Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 5 – 11 July 2013

APPEAL:

 Lift the ban on the PKK – Freedom and Justice for the Kurds

 Add your name to the list of supporters!

 “To the UK government, the European Union and the Turkish Government,

The case for the delisting of the PKK is now quite overwhelming. We believe that the time is now right for all parties to consider this move in order to give an additional boost to the peace process.  

The new chapter in the peace process to resolve the Kurdish conflict with the start of tentative talks between the government side and Abdullah Ocalan has been heralded as the Kurdish opening. It has been greeted as the start of a genuine breakthrough that could bring about an enduring peace and final end to a conflict that has done so much damage to Turks and Kurds alike. This could not have been achieved without goodwill and willingness to compromise on both sides […]

Read more and sign the appeal today!

 

NEWS
1. Roj TV appeals to Supreme Court
2. IHD: Denmark Violated Copenhagen Criteria
3. Lawyers appeal against Danish court’s ruling
4. 59 Gezi protestors referred to court in Istanbul
5. Arrests sought for 12 Taksim Solidarity members
6. TGS: Police Wounds 13 Journalists, Detains 2
7. Kurdistan Journalist Union condemns verdict against Kurdish media
8. The Lost Weekend: Turkish Media Under Siege
9. Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update
10. Ocalan: Continued Imprisonment Hampers Peace Process
11. Kongra-Gel held its 9th General Assembly
12. Bayık calls for return to villages
13. Turkey: police violence must not go unpunished
14. PKK withdrawal not finished yet: Interior minister
15. PKK and Ankara at Odds Over Withdrawn Fighters
16. 13 Kurdish politicians sentenced to 81 years in prison

COMMENT OPINION AND ANALYSIS
17. #DirenLice: A Milestone in Solidarity Between Kurds and Turks
18. Turkey’s Killing of Kurds Goes on
19. Could a Murder Derail Turkish-Kurdish Peace Process?
20. Turkey’s Kurdish peace process has faded into background
21. Revoking Kurdish Satellite TV Channels Licence by Danish Court is policy based decision and unacceptable

STATEMENTS
22. To Our People & The Public Opinion / The Presidency Of KCK Executive Council

 

NEWS

1. Roj TV appeals to Supreme Court
9 July 2013 / Copenhagen Post
Kurdish TV station last week had its licence revoked and fine doubled to ten million kroner for supporting the separatist organisation PKK. Kurdish broadcaster Roj TV wants to appeal its sentence for promoting terrorism to the Supreme Court. Last year, the Copenhagen City Court first found the TV station guilty of supporting the Kurdish separatist group and internationally-recognised terrorism organisation, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and sentenced the two companies who own the TV station, Roj TV A/S and Mesopotamia Broadkast, to pay a 5.2 million kroner fine.

2. IHD: Denmark Violated Copenhagen Criteria
9 July 2013 / Bianet
Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation (IHD) Istanbul Branch protested Copenhagen District Court’s verdict on the closure of MMC, NUÇE and ROJ TV – pro-Kurdish channels broadcasting from Denmark.  On July 3, the court cancelled the broadcasting contracts of MMC, NUÇE and ROJ TV, ordering to stop their broadcasting and pay a 5 million Danish Krone fine.   IHD member assembled at Taksim Tram Stop to read their statement – a declaration claiming that Danmark violated international treaties concerning expression and press freedom.  The aforementioned TV channels were compelled to broadcast abroad due to obstacles on press and expression freedoms on Kurds in Turkey and Mesopotamia Region, the statement said.

3. Lawyers appeal against Danish court’s ruling
9 July 2013 / ANF
Lawyers acting for Roj and Mesopotamia Broadcasting have appealed against the verdict of the Copenhagen Municipal Court which revoked the license of all satellite channels of Mesopotamia Broadcasting, including MMC, NUCE TV and ROJ TV, and imposed pecuniary penalty of five million DKR on 3 July. In a statement about the appeal, Roj TV Director İmdat Yılmaz said that they have appealed to the Supreme Court of Denmark demanding the removal of the ban on the license of the channels and the postponement of the pecuniary penalty. Remarking that the appeal was the first stage of the legal process, Yılmaz said they expected to receive an answer to the appeal in a few days.

4. 59 Gezi protestors referred to court in Istanbul
8 July 2013 / ANF
59 people who had been taken into custody in Taksim on 6 July, last Saturday, have been referred to court. The detentions at Taksim Square took place after police brutalized people who gathered to re-enter the Gezi Park after the court’s June 6 decision to cancel the Taksim pedestrianization project which included the building of a barracks at Gezi Park. Police attacked people as they started to gather, denying them permission to enter the park, using intense tear gas and pressure water, rubber bullets also. Once again, many were detained and taken into custody that night which witnessed clashes lasting till early morning. 59 people who were detained by police that night have been referred to the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan today. They will bear testimony to the prosecutor after being subjected to medical control.

5. Arrests sought for 12 Taksim Solidarity members
11 July 2013 / Todays Zaman
İstanbul prosecutors have sought arrests for 12 members of Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella organization opposed to the Taksim redevelopment plans, for violations of public order and on charges of founding a criminal organization. Prosecutors demanded the arrest of five members, including leading organizers architect Mücella Yapıcı and Dr. Ali Çerkezoğlu, for founding an illegal criminal organization to lead the Gezi protests and incite violence. Arrests are sought for other seven members who are accused of possessing gas masks and other suspicious materials. Yapıcı and leading figures face charges of organizing illegal protests through social media and inviting people to join mass demonstrations which went beyond peaceful protests.

6. TGS: Police Wounds 13 Journalists, Detains 2
Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) condemned Saturday night’s police violence on journalists and thousands of people who assembled after an appeal by Taksim Solidarity that said “We are entering our park”. TGS is expected to file an official complaint to Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office today.  Police executed force to prevent the use of basic rights and freedoms, a TGS statement said. “13 journalists have been injured by police baton, rubber bullets and gas bomb canister.” According to tolls released by TGS, Aydınlık newspaper journalists Beste Gül Öneren and Selçuk Özmen still remain under police detention. “We condemn the police violence on civilians who peacefully wanted to use their democratic rights to express themselves and journalist who perform their profession.”

7. Kurdistan Journalist Union condemns verdict against Kurdish media
5 July 2013 / ANF
Kurdistan Journalist Union in Europe has issued a press release condemning the Eastern High Court ( Ostre Landsret) in Denmark verdict against Kurdish broadcasters RoJ TV, Nuce TV and MMC TV whose broadcasting licenses were revoked on Wednesday July 3. The Union evaluated the Danish court’s verdict as a heavy blow against the freedom of expression and free press. The Union commented the decision of the Danish court under the vague accusation of association with ‘terrorism’ as a direct continuation of the pressure of the government of Turkey, and remarked that “By this arbitrary verdict, these media outlets are doomed to be silenced. Since the inception of their broadcast the above mentioned Kurish outlets have been under continued pressure and intimidation by the government of Turkey”.

8. The Lost Weekend: Turkish Media Under Siege
6 July 2013  / Free Turkish Media
The weekend of June 29-30 has been not exceptional for Turkish activists and Turkish media. Once again the Taksim Gezi Park protesters were attacked by the police force of a belligerent government. Once again the protests could be seen through small media outlets such as Artı Bir TV and Halk TV. The Turkish LGBT Pride Day happened a day later on Juıne 30th on the same location with no incident whatsoever. The area of maneuver is now getting less and less as the police forces are blockading most of Taksim Square since June 15 raid on the protesters. Just as the violence against protesters was decreasing the Taksim Platform performed an amusing protest act of water gun wars on June 29th. The police did not respond in kind. Instead colored bullets were used on protesters.

9. Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ campaign update
11 July 2013 / Peace in Kurdistan campaign
This week’s update from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) campaign to set all journalists free in Turkey.

