Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 18 – 24 January 2013

NEWS
1. Crowds at PKK funeral as bosses join peace chorus
2. Hundred thousand people for Leyla
3. PHOTOS: Bianet photos by Nilay Vardar on mass demonstration in Diyarbakir
4. Suspect remanded in custody – UPDATE
5. Suspect in Paris killings visited Turkey 10 times last year
6. Karayilan: Suspect not known to PKK
7. Turkish ambassador to Colombo welcomes ‘Sri Lanka model’ to deal with ‘terrorism’
8. Turkey-PKK Peace Talks Hit New Snag
9. Anti-Terror Police Detains Lawyers, Musicians
10. 9 Human Rights Lawyers Arrested in Istanbul
11. Arrest of Turkish lawyers sparks global outrage
12. ‘KCK’ main lawsuit lasting with ‘giving of evidence’
13. KCK Trial opened in Van
14. Jailed Journalist Nominated for Freedom of Expression Award
15. Hrant Dink Commemorated
16. Kurdish Rights Back in Focus in Turkey
17. BDP and DTK Woman’s Councils in solidarity with Rojava people
18. Kurdish Supreme Council condemns attacks on Serekaniye
19. Assault within the Turkish Embassy in London

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
20. Another chance for peace
21. Can Ocalan Rein In the PKK?
22. Ocalan a No-Show at Funeral For PKK Activists
23. The Slippery Slope Argument in Turkey
24. Erdogan needs to move fast to heal Turkey’s divides

REPORTS
25. Information Dossier: Paris Assassinations of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez
26. International Crisis Group Middle East Report No.136, Syria’s Kurds: A struggle within a struggle

STATEMENTS AND ACTIONS
27. Sin Fein Statement: “Killings must not present challenge to peace process
28. CENI Appeal: We demand justice for Sakine, Fidan and Leyla!
29. Peace in Kurdistan statement: Protest against another mass arrest of lawyers
in Turkey
30. CHD Press Release on mass arrests of lawyers
31.ELDH statement:
Protest against new wave of mass arrests of Turkish Lawyers
32. The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers expresses its utmost concern about the new mass arrests of Lawyers in Turkey
33. NCBDC Statement regarding terrorist attacks on Syrian Kurdish town Sere Kaniye/Ras al-Ain

NEWS

1. Crowds at PKK funeral as bosses join peace chorus
18 January 2013 / Hurriyet
Tens of thousands of people participated in a grand funeral ceremony held yesterday in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır for three Kurish women killed in Paris last week. Despite worries of possible provocations and sabotage that would turn the ceremony into a violent protest, such fears did not materialize during the peaceful gathering, during which the women’s coffins were covered with the flags of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

2. Hundred thousand people for Leyla
18 January 2013 / ANF
Never before had so many people gathered in Mersin. Thousands cried for Leyla Şaylemez today, who was executed in Paris on 9 January along with Sakine Cansız (Sara) and KNK France representative Fidan Doğan (Rojbin). Young and old women made the majority of the thousands who joined the funeral in a Kurdish neighborhood. Her coffin was carried by women who, like all other people joining the funeral, were dressed in black and wearing a white scarf representing peace. Pigeons were let fly both outside the mosque and at the cemetery with wishes for peace on these lands.

3. PHOTOS: Bianet photos by Nilay Vardar on mass demonstration in Diyarbakir
17 January 2013 / Bianet

4. Suspect remanded in custody – UPDATE
21 January 2013 / ANF
Paris Prosecutor François Molins disclosed some details about the ongoing investigation on the  execution of three Kurdish women in Paris at a press conference he held at the Courthouse on Monday. The prosecutor stated that the suspect, Ömer Güney, has been arrested today in connection with the killings. He noted that it is yet not clear if the murders were committed by one or more perpetrators. Molins remarked that the suspect has had connections with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) circles for the last two years, noting that his real role in the organization has not been determined yet.

5. Suspect in Paris killings visited Turkey 10 times last year
24 January 2013 / Todays Zaman
Ömer Güney, who stands accused of the killing of three Kurdish militants linked to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), reportedly visited Turkey 10 times in the past year. His last visit was in Aug. 22 last year, when he travelled to Ankara to for eight days. The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and police are investigating his meetings and activities from when he stayed in Ankara. Paris Public Prosecutor François Molins announced Monday night that Güney, born in 1982 in Şarkışla, Sivas, is the prime suspect in the deaths of PKK militants Sakine Cansız, Leyla Söylemez and Fidan Doğan, who were killed in execution-style murders in a PKK-affiliated office in the French capital on Jan. 9. Güney, the prosecutor said, worked for Cansız as a driver and assistant.

6. Karayilan: Suspect not known to PKK
23 January 2013 / ANF
Speaking to ANF about the arrest of a suspect, claimed to be a member of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), in connection with the killing of Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez in Paris on 9 January, Murat Karayılan, executive council president of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), denied allegations and underlined that the suspect, Ömer Güney, had no ties with the organization.  “The allegations on the suspect’s ties with the PKK do not reflect the truth because it is not that easy to be a member of the PKK in two years. PKK doesn’t accept members from Europe in this way. The mentioned person is not a member of our movement and he is not known by our side or by our executives in Europe.”

7. Turkish ambassador to Colombo welcomes ‘Sri Lanka model’ to deal with ‘terrorism’
24 January 2013 / Tamil Net
Despite the currently ongoing peace process between the PKK and the Turkey government, the Turkish ambassador to Sri Lanka, Iskender Okyay has welcomed the Sri Lanka model of counterinsurgency (COIN) to deal with ‘terrorism’, stating that “Sri Lanka’s experience in fighting against terrorism could be a good example for Turkey” and adding that “the relationship between the countries could be deepened over the terrorism issue,” the Turkish nationalist news agency Today’s Zaman reported on Wednesday. Commenting on this, Kurdish activists in Europe told TamilNet that the Turkish diplomat’s endorsement of Sri Lanka’s genocidal model of COIN at a time when the Kurdish political movement was having faith in a peaceful settlement shows the insincerity of Turkey towards the peace process, besides being an tacit approval of the genocide of the Eezham Tamil nation.

8. Turkey-PKK Peace Talks Hit New Snag
23 January 2013 / Voice of America
Four leading members of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish political movement on Wednesday were denied a visit with Abdullah Ocala, imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) movement. According to local news reports, the visit, part of government-led efforts to peacefully resolve the three-decades-long Kurdish insurgency, was cancelled by justice ministry officials after Kurdish leaders criticized recent Turkish air strikes against PKK bases in neighboring Iraq. The Turkish military confirmed that its warplanes attacked numerous PKK targets across northern Iraq, following the purportedly PKK-backed killing of a Turkish police officer.

9. Anti-Terror Police Detains Lawyers, Musicians
18 January 2013 / Bianet
Reinforced by anti-terror and special operations teams, police forces in Ankara, İzmir and Istanbul provinces raided dozens of apartment and workplaces this very early morning including the offices of Contemporary Lawyers Association and People’s Law Office which provide juridical support for victims in Turkey’s major contemporary human rights abuse cases. “The detention orders were given according to the ongoing investigation on DHKP-C terrorist organization,” the police reported. Once the procedures are completed, the detainees were told to be transferred to anti-terror police headquarters in Istanbul.

10. 9 Human Rights Lawyers Arrested in Istanbul
21 January 2013 / Bianet
An Istanbul court order this afternoon the arrest of 9 human rights lawyers who have been detained since Friday for charges related to being a DHKP-C member. The detained lawyers appeared in Istanbul courthouse this morning for their interrogation. After their interrogation by the judge, 9 detainees were arrested while Efkan Bolaç has been released. On Friday morning, police forces in İstanbul, Ankara, Antalya and Bursa provinces launched a simultaneous raids on apartments and offices, detaining 64 individuals including musicians and human rights lawyers.

11. Arrest of Turkish lawyers sparks global outrage
21 January 2013 / Global Legal Post
Campaigners have called on the Turkish government to comply with international principles following the arrest of a further 15 lawyers in the country last week. The human rights committee of England’s Bar Council said it was ‘extremely concerned’ following the arrest of the lawyers, which adds to the November 2011 detention of 46 lawyers, who are now being prosecuted on charges alleging association with a terrorist organisation.

12. ‘KCK’ main lawsuit lasting with ‘giving of evidence’
21 January 2013 / Dicle News Agency
The hearing of ‘KCK’ main lawsuit of 175 Kurdish politicians inluding BDP’s arrested parliamentarians, human rights activists, journalists and mayors, of them 108 arrested, began in Diyarbakir the 6th High Penalty Courthouse.The hearing of the ‘KCK’ main lawsuit of 175 Kurdish politicians, of them 108 arrested among them DEP old Parlementarian Hatip Dicle, BDP Parlementarians Kemal Aktas and Selma Irmak, human rights activists, journalists, electeds, mayors, who have been sued by the court under ‘KCK’ operations, began in Diyarbakir the 6th High Penalty Courthouse. As usual, prior to the hearing, extraordinary measures were taken.

13. KCK Trial opened in Van
22 January 2013 / ANF
The KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) trial in Van opened today. Among the politicians under trial are the city mayor, lawyer Bekir Kaya, Bostaniçi District Mayor Nezahat Ergunes, Baskale former District Mayor Ýhsan Guler, Baþkale District Mayor Hecer Sarihan, Edremit District Mayor Abdulkerim Sayan, Özalp Mayor Murat Durmaz, former BDP chairman of Van Cüneyt Canis.
In the local elections held on March 29, 2009, the BDP won the Van Municipality by a large margin in spite of all the efforts of the ruling party AKP and its media. After the election, BDP Van Municipality headed by Mr. Bekir Kaya documented that 190 Million TL (Turkish Lira) of debt was incurred by fake invoices during AKP governance. Due to fraud, the Municipality of Van took more than 100 files to court to punish those responsible.

14. Jailed Journalist Nominated for Freedom of Expression Award
17 January 2013 / Bianet
Index on Censorship, a UK based institution that celebrated the freedom of expression with an annual award, nominated Sadiye Eser, Evrensel newspaper journalist jailed for terrorism charges, for its 2013 Freedom of Expression Award. The award aimed to honor individuals or groups who struggled against censorship in the fields of journalism, publishing and fine arts in their home countries. Notable recipients of the award included Arat Dink, son of assassinated Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

15. Hrant Dink Commemorated
21 January 2013 / Bianet
Thousands of human rights activists, students, journalists, intellectuals and workers union representatives gathered in front of Agos newspaper building Saturday afternoon to commemorate the sixth death anniversary of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. This year’s commemoration activities followed the motto “Buradayız ahparig” which suggested that his friends are still with Hrant Dink who was assassinated on January 19, 2007. The commemoration was held under a heavy rain, which did not seem to prevent any of Hrant Dink’s friends from standingin front of Agos newspaper and forming a huge crowd in the surrounding areas which blocked the busy Istanbul traffic.

16. Kurdish Rights Back in Focus in Turkey
15 January 2013 / Inter Press Service
After over a year without accountability for a Turkish aerial bombing that killed 34 Kurdish men and boys, Turkey has come under heavy criticism for what many say is a widespread culture of impunity, especially when it comes to the treatment of its Kurdish citizens. “It has been one year and there are no important steps we can see. Nobody has been arrested,” said lawyer Tahir Elci, head of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, which represents over 800 lawyers working in Turkey’s largest Kurdish-majority city. “Usually, the prosecutors and other authorities protect the perpetrators and there are many barriers before the victims when they try to get justice,” Elci told IPS. “Even if perpetrators have not been punished, it is very important for relatives of victims to learn the truth.”

17. BDP and DTK Woman’s Councils in solidarity with Rojava people
24 January 2013 / ANF
In a written statement released on Thursday, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Woman’s Councils have announced mass demonstrations in protest against the embargo imposed on the people of Rojava, West Kurdistan.  The mass demonstration by DTK Woman’s Council will take place in the Nusaybin district of Mardin on 26 January and the one by BDP Woman’s Council at the same place on 3 February. The demonstrations will also be joined by woman deputies and co-chairs of both organizations.

18. Kurdish Supreme Council condemns attacks on Serekaniye
21 January 2013 / ANF
The Kurdish Supreme Council in a statement about Serekaniye (Ras-Alain) events said that “After getting the quietness back to Serekaniye city due to the agreement between People Protection Units (YPG) and the armed groups who attacked the city two months ago, they agreed to form a local council representing all city inhabitants to manage its affairs, as a result of that agreement, a lot of Serekaniye people came back to their homes. But obviously, and to create problems again, after having some problems among the armed groups themselves, they have started to attack the Kurdish districts in the city again, which led People’s Protection Units (YPG) to defend their regions […]”

19. Assault within the Turkish Embassy in London
20 January 2013 / ANF
Solidarity with the Victims of All Genocides released a written statement to denounce an attack on a member of the organization who suffered an assault inside the Turkish Embassy in London by a member of staff on 18 January. The organization said that their member was assaulted whilst he was delivering the Ambassador of Turkey, the Turkish Embassy, Knightsbridge, a letter in solidarity with justice demands for the murdered Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on the sixth anniversary of his death on 18 January.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

