Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 5 – 11 October 2012

NEWS
1. Turkish court allows Kurdish defense
2. Turkish Parliament is an opportunity for Kurds, Barzani says
3. Turkish jets strike Kurdish PKK rebel hideouts in Iraqi Kurdistan
4. BDP Baluken asks parliamentary inquiry on hunger strikes
5. Don’t Touch the BDP’s Women Deputies
6. Kurds in Turkey protest against 9 October conspiracy
7. Police attacks BDP demonstration for Öcalan
8. Over 40 village guards lay down arms in Van
9. Tensions Mount on Syrian Border Following Artillery Exchange
10. VIDEO: Turkey Unlikely to Push Confrontation with Syria
11. Michel Temo assassinated on Assad’s direct order
12. Terrorist Group in Syria Names 2 Battalions after Saddam Hussein
13. 2012 World Kurdish Congress To Strengthen Global Network of Kurdish Scholars
14. Leading Kurdish Activist Arrested in Paris
15. KCK warns France
16. Head of Danish-Kurdish academic association: ‘An unjust law is no law’
17. Kurds in Europe protest 9 October conspiracy against Öcalan
18. New Kurdistan Map by Eurominority
19. Scorsese teams up with Iranian director

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
20. Defiance in Turkey’s Kurdish heartland
21. Kurdish autonomy in Syria troubling for rebels, Turkey
22. Turkey’s Policies At Crossroads: From Zero-Problems To Heap Of Trouble
23. Press Freedom in Turkey: An Interim Assessment and Avenues for Action
24. AUDIO: Turkey not threatened by Syria – expert
25. The Syrian Crisis: The current state of affairs, by Prof. Michael M. Gunter
26. Xalit Isa: “It Is Necessary to Promote a Political Solution to Help Syria”

REPORTS
27. European Commission Turkey Progress Report 2012

ACTIONS
28. Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ Campaign update

 

NEWS

1. Turkish court allows Kurdish defense
7 October 2012 / Hurriyet
A court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has permitted Hatip Dicle, who was elected in the 2011 general elections before being stripped of his deputyship, to defend himself in Kurdish in the ongoing Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trial. Dicle’s speech is being translated by his lawyer, Mehmet Emin Aktar. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters in Diyarbakır on Oct. 5 that it had become impossible to give rulings in the case caused by the “vicious circle” stemming from the defendants’ insistence on defending themselves in Kurdish and the courts’ refusal to permit them to do so.

2. Turkish Parliament is an opportunity for Kurds, Barzani says
7 October 2012 / Hurriyet
Kurdish members of the Turkish Parliament now have an opportunity to make their influence felt, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani has said while speaking out against ongoing violence in Turkey. “The opposition can be transformed into peaceful demonstrations in city streets, the Parliament and elsewhere.  There is no need for violence. We have told the Kurdish political leaders that they should resolve the problem by peaceful means,” Barzani said in an interview with French media. “While it is true that Turkey has a problem with the Kurds, there must be a peaceful solution to the “Kurdish problem.”

3. Turkish jets strike Kurdish PKK rebel hideouts in Iraqi Kurdistan
8 October 2012 /eKurd
Turkish jets bombed Kurdish rebel hideouts in Iraq’s Kurdistan region overnight, Turkish military sources told AFP, but it was not immediately clear if there were any casualties. At least 12 F-16 fighter jets took off from the Diyarbakir base in the southeast and targeted four camps in the Turkish-Iraqi border area of Qandil Mountains and the surrounding area where the leadership of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) is believed to be hiding, the sources added. The latest operation comes after the Turkish government asked parliament last week to renew the mandate for its armed forces to attack Kurdish rebel bases in Iraq for another year, as the clashes sharply escalated between the two sides.

4. BDP Baluken asks parliamentary inquiry on hunger strikes
9 October 2012 / ANF
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Group deputy chairman İdris Baluken asked for a Parliamentary Inquiry in order to investigate the ongoing indefinite and non-alternate hunger strikes staged in Turkish prisons in protest against the isolation imposed on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan for over 430 days now.  BDP Group deputy chairman Baluken asked Speaker’s Office for a parliamentary investigation to determine the measures to be taken concerning the actions prisoners have staged in protest against the failure of resolution of problems in Turkish prisons and the fulfilment of their political demands.

