Kurdish wildcard no one wants to play
26. A Kurdish Majority In Turkey Within One Generation?
27. A New U.S.-Turkey Partnership?
28. Corruption scandals threaten to destabilise Iraqi Kurdistan

STATEMENTS
29. Turkey Journalists Association Executive Board Statement on World Press Freedom Day

REPORTS
30. Bianet Media Monitoring Report: January to March 2012
31. U.S – Turkey Relations: A New Partnership, Council on Foreign Relations

 

NEWS

1. Writing of Turkey’s new constitution to begin tomorrow
9 May 2012 / World Bulletin

Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek told reporters on Tuesday that Parliamentary Constitution Committee would begin to write the constitution on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  We will firstly focus on basic rights and freedoms, and then legislation, execution, management and public services, jurisdiction, fiscal, economic and social sentences, Cicek added. Political parties will shape up a catalogue on basic rights and freedoms tomorrow, and that catalogue will be the main agenda item of Thursday’s meeting, said Cicek.    

2. Thirty people detained today
8 May 2012 / ANF

Thirty people have been taken into custody on Tuesday following simultaneous house raids carried out in the provinces of Urfa, İstanbul, Ankara, Diyarbakır, Eskişehir and Muş within the scope of so-called “KCK” operation. Among the detainees are also BDP Urfa Provincial co-chairs Fatma İzol and Mehmet Vural as well as BDP chairs of Viranşehir and Ceylanpınar districts of Urfa.  The Urfa-centered “KCK” operation on May 8 mainly targeted the members of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) administrators and members in five provinces and districts of Urfa.

3. Demirtaş: AKP has secret agenda for constitution
10 May 2012 / ANF

In an interview to daily Cumhuriyet paper, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş remarked that AKP government was acting in accordance with its own secret agenda concerning the new constitution. Demirtaş criticized the government for putting forward a discussion on the possibility of “Murat Karayılan’s deputyship” as a pretext found to extend the deadlock concerning jailed deputies.  Referring to BDP delegation’s U.S.visit, Demirtaş stated that the visit was useful in terms of removing the disinformation caused by the single-sided information provided by the AKP government.

4. Demirtaş: We won’t accept any constitution
8 May 2012 / ANF

Speaking at the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) group meeting of on Tuesday, co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş remarked that the Kurdish people will not be the mascot of a constitution which neither agrees to mother language nor grants people the right for status. Noting that AKP doesn’t join the debate on new constitution and defends all monist concepts of the 82 constitution as their ‘red line’, Demirtaş summarized the current situation of the new-constitution process as follows; “Besides the lack of an agreement among the parties in the parliament on the new constitution, there is also a lack of dialogue and negotiations between the BDP and the government on the subject of the Kurdish issue.

5. Cemil Bayik’s messages to Ankara: The Kurdish Problem
7 May 2012 / Enduring America

Speaking on a political TV programme, the co-chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Selahattin Demirtas called for an end to the ban on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). While underlining the importance of a unified Turkey, Demirtas asserted: “I am saying clearly that none of PKK members in mountains shall surrender. Until a solution found, they shall neither make an operation nor surrender.”

6. The Constitution Congress in Istanbul organised by Democratic Congress of the People (HDK)
06 May 2012 / ANF

The Constitution Congress organized by the Democratic Congress of the People is taking place in Istanbul. The Constitution Congress organized by the Democratic Congress of the People (HDK) is taking place in Istanbul. Speaking at the congress, Prof. Dr. Gençay Gürsoy noted that the need for a new constitution has risen from the Kurdish issue and that it is a great opportunity for solution as Prof. Dr. Sevtap Yokuş has said, “A democratic constitution can be created under democratic circumstances. The Constitution will not be new unless it solves the acute problems related to the discrimination.”

7. Symposium on Economics in Democratic Autonomy underway
6 May 2012 / ANF

The Symposium on Economics in Democratic Autonomy, organized by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), is taking place in Diyarbakır. Speaking at the symposium, DTK co-chair Aysel Tuğluk has said, “Establishing institutions such as community councils, village communes, democratic self-government institutions in public services, equal representation of different religious, cultural and ethnic groups, system of public delegation, organizing congresses and women’s assemblies, we aim to transform the nation-state’s excluding technical representation practices in favor of the society.”

8. Türk: Kurdish congress to take place in early summer
8 May 2012 / ANF

Speaking to ANF about the national congress scheduled for the coming summer, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair Ahmet Türk said that the inter-Kurds national congress is expected to take place in late June or early July.
It is alleged that the congress could be delayed again. Will the conference be held this year?
Following our recent meeting with Mr. Barzani in Ankara, we were asked to determine names to carry out infrastructure works of the conference. Normally, three people are elected from each part to take part in the preparatory commission but we proposed to bring five Turkey Kurds in to represent all Kurdish organizations in Turkey. Our proposal was accepted.

9. PKK-State Dialogue To Continue?
2 May 2012 / Transnational Middle East Observer

There are some rumours in the Turkish media that the PKK-Turkey (Oslo talks) will continue or are still in process despite the continuing arrest of Kurdish activists and politicians. According to Abdulkadir Selvi the dialogue process has begun again, and Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, who is seen as the coordinating Minister for the ‘democratic overture’ indicated “it is the period in which we are working the most intensively. For this reason, I have to remain silent.” He allegedly said that intensive discussions are on the way, despite the ongoing military operations.

10. Kurds use Twitter to highlight Dersim Genocide
4 May 2012 / Alliance for Kurdish Rights

The history of Kurdish people is largely unknown, not because it is impossible to find out about Kurds, but simply because the Kurdish cause has not been sensationalised. Among Muslims little sympathy is shown to Kurdish people, despite the fact that majority of Kurds are Muslims, making them 40 Million stateless people, in comparison to 4 Million Palestinians that have world sympathy. The difference being; the former is Kurdish while the latter is Arab. Palestinian struggle has become internalised within university campuses, Islamic lectures and Muslim-populated countries as an ‘Islamic cause’ while the Kurdish cause has not been.

11. Turkey tired of ‘government controlled’ media
8 May 2012 / Deutsche Welle

A growing number of young Turks are turning to social media, complaining that mainstream media are being increasingly controlled by the government. Sitting in a busy cafe in downtown Istanbul, Hale holds her Blackberry, while sipping tea, and checks the latest events in Turkey. “I am trying not to use the phone to check Twitter,” says Hale, “I only check for hot news, or something urgent, mostly there is in Turkey. But I check newspaper sites less now because I get most of my information from Twitter.”

12. Thousands of lawyers protest Specially Authorized Court
5 May 2012 / Dicle News Agency

Thousands of lawyers from 57 bar associations have demanded the closure of Specially Authorized Courts and condemned the governmental intervention in justice. The lawyers demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners, notably the jailed lawyers. Speaking in the demonstration, İzmir Bar Association President Sema Pekdaş has said, “The Specially Authorized Courts prevent defense. They serve as the ideological appratus of the state with privacy decisions. We, the lawyers, are unable to practice our profession. This means that this is not a state of law.”

13. “Freedom to Büşra Ersanlı” Video Support from Her Students
9 May 2012 / Bianet

“The Students of Büşra Ersanlı” prepared a video series entitled “Freedom to Büşra Ersanlı” to protest the imprisonment of Büşra Ersanlı, The former Head of  International Relations Department of Marmara University and  a lecturer on Political Sciences, Prof. Büşra Ersanlı is under arrest at Bakırköy Women Prison for more than six months with charges related to the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK) operations.

14. Mardin has record of BDP executive in prison
3 May 2012 / ANF

Diyarbakır MP Nursel Aydoğan has visited the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Ömerli Branch. She said that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) hostile policy against BDP is most visible in Mardin, where all of the elected BDP chairs are in jail. Pointing out that the AKP’s policy as a policy of political criminalization, Aydoğan saidthat “The co-chair is jailed. All City Council members and party city assembly members are jailed. Some municipalities risk collapsing because of the arrests. All this proves that a special policy is carried out in Mardin”.