20. Another chance for peace
21 January 2012 / Hurriyet
The tacit agreement between the government and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to show serenity at the funerals of three female Kurdish politicians who were killed in Paris a week ago, proved very successful. Most political observers agree that it could set a good example and provided a chance for the future peace process. Nevertheless, we should interpret the lessons that this event taught us very carefully. First of all, it is seen that if the security forces restrain from violent reactions (by the decision of the government, of course) at public demonstrations, there end up being peaceful expressions of political protest. Then, the successful organization of the BDP showed that the BDP is a capable actor not only in mobilizing but also in controlling the masses.

21. Can Ocalan Rein In the PKK?
17 January 2013 / Al Monitor
Despite the assassinations of three PKK representatives in Paris, Ankara is pressing ahead with its dialogue with PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in an attempt to end its Kurdish problem once and for all. The assumption is that by dealing openly with Ocalan, who controls a relatively monolithic PKK, the group’s militants will disarm willingly. A more inclusive negotiating process that engages Kurdish political representatives and Turkish civilian leaders also is expected to encourage a settlement and sideline PKK hardliners.

22. Ocalan a No-Show at Funeral For PKK Activists
18 January 2013 / Al Monitor
A massive funeral ceremony was held on Thursday in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, which has the largest Kurdish majority in the country for three PKK activists gunned down at the Kurdistan Information Center in Paris. They were buried in their hometowns the next day. Tens of thousands of people participated in the Diyarbakir event. Independent observers estimated the crowd at least 50,000. Before the gathering there were strong fears of possible provocations that could set off  bloody confrontations between the security forces and demonstrators. Anxiety was more pronounced than ever before because the funeral observance coincided with talks at Imrali Prison between the Ankara government and the PKK’s founding leader, who is serving a life sentence aimed at getting the PKK to give up arms.

23. The Slippery Slope Argument in Turkey
24 January 2013 / Rudaw
Whenever anyone discusses Kurdish minority rights in Turkey, the slippery slope argument invariably gets brought up.  “If we allow Kurdish in schools or other venues, all the minority groups in the country will demand this right,” we hear.  When discussing the option of allowing the Kurds more local, self-government, the slippery slope retort rears its annoying head again: “Every group in Turkey, from the Laz and Circassians to the Arabs and the Alevis, will demand self-government if we allow the Kurds to have it.  And if we give the Kurds self-government, they will use it to demand secession.”

24. Erdogan needs to move fast to heal Turkey’s divides
21 January 2013 / Guardian
Even for Turkey, where day-to-day politics is conducted at a pitch of tension and paranoia that makes prime minister’s questions look like quiet hour at a Trappist monastery, the last few days have been cathartic. Half the country has spent the weekend red-eyed in front of the TV, in anger as much as sorrow. The atmosphere had been jittery enough without the sudden death of the great TV anchor and columnist Mehmet Ali Birand – a beacon of decency and reason, whose reassuring presence many Turks turned to in times of crisis. For a significant minority, the tears had begun at a monster demonstration in Diyarbakir on Thursday, when tens of thousands came out onto the streets to meet the coffins of the three Kurdish women activists murdered in Paris.

REPORTS

25. Information Dossier: Paris Assassinations of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez, KNK UK Information File, 21 January 2013.

26. International Crisis Group Middle East Report No.136, Syria’s Kurds: A struggle within a struggle, 22 January 2013.

STATEMENTS AND ACTIONS

27. Sin Fein Statement: “Killings must not present challenge to peace process” – Sheehan. 23 January 2013.

28. CENI Appeal: We demand justice for Sakine, Fidan and Leyla! 21 January 2013.

29. Peace in Kurdistan statement: Protest against another mass arrest of lawyers in Turkey, 18 January 2013.

30. CHD Press Release on mass arrests of lawyers, 20 January 2013.

31.ELDH statement: Protest against new wave of mass arrests of Turkish Lawyers, 18 January 2013.

32. The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers expresses its utmost concern about the new mass arrests of Lawyers in Turkey, 18 January 2013.

33. NCBDC Statement regarding terrorist attacks on Syrian Kurdish town Sere Kaniye/Ras al-Ain, 19 January 2013.

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