Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 8 – 14 June 2012

NEWS
1. Ten days: 101 people arrested
2. DTK co-chair Tuğluk sentenced to 14 years and 7 months in prison
3. 90 Kurdish medical students detained on KCK charges in Turkey
4. Turkey to introduce Kurdish as language in schools
5. EU ‘seriously concerned’ by Tuğluk ruling, criticizes anti-terrorism law
6. Turkish Party Leaders to Meet on New Kurdish Initiative
7. PM Erdogan: We will work in collaboration with the opposition
8. Kurdish teen killed at PKK funeral in Turkey’s southeast

9. Major Development to Kurdish Question in Turkey
10. Talabani mediates between Turkey and PKK
11. Talabani in discussion with PKK for ceasefire
12. Stratfor Claims PKK Factions Wanted To Kill Karayilan
13. Turkey Continues pursuit of EU Membership
14. Kurdwatch Newsletter June 2012
15. Exclusive: Arab states arm rebels as UN talks of Syrian civil war
16. UK Foreign Policy Report Reveals Limits to Kurdish Lobby
17. Kurdish Supplementary School opens in Islington

COMMENTARY, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
18. A Sleeping Dragon Awakes: Kurds Take Center Stage in West Asia
19. Is a Kurdish State on the Horizon?
20. The Kurdish issue, special courts and new charter
21. Massacre at Uludere: The political aftershocks of a killing of Kurds still reverberate
22. This week, Turkey went a long way toward becoming an Islamic Republic
23. Turkey: Assessing Ankara’s New Kurdish Education Move
24. Audio: Protests in Tahrir; Drones in Turkey’s Skies
25. Syria is the Spanish Civil War of our Time

REPORT
26. HPG/PKK on recent military activities

STATEMENTS
27. EUTCC appeals to Turkish government to release detained mayors
28. Conclusion and final resolution from the 2nd Kurdish Women’s Conference
29. Call for Zilan Women’s Conference
30. Turkey: Ensure safety of Syrian refugees and access for national and international monitors,
Amnesty International Public Statement

 

NEWS

1. Ten days: 101 people arrested
10 June 2012 / ANF

At least 267 people have been taken into custody within the scope of the AKP government’s police campaign against Kurds and opponents in the last ten days. Some 101 of them were remanded in custody, included politicians, students, women, children and villagers. The political and military operations have remarkably increased in the last ten days with the arrest of 46 Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members, as well as politicians, university students demanding free education, women protesting against abortion ban and “stone throwing children”.

2. DTK co-chair Tuğluk sentenced to 14 years and 7 months in prison
12 June 2012 / ANF

Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-Chair and Van deputy Aysel Tuğluk was sentenced to 14 years and 7 months in prison for “making propaganda for an illegal organization” and “committing crime on behalf of an illegal organization despite not being a member of it”. Tuğluk was sued by Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court for 14 speeches she made at different dates.  The same accusations were put forward in the case against Independent MP Leyla Zana who was sentenced to ten years in prison on 24 May for nine separate speeches she made in the years 2007-2008.

3. 90 Kurdish medical students detained on KCK charges in Turkey
7 June 2012 / AK News

Turkish authorities have detained 90 Kurdish medical students in anti-KCK operations in capital Ankara and other areas. Twenty six of the students were detained in Ankara by the Police Department’s Counterterrorism Unit. KCK is an outlawed Kurdish organization that is believed to be an umbrella organization controlling the Kurdish armed group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and other organizations. The students are currently held or interrogation.

4. Turkey to introduce Kurdish as language in schools
12 June / The Telegraph
Turkey has announced plans to introduce Kurdish as an elective language in schools.  Calling it an “historic step”, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision is  the latest attempt to address the issue of Kurdish autonomy that has plagued Turkey for over 30 years.  The government has realised for some time that the conflict with the Kurdish  minority, who make up 20 per cent of Turkey’s 75 million population, is not  going to be resolved purely through military measures alone. Whilst the  majority of Kurds can be found in the south-west of the country,  resettlement and migration in and around Istanbul requires an element of  cultural reconciliation to prevent total social exclusion.

5. EU ‘seriously concerned’ by Tuğluk ruling, criticizes anti-terrorism law
13 June 2012 / Todays Zaman

The European Union has strongly criticized a recent court decision sentencing independent Van deputy Aysel Tuğluk to 14-and-a-half years in prison on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “engaging in crimes on behalf of a terrorist organization,” voicing concern about such rulings against Kurdish politicians. In a written statement, the European Commission asked Turkey to address the problem of broad interpretations by courts hearing terrorism-related cases. A statement made by Peter Stano, the spokesperson for European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle, stressed that Turkey should make a clear distinction between incitement to violence and the non-violent expression of ideas. Stano added that the EU Commission will closely follow what happens during the appeal process.

6. Turkish Party Leaders to Meet on New Kurdish Initiative
6 June 2012 / Rudaw

Leaders of Turkey’s two main political parties will be meeting today to discuss a proposed initiative regarding the country’s so-called Kurdish issue. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), requested the meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to put forward a 10-point solution to the ongoing violent standoff between the outlawed armed group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish state. At the heart of the package is the idea that “solving the Kurdish problem requires a national contract” and that that can only be achieved through the parliamentary process.

7. PM Erdogan: We will work in collaboration with the opposition
7 June 2012 / Sabah

Prime Minister Erdoğan commented on his recent meeting with CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu by stating, “My biggest wish would be for this situation to continue. I have no biases. Let’s take a concrete step on this issue together. ” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan received the leader of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in a meeting in Ankara to discuss the opposition views on the fight against terrorism in Turkey. Responding to questions from a number of newspapers’ editor-in-chief’s in a simultaneous broadcast on atv and ahaber, Erdoğan referred to the package presented by CHP as ‘an evaluation and diagnosis, more so than a proposal’.

8. Kurdish teen killed at PKK funeral in Turkey’s southeast 
8 June 2012 / eKurd
A 15-year-old Kurdish boy was killed and one man wounded in Turkey’s troubled southeast after gunfire erupted during the funeral of a Kurdish separatist militant, a local official said on Thursday. The incident late on Wednesday occurred a day after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan held a landmark meeting with Kemal Kilicdarolgu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), setting aside differences to thrash out a common approach to ending the long-running conflict. There were conflicting accounts about who opened fire on the funeral procession in the Kurdish town of Yusekova near the border with Iraqi Kurdistan region after it turned into a rally in support of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a militant group that took up arms against the Turkish state in the early 1980s.

9. Major Development to Kurdish Question in Turkey
14 June 2012 / Rudaw

According to well placed sources from Turkey, the United States has demanded that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) cease its armed operations without laying down their weapons. In the meantime, clashes between the Turkish army and PKK have escalated amid talks of a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey. Turkish deputy Prime Minister Besir Ataly recently told CNN, “Due to the situation in Iraq, it is normal for the U.S. to be involved in these issues of the region and we have met with U.S. officials in Istanbul.”

10. Talabani mediates between Turkey and PKK
10 June 2012 / PUK Media

Jalal Talabani Iraqi presidents attemps to start a new ceasefire between Turkey and PKKJalal Talabani Iraqi president intends to mediate between Turkey and PKK to end the long-term war. PKK has been stepped up the attacks inside Turkey as the country has launched its military operations in Qandil Mountains where the group’s hideouts and strongholds exist. Jalal Talabani Iraqi president and Secretary General of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has expressed his concerns of the ongoing conflicts and that he intends to maximize his efforts to conciliate between the two sides involved in a deadly war, source inside PUK leaked to the press on Saturday.

11. Talabani in discussion with PKK for ceasefire
13 June 2012 / Hurriyet
Iraqi President Talabani holds negotiations with the outlawed PKK to urge the organization to declare a cease-fire, according to the president’s party spokesman. ‘The results of this effort will soon emerge,’ he says. Iraq’s Kurdish-origin president has been holding negotiations with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to urge them to declare a cease-fire, an official from the leader’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said yesterday. “[Jalal] Talabani is holding talks with PKK to convince them to declare a cease-fire,” Azad Jindyani, a PUK spokesman, was quoted as saying on the party’s website. “His initiative will continue until the clashes between Turkish army and the PKK have ceased. The results of this effort will soon [emerge],” he said. “The president believes peaceful means will bring the two sides closer,” he was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency.

12. Stratfor Claims PKK Factions Wanted To Kill Karayilan
12 June 2012 / Rudaw

Murat Karayilan assumed the position of de-facto leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after Abdullah Ocalan was imprisoned in 1999. In emails sent in August 2010, leaked by WikiLeaks, Stratfor analyst Michael Wilson claimed there were concerns within the Turkish government that “more racial factions in Germany could eliminate Karayilan” during negotiations between the Turkish intelligence service and PKK. The Turkish government held secret talks with the PKK in Norway in 2010. Experts generally agree that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) adopted a more hard-line policy against the PKK after the talks proved fruitless.

13. Turkey Continues pursuit of EU Membership
9 June 2012 / Voice of America

Leading European Union (EU) officials have met with their Turkish counterparts in Istanbul in the latest effort to re-energize Turkey’s faltering membership bid. There is still enthusiasm for Turkish membership but big obstacles remain. Under the banner Turkish-EU dialogue, the head of EU foreign affairs Catherine Ashton payed tribute to Turkey’s growing regional importance and the nation’s increasing cooperation with the rest of Europe.

14. Kurdwatch Newsletter June 2012
7 June 2012 / Mesop

Nationwide protests on June 1, 2012 resulted once again in numerous dead and injured. Throughout the country, demonstrators united under the slogan »Hula’s children, victory torches« took to the streets to demand the fall of the regime. In the Kurdish regions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) demonstrated under its own slogan »Maʿschuq Khaznawi, the sheikh of the martyrs«. Khaznawi was kidnapped and killed in May 2005—presumably by Syrian security forces. In al‑Qamishli one demonstration took place in each of the districts of Qanat Suwais and Kurnish… Full newsletter available at the link above.

15. Exclusive: Arab states arm rebels as UN talks of Syrian civil war
13 June 2012/ Independent

Syrian rebels are being armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, The Independent has learnt, in a development that threatens to inflame a regional power struggle provoked by the 15-month-old uprising against the Assad regime. Rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have received weapons from the two Gulf countries, which were transported into Syria via Turkey with the implicit support of the country’s intelligence agency, MIT, according to a Western diplomat in Ankara. Opposition fighters in Syria have hitherto been handicapped by a reliance on an old and inadequate arsenal, while the regime in Damascus has been able to rely on a supply of arms from Russia and Iran. Moscow.

16. UK Foreign Policy Report Reveals Limits to Kurdish Lobby
11 June 2012 / Rudaw

The U.K.’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) recently focused on U.K.-Turkey relations. According to critics, the U.K. is more concerned about its economical interests than the “troubling human rights record” in Turkey.  “We urge the committee to not ignore the serious decline into state repression, primarily against the Kurds,” the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign (PIK) said in response to the committee’s report, referring to the ongoing arrests of Kurdish activists in Turkey. Estella Schmid, a spokesperson of the PIK, a U.K.-based lobby group focusing on Kurds in Turkey, told Rudaw, “We acknowledge the FAC report and debate as a welcome initiative by parliamentarians which reflects the growing awareness among Westminster politicians of the deteriorating situation in Turkey and dangers that lie ahead. But as for any real political resolution for the Kurds, this is not addressed other than proposals for some vague notion of a new constitution.”

17. Kurdish Supplementary School opens in Islington
14 June 2012 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

KSSI aims to raise attainment levels of pupils in Literacy, Numeracy and Mother Tongue. These courses will be run 3 hours on Sunday, as requested by the parents.  We will teach Mathematics, Kur dish (Kurmanji) and Traditional Kurdish Dance Classes (free of charge).  Mother Tongue will be taught in the way in which children can enjoy it. Children will have fun and learn Kurdish through stories, drawing, painting, carton films, drama, talking and playing.

COMMENTARY, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

18. A Sleeping Dragon Awakes: Kurds Take Center Stage in West Asia
12 June 2012 / Huffington Post

As popular uprisings and post-revolt transitions change the political, economic and social structures of the Middle East ,the struggle for Kurdish rights, including autonomy if not independence, moved center stage in the past week with a Syrian Kurd becoming head of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), Iraqi Kurdistan hosting an international tournament for nations that world soccer body FIFA refuses to recognize, and the hardening of attitudes of Turkish Kurds.

