Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 29 March – 4 April 2013

NEWS
1. Jailed Kurdish rebel leader set to make fresh peace process call
2. Demirtaş told meeting with Öcalan to Nûçe
3. List of wise people announced
4. Demirtaş: Öcalan sent new letter
5. Öcalan: Today there is a significant chance for peace
6. Kurds See Turkish Reference to Kurdish Province as Step Forward
7. Turkey’s ruling party offers assembly panel for Kurdish bid
8. Thousands rushing into village which Öcalan born in
9. Turkey: Strengthen Law Reform Bill
10. Turkey: Four lawyers of Kurdish leader Ocalan, released
11. Whole release in Van ‘KCK’ lawsuit
12. Kurdish ‘Village Guards’ in Turkey Wary of Peace with Separatist Rebels
13. Kürkçü: “Parliament Missed Opportunity”
14. PYDs representative to Europe Zuhat Kobani on the latest events in Shêxmeqsû
15. Orkan’s arrest condemned at WSF

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
16. Murat Karayilan: We are making preparations, the other side should do likewise!
17. Aliza Marcus Interview: I do not believe the PKK will undermine the process
18. Ankara pulls at Mideast’s Kurdish thread
19. Turkey Seeks Ottoman Sphere Of Influence
20. Erdogan’s ‘Brave New Turkey’ Looks to Past and Future
21. Serb municipalities in Kosovo and Kurdish reform in Turkey
22. Turkey’s talk with the PKK justifies its ties to Hamas

REPORTS
23. Trial observation: report on the trial of Kurdish Lawyers
24. Trial observation: ‘Kurdish language allowed in court’

STATEMENTS
25. The victimisation of Kurdish politicians and representatives in Europe

 

NEWS

1. Jailed Kurdish rebel leader set to make fresh peace process call
3 April 2013 / Reuters
Pro-Kurdish politicians traveled on Wednesday to a Turkish island where jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan was expected to pronounce on efforts to end a decades-old insurgency that has killed 40,000 people. A government official said a co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and two BDP lawmakers were visiting Ocalan in his jail on Imrali island, south of Istanbul. Local media suggested the militant leader would call on his Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to begin withdrawing fighters from Turkey, despite a dispute with Ankara over terms of the pullout. The PKK leadership in the mountains of northern Iraq has demanded legal protection to prevent any military attack on them during their planned departure after decades of fighting, a call rejected by the government.

2. Demirtaş told meeting with Öcalan to Nûçe
4 April 2013 / Mesop
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told the details of meeting with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Leader Abdullah Öcalan to Nûçe TV. Demirtaş, “Both those who conduct freedom struggle of Kurdish people and Turkey, also, those who support the process of peace, every one of us must know this well; Everybody must be respectful towards a people’s leader who feels himself so much faithful to solution in all these impossibilities, in difficult conditions and despite all the solitary confinement,” underlined. Demirtaş added, “The news and reports saying ‘Dear Öcalan gave the instruction of withdraw without arms to PKK’ is unbased and it’s not true.”

3. List of wise people announced
3 April 2013 / ANF
The Turkish government has announced the list of wise people who would actively join the efforts for the establishment of of an environment where a just and lasting peace could be reached. The list is made up of 63 people, but Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions President Erol Ekici has said he did not accept to be on the list.

4. Demirtaş: Öcalan sent new letter
4 April 2013 / ANF
BDP co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, said that Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has sent a new letter. The BDP co-chair said on Nuçe TV that the new letter is believed to reach them tomorrow. Criticizing reports in the media on what Öcalan might have said or not said about the PKK guerrillas’ withdrawal beyond Turkey’s border, Demirtaş said the Kurdish leader did not spoke in detail about that in the meeting but wrote in the letter about it. Therefore, Demirtaş said, “reports are in fact only speculations”.

5. Öcalan: Today there is a significant chance for peace
4 April 2013 / ANF
Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has sent a message to the Kurdish and Turkish people through the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) delegation, co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Pervin Buldan, who visited him on Imralı island on Wednesday. The delegation made no statements after the visit, while the message Öcalan sent was read during the celebrations for the Kurdish leader’s birthday in Urfa’s Halfeti district yesterday.

6. Kurds See Turkish Reference to Kurdish Province as Step Forward
3 April 2013 / Rudaw
In a country where until recently even the mention of the word Kurdistan was taboo, the Turkish prime minister’s reference to a historical “Kurdistan province” under the Ottoman Empire is seen as a step forward for the country’s large Kurdish minority, which for decades has struggled for recognition and basic rights. The comments last week on CNN Turk by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose Justice and Development Party (AKP) is engaged in historic peace talks with the jailed leader of the separatist and illegal Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), were received positively by Turkey’s Kurds, who have been demanding a system of self-governance. The Ottoman system of vilayets, or provinces, fell apart with the dissolution of the empire in the aftermath of the First World War.

