Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 18 – 24 May 2012

NEWS
1. Turkey gives Kurdish MP Leyla Zana 10-year sentence
2. Kurdish Women Conference in Hewler
3. Clashes in many places
4. “Council of State’s Verdict is a Limitation to Press Freedom”
5. Turkish Airstrike on Civilians Initiated by US Drone
6. PM links Uludere raid row to elections in US
7. US must apologize to Turkey’s Kurds for role in 2011 air strike: MP
8. Interior Minister Şahin: No need to apologize for Roboski
9. Roboski Massacre: “The intelligence source will be investigated when necessary”
10. “We are not After Compensation”
11. ‘Trust Us,’ Turkey Tells US Critics in Drone Sale Controversy
12. Weekly Demokratik Vatan closed for one month
13. Is Turkey Sincere in its ‘Efforts’ to Find a Just Solution to the Armenian Question?
14. Turkish, Kurdish hackers Rock’n Roll with Israel Kurdish Institute website
15. Turkish investors show no hesitation in going to Kurdistan Region
16. Political dispute continues between Iraq and Kurdistan Region
17. In memory of Kurdish political prisoners Kamangar, Alam Hooli, Vakili,  Heydarian, Eslamian
18. French in new crackdown on Kurds
19. Iraqi President Ready to Resign over Dispute with Kurdish Region

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
20. Turkey’s war on militants leaves Kurdish community feeling under fire
21. Turkey: East, West Or Erdogan? – OpEd

22. The presidential system and Kurdish question in Turkey
23. The Fallacy of the ‘Turkish Model’
24. What drives Turkey’s new Syria stance? A fear of two Kurdistans
25. US “Kurdish” Threat Aimed at Turkey, Not Syria
26. It’s Turkey’s Time

REPORTS
27. Commentary on Foreign Affairs Select Committee Twelfth Report: UK-Turkey Relations and Turkey’s Regional Role

STATEMENTS AND ACTIONS
28. Emergency Motion No. 1 – Harassment and Victimisation of Turkish Trade Unionists
29. EUTCC send greetings to Women’s Conference

 

NEWS

1. Turkey gives Kurdish MP Leyla Zana 10-year sentence
24 May 2012 / BBC News

A Turkish court has sentenced a high-profile Kurdish MP to 10 years in prison for spreading propaganda on behalf of the Kurdish People’s Party (PKK) militant group. The judge in the south-eastern town of Diyarbakir found Leyla Zana guilty of violating Turkey’s anti-terror law. As an MP she has immunity from prosecution. The sentence will not take effect until she leaves parliament. The charges relate to nine speeches she gave between 2007 and 2008. Mrs Zana is seen as a hero by many Kurds for her criticisms of Turkey’s treatment of their community.

2. Kurdish Women Conference in Hewler
23 May 2012 / ANF

The 2nd National Congress of Women started in Hewler on 22 May with the participation of over 200 Kurdish woman delegates from four sides of Kurdistan as well as from countries abroad. The opening speech of the conference was made by BDP Diyarbakır MP Leyla Zana who evaluated the conference as a renaissance for Kurdish women. Zana called attention to Kurdish people’s struggle for national unity and underlined that Kurdish women played the role of leadership in this struggle.

3. Clashes in many places
21 My 2012 / ANF

One Special Forces police officer was killed, three soldiers and a village guard were injured on 21 May as the Turkish army operation continue in Lice-Kulp-Genç triangle on Diyarbakır-Bingöl border.  Clashes broke out in the area during the most recent air supported operation which has been joined by thousands of special forces police, gendarmeries and village guards.  The clash and casualties were also confirmed by Diyarbakır Governor Mustafa Toprak.  A large number of special operations teams were sent to the region where the operation is reported to continue.

4. “Council of State’s Verdict is a Limitation to Press Freedom”
23 May 2012 /Bianet

Although the Supreme Court ruled that using the word “guerilla” on televisions should be considered in the scope of freedom of expression, the Council of State has decided the opposite. Barış Günaydın, lecturer at Anadolu University Faculty of Communication, Press Law Department, referred to the Article 10 of European Convention on Human Rights in reply to the decision. “Turkey is a party to the Convention and therefore recognizes the jurisdiction of European Court of Human Rights. The case law must be taken into account while dealing with this case.