5. Don’t Touch the BDP’s Women Deputies
6 October 2012 / Bianet
After Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sebahat Tuncel got sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison for being a “member of an illegal organization”, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said “Are they women?”, implying the BDP’s women deputies. Women made a sit-down protest in Galatasaray, İstanbul against Arınç’s statement. The protest was hold after the Saturday Mothers meeting. In the press statement it was claimed that Prime Minister Erdoğan and the AKP’s deputies conflate their insults to Kurdish politicians with sexism and target the BDP’s women deputies. It was stated that while the plan to lift the immunities of the BDP’s deputies was on the agenda, the women deputies were subjected to sexist hostility; it was also underlined that the BDP’s women deputies were exposed to physical violence.

6. Kurds in Turkey protest against 9 October conspiracy
9 October 2012 / ANF
The Kurdish people in Turkey will be taking to the streets today in mass to protest against the 9 October 1998 international conspiracy against PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) leader Abdullah Öcalan.  Protests at the fourteenth anniversary of the international conspiracy which ended up with Kurdish leader’s being expelled from Syria have started at early morning hours today as the people in all provinces and districts of North Kurdistan have closed their shops and are preparing for the mass demonstrations in the afternoon.

7. Police attacks BDP demonstration for Öcalan
8 October 2012 / ANF
Two members of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were injured and at least five others were taken into custody on Sunday at the sit-in BDP Istanbul organization staged at Taksim Square to condemn the 9 October conspiracy against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and to call attention to the ongoing hunger strike of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkish prisons.  The sit-in which lasted about half an hour was followed by a press statement by BDP Istanbul provincial co-chair Asiye Kolçak who remarked that the ruling AKP government is paving the way for conflict between peoples and destroying their will to live together in peace by subjecting Kurds to political, economic, cultural, historical and ecological genocide.

8. Over 40 village guards lay down arms in Van
10 October 2012 / ANF
More than 40 village guards have collectively laid down arms today, refusing to join an operation in the village of Narlı (Xaviştan) in Van’s Çatak district.  The village guards have submitted their resignation to the Governor’s office of Çatak on Wednesday morning after they were called for an operation by the police directorate in the village last night.  A village guard, asking to be mentioned anonymous, said that a lieutenant had insulted them for not accepting to join the operation. “We will never take up arms again like all other village guards in our village”, he underlined.

9. Tensions Mount on Syrian Border Following Artillery Exchange
5 October 2012 / Bianet
Following the deadly cross-border shelling in the southeastern province of Urfa on Wednesday, the Turkish Prime Ministry announced they had responded without delay by firing on army positions inside of Syria with artillery barrages. “Our military units in the border area have responded in kind in accordance with the rules of engagement and struck with artillery fire against targets in Syria that were identified by radar,” the Turkish Prime Ministry said, in reference to the new rules of engagement that came into force following the downing of a Turkish reconnaissance jet by Syria in June. The Syrian Ministry of Information also responded the same day by offering their condolences to the victims of the shelling and to the Turkish public, adding that they had initiated an investigation regarding the matter.

10. VIDEO: Turkey Unlikely to Push Confrontation with Syria
The Real News Network
Vijay Prashad: Turkey can’t live up to its tough rhetoric on Syria as it faces Kurdish resistance and morale crisis in army after 300 officers convicted of treason.

11. Michel Temo assassinated on Assad’s direct order
11 October 2012 / Roj Helat
Al Arabiya news outlet published a security document belonging to Syrian regime establishing that one of the Kurdish leaders in West Kurdistan, Michel Temo, was assassinated on the order of Syrian authorities. One of the documents clearly illustrates that Michel Temo was assassinated on direct order of Syrian president Beshar Assad passed to the air forces for execution. A senior affiliate in the air forces was commanded by the chief of staff Saqar Manun to travel to Hasaka city and assassinate Michel Temo, the document notes. Another document also establishes that the assassination order came from Bashar Assad to Saqar Manun. The intention behind this assassination was to put pressure on the Turkish government, the document remarks.

12. Terrorist Group in Syria Names 2 Battalions after Saddam Hussein
7 October 2012 / Fars News Agency
The so-called Free Syrian Army, the main armed rebel group fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s government, announced that it has set up two battalions called ‘Martyr Saddam Hussein’ in the cities of Idlib and Deir al-Zour in Syria.In a blatant act of defiance and in a move aimed at provoking the feelings of Kurds in general and Syrian Kurds in particular, the FSA formed the two battalions.  Analysts believe that these acts, which are condemned and seen as worrisome by Kurds and all Syrians, might push the opponents to retract and backtrack on their moves against Bashar Assad’s government.  Naming the FSA battalions after Saddam Hussein was met with overwhelming outrage and condemnation by the Kurds.

13. 2012 World Kurdish Congress To Strengthen Global Network of Kurdish Scholars
7 October 2012 / Rudaw
In an interview with Rudaw, professor Alan Dilani, founder of the first World Kurdish Congress (WKC), said the group’s second conference will be held in Erbil on Oct. 11-15. “The WKC has invited the highest level of Kurdish politicians, President Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and speaker of parliament Mr. Arsalan Baiz,” said Dilani. Cabinet ministers, foreign ambassadors and European and Canadian MPs are expected to attend the conference. “They are involved in this event and totally endorse its purpose,” said Dilani. “This event will engage hundreds of Kurdish scientists from all over the world in this crucial era of our history.”

14. Leading Kurdish Activist Arrested in Paris
11 October 2012 / Peace in Kurdistan campaign
KNK (Kurdistan National Congress) member, Adem Uzun, has been remanded in custody in France after appearing court following his arrest in Paris. The KNK condemned the action against Mr Uzun and explained in a statement that Uzun was in Paris to take part in the preparations for a conference on West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan), which was scheduled to take place on 13 October.

15. KCK warns France
10 October 2012 / Roj Helat
After the arrest of Adem Uzun a member of Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) by French police, Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) released a statement warning the French authorities of taking responsive action if the anti-Kurdish policies of France were to persist. Pointing to the role France had played in division of Kurdistan in 1923 the KCK statement remarked; “When Kurdistan was divided into four parts, France played a significant role. Encountered with such an injustice ever since, the Kurds were faced with state terror in 19990s, to encounter such injustice they adopted a path to struggle. France has supported the occupiers, the looters and the mass-murderers [of the Kurds] and now targets the Kurdish politicians.”

16. Head of Danish-Kurdish academic association: ‘An unjust law is no law’
8 October 2012 / Alliance for Kurdish Rights
On September 18th the Danish police conducted a search in a Kurdish community center in Copenhagen in order to find evidence of money transactions between Kurds in Denmark and the Kurdish rebel group, PKK. 8 Kurds were arrested for having collected money for PKK that is recognized as a terrorist group by Denmark. The police says they suspect the 8 men have collected about 9 million Euro from 2009 to 2012 and conveyed more than 19 million Euro to PKK. The arrested Kurds were all charged with supporting terrorism. One Kurds has been released and one of the lawyers for the now 7 arrested Kurds is Bjørn Elmquist who is also a lawyer for ROJ TV.

17. Kurds in Europe protest 9 October conspiracy against Öcalan
7 October 2012  /ANF
Kurds and their friends in Europe have once again taken to the streets this year to protest against the 9 October 1998 international conspiracy against PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) leader Abdullah Öcalan. The international conspiracy which ended up with Kurdish leader’s being expelled from Syria was protested in the German city of Kassel, Swedish city of Stockholm, Swiss capital city Bern as well as French cities of Marseille and Paris.

18. New Kurdistan Map by Eurominority
28 September 2012 / ANF
Stateless Nations and Minority Peoples in Europe (Eurominority) and Kurdish Institute of Paris (Institut kurde de Paris) just released a new map of Kurdistan which aims knowledge of the nation of Mount Ararat (Çiyayê Agiri).  The bilingual map, in Kurdish and English, shows the main cities, mountains, rivers and lakes that form historical Kurdistan. Two additional maps also give a good point of view of the Kurdish provinces distributed Among the Turkish, Syrian, Iranian and Iraqi States. The poster also presents a simplified map of dialects of the Kurdish language, thus making the work one of the most synthetic maps of historical Kurdistan.
View the map here.

19. Scorsese teams up with Iranian director
6 October 2012 / UPI
Kurdish-Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi said Martin Scorsese will team up as executive producer for his next film, “60 Seconds of Us.” Ghobadi made the announcement at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, where his latest film, “Rhino Season” was screened, The Hollywood Reporter said Saturday. The two filmmakers are currently working on the script for “60 Seconds of Us,” which will be about “the conflict between Iranians and Kurds,” Ghobadi said. The film will be shot in southern Turkey because Ghobadi is deemed as persona non grata in Iran for his criticisms of the regime, THR reported.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

20. Defiance in Turkey’s Kurdish heartland
11 October 2012 / BBC News
Twelve-year-old Birhat Ciya and his 10-year-old brother Emrah spend the morning lying on the floor, watching cartoons on television.  They jump up, looking a little guilty, when visitors enter the room.  This is a school day, but the boys’ family has decided to keep them at home. Their school’s oath – which children across Turkey are meant to recite every morning – includes the words “I am a Turk”. The Ciya family, who are Kurdish, refuse to say these words. The boys also insist that they be taught in Kurdish, not Turkish. “We want our own mother language,” says Birhat. “They should make our classes in Kurdish – our mother language.” His younger brother nods. The political statements done, the two jostle on the sofa and start to play computer games.

