Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Kurds: Geostrategic concerns for the U.S and Turkey – Gunter

Michael M. Gunter, professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University, has published a new article in the Middle East Policy Journal which analyses the geostrategic concerns of Turkey and the U.S in the Middle East. It is available via Middle East Policy Journal,

The rise of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq as well as the ongoing insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and now peace negotiations with the Turkish government have empowered the Kurds and challenged the existing political map of the Middle East. On July 19, 2012, the previously quiescent Syrian Kurds —largely under the leadership of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), closely associated with the PKK — also suddenly emerged as a potential game changer in the Syrian civil war and what its aftermath might hold for the future of the Middle East. In an attempt to consolidate an increasingly desperate position, government troops were abruptly pulled out of the major Kurdish areas. The Kurds in Syria had suddenly become autonomous, a situation that also affected neighboring Turkey and the virtually independent KRG in Iraq. Indeed, the precipitous rise of the Kurds in Syria could become a factor in changing the artificial borders of the Middle East established after World War I by the notorious Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Read the article in full.

PYD responds to government criticisms of the party in recent report

The Democratic Union Party (PYD), one of the leading parties in Rojava, has responded to criticisms about the party that were laid out in a recent Government report. The report was written as a response to a Foreign Affairs Select Committee document, entitled UK Government Policy on the Kurdistan Region of Iraqwhich was the result of an inquiry into theUK’s relationship with the KRG, including investment, foreign policy implications, and diplomatic relations.

The government’s response to that enquiry included a section on Syrian Kurdistan and the PYD, which it accused of maintaining links with the Assad government and refusing to work with the official Syrian opposition. It also suggested the party should make a greater commitment to pluralism and human rights, in total ignorance of the pluralism being engendered in Rojava’s political sphere which is no small part due to the PYD’s policies. It is worth giving the report a read.

The PYD’s co-chair Salih Muslim, recently submitted a response to the UK government’s accusations, which we reproduce below. Continue reading

Press Release:  Windsor General Election candidate endorsed by Syrian Political Party

Dr Derek Wall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Windsor has been endorsed by Dr Alan Semo, UK representative of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

This follows ongoing contact with the Green Party, of which Dr Wall is International Coordinator, and the PYD.

The PYD is the largest political party in Rojava, the autonomous region of Northern Syria.  The PYD is a mainly Kurdish political party which shares a number of key ideological stances with the Green Party.   Continue reading

Damages to Kobane and plans for its reconstruction

The Kobane Authorities have released two documents that detail the damages suffered by the city and the plans for its reconstruction. The first, by the Kobane Administration, provides a detailed list of infrastructure damage and the what is needed in terms of water, healthcare, energy services, agricultural production, transport and more. The second, by the Kobane Reconstruction Board, summarises ecological and social principles that will underlie the rebuilding of the city, and makes suggestions of the kind of architecture and spatial design that could be implemented in the city’s reconstruction.

Download the documents below.

Kobane Canton Damage Report- April 2015 –  Democratic Self-Management, Kobane Canton – Syria (pdf)

Report for the Ecological and Democratic Reconstruction of Kobanê– Kobane Reconstruction Platform (pdf)

North London Greens pledge support for Kurdish autonomy

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTH LONDON GREEN PARTIES

Green Party General Election candidates from six North London constituencies have called for the British Government to lift the ban on the Kurdistan Workers Party (the PKK) and for the PKK to be removed from the list of banned ‘terrorist’ organisations. Speaking at a meeting of North London’s Kurdish community with London Green MEP Jean Lambert, candidates agreed that the PKK poses no threat to the people of Britain. The PKK has never been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and most European Union governments have not listed it as a terrorist group. The British government has taken a particularly harsh stance, which is closer to that of the US.