5. Turkish Airstrike on Civilians Initiated by US Drone
19 May 2012 / Rudaw

According to a CNN report on Thursday, the U.S. provided the information that lead to airstrikes by the Turkish military last December, killing 34 civilians.  After a routine air patrol in northern Iraq, Turkish military were informed by a U.S. team monitoring video footage from a predator drone (an unmanned aerial vehicle) that several people as well as animals were moving toward the Turkish border.  The U.S. military staff who reported the sighting could not distinguish between civilians and fighters. Shortly afterward, the Turkish military sent warplanes to the site.

6. PM links Uludere raid row to elections in US
19 May 2012 / Hurriyet

The Wall Street Journal may be part of a project to undermine the Barack Obama administration as the U.S. presidential election approaches, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.  In late December 2011 34 civilians were killed in a Turkish airstrike at Uludere after they were wrongly suspected of being terrorists. Questions as to the source of the intelligence which led to the mistake have been widely disputed in Turkey, and no clear answer was forthcoming. The Wall Street Journal’s report stated that the initial intelligence leading to the attack originated from an American Predator drone.

7. US must apologize to Turkey’s Kurds for role in 2011 air strike: MP
19 May 2012 / Press TV

A Turkish lawmaker has demanded the United States apologize to the Kurdish people in Turkey for its alleged role in a December 2011 Turkish air strike in Sirnak Province that killed 35 Kurds, Press TV reports.  Gulten Kisanak, a senior member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), said the US has been “an accomplice in this crime by giving the early footage.”  “We, as the BDP, will send a letter to the US on behalf of our people and will urge it (Washington) to apologize to the Kurdish people and families of those who were killed [in the attack],” she said in the eastern city of Erzurum on Saturday.

8. Interior Minister Şahin: No need to apologize for Roboski
23 May 2012 / ANF

Speaking to NTV Ankara reporter Nilgün Balkaç on Wednesday, Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin stated that the order to fire in Roboski was given by the commanders monitoring the images in Ankara. There is no reason to make an apology for the bombardment, said Minister Şahin and noted that authorities don’t have a guilty conscience over the event.  “Just like all establishments, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), security organization and judiciary also have a certain mechanism under which the terrorist-looking group was fired on. The order to fire wasn’t given by the President, Prime Minister or Chief of General Staff. The responsibility of the event belongs to military and security authorities in Ankara who commanded the bombardment.”

9. Roboski Massacre: “The intelligence source will be investigated when necessary”
18 May 2012 / Bianet

“We’ll continue to base our investigation on the four-hour Heron images sent from General Staff” announced Diyarbakır Special Authority Prosecutor in charge of the Roboski massacre investigation. 34 civilians from the villages of Gülyazı (Bujeh) and Ortasu (Roboski) were killed in a military aerial strike on 28 December 2011 in the Uludere district (south-eastern province of Şırnak). Wall Street Journal newspaper reported that U.S. drones spotted some images before the bombing known as Roboski massacre.

10. “We are not After Compensation”
22 May 2012 / Bianet

“The families just demand the government to charge whoever is responsible after the Roboski massacre” told Şırnak, Uludere  Mayor Fehmi Yaman to bianet. “There might be a fault. We declared the fault, the apologies and the compensation. However, some people abuse this. We’ll not tell the things that the terrorist organizations want us to tell” told Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “I watched the images provided by Turkish drones. It’s not a region inhabited by people; it’s a region of terrorism. There’s a group composed of 30-40 people and mules. It’s impossible to determine these people one by one. Turkish Armed Forces sincerely performed its duty”

11. ‘Trust Us,’ Turkey Tells US Critics in Drone Sale Controversy
23 May 2012 / Journal of Turkish Weekly

President Abdullah Gül, speaking after talks with US President Barack Obama, has said the US administration is trying to convince Congress to allow the sale of armed drones to Turkey and called on skeptics in Congress to trust and not be “jealous” towards NATO ally Turkey. “An ally that is so critical should not be treated with jealousy. It should be trusted,” Gül told a press conference including Turkish journalists on Monday in Chicago, where he attended a NATO summit. Some members of the US Congress are believed to oppose the sale because of Turkey’s tensions with Israel.

12. Weekly Demokratik Vatan closed for one month
2 May 2012 / ANF

Istanbul 9th High Criminal Court sentenced weekly paper Demokratik Vatan (Democratic Land) to one-month closure for allegedly “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”.  Kurdish publications continue to be subject to bans and closures. The most recent attempt was made by Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court which ordered closure of daily paper Özgür Gündem (Free Agenda) in late March. However, the court’s order was removed following the protest organized against the decision by readers and supporters of the paper as well as other free press journalists.