19. Is a Kurdish State on the Horizon?
7 June 2012 / Middle East Online

While the media is focused on Iranian nuclear talks, the war in Syria, and the elections in Egypt, Iraqi Kurdistan (KRG) is making headways in severing Baghdad’s grip over its national ambitions, chiefly the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. Still, numerous obstacles remain along with plenty of regional and international dissenters, not to mention the task of overcoming a web of Kurdish political rivalries. While a myriad of concerns exist, fresh geopolitical realities are furthering the Iraqi Kurdish cause. Those realities, which have manifested into a new pipeline deal with Turkey, are turning the KRG into an influential and crucial player in the Middle East, which could arguably propel a push for Kurdish independence – sooner rather than later.

20. The Kurdish issue, special courts and new charter
13 June 2012 / Hurriyet
With weeks left before the Parliament goes to recess, there appears to be two or three top issues that will continue to dominate internal politics. The first one is the Kurdish question, special-authority courts and possibly the third is the new constitution. As a result of the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) initiative to establish a Societal Conciliation Commission under the roof of the Parliament for the solution of the Kurdish question, the government seems to feel relieved especially regarding the Uludere scandal that claimed the lives of 34 civilians mistaken for terrorists last year.

21. Massacre at Uludere: The political aftershocks of a killing of Kurds still reverberate
9 June 2012 / The Economist

Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds has a grim new symbol. On December 28th Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish smugglers crossing into Turkey from Iraq, killing 34. Most were teenagers; the youngest was 12. All came from a pair of villages in the mainly Kurdish township of Uludere. Their families had trouble separating the remains from mules who died. “We pieced them together the best we could and buried them,” says Abdurrahman Yurek, who lost his 16-year-old son.

22. This week, Turkey went a long way toward becoming an Islamic Republic
7 June 2012 / The Rubin Report

Hardly surprising; deeply upsetting; and geo-strategically catastrophic, it’s official. Turkey has now passed over toward being an Islamist state. That turning point is marked by a tiny event of gigantic importance. Fazil Say is an internationally acclaimed Turkish classical pianist. He has performed with prestigious symphony orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Berlin, Israel Philharmonic, France, and Tokyo as well as being a European Union cultural ambassador. The Turkish state is now going to put him on trial.

23. Turkey: Assessing Ankara’s New Kurdish Education Move
13 June 2012 / Eurasia Review

Turkey’s on-again-off-again “Kurdish initiative” — a democratization and reform effort introduced in 2009 that was intended to help solve the decades-old Kurdish issue — has taken another unexpected turn with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent announcement that his government would soon allow for the teaching of Kurdish as an elective course in public schools. Up until now, the teaching of the language in public schools had been banned.

24. Audio: Protests in Tahrir; Drones in Turkey’s Skies
7 June 2012 / Jadaliyya

“This week we talk to Egyptian journalist Ahmad Shokr about the political landscape in his country after the pivotal verdict on Hosni Mubarak and members of his regime announced on Saturday, 2 June 2012. We’ll also discuss Turkey’s plans to purchase US armed drones with University of Indiana researcher, Burhan Althuran. Last year, the United States had moved four of its Predator drones from Iraq to Turkey, and now that country is trying to acquire armed drones of its own—the kind used by the US in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.”

25. Syria is the Spanish Civil War of our Time
8 June 2012 / The Rubin Report

Spain 1936. An army revolt against the democratically elected government sets off a civil war. On one side are the Fascists, led by General Francisco Franco. On the other side is a coalition of democrats both social democratic and liberal; communal nationalists; anarchists, Communists, and independent Marxists. The Western democracies declare an embargo: no arms to be sold to the Loyalist side. But Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy help the Rebels, while Stalin’s USSR helps the Communists, increasing their power within the Loyalist coalition. In the end, the Fascists win and rule Spain for decades.

REPORTS

26. HPG/PKK on recent military activities, 6 June 2012.

STATEMENTS

27. EUTCC appeals to Turkish government to release detained mayors, 13 June 2012.

28. Conclusion and final resolution from the 2nd Kurdish Women’s Conference, 24 May 2012.

29. Call for Zilan Women’s Conference, 14 June 2012.

30. Turkey: Ensure safety of Syrian refugees and access for national and international monitors, Amnesty International Public Statement, 12 June 2012.

 

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