Kurdish News Weekly Briefing 17 – 23 February 2012

NEWS

1. We went on Hunger-Strike – Negotiation is the Solution
2. Torture and maltreatment claims in Mersin
3. Tuğluk: Prisons to become centers of the resistance
4. Kurds protest to demand the release of Ocalan
5. Turkey’s Kurds Press for Right to Use Native Language
6. Turkish PM should be more tolerant, says European Court of Human Rights
7. Turkey is a prison for the Kurds’ says writer Akhanli

8. Kurdish plea crisis in Diyarbakır
9. DOCUMENT – TURKEY: DRAFT BILL RISKS VIOLATING RIGHTS OF PRISONERS

10. Turkish officials ignored Dink murder plot
11. Bones of a 14-year old boy unearthed in Dargeçit
12. Seasonal workers struggle in Çukurova
13. Türk: National Conference to be held in June
14. French senator: EU should intervene in the Kurdish problem
15. Tens of thousands demanded freedom for Öcalan in Strasbourg, France

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

16. A judicial coup
17. AKP faces criticism on Kurdish issue
18. Treason’ in Turkey: Prosecutors wage war on suspected coup conspirators—but at what cost to the country?
19. Stories from Kurdistan
20. Syrian Kurds 

REPORTS AND STATEMENTS

21. BDP Statement on the indefinite hunger strike by prisoners including BDP MP Selma Irmak and solidarity actions
22.
Letter from imprisoned BDP MP Selma Irmak
23. CENI Statement: 400 Kurdish Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike
24. CENI Statement: Arbitrary Detentions of Woman Trade Unionist in Turkey
25. Stop the political genocide and femicide against the Kurds in Turkey! Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan!
KNK/CENI Dossier
26. Syrian Kurdish opposition groups hold public meeting in parliament
27. Allegations against the Kurds are dangerous, baseless and unworthy of a European politician

EVENTS

See our  events page

 

NEWS

1. We went on Hunger-Strike – Negotiation is the Solution
21 February 2012 / Bianet
Deputies of the Peace and Democracy Party went on a two-day hunger strike to support more than 60 detainees including deputies Irmak and Sarıyıldız. The deputies urge for negotiations to solve the Kurdish question.

2. Torture and maltreatment claims in Mersin
22 February 2012 / Mesop
Bahattin Hazar claims that his brother Fethullah Hazar was tortured by wardens in the Mersin E Type Prison as two students while Metin Özkent and Murat Gül, alleged that they have been subjected to maltreatment at the Mersin Police Department.

3. Tuğluk: Prisons to become centers of the resistance
22 February 2012 / ANF

With a special permission from the Ministry of Justice, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chairs Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk have visited twenty political prisoners who have been on a hunger strike since 15 February. Giving information about the meeting with prisoners, DTK Co-Chair Aysel Tuğluk said that prisons will become centers of the resistance if things continue to happen like this. Referring to the indefinite hunger strike by prisoners including Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) jailed deputy Faysal Sarıyıldız, Tuğluk said the following (…)

4. Kurds protest to demand the release of Ocalan
February 20 2012 / The Daily Star

Hundreds of Kurds held a rally in Beirut Sunday to demonstrate against the continuing detention of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. Holding posters of Ocalan and the Kurdish flag, Kurds from across the country gathered on Charles Helou Highway in Karantina, Beirut, demanding the release of Ocalan, who has been in prison for 13 years. Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), was arrested by undercover Turkish agents in Kenya in 1999 and was forcibly transferred to Turkey. After facing trial, he was first sentenced to death. The sentence was later reduced to life in prison.

5. Turkey’s Kurds Press for Right to Use Native Language
21 February 2012 /  AINA

A pro-Kurdish party has reiterated its annual call for more equality in the public use of the native language of Turkey’s largest ethnic minority. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) released a statement on Tuesday to mark UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day, demanding authorities make more room for the use of Kurdish in public. The statement stressed that struggle of people in Bangladesh to use their native languages was key in UNESCO declaring Feb. 21 an international day for mother languages and said maintaining, learning and using one’s native language in every sphere of society is a human right.