7. Turkey’s ruling party offers assembly panel for Kurdish bid
4 April 2013 / Hurriyet
Turkey’s government responded favorably yesterday to requests to submit the country’s fledgling peace process to greater parliamentary oversight, submitting a motion to establish a legislative panel. But it is not clear whether the formula will satisfy the main opposition party, which resolutely demands Parliament lead the process, or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which both maintain that the planned retreat of the group’s militants is not possible without legal guarantees. BDP deputy parliamentary group chair İdris Baluken expressed caution on the motion yesterday. Baluken said the content of the proposal seemed problematic and that they would prefer that a commission be formed through the adoption of a law.

8. Thousands rushing into village which Öcalan born in
4 April 2013 /Dicle News Agency
While thousands of people are visiting Amara village within the scope of the celebrations being held on account of the 64th birthday of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Leader Abdullah Öcalan, the birthday cake has been cut by family of Öcalan and children of Mustafa Dağ who lost his life in Amara march in 2009. Amara visits and celebrations are going on joyfully. Futheremore, a delegation including the parliamentarians of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is expected to visit Öcalan’s home.

9. Turkey: Strengthen Law Reform Bill
25 March 2013 / Human Rights Watch
Strengthening a law reform bill currently before Turkey’s parliament could significantly improve human rights and help bolster the peace process with the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Parliamentary Justice Commission is examining the bill, the “fourth reform package,” and parliament is expected to vote on it in the coming weeks.
“[…] the bill’s contribution to reform and the peace process will be blunted unless Parliament’s Justice Commission also narrows the crime of membership of an armed organization, and lifts the time limit for prosecuting state killings.”

10. Turkey: Four lawyers of Kurdish leader Ocalan, released
29 March 2013 / eKurd
Four lawyers of the jailed Kurdish leader Öcalan, were released on Wednesday.
The court board released its interlocutory judgment after listening to the lawyers’ defense statements. The trial has been postponed to 20 June 2013. The fourth hearing of the trial against 50 defendants (including one journalist and 26 lawyers acting for Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan) detained in the so-called “KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union)” operation 22 December 2011, took place at Istanbul 16th High Penalty Court in Silivri on Thursday.  The lawyers are accused of “being member of an illegal organization” and “being executive of an illegal organization” on account of the meetings which they had with their client Öcalan.

11. Whole release in Van ‘KCK’ lawsuit
30 March 2013 / Dicle News Agency
Van Criminal Court has ruled the liberation of a 8 Kurdish politicians under trial, including Van Mayor Bekir Kaya. Thirteen politicians were detained on 7 June 2012. Of these, 8 were still in prison, including the mayor of Van. In the 710-page long indictment, all activities organized and joined by 13 elected politicians were re-classified as crimes. These include civilian Friday prayers (weekly Islamic prayers not organized by government’s official religious leaders) and even press statements (such as the one from Newroz on the 8th of March honoring International Women Workers Day).

12. Kurdish ‘Village Guards’ in Turkey Wary of Peace with Separatist Rebels
4 April 2013 / Rudaw
Paramilitary Kurdish forces in Turkey, long armed and funded by the state to defend against rural attacks by the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), remain suspicious the rebels are honest about ending their armed conflict. But they vow to back the peace process between the Turkish government and the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan, if the rebels heed his recent call to disarm, ending a three-decade armed struggle that has claimed 70,000 lives nationwide. If peace prevails, say the paramilitaries who act as “village guards” against PKK attacks and number in the tens of thousands, their work will be done.

13. Kürkçü: “Parliament Missed Opportunity”
28 March 2013 / Bianet
Reacting to the ratification of Uludere report in a parliamentarian commission yesterday, Peace and Democracy Party deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü said the parliament missed the opportunity to be the constituent force of the peace ongoing process. “Unfortunately, we were unable to prevent it from happening since commission members from AKP outnumbered the other parties,” he said. On March 6, a parliamentary commission in charge of investigating Uludere incident – a Turkish military air strike that killed 34 civilians in December 2011 – ratified its draft report without the approval vote of commission members from opposition parties.

14. PYDs representative to Europe Zuhat Kobani on the latest events in Shêxmeqsû
1 April 2013 / Support Kurds in Syria
For the last 3 days the Syrian regime has bombarded Shêxmeqsûd, because of this Kurdish families living in the neighborhood have fleed the city and headed, for the most part, to Efrîn and Kobanê. During the last 3 days 15 civilians have been killed and dozens have been injured, those that are now fleeing the city [Aleppo] are pre-dominantly inhabitants of Shêxmeqsûd. Because of the fact that most of these have gone to Efrîn, the MGRK; The Peoples council of Western Kurdistan (Meclisa Gel ya Rojavaye Kurdistane), fearing a humanitarian crises, have issued a statement calling on humanitarian organizations in Western Kurdistan to offer their full support and services to the city of Efrîn.

15. Orkan’s arrest condemned at WSF
28 March 2013 / ANF
A number of organizations at the World social Forum (DSF) in Tunisia, has condemned in a statement the arrest fo Yilmaz Orkan, at the International Airport of Brussels last Sunday, 24th March 2013. Orkan was on his way to the forum. The associations write: “Yilmaz Orkan is a member of the International Council of DSF, the Kurdish Network and the worldwide Network of Collective Rights of People (RMDCP). This arrest, ordered by Spanish State requested by the Europol, under an accusation that he’s among the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is on EU’s list of terrorist organizations. We denounce this practice as a tool of criminalization of the Kurdish peoples struggle for their basic rights”.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

16. Murat Karayilan: We are making preparations, the other side should do likewise!
3 April 2013 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Transcript of an interview with Nuce TV
KCK Executive Council President Murat Karayilan and member of the Executive Council Presidency Ronahi Serhat, have made ​​important statements about withdrawing from the Turkish territory. Karayilan, pointing out the important responsibility on the Turkish Assembly, said “To ensure continuity of this process, it needs to be developed mutually. We are preparing for withdrawal, but the other side also needs to start preparations. To facilitate this process, our leader’s conditions of imprisonment need to be improved.” Ronahi Serhat stated that the channels for dialogue with the architect of the peace process need to be opened.

17. Aliza Marcus Interview: I do not believe the PKK will undermine the process
4 April 2013 / Dicle News Agency
Journalist Aliza Marcus, “I do not believe the PKK will undermine the process. The PKK is very committed right now and understands that it cannot be the group that breaks down the process. But I think that AKP is not as committed as the PKK is. Or, let me say, AKP is committed to ending the conflict, but not committed to giving Kurds full rights. Needless to say, I hope I am wrong and Erdogan proves himself to be a brave and bold leader on this issue” said.
What would you like to tell us about dialogue process began after intense term?

I am very pleased that Erdogan has begun dialogue with Ocalan. But I am not certain that the Prime Minister understands the steps that he must take to truly solve the Kurdish problem.

18. Ankara pulls at Mideast’s Kurdish thread
3 April 2013 / Financial Times
In 10 years as Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at times reliably unscripted and unpredictable, has attracted his fair share of brickbats. But not last week when, buried in bouquets of praise, he started decisively down the road to peace with Turkey’s Kurds. On Kurdish new year, or Newroz, Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), called a truce in its 29-year war against the Turkish state, after a delicate negotiation with Mr Erdogan’s most trusted aides.

19. Turkey Seeks Ottoman Sphere Of Influence
3 April 2013 / Al Monitor
Looking from the outside, one could get the impression that Turkey was running amok in the Middle East in the second half of 2011. During that period, there were  few countries or actors Ankara did not confront, even threaten. There were even occasions when Turkey’s foreign policy leaders had separately, but on the same day, defied Israel and Iran, two nations hostile to each other. On the morning of Sept. 2, a day after the UN panel report on the flotilla affair was leaked to The New York Times with a pro-Israel slant, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced a five-item sanctions list that quickly put relations with Israel on a “cold war’ footing.

20. Erdogan’s ‘Brave New Turkey’ Looks to Past and Future
3 April 2013 / Al Monitor
On March 21, as Turkey’s Kurds were celebrating the arrival of spring, a cease-fire came into effect between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Kurdish militant group. In the course of the debilitating 30-year conflict, this is not the first time that the two sides have agreed to take a break from killing, but it may well be the last. If ongoing negotiations between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and representatives of the Kurdish movement proceed as planned, they could produce a permanent settlement that would alter Turkey’s core socio-political dynamics as well as those of the wider region. In a sense, such a change is already in the making. Here is a snapshot of how this “brave new Turkey” might look

21. Serb municipalities in Kosovo and Kurdish reform in Turkey
2 April 2013 / TransConflict
The ethnic-oriented Dayton constitution and Sejdic-Finci imbroglio is a great example of how the ethnicization of constitutions further divides a post-conflict multi-ethnic society. Turkey and Kosovo should indeed be very focused on providing civic solutions to ethnic problems, not vice-versa. On 21st March, a massive gathering in Diyarbakir, the largest city of Turkey’s approximately 20 million ethnic Kurdish citizens, celebrated the arrival of spring, Newroz, an ancient tradition dating back to Zoroastrianism, when the light finally overcomes the darkness. This year’s celebration had a special meaning. As negotiations between the PKK and the Turkish government advance, and the framework of a settlement is being negotiated, there is an overwhelming support among the Kurds in Turkey for the prospects of peace following almost three decades of armed fighting in which close to 40,000 lost their lives.

22. Turkey’s talk with the PKK justifies its ties to Hamas
2 April 2013 / Hurriyet
The mid-1990s constituted the darkest period in Turkey’s struggle with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), marked by widespread torture and extrajudicial killings. Turkey was the target of intensive international criticism that even included Turkey’s traditional ally, Washington. When Turkey was told by the Western world that the Kurdish problem could not be solved by military measures, the answer was: “The Turkish state will not give in to terror and won’t sit and negotiate with terrorists.”

REPORTS

23. Trial observation: report on the trial of Kurdish Lawyers, 28 March 2013.
Tony Fisher, member of the Law Society Human Rights Committee, reports back from Turkey where he continues to take part in the international delegation observing the mass trial of lawyers.

24. Trial observation: ‘Kurdish language allowed in court’, 28 March 2013.
Margaret Owen reports from the fourth hearing of the Kurdish lawyers trial in Istanbul.

STATEMENTS

25. The victimisation of Kurdish politicians and representatives in EuropeKNK Statement, April 2012.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: