Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 26 October – 1 November 2012

NEWS
1. Ten thousands crying out ‘We won’t remain in silence towards deaths’ in rally
2. Basque Abertzale Left calls for the fulfillment of demands by Kurdish prisoners
3. Turkish Kurds’ jail hunger strikes fails to move Erdogan government
4. VIDEO: The Stream – Turkey’s Kurdish question
5. Turkey using anti-terrorism law to quash debate, UN says
6. Turkey accused of pursuing campaign of intimidation against media
7. Journalist Receives Jail Terms for Newspaper Headline
8. Kurdish state being built in Mideast, says BDP’s Demirtaş
9. VIDEO: Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Deadly Clash Between Insurgents in Aleppo
10. Syrian rebels and Kurdish militiamen clash in Aleppo
11. Syrian Opposition Leader to Be Replaced
12. Kurds seek UK backing over Iraq ‘genocide’
13. Iranian Border Guards arrested 78 Kurds
14. Spontaneous Kurdish demonstration in front of the European Parliament
15. St Martin in the Fields Church Sermon to the Kurdish Hunger Strike

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
16. Berivan and Battal!
17. Guest Post: Kurdish Issue,Turkish Problem
18. Meet the YPG, the Kurdish Militia That Doesn’t Want Help from Anyone
19. PYD Co-Chair Asya Abdullah: A women Revolution
20. A permanent ceasefire is the only hope for Syria

STATEMENTS
21. PiK/CAMPACC: Press freedom crushed by Anti-terror laws in Europe
22. Defend International: Turkey: The Rights of Prisoners on Hunger Strike Must be Respected

RESOURCES
23. Information Dossier on the Kurdish Politician Adem Uzun

ACTIONS
24. NEW EDM 628: Kurdish Hunger Strikes
25. In solidarity with political prisoners on hunger strike
26. Online petition to the President of Turkey: Hunger strikers in Turkish prisons – Engage in constructive dialogue with prisoners

 

NEWS

1. Ten thousands crying out ‘We won’t remain in silence towards deaths’ in rally
28 October 2012 / Mesop
Ten thousands of people cried out “the freedom of Ocalan” in the massive rally that BDP Batman provincal organization organized to support the indefinite-irreversible hunger strikes of the imprisoned members of PKK and PAJK, which were launched on 12 September to force the government to “instantly and without condition” provide the circumstances of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan’s freedom, health and security, lift the bans and obstacles over mother tongue and meet/respect the democratic rights of Kurdish people.

2. Basque Abertzale Left calls for the fulfillment of demands by Kurdish prisoners
30 October 2012 / ANF
The Basque Abertzale Left has released a message in solidarity and full support to the demands of the 776 Kurdish political prisoners in an indefinite hunger strike in 58 Turkish prisons. Underlining three clear demands of dozens of prisoners who have progressively joint the hunger strike, the right to study, communicate and legal defence in their mother tongue, ending of the isolation of Mr Ocalan and creation of conditions for dialogue and negotiations, The Abertzale Left said in its message that “We consider that the Turkish authorities should immediately put an end to all human right violations against Kurdish political prisoners. They should recognize the national rights of the Kurdish people and therefore respect their linguistic rights inside and outside prisons”.

3. Turkish Kurds’ jail hunger strikes fails to move Erdogan government
25 October 2012 / Guardian

While many have hailed Turkey as a democratic role model since the start of the Arab spring, the country’s treatment of its large Kurdish minority begs the question of whether such praise is justified. After months of increasing violence and the ever more hawkish stance of the AKP government, the Kurdish issue seems to have reached an impasse. Around 690 inmates in prisons across the country are taking part in a hunger strike, which was started on 12 September by 65 prisoners convicted of belonging to the outlawed Kurdish parties, the PKK and PJAK.

4. VIDEO: The Stream – Turkey’s Kurdish question
30 October 2012 / Al-Jazeera
Are Kurdish hunger strikers putting Turkish democracy into question? Or will Erdogan’s government give into their demands?

5. Turkey using anti-terrorism law to quash debate, UN says
1 November 2012 / Today’s Zaman
Turkey is using a vague counterterrorism law to prosecute many activists, lawyers and journalists, often holding them for long pre-trial periods without access to a lawyer, United Nations human rights experts said on Thursday.  The UN Human Rights Committee said after reviewing Turkey’s record for the first time that the right to due process  is sharply curbed under its 1991 Anti-Terrorism Law and that some of its provisions are incompatible with international law.

6. Turkey accused of pursuing campaign of intimidation against media
24 October 2012 / Guardian
Ankara is pursuing a systematic campaign of intimidation against the Turkish media, including the prosecution and jailing of writers, and demands for those who challenge government policies or actions to be sacked, two independent investigations have concluded. Reports issued in recent days by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the European commission point to a pattern of harassment of individual writers and broadcasters and official pressure on media company owners.

7. Journalist Receives Jail Terms for Newspaper Headline
24 October 2012 / Bianet
The Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court sentenced Reyhan Çapan, the editor-in-chief and publisher of the daily Özgür Gündem, to one year and three months in prison on terrorism related charges solely due to a headline that appeared on the newspaper. The headline entitled “Revolt Speaks” (“Söz Serhıldanın”) which appeared on Özgür Gündem’s March 21st issue, amounts to making terrorist propaganda, according to the court. “The government which is trying to muffle our voice through every means is not letting up on its repression and punishment,” the newspaper said in its response to the verdict. Özgür Gündem also stressed the fact that the passing of the sentence coincided with the publication of the 2012 press freedom report of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ.)

8. Kurdish state being built in Mideast, says BDP’s Demirtaş
28 October 2012 / Hurriyet News

A Kurdish state is being constructed in the Middle East, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said in the southeastern province of Batman during a rally to support Kurdish inmates conducting a hunger strike on Oct 27.
“Leave this lawlessness to one side and start acting like a government and a state – there is a people in front of you. Look, a Kurdish state is being constructed in the Middle East,” he said during the rally, titled “We won’t be silent toward deaths.”

9. VIDEO: Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Deadly Clash Between Insurgents in Aleppo
28 October 2012 / Enduring America
Claimed video of the Free Syrian Army firing on a Kurdish rally in the Ashrafieh section of Aleppo.

10. Syrian rebels and Kurdish militiamen clash in Aleppo
27 October 2012 / Guardian
At least 22 people were killed in clashes between Syrian rebels and Kurdish militia men in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.The fighting broke out despite a truce brokered in honour of the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha, which was also broken in other areas of Syria with sporadic bombings and clashes. The clashes occurred after rebels pushed into largely Kurdish and Christian areas that have remained relatively quiet during the three-month battle for the city. Kurds say the rebels had pledged to stay out of their districts.

11. Syrian Opposition Leader to Be Replaced
1 November 2012 / Rudaw
Head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) Abdulbasit Sieda is expected to be replaced by a new leader. Sieda, from the Kurdish city of Amude, was elected as the head of the SNC on June 12. Sipan Sayda, a member of the SNC, told Rudaw that Sayda wants to step down from the post.  Sayda is a member of the Sawa Coalition, a Kurdish youth group based in Qamishli and Derek, and also Sieda’s nephew. He told Rudaw, “My uncle doesn’t want to be president anymore. For him, four months was enough.” The next leader of the SNC will be decided next week during a meeting of the Syrian opposition in Doha, Qatar, Sipan told Rudaw.

12. Kurds seek UK backing over Iraq ‘genocide’
27 October 2012  / BBC News
Iraqi Kurds in Britain have begun a campaign for the mass murder of their people in Iraq in the late-1980s to be formally recognised as genocide. At least 180,000 Kurds were killed by Saddam Hussein’s forces. The justice4genocide campaign says many more died in atrocities carried out by regimes from the 1960s onwards. It is petitioning the UK government to declare the mass killing of Kurds as a genocide and press the European Union and United Nations to do the same. The campaign has the support of a number of British MPs and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The KRG’s representative in Britain, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, said she hoped the campaign would eventually lead to trials at the international criminal court.

13. Iranian Border Guards arrested 78 Kurds
28 October 2012 / Rojhelat
The head deputy of Iranian Border Guards announced the arrest of dozens of people on the border calling them as the borders’ transgressors. Colonel Ahmad Nikukhah told ISNA news outlet that the Border Guards of Taybad, Xoy, Urmiye and Meriwan arrested 63 people who intended to inter Iran calling them borders’ transgressors. Colonel Nikukhah also announced the arrest of 15 more people on the borders to Meriwan city in East Kurdistan calling them illegal passengers who should be brought to justice.

14. Spontaneous Kurdish demonstration in front of the European Parliament
29 October 2012 / Ararat News
More than 150 Kurdish politicians, intellectuals, lawyers, artists and activists hold a peaceful sit-in action in front of the European Parliament in Brussels as sign of solidarity with the 680 Kurdish hunger strikers in the Turkish prisons. The demonstration lasted peacefully until a group of journalists has been denied access to the demonstration area and has been arrested with violence by few police men and women. The demonstration in Brussels was part of the Kurdish solidarity movement, which has been spreading all over Turkey and Europe in the last days. Six hundred eighty (680) political prisoners in fifty eight (58) Turkish prisons have started an irreversible and indefinite hunger strike since 12 September 2012. Currently, about twenty of the hunger strikers are in critical state and their life is at risk.

15. St Martin in the Fields Church Sermon to the Kurdish Hunger Strike
27 October 2012 / Hevallo
Reverend Richard Carter: “I think in the heart of every great faith there is a longing for peace and justice and these words taken from Jesus Christ are a call for justice that the order of the world will be turned upside down and that there will be blessings for those who work for peace, for the pure in in heart,  for the meek, that they will inherit the earth, all those who are persecuted that their cry will be heard.”

