Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 12 – 18 July 2013

NEWS
1. KCK and KONGRA GEL release ‘Political Attitude Manifest’
2. Interview with Hozat, Karayılan and Bayık
3. European court says Turkey must revise tear gas laws
4. Turkey: End Incorrect, Unlawful Use of Teargas
5. 111 Media Workers Suffer From Police Intervention in 40 Days
6. Turkey public welcome education in Kurdish: survey
7. KCK: Turkey behind the attacks on Serekaniye
8. Full Support from Turkey to Al Qaeda
9. Syria: Kurds take Turkish border crossing from jihadists
10. Jihadists ‘expelled from flashpoint Kurdish Syrian town’
11. Turkish army opens fire on Serekaniye
12. Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey Proceed Slowly on Energy Cooperation
13. Iranian Kurds Suspicious About Planned Security Force in Their Regions

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
14. Kurdish Rebel Group in Turkey Re-Focuses on Syria
15. Turkey’s ‘Erdogan Problem’
16. The Future of Turkish Kurds
17. Turkish-Kurdish ‘Peace Process’: Another Historical Betrayal?

 

NEWS

1. KCK and KONGRA GEL release ‘Political Attitude Manifest’
12 July 2013 / ANF
KONGRA GEL and KCK have released their ‘Political Attitude Manifest’ highlighting the decisions the Kurdish movement will put into practice in four parts of Kurdistan in the coming term. According to the manifest which consists of significant decisions in relation to the democratic solution process initiated by Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan, the General Assembly of the Kongra Gel congress (30 June – 5 July) agreed on the maintenance of the ceasefire and the withdrawal plan. The manifest remarked that “the AKP government had to undergo a change in its policy, which it entitled as “the silence of arms and speech of ideas”, after facing a failure in its war concept against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) as well as in its Syrian policy, because of the democratic nation building of Kurds in Rojava Kurdistan with 19 July revolution”.

2. Interview with Hozat, Karayılan and Bayık
July 2013 / Peace In Kurdistan Campaign
The two new co-chairs of the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), Bese Hozat and Cemil Bayık as well as the former KCK chairman of the executive council and the current supreme commander of the Kurdish Peoples’ Defence Forces (HPG) Murat Karayılan, talked to the news agency Firat (ANF) after the exceptional 9th general assembly of Kongra-Gel. During the general assembly the democratic solution process was the main topic. In this interview Karayılan explained that the coming weeks will be of great importance. ‘With the current attitude of the government, the process will not progress further. Even though the process has not come to a standstill yet, it is at risk of coming to a halt,’ explained Karayılan. The following is a short version of the interview.

3. European court says Turkey must revise tear gas laws
16 July 2013/ Hurriyet
Turkey should readjust its legal framework regarding the use of tear gas grenades to prevent further risk of death and injury, according to a European Court of Human Rights decision. The decision came yesterday as a result of the chamber’s session on the case of Abdullah Yaşa, who had applied to the European court over his injuries caused by a tear gas grenade during a police intervention in 2006. The court ruled in favor of Yaşa, finding Turkey in violation of the article related to the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. The court also fined Turkey 15,000 euros to cover all damages, and another 5,000 for costs and expenses, however, the chamber judgment may not be the final decision. In case either of the parties requests the case to be sent to the Grand Chamber of the Court, the case may be reevaluated, marking the end result as the final ruling.

4. Turkey: End Incorrect, Unlawful Use of Teargas
17 July 2013 / Human Rights Watch
Police fired teargas canisters directly at protesters during the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, turning them into dangerous projectiles that caused serious injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch has documented 10 cases in which people were seriously injured, including loss of an eye, when police fired teargas canisters directly at them, often at close range. The scale and consistency of accounts of similar injuries recorded by local groups points to a clear pattern of misuse of teargas by Turkey’s police force. The Turkish authorities should immediately issue improved guidelines on when and how teargas may be used that include a prohibition on firing teargas canisters in confined areas or directly at people. The authorities should strictly enforce the policy and hold accountable police officers who do not comply with the guidelines.

5. 111 Media Workers Suffer From Police Intervention in 40 Days
12 July 2013 / Bianet
Fotoğraf Vakfı (Photography Foundation) updated its recent report on various media representatives (journalists to documentary photographers) suffering from police intervention during Gezi Resistance across Turkey between May 31 and July 8. According to the updated report, at least 111 journalists and documentary photographers suffered from police Intervention in 40 days by either being injured, detained, barred from working. Other lost work as their images were deleted. The report came along with a statement which warned on the rising violence against media representative covering the Gezi Resistance. It also cited that the foundation detected over 100 cases between May 31 and July 8, while Mehmet Kaçmaz – their board member and Nar photographer – was severely injured in the eye by rubber bullets. 

6. Turkey public welcome education in Kurdish: survey
18 July 2013 / Kurdpress
A recent survey by the Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center has shown that the majority of the public approves the idea of providing an education in their mother tongue, Zaman daily said. The MetroPOLL survey reveals that the Turkish public has warmed to the idea. When asked whether people should be able to receive an education in the Kurdish language in predominantly Kurdish-populated areas, 48.2 percent of survey participants responded favorably, while 47.9 percent responded negatively. In terms of support from political parties’ voters, the survey indicates that 92.5 percent of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) voters support providing for an education in their mother tongue and only 7.5 percent do not. Of the respondents who vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), 52 percent say they support the idea while 43.4 percent say they do not.

7. KCK: Turkey behind the attacks on Serekaniye
18 July 2013 / Mesop
Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Co-Presidency has released a statement to mark the anniversary of the Rojava Revolution which began after the Kurdish people seized the control of Kobani in western Kurdistan on 19 July 2012. KCK said the Rojava revolution was the success of a century-year-old longing and 40-year-old struggle of the Kurdish people. KCK remarked that Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan had without a doubt made great efforts for the realization of the Rojava revolution by laying its foundations during the twenty years he spent there with the people. KCK said the Rojava revolution has also proved the righteousness of Öcalan’s Democratic Modernity perspective and the third alternative line it has created. “The paradigm of ecological and democratic society, which is based on gender equality and aims to bring the society to power, not the state or the government, has been successfully put into practice in Rojava.

8. Full Support from Turkey to Al Qaeda
18 July 2013 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Important information regarding the links between Turkey and Al Qaeda has surfaced after three Tunisian Al Qaeda militants were arrested by Afrin public security forces in Rojava. The militants, who passed through Istanbul Ataturk Airport-Antakya-Cilvegozu border gate into Syria officially, were accompanied by Turkish military officers. Turkish authorities have not acknowledged any links with Al Qaeda despite the many documents and information to the contrary. The passports used by the three Tunisian Al Qaeda militants arrested by Afrin public security forces is further proof of this relationship. They show that the three Tunisians passed through Istanbul Ataturk Airport to Antakya and then crossed the border into Syria from Cilvegozu border gate officially.

9. Syria: Kurds take Turkish border crossing from jihadists
17 July 2013 / Ansa Med
Syrian Kurdish fighters took control of the Ras Al-Ayn border crossing with Turkey in the eastern part of the country on Wednesday, Local Coordination Committees confirmed, after getting the upper hand over the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front. The news had been previously reported by several regional and international media outlets. Turkish media also report that Ankara’s soldiers fired into Syria after shots from the clashes crossed the border. Two Turkish civilians hit by stray bullets on Tuesday died Wednesday from their wounds. Fighting between Kurds and jihadists started on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), linked to Sunni rebel groups, has said that the Kurdish militants managed to clear most of the Kurdish-majority town of the jihadists.

10. Jihadists ‘expelled from flashpoint Kurdish Syrian town’
17 July 2013 / Fox News
Kurdish fighters have expelled jihadists from the Syrian flashpoint frontier town of Ras al-Ain and well as the nearby border crossing with Turkey, a watchdog said on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a car bomb attack killed at least seven people, among them a child, southwest of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Kurdish fighters took total control of Ras al-Ain “after 24 hours of fighting. The (jihadist) groups were expelled from the whole of Ras al-Ain, including the border post” with Turkey, said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman. Earlier, the Britain-based group had reported clashes pitting Kurds against Al-Nusra Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and other groups.

11. Turkish army opens fire on Serekaniye
18 July 2013 / ANF
Turkish  Armed Forces (TSK) Chief of the General Staff announced on its official website that Turkish military has opened fire on Serekaniye from the Cenkeser border post Wednesday afternoon in line with the rules of engagement. Chief of the General Staff said that four houses and the police headquarters in Ceylanpınar have been hit by the bullets fired from the area of clashes going on in Serekaniye since last night. It said that Nezir Atilla, the head of Ceylanpınar’s Cumhuriyet neighborhood, has been slightly injured by a bullet, and that he is not facing a critical situation. Not giving any information about the fact that the citizens in Ceylanpınar were hit by bullets fired from the area of the Al Nusra Front, the General Staff remarked that TSK is opening fire on the area dominated by YPG (People’s Defense Units) members.

12. Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey Proceed Slowly on Energy Cooperation
17 July 2013 / ISN
Overshadowed by the Syrian civil war, rising violence in Iraq, and recent turmoil in Turkey, another problem is simmering in the Middle East. Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) recently reported that a long-mooted new oil pipeline to Turkey should be completed within months. By making possible oil not controlled by the Iraqi central government, this new pipeline and what it represents pose risks for Erbil’s relationship with Baghdad and for Turkey and its ties with both the KRG and the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. They also pose a test for Washington, which has repeatedly urged the factions in Iraq to agree on a nationwide hydrocarbon law and development scheme and weighed in with the Turks and Kurds to delay unilateral steps that would prejudge that effort and be seen as disregarding Baghdad.

13. Iranian Kurds Suspicious About Planned Security Force in Their Regions
18 July 2013 / Rudaw
Tehran’s announced intention of establishing a new security force in its western regions worries Kurdish groups and residents, who fear disguised efforts by authorities to tighten their grip on the country’s largely poor and restive Kurds. Mohammed Hossein Rajabi, a Revolutionary Guards’ commander in Iran’s Kurdistan province, recently announced plans for the force, which he said would try and recruit Kurds and be named Razim. Rajabi said that the new unit was recommended by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and would enjoy the government’s full support. The paramilitary Revolutionary Guards – or Pasdaran — claim that the intention behind this new force is to guarantee security and stability in the area. But militant Iranian Kurdish groups, which have stopped armed confrontations with the Tehran regime since 1996, say the force is a smokescreen by Iran to tighten its grip on the Kurdish regions.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

14. Kurdish Rebel Group in Turkey Re-Focuses on Syria
17 July 2013 / Al Monitor
A surprise reshuffle in the top leadership of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has prompted fresh worries that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s efforts to solve Turkey’s most complex problem may be doomed. In a statement carried by the pro-PKK Firat news agency on July 10, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella group for the rebels, announced that its long-serving Chairman Murat Karayilan had been replaced by Cemil Bayik and female militant Bese Hozat. Karayilan, who remains a member of the KCK leadership council, was the government’s chief interlocutor among rebel commanders based in Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq. Talks with Karayilan were mostly conducted via Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The KDP, which is now closely allied to Turkey, hails Karayilan as a “moderate” who “genuinely wants peace.”

15. Turkey’s ‘Erdogan Problem’
17 July 2013 / Al Monitor
Until Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s future path in politics becomes clear, time to talk about political stability in Turkey is over. This has nothing to do with the ongoing scattered protests since June against Erdogan’s way of politics, which were sparked in an attempt to save a green space in downtown Istanbul but got out of control due to excessive use of police force. It, however, all has to do with Erdogan’s decision not to run for parliament again. “Based on our party regulations, I am running for the chairmanship of (Justice and Development Party, AKP) for the (third and) last time,” Erdogan said on Sept. 30, 2012, at the AKP’s fourth regular general congress. “After (this term is over), I will do what my party tells me to do. As long as God allows me to live, inshallah we will be together again serving our nation with different duties, with different titles.”

16. The Future of Turkish Kurds
16 July 2013 / Brown Political Review
In early June, a nation-wide rallying cry for the reassertion of democracy in Turkey was sparked by Prime Minister Erdogan’s autocratic tactics: cracking down on the press, stifling legitimate political opposition, imposing building projects and most recently for restricting alcohol use and asserting stricter Islamist policy. As Turkish citizens of varying backgrounds and ideologies come together in protest against Erdogan’s authoritarian tactics, the fate of the Kurdish people in Turkey is taking new shape. Being a long-subjugated ethnic minority constituting about 20 percent of Turkey’s population, the Kurds know the ropes when it comes to protest. Some have joined in the rallies in Gezi Park, Istanbul, contributing their knowledge from decades of experience in self-defense from the Turkish government’s brutality.

17. Turkish-Kurdish ‘Peace Process’: Another Historical Betrayal?
14 July 2013 / eKurd
The unfolding ‘peace process’ between the Turkish government and PKK, resonated hope in Turkey and international community to finally bring an end to the decades old Turkish-Kurdish conflict.  While Kurds have embraced the initiative, most are suspicious of the Turkish government’s true intention. There are concerns that the Turkish political establishment may not act on its promises under the peace process. This emanates partly from the past experiences of Turkish deceit of the Kurds in 1920s and partly from the current Turkish military’s inconsistent measures that are incongruent with the undergoing rapprochement.

 

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: