Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 2-8 August 2013

 

Defend the Kurds in Syria from massacre and ethnic cleansing

 Peace in Kurdistan Campaign has published an emergency statement in response to news reports of massacres of Kurdish civilians in Syria.

 You can read the statement here – please share it widely.

 

 

NEWS
1. Abdullah Ocalan Confidante: Peace Process Will End If Turkey Reneges on PKK Promises
2. PKK Peace Talks Threat Seen Passing as CDS Climb: Turkey
3. Thousands rally in Ceylanpınar despite repression
4. Police disperse BDP rally in Turkey’s restive frontier town with tear gas and water
cannon
5. Turkish parliament may re-open to pass rights legislation: PM
6. DTK condemned repression in Van
7. Minorities in Turkey tagged by ‘race codes’
8. Severe punishments in Ergenekon coup plot trial
9. Turkey’s new charter to have article on domestic violence
10. Forty detained in Gezi Park crackdown
11. Turkey’s evolving attitude toward PYD in parallel with Kurdish peace process ‘natural’: FM Davutoğlu
12. Turkish workers set a militant example

SYRIA CRISIS
13. Disturbing report alleges killings of 450 Kurds in Syria
14. UNSC should condemn crimes committed against Kurds in Syria – Lavrov
15. The dirty war against Kurds in Syria
16. Russia condemns radicals’ attacks on peaceful Kurds in Syria
17. Militants set Syrian Kurds on fire, new video footage shows
18. Syria: Terrorists set Syrian Kurds on Fire
19. Aleppo satellite images show devastation, mass displacement one year on
20. Syria rebels seize arms dump near Damascus
21. Syrian Kurds take fragile steps towards autonomy
22. Syrian Rebels to Assyrians: Convert to Islam to Keep Your Jobs
23. Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
24. The Political Economy of Inequality, Redistribution, and the Protests in Turkey
25. Troubled Kurds Draw Closer
26. The Observer: Turkey’s lack of democracy is storing up problems
27. Turkey, Egypt and the end of high expectations
28. More Troubling News For Turkish Media’s Independence
29. Media Autocracy
30. Water conflicts will increase tensions as rural areas suffer
31. What Has Changed In Turkey’s Northern Syria Policy?
32.  De Facto Relationship: Turkey and the Kurds
33. Washington’s Syria Policy: A Repeat of Afghanistan?
34. Kurds carve out their own region in northeastern Syria
35. VIDEO: Inside Syria: Where do Syria’s Kurds stand?
36. Ankara must embrace new Syrian Kurdish reality

REPORTS
37. Chatham House Briefing Paper: After the boom: Risks to the Turkish Economy

STATEMENTS
38. PiK: Defend the Kurds in Syria from massacre and ethnic cleansing
39. PYD: Stop massacres of Kurdish civilians in Syria

 

NEWS

1. Abdullah Ocalan Confidante: Peace Process Will End If Turkey Reneges on PKK Promises
2 August 2013 / Rudaw
Mohammed Ameen Penjweni, a close friend and confidante of Abdullah Ocalan, says that the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has welcomed the idea of gathering all Kurdish political parties for a Kurdish National Conference in Erbil this month. Today, when Ocalan sends messages from his prison cell, he often includes a greeting for Penjweni, and on occasion has asked his colleagues to consult with him on some issues. In this interview with Rudaw, Penjweni accuses Turkey of not keeping its promises to Ocalan over the ongoing peace process, and warns that, “If the Turkish promises are not fulfilled in the current year, the peace process will end.”  Here is his interview.

2. PKK Peace Talks Threat Seen Passing as CDS Climb: Turkey
5 August 2013 / Bloomberg

Investor concern that peace talks between Turkey’s government and the Kurds risk failing will probably fade, helping to boost sentiment toward the nation’s assets, according to Odea Bank AS and Standard Bank Plc. Credit-default swaps on Turkey, contracts insuring the country’s debt against non-payment, climbed 92 basis points in the past three months, the fourth-biggest increase among emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of last week’s close. They fell to the lowest level on record of 112 on May 9, a day after militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, began withdrawing from Turkey following a call for peace by their imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan.

3. Thousands rally in Ceylanpınar despite repression
4 August 2013 / ANF
Tens of thousands of people reached Ceylanpınar today despite the heavy police presence and violence. People reached the Syrian border area to show their support to people of Rojava who have been under attack for days now, victim of the violence of al-Qaida-linked armed groups. The rally was organized by the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) and the DTK (Democratic Society Congress) to support Kurds witnessing massacres in Rojava.

4. Police disperse BDP rally in Turkey’s restive frontier town with tear gas and water cannon
4 August 2013 / Hurriyet
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) demonstration in the restive Turkish-Syrian border town of Ceylanpınar late Aug. 4 to support Syrian Kurds attempting to defend themselves against jihadist attacks has been quelled by the police. High profile names such as BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, BDP Batman deputy Ayla Akat Ata and independent Van deputy Aysel Tuğluk were among the participants in the demonstration. Police told the group that the rally was not allowed. The demonstrators refused to disperse, which prompted the police to resort to tear gas and water cannon to quell the group.

5. Turkish parliament may re-open to pass rights legislation: PM
8 August 2013 / Reuters
Turkey’s parliament may reconvene early from its summer recess to pass laws to expand Kurdish rights, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, a move crucial to resolving a 28-year conflict. Kurds want legislative reforms to address long-standing grievances, what they see as the next step in a peace process after the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) declared a ceasefire and began withdrawing fighters to bases outside Turkey earlier this year. “Our friends are now completing their work on the articles, and hopefully we will announce our democratization package aimed at the new period. It’s possible parliament will reopen early,” Erdogan told reporters in comments broadcast by CNN Turk.

6. DTK condemned repression in Van
4 August 2013  / ANF
DTK (Democratic Society Congress) condemned police repression in Wan (Van). Civil society organizations and BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) office in the city had organized a rally to draw attention to the health problems lived by Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and to support the people of Rojava. The DTK underlined that “everytime people organized themselves and take the street for their legitimate demands they are faced with incredible violence”.

7. Minorities in Turkey tagged by ‘race codes’
4 August 2013 / Infoturk
An official document penned by the Istanbul Provincial Education Directorate has surfaced, revealing that Turkey’s population administration system has been recording citizens who have Armenian, Jewish or Anatolian Greek (Rum) origins with secret “race codes.”  The Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper Agos published as its headline story on Aug. 1 a report on an official document that openly states “citizens with Armenian origin are coded with ‘2.’” The implementation is reported to have been in place since 1923, the foundation year of the Turkish Republic.

8. Severe punishments in Ergenekon coup plot trial
4 August 2013 / Inforturk
Turkey’s former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ was sentenced to life in prison as an Istanbul court handed down severe punishments to the suspects in the Ergenekon coup plot trial. The court handed down a double aggravated life sentence to Turkish Council of State attacker Alparslan Arslan. Journalist Tuncay Özkan, retired general Veli Küçük and lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz were sentenced to aggravated life sentences, while Workers’ Party leader Doğu Perinçek received 117 years in prison.  Retired colonel Fikri Karadağ and retired general Hasan Ataman Yıldırım also received aggravated life sentences. Retired General Hurşit Tolon was also sentenced to life in prison.

9. Turkey’s new charter to have article on domestic violence
5 August 2013 / Hurriyet
While the Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Commission introduced constitutional assurances against domestic violence, it also concluded the article about political party memberships.  In its Friday meeting, the Parliamentary Constitution Conciliation Commission introduced a constitutional guarantee against domestic violence under the article “The right to marry and form a family.” The clause “The state protects children and women against domestic violence and prevents girls from being married at an early age and by force” was added to the article.