21. Kurdish autonomy in Syria troubling for rebels, Turkey
5 October 2012 / Los Angeles Times
This tranquil town in northwest Syria is a haven from the warfare convulsing much of the country, but the calm points to profound challenges facing the country — and the entire region — when the fighting ends. The laid-back guards at the checkpoints are Kurdish militiamen. The mustachioed man whose image greets visitors is Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence in a Turkish prison for his leadership role in the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a group deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

22. Turkey’s Policies At Crossroads: From Zero-Problems To Heap Of Trouble
9 October 2012 / Eurasia Review
It seems that media consensus has been conclusively reached: Turkey has been forced into a Middle Eastern mess not of its own making; the ‘Zero Problems with Neighbors’ notion, once the foreign policy centerpiece of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), is all but a romantic notion of no use in realpolitik. Turkey’s “policy’s goal – to build strong economic, political, and social ties with the country’s immediate neighbors while decreasing its dependency on the United States – seemed to be within sight,” wrote Sinan Ulgen nearly a year ago. “But the Arab Spring exposed the policy’s vulnerabilities, and Turkey must now seek a new guiding principle for regional engagement.”

23. Press Freedom in Turkey: An Interim Assessment and Avenues for Action
5 October 2012 / Carnegie Europe
What immediately strikes an observer of press freedom in Turkey is the sharp contrast in opinions on the matter. On one side, a substantial body of official and civil society reports converges toward a downbeat assessment of the situation. On the other, statements by government officials at the highest level imply that either there is no problem whatsoever or that the problem is misrepresented by the opposition, the media, or external actors. Recent developments and existing evidence and statements provide the opportunity for independent analysis and highlight some avenues for positive action.

24. AUDIO: Turkey not threatened by Syria – expert
10 October 2012 / Voice of Russia
Yanrosh Keles
of London Metropolitan University: “After the shelling of the Kurdish populated town in Kurdistan region in Turkey and the killing of two women and three children the Turkish Government has quickly jumped into the fray and saying that we will protect our citizens and our national security and also appealed to the UN Security Council. It is important I think to clarify that firstly – I do not believe that the Syrian Government has some intention to attack the border and kill people. Actually Syria is torn apart and there was a heavy fighting between the Syrian Government and the so called Free Syrian Army at the Tal Abyat border post which fell into the Syrian rebels’ hands last month…”

25. The Syrian Crisis: The current state of affairs, by Prof. Michael M. Gunter
6 October 2012 / Mesop
The Syrian uprising that has been raging, growing, and morphing since it broke out in the southern city of Dara in March 2011, has enormous internal, regional, and international implications. Unlike Muammar Qaddafi in Libya and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad  still has powerful friends in Iran, Russia, China, Iraq (but not the KRG!), and even Hezbollah in Lebanon to fall back upon.  Thus, the United States, Turkey France, and their NATO allies along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar are now locked in proxy struggles with Assad’s friends over the future of Syria. For the time being, the result appears to be a stalemate. There are many different dimensions to this situation and any attempt to sort them out can quickly become confusing. This brief analysis will attempt to deal with some aspects of this situation.

26. Xalit Isa: “It Is Necessary to Promote a Political Solution to Help Syria”
10 October 2012  / Truthout
Pierre Barbancey interviews Xalit Isa, a leader of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change. One of the big opposition movements, NCCDC rallies secular, Leftist parties as well as the Kurdish block. In this interview with l’Humanité’s correspondent, Xalit Isa analyses the reasons for the current impasse
Huma: What’s the situation really like on the home ground?
Isa: Within the governmental circles there is still a faction that absolutely refuses to seek a political solution, being heavily compromised in the blood crimes and corruption. ..

REPORTS

27. European Commission Turkey Progress Report 2012, 10 October 2012.

ACTIONS

28. Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ Campaign update
9 October 2012 / Peace in Kurdistan
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has begun an international campaign to demand freedom for detained journalists, called Set Journalists Free in Turkey. EFJ unions across Europe have already been paired up with individual detained journalists in Turkey and are doing what they can to support them and campaign for their release. The EFJ website says:  “Over 700 individuals and organisations around the world have joined the “Set Turkish Journalists Free” campaign thanks to your support. Thousands of human rights activists have sent a petition letter to the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling for the release of the jailed journalists in Turkey. As of today, 76 professional journalists still remain in Turkish prisons with many waiting desperately a fair trial. Please keep supporting our campaign and share your solidarity with our jailed colleagues in Turkey.”

 

 

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