Kurdish News Weekly Briefing 20 – 24 January 2012

We’ll be posting two News bulletins today, catching up with all the important news from last week and this week. First, the bulletin below includes a round-up of news about the Roj TV case and the latest Human Rights Watch report on Turkey.

 NEWS

1. World Report 2012: Turkey
2.
3 bodies exhumed in Turkey during investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings
3. Kurds caught in middle as tensions stoked by regional jockeying
4. Man who lost family seeks justice
5. Minority media rights, terrorism laws at issue in Roj TV case
6. Roj TV appeal to start on 2 February
7. Workers unearth suspected mass grave in southeast Turkey
8. Human Rights Watch: Iraq becoming ‘police state’
9. Lost Freedom: Turkish movie puts clandestine counter-guerrilla operation in the spotlight
10. Iranian DipIomat: Tehran Investigating Kurdish Link to Assassinations
11. With U.S. troops barely gone, Iraq’s government is breaking apart
12. Turkey Reportedly Expels Accused Dutch Spy
13. “Journalists are in Prison Because of their Writings”
14. Seventeen kids on hunger strike in Mersin prison
15. Eğitim-Sen Report on 2011-2012 Academic Year
16. Jeremy Corbyn MP joins UK lawyers protest at the Turkish Embassy

COMMENT

1. Has Anything Changed in Turkey?: From Hrant Dink in 2007 to Ragip
2. A Turkish puzzle
3. Kurdish Group to Demand Autonomy in New Charter
4. Syrian Kurds and Turkey
5.
Abdullah Öcalans’ resistance and a reply
6. The weapons are twitter, keyboard, mouse and a Kurd-Loving heart.
7. Turkey: Post-Murder Trial, Thousands Remember Hrant Dink
8. Syria this week
9. Towards a final confrontation
10. Analysis: Rocky road to unity for Syria oppositio
11. The US policy of ‘containment’: Iraq versus Iran
12. A Powerful Turkish Cinematic Condemnation of State-organized Genocide – Film revie
13. ROJ TV in the Land of the Snow Queen

EVENTS & ACTIONS

1. Kurdish Info night with film/food and dancing on Feb 11th!
2. Jashn-e sadeh celebrations with Persian and Kurdish music
3.
Get your MP to sign Early Day Motion 2617


NEWS

1. World Report 2012: Turkey
As the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government focused on promoting Turkey’s regional interests in response to the pro-democracy Arab Spring movements, human rights suffered setbacks at home. The government has not prioritized human rights reforms since 2005, and freedom of expression and association have both been damaged by the ongoing prosecution and incarceration of journalists, writers, and hundreds of Kurdish political activists.
http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-turkey

Download the full report (pdf).

2. 3 bodies exhumed in Turkey during investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings
20 January 2012 / Washington Post

ANKARA, Turkey — Authorities have exhumed the bodies of three Kurds as part of their investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings by Turkish security forces in the 1990s. The bodies were found Thursday in a village in southeast Turkey. Earlier this month, authorities made two other grim discoveries in the region: at least 15 skulls in a suspected mass grave at a military unit and former prison, and bones that appear to be those of humans buried at an operating Turkish military outpost.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/3-bodies-exhumed-in-turkey-during-investigation-into-alleged-extrajudicial-killings/2012/01/20/gIQAuRfYDQ_story.html

3. Kurds caught in middle as tensions stoked by regional jockeying
21 January 2012 / The Kurdish Globe

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reviews an honor guard with his Iraqi counterpart al-Maliki during an official welcoming ceremony in Ankara, 16 November 2006. With the political crisis in Iraq already at a critical juncture, domestic and regional events this week served to intensify tensions.
http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=7FA07C855E5A5CBBCCABBB9D9CB81DF9

4. Man who lost family seeks justice
21 January 2012 / Kurdish Globe   

Qandil Mountain residents say border attacks make them sympathetic to PKK. Shamal Hassan Sheikh Omer، 23، deeply inhaled his cigarette smoke as he started to tell his story. He said since he lost his entire family in one of the attacks by Turkish bombs، he is no longer able to sleep — he constantly thinks about them. “Before، I didn’t smoke so much، [now] I feel so lonely،” says Omer، who lost his wife and two daughters in an airstrike by Turkish warplanes. Solin was 18 months old and Sonia was 2 months and 7 days old.
http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=2D0140A8EF0C2717A83A102B6FC563F3

5. Minority media rights, terrorism laws at issue in Roj TV case
20 January 2012 / CPJ Advocacy and Communications Associate
French satellite provider Eutelsat announced yesterday it is suspending Kurdish satellite station Roj TV after a Danish court last week levied a hefty fine against the satellite station for promoting terrorism. Eutelsat’s decision comes despite Roj TV’s appeal before the Danish High Court, which is pending. The case has implications for how media content is evaluated, the rights of minority media, and how terrorism laws are balanced with human rights.
http://www.cpj.org/blog/2012/01/terrorism-laws-minority-media-rights-at-issue-in-r.php

6. Roj TV appeal to start on 2 February
25 January 2012 /ANF

Roj TV appeal to Paris Administrative Court for the reversal of French satellite company Eutelsat’s decision will start on February, 2. The judges in Denmark on 10 January charged the Kurdish channel with making propaganda for the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) but didn’t revoke the broadcast license of the channel. In connection with the court’s verdict on Roj TV, French satellite company Eutelsat on 19 January made a decision to suspend Roj TV broadcasts as of 23 January.
http://en.firatnews.eu/index.php?rupel=article&nuceID=3989

7. Workers unearth suspected mass grave in southeast Turkey
25 January 2012 / Reuters

Turkish building workers have dug up 23 skeletons in a suspected mass grave in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey at a site once used by a shadowy state military unit, security officials said on Wednesday. Prosecutors have launched an investigation to identify the bodies and to determine when they were buried. Workers began to find human remains during building work this month. In the latest dig early Wednesday, four skulls and bones were unearthed at a site in the Ickale district of Diyarbakir, the largest city in the region.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/25/us-turkey-skeletons-idUSTRE80O1MH20120125

8. Human Rights Watch: Iraq becoming ‘police state’
22 January 2012 / USA Today

Iraq’s Shiite-led government cracked down harshly on dissent during the past year of Arab Spring uprisings, turning the country into a “budding police state” as autocratic regimes crumbled elsewhere in the region, an international rights groups said Sunday. An Iraqi officer, left, hits and detains journalist Mohammed al-Rased during a demonstration in Basra, Iraq, on March 4, 2011. Iraq’s government has cracked down harshly on dissent during the past year of Arab Spring uprisings.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-01-22/iraq-police-state/52741944/1

9. Lost Freedom: Turkish movie puts clandestine counter-guerrilla operation in the spotlight
21 January 2012 / The Daily Star

“Lost Freedom”, directed by Umur Hozatli, is based on true incidents. It’s a depressing, yet realistic piece on a dark chapter of contemporary Turkish history. The film begins with the abduction of a terror suspect in Turkish territory by the secretly operating counter-guerrilla organisation, JITEM.
http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=219178

10. Iranian DipIomat: Tehran Investigating Kurdish Link to Assassinations
23 January 2012 / Rudaw

In an exclusive interview with Rudaw, Sayed Azim Husseini, Iranian consul-general in Erbil, aid the Islamic Republic is investigating a report by the French Le Figaro that Israel had trained Iranian Kurdish militants to target Iranian scientists following the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran last week. Husseini maintained that Iran does not interfere in Iraq’s politics and said it isn’t fair to blame all Iraqi Sunni leaders for the current political crisis between Sunni and Shia leaders.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurds/4349.html

11. With U.S. troops barely gone, Iraq’s government is breaking apart
22 January 2012 / Kansas City

Faster than anyone expected, barely a month after the last U.S. troops left, Iraq’s government appears to be coming apart, prompting fears that the country is headed for another round of sectarian strife. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, is driving to consolidate control and sideline more secular politicians in a battle that increasingly appears to be a fight to the finish in which there can be no compromise.
http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/22/3385328/with-us-troops-barely-gone-iraqs.html

12. Turkey Reportedly Expels Accused Dutch Spy
23 January 2012 / Rudaw

Turkey has recently deported an alleged Dutch spy for falsely posing as a diplomat to Turkey. The news was broken by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, which reported that the alleged member of the Dutch intelligence agency (AIVD) was tasked with spying on extremist groups including Kurds in Turkey. The Turkish and Dutch governments have refused to confirm the report. According to the Dutch newspaper, the Dutch spy was sent to Ankara six years ago to work with the Turkish intelligence agency (MIT) to monitor extremist groups. His initial mission was to gather information on the Kurdish Hezbollah group which emerged in Ankara in the 1980s.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/world/4347.html

13. “Journalists are in Prison Because of their Writings”
23 January 2012 / Bianet

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Hammarberg found the decision of the Hrant Dink murder trial “disappointing” and questioned why the forces behind the murder have not been investigated. In his opinion, journalists in Turkey are being jailed on the grounds of their critical writings. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Hammarberg found the decision of the Hrant Dink murder trial “disappointing” and questioned why the forces behind the murder have not been investigated. In his opinion, journalists in Turkey are being jailed on the grounds of their critical writings.
http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/135635-journalists-are-in-prison-because-of-their-writings

14. Seventeen kids on hunger strike in Mersin prison
25 January 2012 / ANF

Seventeen kids who have been taken into custody in Mersin following the funeral of HPG (People’s Defence Forces) guerrilla Sadık Kaya (Rojak), four mounths ago have begun an hunger strike to denounce that they have not yet appeared before the judge. The kids had joined the funeral of guerrilla Sadık Kaya on 6 October 2011 together with hundreds of people. They had been taken into custody after the funeral and accused of making propaganda for an illegal organization.
http://en.firatnews.eu/index.php?rupel=article&nuceID=3985

15. Eğitim-Sen Report on 2011-2012 Academic Year
24 January 2012 / ANF

Education and Science Workers Union (Eğitim Sen) has released its half-year report of the academic year 2011-2012. The Union’s report points out that the current educational system is apparently worse than those of earlier periods and remarks that earlier implementations for commercialization and religionization of the education became intensified more than all earlier periods. Pointing out to the legal and effective pressures of the AKP government against the demands voiced in the recent period for mother-tongue education, the report also criticized the government regarding the process in earthquake-shattered Van area where schools were opened yet before the provision of most basic needs of the earthquake victims in the area.
http://en.firatnews.eu/index.php?rupel=article&nuceID=3979

16. Jeremy Corbyn MP joins UK lawyers protest at the Turkish Embassy
25 January 2012 / Peace in Kurdistan

The day of action on 24th January, which saw simultaneous actions by lawyers taking place in major cities across Europe, was marked in London with a protest outside the Turkish Embassy, and organised by CAMPACC and Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, to highlight the intolerable conditions faced by lawyers in Turkey. Jeremy Corbyn MP and Prof Bill Bowring the President of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights were joined by lawyers Margaret Owen, Michael Ellman, Hugo Charlton, Ali Has, Arman Banirad and human rights activist Estella Schmid from CAMPACC and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=975&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2


COMMENT

1. Has Anything Changed in Turkey?: From Hrant Dink in 2007 to Ragip Zarakolu, 2012 -The targeting of the “Other” in Turkey
18 January 2012 / Desmond Fernandes

As we come to mark the 5th anniversary of Hrant Dink’s assassination, it becomes important to recognize that the “Other” continues to be targeted in Turkey: The right to life, protection from the state, to associate freely, express oneself and assert one’s cultural, religious and political identity remains under threat, just as it did at the time of Hrant Dink’s assassination.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/has-anything-changed-in-turkey-from-hrant-dink-in-2007-to-ragip-zarakolu-2012/

2. A Turkish puzzle
23 January 2012 / Zaman

Until not so long ago, a clear democratization trend could be observed in Turkey. It was not linear; it advanced in fits and starts, but through a series of reforms since it came to power in 2002 the Justice and Development Party (AKP) produced a relatively clear image of the Turkey it was seeking to build, even if important pieces were still missing to complete the picture. In the past few months, however, the pieces we are presented with are so disparate that they no longer fit snugly together to produce a coherent image.
http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-269372-a-turkish-puzzle.html

3. Kurdish Group to Demand Autonomy in New Charter
23 January 2012 / Journal of Turkish Weekly

The Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella organization that brings together various Kurdish groups and politicians, has submitted its proposal to Parliament for the new constitution and is expected to renew its demand for democratic autonomy. DTK co-chairman and Mardin independent deputy Ahmet Türk is scheduled to meet with the Constitution Conciliation Commission today, confirmed Democratic Society Party (DTP) Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan to the Hürriyet Daily News.
http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/130375/kurdish-group-to-demand-autonomy-in-new-charter.html

4. Syrian Kurds and Turkey
23 January 2012 / Zaman

In November 2011, President Abdullah Gül warned Syria not to use the outlawed terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against Turkey, indicating that he hopes the neighboring country does not make the same mistake it did in the past by hosting PKK terrorists. “I would strongly suggest and expect that they will not get into such a dangerous game. Even though I do not think they would do that, we are still closely following the matter,” he said in an interview with Britain’s Financial Times.
http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-269349-syrian-kurds-and-turkey.html

5. Abdullah Öcalans’ resistance and a reply
19 January 2012 / apogeeculture

Kurdish Peoples’ Leader Abdullah Öcalan refused to see his brother Mehmet Öcalan at the island prison of Imrali today (January 19th). It was the first time Mehmet Öcalan had been allowed by the Turkish Ministry of Justice to travel to Imrali since October 12th 2011. It has been even longer since Öcalan’s lawyers were allowed see him, the last visit to the maximum security prison which is known as ‘Europe’s Guantanamo’ was on July 27th 2011; making it six months of total isolation for the Kurdish Leader. In a message passed on to Mehmet Öcalan via the prison authorities, Abdullah Öcalan was reported to have said: ‘The situation is very delicate here. It is not appropriate for us to accept the visit.’
http://apogeeculture.blogspot.com/2012/01/abdullah-ocalans-message-and-reply.html

6. The weapons are twitter, keyboard, mouse and a Kurd-Loving heart.
21 January 2012 / The Kurdish Globe

In reality, there are two types of Kurdish youth. This first sit behind their laptop screens in plane Kurdish being “zman drezh” talking, criticizing and at some points swearing thinking they are “serving the Kurdish cause” and referring to themselves as patriots. Then there are the other group, those who take initiatives to their own hands, who do not just sit and talk, but those who take actions; set up projects, hold meetings and run campaigns. I can proudly say the latter are leaving behind prints and are literally changing lives and changing Kurdistan.
http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=A22ABFC3781ADA390432DC3E4A53B0EB

7. Turkey: Post-Murder Trial, Thousands Remember Hrant Dink
20 January 2012 / Global Voices Online

Thousands have marched in Turkey to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and Agos newspaper editor Hrant Dink. Angering Turkish nationalists with his outspoken position that the 1915 massacre and deportation of as many as 1.5 million ethnic Armenians as the Ottoman Empire collapsed constituted genocide, Dink was shot dead outside his office in Istanbul on 19 January 2007.
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/01/20/turkey-post-murder-trial-thousands-march-for-hrant-dink/

8. Syria this week
21 January 2012 / Rudaw
As the popular revolution in Syria continues, the Kurdish parties and members of the Kurdish National Council are working hard to make progress on the legitimate rights of Kurds in Syria and to find a comprehensive solution for the Kurdish issue there.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/syria/4345.html

9. Towards a final confrontation
22 January 2012 / Zaman

Does it come as a surprise that key groups of pundits express such a mood swing about the “state of things?” We have all known that Turkey with its hugely complex picture does that to you, but this time it seems more worrisome. Continuous signs of erratic behavior of the government help establish a widespread pessimism. Emre Uslu — who wrote yesterday about his concern about a tough 2012 — and many others have a point. Something is wrong in Ankara, and it is, paradoxically, both easy and difficult to pinpoint.
http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-269308-towards-a-final-confrontation.html

10. Analysis: Rocky road to unity for Syria opposition
22 January 2012 / The Jersualem Post

Syrian opposition is still far from closing ranks and deciding on a strategy for the day the battle is won. In recent months, opposition movements in Syria have vainly tried to find some common ground that could bring together the ethnic and religious communities that make up the country. Their failure to do so goes a long way to explain why they did not get much needed international recognition and help the way Libya rebels did. Assad still feels secure in the knowledge that he represents the only legitimacy in his country, and believes he can still save his regime at the price of some concessions.
http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=254700

11. The US policy of ‘containment’: Iraq versus Iran
23 January 2012 / Zaman

Iran and Iraq have preoccupied US foreign policy since the 1970s. The US administration contained Iraq in favor of Iran until the end of the 1970s, when it began supporting Iraq’s empowerment at Iranian expense in the 1980s, switching to confront Iraq during the 1990s and has finally ended up containing Iran again vis-à-vis the US embargo on Iran’s nuclear program. It is thus interesting to observe how this “on and off” US policy toward Iran and Iraq constitutes a defining feature of US policy throughout its contemporary political history.
http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=269392

12. A Powerful Turkish Cinematic Condemnation of State-organized Genocide – Film review
24 January 2012 / Hovhannes I. Pilikian
Someone high-up at the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism must be an enlightened Soul and more of a Democrat than any of the Eurocrats, having subsidized this film by Őzcan Alper.  May that highly evolved Soul become a Prime Minster of a truly democratic Turkey one day, proud of its multi-ethnic constituents rather than the ridiculous ultra-nationalist mantra – “Proud is the Man who is a Turk” nonsense – sang throughout schools in Turkey under the portrait of an Atatűrk framed with Crescent flags.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/a-powerful-turkish-cinematic-condemnation-of-state-organized-genocide/#more-966

13. ROJ TV in the Land of the Snow Queen
24 January 2012 / Mideast Youth

Once upon a time there was a troll, Hans Christian Andersen wrote. This troll was the worst of the trolls, he was the Devil and the Devil had a mirror. It was a wicked invention; everything good and beautiful became revolting and disgusting when reflected by the mirror. One day, the Devil flew around in the air with his mirror, reflecting the divine sky but it was too much beauty for the mirror to handle. It broke into millions of pieces, some as small as grains of sand. They fell onto the ground, but also into the hearts and eyes of men, women and children whose heart froze to ice and whose eyes could now only see that which was unpleasant and evil.
http://www.mideastyouth.com/2012/01/24/roj-tv-in-the-land-of-the-snow-queen/


EVENTS & ACTIONS

1. Kurdish Info night with film/food and dancing on Feb 11th!
@Halkevi 31-33 Dalston Lane Dalston, from 7 till late
“A night of eating, films and dancing in solidarity with the Kurdish refugee community of Hackney and north London!
https://www.facebook.com/events/276795332374712/

2. Jashn-e sadeh celebrations with Persian and Kurdish music
Date: Monday 30 January 2012

Time: Doors open from 7pm. Concert starts at 7.30pm
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT), SOAS University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG, UK
Ticket prices are £15 Regular / £10 Students and Unwaged / £6 SOAS students
http://www.thesantur.com/

3. Get your MP to sign Early Day Motion 2617: BOMBING OF KURDISH CIVILIANS IN TURKEY
Hywel Williams MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament condemning the attacks near Roboski village on 28 December, which killed 25 Kurds aged between 13 and 28 years old, as reckless and merciless.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/activities/parliamentary-lobbying/

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