10. Forty detained in Gezi Park crackdown
4 August 2013 / ANF
Forty people have been taken into custody following yet another police crackdown on Gezi Park protesters.  Social media had echoed and spread news of a gathering to take place on Saturday in Taksim. Police closed Gezi Park in order to prevent people from reaching it and then started to attack the crowd which was gathering. Clashes and gas bombs attacks continued through the night. A first balance of the night of police repression sets the number of detained people to 40

11. Turkey’s evolving attitude toward PYD in parallel with Kurdish peace process ‘natural’: FM Davutoğlu
2 August 2013 / Hurriyet
The change in Ankara’s attitude toward the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the biggest Kurdish group in northern Syria affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is “natural” in parallel to the ongoing peace process, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said. Commenting on last week’s talks with PYD leader Salih Muslim and Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in an interview with private broadcaster Habertürk Aug. 2, Davutoğlu said Turkey does not perceive any group in Syria as a threat, including PYD.

12. Turkish workers set a militant example
August 2013 / The Proletarian Online
The legal wrangling over the future of Gezi Park in the centre of Istanbul continues. The latest decision by Istanbul’s sixth administrative court to lift the obstacles to redevelopment of the area, which had been upheld by a lower court on 6 June in the wake of the massive protest movement, appears to give the go-ahead to the Istanbul metropolitan municipality to press ahead with demolition work. Despite this, a report in Hurriyet states that “according to a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the case, the court ruling has no legal basis and a redevelopment plan cannot be implemented in any way. Can Atalay said the plan opening Gezi Park for construction had already been cancelled by the Istanbul First Administrative Court and the regional court’s verdict was therefore not valid. ‘They cannot drive a nail in Gezi Park, it will stay as a park,’ Atalay said.” (22 July 2013)

 

SYRIA CRISIS

13. Disturbing report alleges killings of 450 Kurds in Syria
6 August 2013 / Russia Today
Unconfirmed reports have emerged detailing a new massacre in which 450 Kurds – including 120 children – were allegedly slaughtered by al-Qaeda-linked rebels fighting against the Syrian government. The report has sparked international concern. According to Iranian TV channel Al-Alam, militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra Front attacked the town of Tal Abyad on Monday, killing 120 children and 330 women and elderly near the Turkish border.   The channel also ran horrific uncensored footage from the scene – the authenticity of which can’t be independently verified at this moment. For ethical reasons, RT will refrain from airing the video.

14. UNSC should condemn crimes committed against Kurds in Syria – Lavrov
7 August 2013 / Russia Today
The UN Security Council must unambiguously condemn the reported killings of Kurds by radical forces, which try to establish an Islamist state in Syria, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov commented on Wednesday on the reported slaughter of 450 Kurd civilians, including more than 120 children, by the Islamist Al-Nusra Front.  “This was not the first report of such a massacre, but the continued violence is going off the scale. Yesterday there was a new terror attack in Damascus. It must be stopped immediately,” Lavrov said.  The international community must send a clear and coherent and unambiguous message condemning the killing of civilians in Syria by the forces opposing President Bashar Assad, Lavrov said.

15. The dirty war against Kurds in Syria
4 August 2013 / ANF
A leader of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), supported by the West and Turkey threatens to destroy the Kurds and declares that the FSA brigades joined Al-Qaeda-linked groups against Kurds with weapons supplied by foreign countries. The brigades which refuse to be part of this war are threatened, while many members of Al-Qaeda continue to enter Syria through Turkey, with the help of pro-government “associations”. Since July 16 the Kurds have been attacked by jihadist groups, like the al-Nosra and Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant. These groups have suffered heavy losses against Kurdish fighters, since the begun fighting against them.

16. Russia condemns radicals’ attacks on peaceful Kurds in Syria
2 August 2013 / Support Kurds in Syria
Russia resolutely condemns attacks by radicals in Syria on the peaceful Kurdish population, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s information and press department Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. “We consider their actions as aimed at triggering ethnic confessional enmity, undermining the unity of Syria and security of the whole region,” the diplomat said. Moscow intends to consistently seek that “the Syrian authorities and all opposition groups, where we also see the Supreme Council of the Syrian Kurds, assume common commitments at the international conference on Syria that is underway, to liquidate or expel from Syria all terrorist and extremist organizations connected with Al Qaeda,” Zakharova noted.