15. Kurds call for boycotting Syria’s parliamentary elections
8 May 2012 / AK News

The Kurdish National Council of Syria has called for a boycott of the country’s parliamentary elections, which began yesterday morning for voters to choose new MPs in the first election after the issue of a law allowing the formation of political parties. The elections are part of the political reforms adopted by the Syrian regime after the popular uprising that began 14 months ago against President Bashar al-Assad.

16. Syrian Kurds, U.S. meet to streamline opposition to Assad
9 May 2012 / eKurd

Top US officials are meeting in Washington this week with Syrian Kurdish leaders in a bid to build a “more cohesive opposition” to President Bashar al-Assad, the State Department said Tuesday. Robert Ford, the ambassador who left his post in Damascus for security reasons and special Syria coordinator Fred Hof are meeting with delegates from the Syrian Kurdish National Council (KNC), it said. “It’s part of our ongoing efforts, discussions… to help the Syrian opposition build a more cohesive opposition to Assad,” the department’s deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters, adding it was the first official KNC visit to Washington.

17. US State Department: F-16 Sale Will Go Ahead
29 April 2012 / Rudaw

On April 23, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told reporters that the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Iraq would go ahead, despite the request of Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani that the contract be frozen. “I don’t think there’s any change in our policy,” spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. Barzani told the newspaper Al-Hayat that he was worried that the Iraqi army, under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, would use the F-16s and advanced tanks to push the “Kurds outside of Erbil.” Barzani also noted that Kurds do not have any power within the Iraqi army, despite the fact that both the Iraqi chief of staff and the head of the air force are Kurdish.

18. Over 15 nations to join US-led military drill near Syria border
10 May 2012 / Hurriyet

12000 soldiers from 17 countries carry out a US-led joint military exercise in Jordan amid the ongoing the crisis in Syria. ‘It has nothing to do with Syria. [The timing] is just a coincidence,’ a top US official says.
The United States military said yesterday that 12,000 soldiers from 17 countries would be taking part in this month’s military exercises in Jordan, designed to enhance their ability to meet “security challenges.”

19. Kurds boycott Iraq cabinet meet in disputed city
8 May 2012 / APF

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki insisted Tuesday that Kirkuk had an Iraqi identity during a cabinet meet boycotted by Kurdish ministers whose autonomous region lays claim to the disputed city. The meeting, the first of its kind to be held in the oil-rich and ethnically mixed northern city, came amid chilly ties between the central government and Kurdish authorities who are grappling with several unresolved issues. “Kirkuk is special. It is special because it is a microcosm of Iraq,” Maliki told ministers in a televised portion of the meeting. “In the truest meaning of the word, its identity is Iraqi.”

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

20. Saving the lost generation of Kurds
8 May 2012  /Al Jazeera

This article is the tenth in a series by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani high commissioner to the UK, exploring how a litany of volatile centre/periphery conflicts with deep historical roots were interpreted after 9/11 in the new global paradigm of anti-terrorism – with profound and often violent consequences.

A blind toddler stumbles through a bleak and barren minefield, blissfully oblivious to the danger around him. A 13-year-old boy screams out directions in a frantic attempt to guide the child out safely. A group of children, many of them orphans, gather around them, paralysed with terror.

21. Leyla Zana Describes Vision for a New Kind of Federalism
5 May 2012 / Rudaw

In this interview with Rudaw, Leyla Zana, a Kurdish politician from Diyarbakir province and the first woman elected to Turkish Parliament, says that Kurds must have a united voice at home and abroad. Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and a recipient of the Andrei Sakharov prize from European Parliament for human rights, Zana says Kurds should be able to decide their own fate and choose the type of federalism that suits them best. Zana who currently holds a seat in the Grand National Assembly as an independent, is an outspoken supporter of the PKK and advocates for the immediate release of its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan.