10. Ocalan: Continued Imprisonment Hampers Peace Process
5 July 2013 / Rudaw
The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, warns that his continued imprisonment in Turkey will hamper progress in the peace process now underway with Ankara. Meanwhile, the PKK claimed that since the beginning of the peace process its popularity had been skyrocketing, with young Turks joining the group in large numbers from across Turkey. “As long as I am kept within four walls, the peace process in Turkey will not move forward,” the PKK leader told his brother Muhammad Ocalan. “You see my place. In conditions like this, that is all I can do,” the PKK leader told his brother, referring to the landmark peace process with Ankara that he has steered from his jail cell. Ocalan was captured 14 years ago in Nairobi by agents of the Turkish intelligence, and is serving a life sentence on Turkey’s Imrali island.

11. Kongra-Gel held its 9th General Assembly
10 July 2013 / ANF
People’s Congress of Kurdistan (Kongra-Gel) held its 9th General Assembly in the Media Defense Areas between the 30 June – 5 July 2013. The congress which was participated by 162 delegates from abroad and four parts of Kurdistan witnessed the determination of the policies to be followed in the coming term, as well as significant decisions about the democratic solution process and the building of democratic autonomy from the bottom. The assembly, held under the slogan “building democratic nation and free life” was dedicated to Sakine Cansız, a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Fidan Doğan, representative of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) in Paris, and Leyla Şaylemez, member of the Kurdish youth movement, who were brutally executed in Paris on 9 January 2013.

12. Bayık calls for return to villages
8 July 2013 / ANF
Writing in his column “Ancient lands waiting for us” in the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat, Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council member Cemil Bayık called on the Kurdish population in Turkish metropolitan cities and Europe to return to their villages. Bayık said this return would be the greatest step for the achievement of democratic nation building. Bayık reminded that the Turkish state forced millions of Kurds to migrate to Turkish metropolitan cities and Europe during the years of the war in Kurdistan, with an aim to complete the cultural genocide of Kurds. Bayık said this was a deliberate policy of massacre, remarking that the Kurdish people’s return to their homeland would be the best answer to be given to the policy of cultural genocide. He said the return was one of the basic duties required by the current process and that it should be considered as an uprising.

13. Turkey: police violence must not go unpunished
8 July 2013 / Council of Europe
“All instances of excessive use of force by the police must be fully investigated and adequately punished” said Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights at the end of a five day visit to Istanbul and Ankara, during which he discussed the Gezi Park events and other human rights issues.  The Commissioner recalled that, according to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the failure to effectively investigate the misconduct of security forces was a human rights violation in itself, and that Turkey had been condemned on numerous occasions by the Court precisely for this reason.

14. PKK withdrawal not finished yet: Interior minister
10 July 2013 / Hurriyet
The government has not launched the second phase of the peace process, Interior Minister Muammer Güler said, as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has still not finalized the withdrawal of its members from Turkish territory. The government has not started the second phase of the process because “required conditions have not been met,” Güler told reporters on July 10 after a meeting with Somalia’s Interior Minister Abdirahman Hussein Guled. “We see that the PKK has not pulled back all [its members], but they are on the move,” he noted. “This issue is not solely related to our government. This step is about solving long standing, deep problems,” Güler said, adding that everyone should act “responsibly and prudently” during the process.

15. PKK and Ankara at Odds Over Withdrawn Fighters
9 July 2013 / Rudaw
Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are again at odds: The rebels say they have completed the first phase of a landmark peace process by pulling fighters out of Turkey, and the government is contradicting that account by claiming that only a small percentage of guerrillas have pulled out. In a meeting with Turkish MPs, the Council of Wise Men and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said that the PKK had completed the first phase of the peace process, which was the withdrawal of fighters. But Erdogan countered by saying that only 15 percent of total numbers to be pulled out had so far withdrawn.

16. 13 Kurdish politicians sentenced to 81 years in prison
9 July 2013 / ANF
Thirteen Kurdish politicians tried in KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) Ceylanpınar case were sentenced to six years and three months in prison each. The final hearing of the KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) Ceylanpınar trial resumed at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. Fourteen detainees, two under arrest, have been tried in the case which ended up with the acquittal of one and arrest of thirteen others. The court board rejected lawyers’ demand for the acquittal of all defendants, ruling the continuation of the arrest of two detainees and imprisonment of eleven others on charges of “being members of an illegal organization”.

COMMENT OPINION AND ANALYSIS

17. #DirenLice: A Milestone in Solidarity Between Kurds and Turks
2 July 2013 / Monthly Review
One of the most hotly debated aspects of #OccupyGezi has been the nature and degree of Kurdish participation.  Although from the beginning Kurdish activists have participated intensively in most of the #OccupyGezi protests in metropolitan cities in Turkey, and some MPs of the pro-Kurdish BDP have been closely involved in the movement, the participation of the Kurdish political movement as such — especially in predominantly Kurdish cities — could be at best qualified with the adjective “cautious.” On the ninth day of the massive protest wave the KCK (Union of Communities in Kurdistan) made a statement calling on the Kurdish people “to take initiative and fulfill responsibility by working with the democratic forces in Turkey.”  Abdullah Öcalan and Murat Karayılan’s hailing of the Gezi resistance followed.  Still, everybody knew that the Kurdish people and their main political organizations did not concentrate their forces on the resistance.

18. Turkey’s Killing of Kurds Goes on
4 July 2013 / International Business Times
With an estimated population of 50 million in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the Middle East without their own country. In all these countries except Iran, Kurds form the second largest ethnic community. The total population of Kurds is equivalent to more than the entire population of Iraq and of Syria and is several times the number of Palestinians. But apart from the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq they have no recognised political status. In the meantime, persecuting, torturing and killing Kurds has almost become a hobby for the states that rule over them. Kurdish villages, districts and provinces in Turkey have witnessed numerous human rights violations, including disappearances and deaths in detention, by the Turkish security forces for 20 years. During the 1990s, scores of Turkish villages were razed and residents forcibly evacuated.

19. Could a Murder Derail Turkish-Kurdish Peace Process?
8 July 2013 / Al Monitor
Lice is no ordinary place. It’s known as one of the most rebellious towns in Turkey, a hotbed of Kurdish nationalism. As documentary filmmaker Veysi Polat put it to Al-Monitor, “Sheikh Said established his main quarters in Lice, and rode to Diyarbakir with 2,000 horsemen, marking the beginning of the rebellion [against the state in 1925]. Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, was founded on Nov. 27, 1978 in a congress held in Fis village of Lice, and (Abdullah) Ocalan was elected its chief. It’s the first place burned by the military (in the fight against terrorism) in 1993.” And the list keeps going, making it an extremely politicized place. So when the news broke on June 28 that a Turkish soldier killed a Kurdish civilian protesting the construction of a gendarmerie post in Lice, it immediately emerged as the first challenge to potentially derail the resolution process led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to find a solution to the Kurdish issue.

20. Turkey’s Kurdish peace process has faded into background
8 July 2013 / Middle East Online
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reaffirmed his commitment to a full reconciliation with Turkey’s estimated 15 million Kurds, but events of recent weeks suggest the peace process may already be unravelling. Since the streets of Istanbul erupted on May 31, swiftly followed by other Turkish cities, the process that began with the ceasefire declared by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on March 21 has faded into the background. Last Tuesday Erdogan called for patience and restated his commitment to the peace process, vowing that “nothing” would stop him from seeing it through. The prime minister has failed to quell discontent over his increasingly autocratic style among Turks, and the country’s Kurds are also growing tired of vague promises and a failure to implement demands for greater recognition.

21. Revoking Kurdish Satellite TV Channels Licence by Danish Court is policy based decision and unacceptable
10 July 2013 / Rojhelat
The decision delivered by the Danish Appeal Court on 3rd of July is a policy based decision aimed to silence a democratic voice of a nation that has been oppressed by regional and international actors for over a century.   At the time where the reconciliation process is ongoing, such a political decision will not contribute positively to the democratic and peaceful solution of the Kurdish question in Turkey. Somewhat the Courts decision has significant negative impact on the process as it is aimed to silence Kurdish voice and restricting the freedom of speech.

STATEMENTS

22. To Our People & The Public Opinion / The Presidency Of KCK Executive Council
“The court of Denmark has revoked the licenses of Roj TV, MMC, and Nuçe TV. We strongly condemn this decree and regard it as an offense against the human rights and an accessory to the cultural genocide being conducted against the Kurdish People […] 6 July 2013.

 

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