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

16. Berivan and Battal!
26 October 2012 / Hevallo
“Being born a Kurd has been a huge weight on mine and my family’s shoulders!” begins Berivan, aged 29, as we sit down for our interview in a warm cafe 50 metres from St Martin in the Fields, on the corner of Trafalgar Square in London, where a group of Kurds are participating in a three day hunger strike in solidarity with the historic mass hunger strike unfolding in Turkey. The hunger strike in Turkey is entering it’s 45th day, while Berivan has just finished her first day she is already looking tired and cold but utterly determined. Her brother, Battal is finishing his 10th day as part of the mass indefinite hunger strike in a prison cell in Izmir, which is partly why Berivan has joined the solidarity hunger strike in London.

17. Guest Post: Kurdish Issue,Turkish Problem
29 October 2012 / Council on Foreign Relations
Over the last six months, the Turkish military and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) have renewed clashes and Kurdish groups have asserted control in northern Syria.  These developments reminded observers—if such a reminder was even necessary—that Turkey’s so-called “Kurdish Question” remains unresolved.  Yet, exactly how the ongoing conflict is called ties intimately into the search for a solution. Often, people in the Turkish media and in the general populace refer to the “Kürt Sorunu”—the “Kurdish Question” or, more ominously, the “Kurdish Problem.”  Though seemingly used innocuously, these names shape how the issue is conceived and where responsibility for its resolution lies.

18. Meet the YPG, the Kurdish Militia That Doesn’t Want Help from Anyone
31 October 2012 / Vice
On Thursday, FSA rebels advanced into Kurdish and Christian neighborhoods in Aleppo, Syria, in a daring attempt to capture the city. Initial reports based on FSA claims and somebody’s friend who spoke to someone in Aleppo on the phone had the rebels taking 90 percent of the city and cooperating with Kurdish militias, but less than a day later these claims were revealed to be false. It seems the Popular Protection Unit (YPG), a Kurdish militia set up to protect the Kurdish areas from opposing forces, repelled the FSA. Shortly afterward, the Syrian army bombed the neighborhood, and a reported 15 Kurdish civilians were killed. The following day, the FSA once again tried to enter the Kurdish neighborhood known as Ashrafiya. This video purports to show them firing at a civilian demonstration protesting the FSA and regime coming into the neighborhood, a Kurdish stronghold.

19. PYD Co-Chair Asya Abdullah: A women Revolution
27 October 2012 / ANF
In an interview to ANF, Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-chair Asya Abdullah said the revolution in West Kurdistan where a self-government is in place since some areas were liberated, is led by women. Asya Abdullah has taken an active part in the Kurdish movement in West Kurdistan for many years. She was elected as co-chair, together with Saleh Muslim, at the 5th Congress of the party last June.  Forty-one years old Asia Abdullah comes from the town of Dêrîka Hemko near the city of Qamişlo. Abdullah is at the same time an activist who was forced to hide herself for a long time until one year ago to survive the pressure by Assad’s regime. 
Mamoste Osman, Bavê Cûdî and Ehmed Huseyin are only several of the PYD executives murdered under torture in Syrian prisons. No news has been received from one other PYD executive Naziye Ehmed Keçel who was taken into custody in the city of Efrin in 2004. PYD co-chair Asia Abdullah who came to Europe to attend the West Kurdistan conference in Paris in mid October begins our interview by telling about the struggle of PYD members.

20. A permanent ceasefire is the only hope for Syria
28 October 2012 / Guardian

The four-day ceasefire that went into effect on Friday should have been the first good news from Syria for several months. The initiative came from Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League’s special envoy, and was accepted by Bashar al-Assad’s government as well as several opposition commanders. Two Islamist groups rejected it outright and both sides put conditions on it. The government said it would respond to rebel attacks and the rebels said the government should not resupply its troops. The rebels seemed to be particularly sceptical of any ceasefire since they appear to believe the military momentum is with them, and they have always been wary of political negotiations unless Assad first resigns.

STATEMENTS

21. PiK/CAMPACC: Press freedom crushed by Anti-terror laws in Europe, 28 October 2012.

22. Defend International: Turkey: The Rights of Prisoners on Hunger Strike Must be Respected, 25 October 2012.

RESOURCES

23. Information Dossier on the Kurdish Politician Adem Uzun, KNK Information File, 26 October 2012.

ACTIONS

24. NEW EDM 628: Kurdish Hunger Strikes
Write to your MP and urge them to sign this important EDM! Find out who your MP is and download a model letter by following the link.

25. In solidarity with political prisoners on hunger strike
Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group
The Kurdish prisoners in Turkey are continuing their hunger strike. Please spread the news about the strike. Send the appeal letter to the Turkish consulates, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Secretary General of the United Nations, human rights organizations urging them to act swiftly to ask the Turkish government to meet the basic demands of these prisoners. (See the contact list below).

26. Online petition to the President of Turkey: Hunger strikers in Turkish prisons – Engage in constructive dialogue with prisoners

 

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