6. Turkish PM should be more tolerant, says European Court of Human Rights
21 February 2012 / Hurriyet

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should be more tolerant toward criticism, the European Court of Human Rights stated recently, Kayhan Karaca from broadcaster NTV reported. The scolding stems from the case of Turkish journalist Erbil Tuşalp, who was ordered by a Turkish court to pay 10,000 Turkish Liras in compensation to the prime minister after writing two opinion pieces that were highly critical of his policies. The Turkish court had ruled that Tuşalp’s criticism “violated personal rights” and was “outside the limits of acceptable criticism.”

7. Turkey is a prison for the Kurds’ says writer Akhanli
15 February 2012  / eKurd
Author Doğan Akhanlı says Turkey has become a prison for the Kurds. “During my imprisonment I was the only one who was ethnically Turkish.  Everybody I met in prison was Kurdish. I have been arrested before. The prisons were not like this before and in the past there were Turkish prisoners as well. This current situation is proof that the state defines the Kurds as suspects.  The judges and prosecutors are ready to send the defendant to jail if s/he is Kurdish. Turkey is a prison for the Kurds. I cannot interpret this situation otherwise,” tells Akhanlı.

8. Kurdish plea crisis in Diyarbakır
22 February 2012 / Dicle News Agency

The first hearing of the case against 23, including the Kurdish Azadiya Welat daily former editor-in-chief Tayip Temel and several Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) executives, took place in the Diyarbakır 7th High Criminal Court today.  The defendants replied in Kurdish to questions of identification as well as questions about their social and economic status. The defendants’ responses in Kurdish were recorded as ‘a language other than Turkish.’

9. DOCUMENT – TURKEY: DRAFT BILL RISKS VIOLATING RIGHTS OF PRISONERS
20 February 2012 / Amnesty International

Amnesty International wrote to the Minister of Justice in Turkey to raise its concerns over a draft bill due to come before parliament which may violate the rights of prisoners to access their lawyers and have contact with their families. Among other provisions, draft amendments to the Law on the Execution of Punishment and Security Measures define circumstances in which a prisoner’s access to lawyers and others can be denied. The amendments state that in the case of concrete evidence that a convicted prisoner is issuing directions to a criminal organization through the people they meet, including their lawyers, their contact with those persons may be denied upon the decision of a judge following an application by the prosecutor.

10. Turkish officials ignored Dink murder plot
22 February 2012 / Emirates 24/7

Turkish state officials failed to protect prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, murdered in 2007, despite knowing of the plot to kill him, a report commissioned by the president has concluded.President Abdullah Gul ordered Turkey’s State Supervisory Council (DDK) to investigate the case after accusations from Dink’s family, lawyers and rights groups that state officials had been complicit in the murder.

11. Bones of a 14-year old boy unearthed in Dargeçit
23 February 2012 / Dicle News Agency

Tragic stories come out of mass graves along with human bones. Most recently an excavation in the Bağözü Village of Mardin’s Dargeçit Town revealed human bones and clothes claimed to belong to Seyhan Doğan who was taken under custody at the age of 14 in 1995. Working as a volunteer in the excavation work, Hazni Doğan who was also taken under custody in 1995 when he was 12-year-old with his brother Seyhan Doğan recognized his brother’s sweater among other findings

12. Seasonal workers struggle in Çukurova
23 February 2012 / Dicle News Agency

Citizens of Kurdish and Arab origins forced to immigrate to Çukurova due to poverty and the evacuation of burnt villages are struggling to work and live in tents. The families who have to immigrate constantly talk about the negative influences of immigration on their children, drawing an analogy between their lives and seasonal harvests.

13. Türk: National Conference to be held in June
22 February 2012 / ANF

The committee of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) has returned to Turkey after holding a series of meetings in Hewler city of Erbil, Iraq. The committee which consisted of BDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, DTK Co-Chairs Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk, deputies Leyla Zana, Sırrı Sakık, Nazmi Gür met President of Federal Kurdistan Regional Government, Massoud Barzani, former head of government, Berhem Salih, KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) Foreign Affairs Executive Ahmed Kani and representatives of many organizations.

14. French senator: EU should intervene in the Kurdish problem
22 February 2012 / ANF

In a letter to French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicole Borvo Cohen-Seat, member of the Senate of France as well as Communist, Republican, Citizen Group urged the French state and the European Union to make contribution to a political solution for the Kurdish problem.  French senator pointed to the KCK operations and unprecedented pressures of the AKP government and urged the French state and the European Union to strongly condemn this cruelty.

15. Tens of thousands demanded freedom for Öcalan in Strasbourg, France
19 February 2012 / eKurd

Strasbourg city of France witnessed on Saturday the greatest 15 February protest of the last 13 years. Sixty thousand people from many countries in Europe have demanded freedom for the Kurdish leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan Öcalan and status for Kurdish people. Ocalan is serving a life prison term in Turkey. ANF news agency reported. The demonstrators demanded his release. The demonstration is timed to the anniversary of Ocalan’s arrest.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

16. A judicial coup
22 February 2012 / Majalla

The signs were growing this month that Turkey’s quiet revolution may have begun to eat its own children, as the government hastily amended a law to prevent courts questioning close allies of Prime Minister Erdogan in the country’s national intelligence agency. Parliament voted the amendment through on 16 February, just over a week after prosecutors had issued a summons against national intelligence (MIT) chief Hakan Fidan as a suspect in a long-running terrorism investigation. Prosecutors said they wanted to talk to Fidan, an appointee and close confidant of the Prime Minister, about MIT’s infiltration of a group linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a group which has waged a 30-year war against Turkey.

17. AKP faces criticism on Kurdish issue
17 February 2012 / SES Turkiye

Just three days after Turkish warplanes bombed suspected PKK targets in northern Iraq this week, pro-PKK Kurdish protestors clashed with police in several areas of the country. The protestors were marking the 13th anniversary of the capture of the organisation’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, on Wednesday (February 15th).

18. Treason’ in Turkey: Prosecutors wage war on suspected coup conspirators—but at what cost to the country?
20 February 2012  /  The Daily Beast
Turkey’s reform-minded Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is nothing like his iron-fisted Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin right? Think again. In both leaders’ countries, journalists who dare to criticize the government often end up behind bars. In Erdogan’s Turkey, as in Putin’s Russia, the ruling clique’s political adversaries have been hounded by courts and police and have spent months or years in jail without trial, while oppositionist businessmen have been slapped with ruinous tax bills. On at least two dismal indices, Turkey ranks even worse than Russia: Reporters Without Borders’ latest Press Freedom Index puts Turkey in 148th place, behind Russia at 142, and the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of 174 violations last year, while runner-up Russia had 133.

19. Stories from Kurdistan
21 February 2012 / Mideast Youth

Despite linguistic differences the Kurds share stories and history together. The stories were told and knew of no borders; the stories braved the high mountains and artificial lines on the map. Stories often tell a lot about the popular perception of life. Stories can provide an explanation, which perhaps is not quite historically accurate, but gives an indication of small and large events. Narrators and authors are sensitive people who recreate the past and the present, and they do their best to make the old stories interesting for their listeners and readers.

20. Syrian Kurds 
21 February 2012 / Today’s Zaman
Turkey has not been able to solve its Kurdish problem yet. The expectations and demands of Kurds force the Turkish establishment to rethink the exclusive nature of citizenship based on ethnic preference (of Turks), the primacy of state over society, the law that protects the officialdom from the people and a clientele economy with limited transparency.  These all have to change if a democratic, transparent and accountable system, guaranteed by the rule of law, is adopted. That is why reforms are stalled and the pace of democratization is slow. Stately powers of the old tutelary system allow power holders to be modern-day kings. Whoever comes to power through elections or otherwise does not want to let go of these powers and privileges. This system is the womb of many problems. The gangrened Kurdish problem is only one of them.

REPORTS AND STATEMENTS

21. BDP Statement on the indefinite hunger strike by prisoners including BDP MP Selma Irmak and solidarity actions, 20 February 2012.

22. Letter from imprisoned BDP MP Selma Irmak, 15 February 2012.

23. CENI Statement: 400 Kurdish Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike, 23 February 2012.

24. CENI Statement: Arbitrary Detentions of Woman Trade Unionist in Turkey, 17 February 2012.  

 25. Stop the political genocide and femicide against the Kurds in Turkey! Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan!KNK/CENI Dossier, February 2012.

26. Syrian Kurdish opposition groups hold public meeting in parliament, Peace in Kurdistan Press Release, 16 February 2012.

27. Allegations against the Kurds are dangerous, baseless and unworthy of a European politician, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK Statement, 30 January 2012.

 

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