13. Is Turkey Sincere in its ‘Efforts’ to Find a Just Solution to the Armenian Question?
23 May 2012 / Armenian Life

For decades, hardly a month went by without Turks worrying about what new actions would the Armenian Diaspora take. No year went by without Turkish officials acknowledging the nightmare “caused by the Armenian Diaspora.” In late 2010, at a time when he was searching for ways to render the Armenian Diaspora “powerless” through the infamous Protocols with Armenia, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lamented that some of the Diaspora’s actions were like “the sword of Damocles hanging above our heads.”

14. Turkish, Kurdish hackers Rock’n Roll with Israel Kurdish Institute website
22 May 2012 / eKurd

The Kurdish website of Israel Kurd Institute has been a target for hackers, and were hacked many times last April. The Turks placed the photo of Ataturk with Turkish flag on the website “IsraelKurd.com <http://www.israelkurd.com> “. The Israel Kurd website not been cleaned and reactivated since then. Meanwhile Kurdish hackers and supporters of the Israel-Kurd institution, re-hack the website and removed the Turkish modifications, replacing it with Kurdistan map, anti-Turkish phrases and hailing Kurdistan and the rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK.

15. Turkish investors show no hesitation in going to Kurdistan Region
23 May 2012 / AK News

Despite ongoing issues and deterioration between Erbil and Baghdad, Turkish companies have shown no hesitation in investing in the Kurdistan Region. Mineks International, an active Turkish company in the hospital sector, will open a new hospital in Erbil in July. Turkish firm Genel Energy is expanding its operations in the Kurdistan Region and is trying to buy a 23-percent stake in the Bina Bawi concession by acquiring A&T Petroleum for $175m (203bn IQD).

16. Political dispute continues between Iraq and Kurdistan Region
19 May 2012 / Press TV

Relations between Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani remain tense. During a recent interview with NRT Kurdish television, Maliki accused the Kurdistan Region of violating the Iraqi constitution.  Maliki said he now feels that Iraq has become part of the Kurdistan Region and not vice-versa. The prime minister proclaimed himself the protector of Iraq’s unity. The Kurdistan Regional Government has denied Maliki’s accusations.

17. In memory of Kurdish political prisoners Kamangar, Alam Hooli, Vakili,  Heydarian, Eslamian
20 May 2012 / Iranian.com

This month marks the scond anniversay of five Kurdish political prisoners who were killed by the illegal occupying Terrorist Shia-Fascist Islamic Republic of Iran.  Farzad Kamangar, Shirin Alam Hooli, Farzad Vakili, Ali Heydarian, and Mehdi Eslamian — were hanged on the morning of May 9 in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. According to the indictment reeleased by the Terrorist Regime ministry of Justice, the three men were guilty of “armed activities to overthrow the Islamic establishment in 2003 by creating the PJAK group in Iran”. They were therefore declared “Moreb” and sentenced to death. All five were issued their death sentences by none other than the notorious hanging judge Abolghasem Salavati of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

18. French in new crackdown on Kurds
23 May 2012 / ANF

French anti-terrorist police has once again raided Kurdish houses in Bordeaux. Two people have been taken into custody. On 22 May at 6am, police wearing balaclavas and heavily armed has detained two Kurds, F. E. and A. S., said the French-Kurd Association in Bordeaux. The motive of their arrest is unknown. In addition, seven other people including the president of the association and a correspondent for the Kurdish daily”Ozgur Politika” (based in Frankfurt) were summoned by the police. If both Kurds are not released, an event will be held before the prefect of Bordeaux, officials said.

19. Iraqi President Ready to Resign over Dispute with Kurdish Region
24 May 2012 / CRI English

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani sent his resignation letter to the leader of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region to use it as a pressure card when necessary in the Kurdish region’s dispute with Baghdad central government, an Iraqi Kurdish newspaper said on Thursday. “Talabani vehemently supports the (Kurdish) region’s stance in its dispute with Baghdad,” Hawlati newspaper quoted the Kurdish prime minister Nechirvan Barzani as saying.  He said that Talabani gave his letter of resignation to Kurdistan regional president Masoud Barzani as a sign of support, saying that “Talabani with all his authorities (as president of Iraq) supports the views of the Kurdish regional government against Baghdad.”

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

20. Turkey’s war on militants leaves Kurdish community feeling under fire
17 May 2012 / Independent

Shortly after 9pm on a cold winter evening in December, a group of Kurdish villagers was approaching the Turkish border from Iraq when the buzzing of a drone was heard overhead. Most of them were from the villages of Gülyazi and Ortasu – small  settlements in the impoverished province of Sirnak, south-eastern Turkey. They were carrying supplies of diesel oil, sugar, cigarettes and other items that they had bought in Iraq to sell for a small profit across the border. As they came within 50 metres of the border, two Turkish F-16 Falcon jets bombed the area. According to the handful of survivors, the attack lasted for an hour. When it ended, a total of 35 people were killed – of whom more than half were teenagers.

21. Turkey: East, West Or Erdogan? – OpEd
20 May 2012 / Eurasia Review

The complex dynamics of Turkey’s geographical position and cultural uniqueness have always defied easy explanation. But in the decade since Tayip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) were first elected, change within Turkey and between Turkey and the world has erupted in a number of different directions. Consequently, the word “enigmatic” is perhaps the best way to describe Turkey’s foreign policy over the past ten years.

22. The presidential system and Kurdish question in Turkey
21 May 2012 / Kurdish Globe

Pro-Kurdish BDP say presidential system would lead to dictatorship. Although the debate on changing to a presidential system instead of the current parliamentary one has been among the trending topics in Turkey, no consensus on it has emerged among the political parties. Meanwhile, the debate on this process is not happening on an intellectual level but rather it is persisting as a polemic among politicians. What is interesting is that these discussions are conducted referring to democracy and despotism.

23. The Fallacy of the ‘Turkish Model’
16 May 2012 / Bianet

Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s recent visit to the Netherlands kicked up a lot of fuss. On the one hand there were usual islamophobic comments by Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders. He tweeted that Gül is a ‘Christian-bully, Kurd-hitter, Hamas-friend and islamist’. On the other hand there were the usual laudations of the ‘Turkish economic boom’ and celebrations of diplomatic ties. According to the latter crowd, Turkey is supposed to be a role model for the rest of the Middle East, especially in light of the Arab Spring.

24. What drives Turkey’s new Syria stance? A fear of two Kurdistans
23 May 2012 / CNN Global Square

When the Syrian uprising began last spring, Turkey initially stayed behind Washington. It shied away from criticizing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, instead asking al-Assad to reform. When Damascus refused, however, Ankara moved ahead of Washington, taking an aggressive posture against al-Assad and suggesting it was ready to take action to force him to step down. Recently, though, Ankara has backpedaled, abandoning its aggression and sliding back toward Washington’s position. With this, Turkey has entered the third phase of its Syrian policy, falling nearly in line with Washington’s policy of “wait and see and hope for an orderly transition — for now.”

25. US “Kurdish” Threat Aimed at Turkey, Not Syria
18 May 2012 / Prison Planet

The violence in Syria has been predominantly carried out by extremist groups, tied to Al Qaeda, and organized, funded, staged, and armed by the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, with Lebanon’s Hariri faction playing a major supporting role. Starting as early as 2007, it was reported that Syria’s notoriously violent Muslim Brotherhood was already receiving support from the West to begin undermining Syria as part of a grander strategy to to break the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah sphere of influence across the region. The Kurds, occupying territory straddling the Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Turkish borders, have for nearly as long, been fighting against Turkish forces, with US-occupied Iraq hosting several Turkish invasions aimed at crushing alleged Kurdish strongholds.

26. It’s Turkey’s Time
23 May 2012 / International Herald Tribune

If patience is a virtue, then Turkey’s place among the angels is secure. The country’s efforts to become a member of the European Union has been dragging on for some 50 years, and while Ankara has not always been free from blame, since 2005 — when negotiations began in earnest — it has been trying hard to climb over the wall of Europe’s prejudices. Yet now there is hope at last that the process may accelerate. Voter disenchantment in the euro zone recently claimed the head of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, the leader of the die-hard Turko-skeptics. France had been refusing to even discuss with Turkey important provisions of the accession document known as the acquis communautaire, including those about budgetary affairs and agriculture.

REPORTS

27. Commentary on Foreign Affairs Select Committee Twelfth Report: UK-Turkey Relations and Turkey’s Regional Role, May 2012. By Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.

STATEMENTS AND ACTIONS

28. Emergency Motion No. 1 – Harassment and Victimisation of Turkish Trade Unionists, STUC Emergency Motion, April 2012.

29. EUTCC send greetings to Women’s Conference, 24 May 2012.

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: