Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 24 – 30 August 2012

NEWS
1. “Syrian Rebels Working in Collaboration with Turkey”
2. Syrian Rebels Claim to Receive Battle Training on Turkish Border
3.
Police attack Freedom March in Cizre and Yüksekova
4. Turkish police clash with pro-PKK Kurds in SE
5. “Parliament Speaker’s Kurdish Document is Too Ambiguous”
6. Demirtaş: 400 km in Hakkari under PKK control
7. New AKP Cadre to Give Hint for New Policies
8. In Turkey, Kurdish classes taught by a girl who is young enough to be in grade school
9. News briefing from the PYD foreign affairs office
10. Another Tacit Acknowledgment: Indo-European Languages Originated in Anatolia, “southern Turkey” Biologists Say
11. Property Claims Law Fails Thousands of Kurdish Families
12. Kurdistan players pin hopes on new pipelines
13. Denmark: Kurdish ROJ TV appeal trial set to start October 29th
14. Kurds in Europe to gather at European Council on 1 September

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
15. The Lonely Man of the Middle East
16. Regional role forces Turkey to revisit Kurdish issues at home
17. The Rise of Independent Kurdistan?
18. Why Turkey Should Woo the PKK and Syria’s Kurds
19. Rare freedom: Kurds emerge as winners in Syria conflict
20. Patrick Cockburn: As the violence intensifies in Syria, there can be only one winner – the Kurds
21. A Tough Liberation for Syria’s Kurds
22. The Jihadist Element in Syria and its Implications

 

NEWS

1. “Syrian Rebels Working in Collaboration with Turkey”
28 August 2012 / Bianet
Haitham Qdemathi
, a U.S. citizen of Syrian descent who introduced himself as one of the political leaders of the Free Syrian Army (FSA,) told bianet they were grateful for the contributions of both the Turkish government and foreign fighters, such as Al-Qaeda militants, for their contributions to the rebel movement. We met with Qdemathi at a location right next to the Cilvegözü Border Gate in the southern province of Hatay toward the evening. He explained that he had been residing in the U.S. for 30 years but had returned back to the region following the establishment of the FSA. Qdemathi said his Arabic was not very fluent and thus proceeded to speak to us in English.

2. Syrian Rebels Claim to Receive Battle Training on Turkish Border
28 August 2012 / Bianet
Fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) leave the Apaydın camp in the southern province of Hatay after daybreak to cross the border into Syria and fight the Al-Assad regime, only to return back to the camp toward evening, Abu Hussein, the commander of an FSA unit, told bianet. “We are deeply thankful to the Turkish government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for receiving us with open arms,” said Abu Hussein, who commands about 50 troops. Government officials announced that the Apaydın camp in Hatay’s Antakya district hosts officers of the Syrian army who deserted the Al-Assad regime and declared the camp to be an area prohibited to entry on due to reasons of security. The officials, however, are yet to offer an explanation about the domestic or international legal foundations on which the camp was established.

3. Police attack Freedom March in Cizre and Yüksekova
26 August 2012 / ANF
Turkish police attacked the people joining the “We greet the Freedom March” rally in Cizre in the province of Şırnak on Sunday. The march has been organized by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to voice Kurdish people’s demands for a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem and freedom for Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Leader Abdullah Öcalan. Demonstrators responded to police with stones and pushed the police out of the meeting area. Clashes between demonstrators and police teams continue in the district where special operation police units have been deployed in all neighborhoods.

4. Turkish police clash with pro-PKK Kurds in SE
27 August 2012 / Press TV
The police in Turkey have clashed with thousands of pro-PKK Kurdish protesters in the southeastern province of Cizre.  The clashes erupted on Sunday after the police refused to let people hold a demonstration in support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Reuters reported. Law enforcement agents fired teargas canisters and used water cannon to disperse the demonstrators.  In response, the angry protesters threw stones at police vehicles and set off fireworks.

5. “Parliament Speaker’s Kurdish Document is Too Ambiguous”
29 August 2012 / Bianet
Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek presented a “text of agreement” intended to solve the Kurdish issue during a press meeting on Tuesday. Prof. Büşra Ersanlı, who spent 8.5 months behind bars in connection with the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trial, told bianet that the contents of the 11 point document were too murky, however.

6. Demirtaş: 400 km in Hakkari under PKK control
29 August 2012 / ANF
In an interview in the main Kurdish city Diyarbakır, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş evaluated the recent developments in the Kurdish region and pointed out that an area of 300-400 kilometers between the towns of Şemdinli and Çukurca has been under the control of Kurdish guerrillas for the last 40 days.  Demirtaş called attention to the ongoing clashes and guerrilla domination in Şemdinli region and said that; “The Turkish army can currently not use the land route in the region whose control has already been taken by the forces of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). However, manipulative statements are made by relevant authorities with an aim to hide the fact that the army cannot defeat PKK in military area.”

7. New AKP Cadre to Give Hint for New Policies
27 August 2012 / Journal f Turkish Weekly
Turkey is entering a painful fall season, within the spiral of violence and terror. With the burning fire of terror encircling politics, the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and opposition parties the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) will hold their congresses before the end of fall. The Kurdish issue will constitute a significant platform in the shaping of the policies and staff of all three parties. All three – in congresses held under the shadow of guns and violence – will determine the staff that will form their 2015 visions, as well as giving clues as to their viewpoints for solving the problem.

8. In Turkey, Kurdish classes taught by a girl who is young enough to be in grade school
27 August 2012 / PRI
Speaking Kurdish in Turkey used to get you in a lot of trouble. In 1991, a Kurdish politician was jailed for 10 years for taking the oath of office in Kurdish. Turkey had banned speaking Kurdish in public places. As a result, Kurdish children in Turkey didn’t speak Kurdish in school, and sometimes their parents didn’t speak it at home, so many young people grew up without a firm grasp of the Kurdish language. But one young teacher in the southeast Turkish city of Diyarbakir is trying to remedy that. Medya Ormek is not your typical teacher. She’s only 13-years-old.

9. News briefing from the PYD foreign affairs office
30 August 2012 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

The continuation of Syrian crisis reveals that Syria has become an arena for regional and international conflicts after militarizing and Islamizing the popular and peaceful revolution for dignity and freedom. The regime has chosen to use the military and security as a tool to suppress and eradicate the revolution resulted in such a situation. The international and regional interventions are clear to the extent that war in Syria is labeled as a representative war on behalf of regional and international powers. This fact makes us realize how dangerous the situation is in Syria.

10. Another Tacit Acknowledgment: Indo-European Languages Originated in Anatolia, “southern Turkey” Biologists Say
24 August 2012 / hqberai.blogspot.nl
This is another tacit acknowledgment of the claims made in the Bible Discovered; after the new DNA-research by Genealogist Anatole A. Klyosov* , has proven that in earliest traceable origins, the Kurds were obviously descendants of indigenous (first) Neolithic Northern Fertile Crescent aborigines. The new entrant to the debate is an evolutionary biologist, Quentin Atkinson and colleagues of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. NYTimes: “Biologists using tools developed for drawing evolutionary family trees say that they have solved a longstanding problem in archaeology: the origin of the Indo-European family of languages.”

11. Property Claims Law Fails Thousands of Kurdish Families
27 August 2012 / Rudaw
The files of several thousand Kurdish families for the return of their land have been rejected by the authorities in Baghdad, says Kawa Abduljabbar, the head of the property claims commission in Khanaqin. According to Iraq’s constitutional Article 140, families displaced during the Arabization process by Saddam Hussein’s regime are to be compensated and their properties legally returned to them.  “In the property claims law they have not taken into consideration that most people whose houses or land were taken do not have registration papers and now the court requires those papers in order to reclaim their property.” Abduljabbar told Rudaw.

12. Kurdistan players pin hopes on new pipelines
27 August 2012 / Financial Times
This month’s move by the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq to resume oil exports through a pipeline network controlled by the country’s federal authorities has done little to placate Baghdad’s anger with western oil companies entering the region.  Deals struck over recent weeks between leading oil companies and Kurdistan’s regional government to acquire oil interests in the semi-autonomous region have faced heated opposition from the Iraqi government.  However, some argue that the latest transactions by France’s Total, Chevron of the US and Russia’s Gazprom have helped mitigate fears among investors over political and operational risk in the region.

13. Denmark: Kurdish ROJ TV appeal trial set to start October 29th
23 August 2012 / eKurd
The Kurdish television station ROJ TV was ruled guilty of acting as a mouthpiece for the Kurdish rebel group PKK on January 10th 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The verdict was appealed and the new trial is set to start on October 29th, 2012. The trial will consist of forty court sessions of which the last one will take place in the summer of 2013. ROJ TV is owned by Mesopotamia Broadcast and was launched on March 1, 2004. It broadcasts from Denmark to the entire world in Kurdish and Zaza, Persian, Arabic and Turkish but due to the verdict, satellite providers dissolved their contracts with ROJ TV because they did not want to be associated with “terrorism”.

14. Kurds in Europe to gather at European Council on 1 September
28 August 2012 / ANF
The International Initiative Freedom for Öcalan called on all Kurds in Europe to gather in front of the European Council on September 1st to expose the isolation imposed on PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) leader. Kurds in Turkey and North Kurdistan will also take to the streets on 1 September, International Peace Day, to once again voice their demand for the freedom for Öcalan, peace and democratic autonomy.  The Initiative has so far put its signature under remarkable protest actions around Europe including the fifteen-day Long March from Geneva to Strasbourg last winter, which was followed by the 52-days irreversible hunger strike in Strasbourg in April and the alternate vigil action in front of the European Council building in Strasbourg since 25 July.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

15. The Lonely Man of the Middle East
27 August 2012 / Huffington Post
When Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan met last month with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin about the civil war in Syria, political biographers had a right to be confused. After all, one is the leader of a government that has imprisoned more journalists than China and Iran combined; empowered special courts to arrest citizens on suspicion of terrorism without evidence or the right to a hearing; sentenced two students to eight years in prison for holding a sign at a rally demanding “free education;’ and has seen more than 20,000 complaints filed against it in the European Court of Human Rights since 2008. The other is president of Russia.

16. Regional role forces Turkey to revisit Kurdish issues at home
27 August 2012 / The National
Until the arrival of the Arab spring, the “zero problems with neighbours” foreign policy of Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) seemed to be thriving. There was hope that Turkey could play a constructive role in the Middle East. The “zero problems” policy was founded upon two main premises: that trade and economic development would push long-festering ideological and security conflicts aside, and that Turkey’s historical and cultural legacy is a soft-power asset, not a liability. While the Middle East’s autocratic regimes were stable, both premises seemed to hold true.

17. The Rise of Independent Kurdistan?
27 August 2012 / Now Lebanon
Via Meadia has zeroed in during the past month or so on the Kurdish portfolio. In three posts, Walter Russel Mead has pointed to the key role of some 30 million Kurds in the mix of antipathy among the Syrian government and its rebel opponents, the Iranian government, the Iraqi government, and the Turkish government. Those who understand how complicated matters are within Syria, and its adjunct sufferer Lebanon, should be warned that matters Kurdish are more complicated still. Walter has done a good job of marking out the main contours in the context of recent developments;  in his overseas absence I mean here only to dot a few background “i”s and cross one or two strategic-assessment “t”s on the subject.

18. Why Turkey Should Woo the PKK and Syria’s Kurds
7 August 2012 / Al Monitor
The Turks have returned to their old/new threats, refusing to permit the “presence of terrorists” on their southern border — the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), to be precise. Turkey knows that the PKK is in Istanbul, Ankara and all Kurdish cities in the southeast of the country. It knows that the PKK is in the heart of the Turkish Parliament and that this party’s fighters, cadres and political and cultural institutions are all over the Turkish mountains, villages, cities and prisons. Moreover, Turkey knows that the PKK fighters are located on the eastern (Iranian Kurdistan) and southeastern borders (Iraqi Kurdistan). If Turkey is afraid of the “terrorists” risk, then it must declare war on three neighboring countries. It also has to further engage in war against the Kurds of Turkey in the Kurdish and Turkish mountains and cities.

19. Rare freedom: Kurds emerge as winners in Syria conflict
25 August 2012 / Middle East Online
On the main road to the northern Syrian town of Afrin, armed men stand beneath green, red and yellow Kurdish flags, welcoming truckloads of their displaced Arab neighbours. They wave through pick-up trucks carrying women and children, granting them passage to Afrin, where a rare safety prevails thanks to a delicate Kurdish balancing act that has granted the population a first taste of autonomy. The checkpoint is a bold signal of just how radically life has changed for the Kurdish population in the north of the country since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in March last year.

20. Patrick Cockburn: As the violence intensifies in Syria, there can be only one winner – the Kurds
26 August 2012 / Independent
A favourite line of defence of embattled dictatorships is that if their rule is relaxed, their country will be torn apart by ethnic, religious or social strife. Opponents of autocracy commonly respond that these fears are exaggerated and self-serving and it is dictators themselves who foment such divisions to justify their monopoly of power. Moreover, critics of existing regimes hopefully claim that democratic elections will defuse the explosive potential for confrontations between opposing communities by giving them a non-violent path, denied under arbitrary government, to achieve their aims.

21. A Tough Liberation for Syria’s Kurds
23 August 2012 / Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
While the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are determined to hold onto Aleppo, they’ve already reportedly abandoned some of their positions north of the city, in Syria’s Kurdish populated regions. Yet the retreat of Syrian troops may not bring the liberation that Syrian Kurds have long desired. Now more than ever, Syrian Kurds are caught between the ambitions of their fellow Kurdish parties in neighboring Iraq and Turkey, and the strategies of a Syrian regime struggling to survive.

22. The Jihadist Element in Syria and its Implications
28 August 2012 / Oxford Research Group
This briefing analyses the growing significance of the foreign and home-grown jihadists in Syria. There may be over 1,000 foreign fighters in Syria now as the war becomes more violent and may continue for some time. Even if the regime falls soon, the jihadist element will have influence in a post-Assad era. If, however, the regime endures, and the longer it goes on, the more likely the jihadist element will gain in influence. Against all expectations, the al-Qaida idea could increase in significance. This could have disastrous consequences beyond Syria and makes the need to seek a negotiated solution a top foreign policy priority.

 

 

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