From left to right; Michelle, David, Jean, Charlotte, Gordon, Dee, Heather. Photo: Esra Turk

From left to right; Michelle, David, Jean, Charlotte, Gordon, Dee, Heather.
Photo: Esra Turk

‘Kurdish peoples across four Middle Eastern countries have been striving for self-determination and democracy for many years,’ said Dee Searle (candidate for Tottenham), who came into direct contact with Kurdish human rights activists during her years working for Amnesty International. ‘Their bravery and determination left a lasting impression.’ David Flint (candidate for Enfield North), who visited Kurdish areas in Turkey last year, spoke of his positive experiences of Kurdish society. Continue reading

KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 20 – 27 March 2015

 

NEWS

  1. Abdullah Ocalan’s Newroz Speech
  2. Kurds commit to Turkish peace process as PKK leader announces definitive end to ’40-year-long armed struggle’ with the state
  3. Ocalan stops short of disarming PKK
  4. Turkish Military Launch Operation Against PKK 
  5. Turkish military says clashes with Kurdish militants in southeast
  6. HSM: Turkish army deliberately increasing military activity
  7. Turkey’s parliament approves controversial bill increasing police powers, after Kurdish protest
  8. Kurdish Movement Demands Truth Commission For Turkey’s Kurdish Question
  9. HDP: Growing rift between Erdoğan, gov’t over Kurdish issue
  10. Interview with Figen Yuksekdag: Kurdish women’s movement reshapes Turkish politics Continue reading

KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 14 – 20 March 2014

Make this Newroz a genuine celebration of peace

19 March 2015

Newroz is traditionally the most cherished date in the Kurdish calendar, but this year it has taken on an added significance.

 It is the first Newroz since the historic victory of the Kurds in Kobane against the ISIS menace. The ultimate success of the courageous Kurdish men and women fighters in the battle for the strategically important city of Kobane has inspired people worldwide with a passionate sense of justice and this victory can now be understood as a historic turning of the tide in the fortunes of the Mideast and in the fate of all the peoples of the region.

Read the rest of Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s Newroz message Continue reading

Vasiliki Scurfield addresses Newroz reception in Parliament

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) held an event in parliament on 17 March, to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year. The event was hosted by MP Mike Gapes. The speakers were Vasiliki Scurfield, the mother of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, Michelle Allison, KNK UK women’s representative, Dr Alan Semo, PYD UK representative, and Dr Mohamed Kanyany, former KRG MP.

by Sofia Beatty

newroz parliament_vsAddressing a packed meeting in the House of Commons, Aysegul Erdogan, chairing, welcomed the speakers, with a special thanks to Vasiliki Scurfield, the mother of Konstandinos Scurfield, the ex-Royal Marine who died fighting with the YPG for the liberation of the Kurdish people. This year, said Aysegul, Newroz “takes on added significance, as this is the first Newroz since the victory of the Kurdish forces, the YPG and YPJ in Kobani, Rojava. This year, the fire of Newroz burns brighter than before. Newroz, for us Kurdish people, has a different meaning. To us, it means light over darkness, freedom over oppression, peace over war.” She praised the Kurdish spirit of resistance in the face genocidal acts against the Kurdish people, such as at Halabja. Continue reading

PYD: We have a common responsibility to prevent another genocide

We received this appeal from the Democratic Union party (PYD) representation in Europe, which calls on the international community to support YPG, YPJ and other defence forces as they resist the latest ISIS onslaught in the Til Hemis and Til Birak regions of Syria. 

An appeal to the international community

We have a common responsibility to prevent another genocide

It started with Kobane and Sinjar, and now we are witnessing the same developments in Til Temir, Serê Kanî and Al Hasaka. Since February 22th, these areas have come under a brutal and barbaric assault by the Islamic State. Triggered by their setbacks in Kobane, Til Hemis and Til Birak, the terrorists have launched a major terrorist campaign. No one has been spared, including women, children and so-called ”apostates”. Once again we have witnessed the horrendous enslavement of women by the hands of the terrorists, beheadings of innocent civilians and the destruction of churches and mosques. The tragic fate of our 300 kidnapped Christian’s brothers and sisters is sadly still unknown. Continue reading

Event: Newroz and the Kurdish people’s struggle for liberation

Hosted by Mike Gapes MP

 With contributions from Akin Birdal, former MP and honorary president of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD); Akif Wan, KNK UK representative; Xusrew Zeki, KNK member; Ciwan Afrin, PYD UK representative; Dr Mohamed Kanyany, former MP, KRG; representative from UCFL, tbc*

An event celebrating Newroz and the spirit of resistance

Date/time: Tuesday 17 March, 6-8pm

Venue: Committee Room 9, Portcullis House, Westminster, SW1A 0AA Continue reading

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