22. What is behind these schools associated with Gulen?
7 May 2012 / Hurriyet

What is behind the schools associated with the Fethullah Gülen movement? Since the first school abroad was opened in Azerbaijan in 1991, what is the power that has caused them to be so widespread across the world in 30 (including domestic schools) years? Can the “green belt” theory of imperialism or “moderate Islam project” be behind these schools? Maybe not, these schools and this movement did not exist during the Cold War era, when the “green belt” theory was most spoken of. When the Bush administration introduced the “moderate Islam” theory in 2001 against radical Islamists, these schools were already 20 years old, (and domestic schools started opening in 1982). Also, what political power can create such a movement and this many volunteering teachers without social grassroots?

23. [JTW Analysis] How Strong is Turkey in the Middle East?
9 May 2012 / Journal of Turkish Weekly

We urgently require dispassionate academic studies based on data in order to close the gap between Turkey’s expectations and capacity. There has been a good deal of discussion recently about whether Turkey can be a source of inspiration for the Arab world. Ankara’s proactive strategy and desire to alter the balances within the region has naturally provoked serious discussion about the limits to Turkey’s strength. Some people think that Turkey is punching above its weight, others that it has become the central player. All these discussions make it important to ascertain just how strong Turkey is and to carry out empirical research to discover this; because only these will enable Turkey to identify its areas of weakness and make practical policy proposals.

 24. The Peace Process in the Philippines: Lessons for the Turkish Government (Part II)
6 May 2012  / Kurdistan Tribune

The conflict in Mindanao between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Bangsamoro rebel groups has been going on more than three decades. It has killed more than a hundred thousand people, displaced millions of natives and prevented the development of the resource-rich southeastern part of the Mindanao region. The main problems of land ownership, poverty, neglect, underdevelopment, illiteracy, corruption, and questions about historical roots are a major cause of other inequities resulting in social and economical problems (Professor Lingga).

25. In Syria, a Kurdish wildcard no one wants to play
5 May 2012 / The National

The drive through town had become something of an obstacle course. On some streets, young boys, stones in hand, squared off against policemen, each group waiting for the other to make the first move. In other parts of the city, chunks of broken pavement, remnants of recent clashes, rendered any attempt at passage impossible. It was the evening of March 20 and Nusaybin – a town in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated south-east – was still on edge. Earlier in the day, riot police had fired tear gas and water cannons on men and women marching back from a rally to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year. Similar scenes were to play out across the region throughout the week, after Turkish authorities decided to ban Newroz celebrations held on any day other than March 21.

26. A Kurdish Majority In Turkey Within One Generation?
6 May 2012 / International Business Times

Turkey is emerging as an economic superpower in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East with greater influence in regional politics. Promoting itself as a “model Muslim democracy,” and widely admired by other Middle Eastern nations, Turkey now faces a novel problem that Europe has long contended with: a falling birth rate. Since the 1990s, Turkey’s fertility rate has steadily declined, due to, among other factors, rising household incomes, expanded access to higher education for women and increased birth control practices.

27. A New U.S.-Turkey Partnership?
8 May 2012 / Council on Foreign Relations

Longstanding U.S. ties with Turkey, which have stressed security and strategic arrangements, have the potential to develop into a robust economic and diplomatic partnership, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia, according to a new CFR Task Force report on U.S.-Turkey relations. Turkey’s dramatic changes in the last decade make it ripe for a stronger collaboration with the United States, but the terms of the relationship need to be changed, says Stephen Hadley, co-chair of the report and a former U.S. national security adviser. “We have to really meet as equals. We have to respect each other’s national interests,” he says.

28. Corruption scandals threaten to destabilise Iraqi Kurdistan
10 May 2012 / Guardian

Last month, Zana Salih, the mayor of Iraqi Kurdistan’s second largest city, Sulaymaniah, was arrested on corruption charges relating to the embezzlement of close to half a billion dollars. One week later he was found dead in a police cell. While the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) maintains that the mayor hanged himself, the mayor’s wife and many members of the public believe he was killed because he had threatened to name a number of powerful corrupt officials.

STATEMENTS

30. Turkey Journalists Association Executive Board Statement on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2012.

REPORTS

 31. Bianet Media Monitoring Report: January to March, 2 May 2012.

32. U.S – Turkey Relations: A New Partnership, May 2012. Published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

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