17. Militants set Syrian Kurds on fire, new video footage shows
5 August 2013 / Press TV
A gruesome video has emerged on the Internet, showing foreign-backed militants in Syria setting three Syrian Kurds on fire. The video, which was posted online on Monday, shows the al-Qaeda-affiliated group al-Nusra Front militants pouring a flammable liquid on the hand-cuffed, blind-folded men who appear to be Syrian Kurd soldiers. The militants then push the three into a fire they have made. Press TV cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video.

18. Syria: Terrorists set Syrian Kurds on Fire
6 August 2013 / Electronic Intifada
A new horrible video has been published on the internet and the gruesome video shows how foreign-supported terrorists in Syria are setting three Syrian Kurds on fire, while the perpetrators show no signs of humanity and hesitation before they have set the three Kurds on fire. The gruesome video includes horrible images and therefore we have to warn about these presented images of this next horrible crime by the foreign-backed terrorists on Syrian soil. In addition, such published videos about these gruesome crimes of the terrorist groups (e.g. Free Syrian Army / FSA) or the jihadist brigades of the Syrian Al-Qaeda offshoot (Jabhat al-Nusra / al-Nusra Front) are wilfully published to brag about such committed crimes by them.

19. Aleppo satellite images show devastation, mass displacement one year on
7 August 2013 / Amnesty International
New satellite images of Aleppo provide the most recent evidence of how the protracted conflict in Syria is resulting in massive human rights violations against the civilian population which is bearing the brunt of the spiralling violence, displacement, and humanitarian crisis. The new analysis – one of the most comprehensive satellite image analyses of an active conflict zone to date – shows alarming trends in how the conflict is being fought: with utter disregard for the rules of International Humanitarian Law, causing extensive destruction, death, and displacement. The analysis was produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in collaboration with the Science for Human Rights program of Amnesty International. The devastation revealed in the images has been substantiated by Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who returned from a visit to Aleppo last month.

20. Syria rebels seize arms dump near Damascus
3 August 2013 / Telegraph
In the north, fighting between Kurds and jihadists raged as the main opposition National Coalition called on armed groups there to “exercise restraint”. Several groups, including the jihadist Al-Nusra Front, were behind the capture of the depot of anti-tank weapons and rockets, according to the group. “Liwa al-Islam, Al-Nusra Front, Al-Tawhid battalion, the Maghaweer (rebel commando force) and the Qalamun Martyrs’ battalion … captured an ammunitions depot near the village of Qaldun in the Qalamun area” northeast of the capital, the Observatory said.

21. Syrian Kurds take fragile steps towards autonomy
2 August 2013 / Todays Zaman
Looking back over the border at the Syrian hometown he fled, Adil is circumspect when he sees a Kurdish flag hoisted over its low-rise, breeze block buildings.The 33-year-old Kurd has seen victors come and go and it is far too soon to celebrate. “First there was Bashar al-Assad and there was oppression, then came the rebel Free Syrian Army and it was little better, and now the Kurds have taken control,” he said. “We’re undecided on what they will be like. We’ll have to wait and see. But whoever is in control is not important as long as there is security and justice. That’s all we want.” Kurdish militias have sought to consolidate their grip in northern Syria after exploiting the chaos of the country’s civil war over the past year by seizing control of districts as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces focused elsewhere.

22. Syrian Rebels to Assyrians: Convert to Islam to Keep Your Jobs
4 August 2013 / AINA
Accounts by Assyrian refugees from al-Thawrah (also known as al-Tabqah) reveal the real face of the Islamist undercurrent within the Syrian opposition. Furthermore, these accounts serve as a stark and chilling reminder of what has already been suffered by non-Muslim communities in Iraq since 2003. On February 11, rebel fighters from the al-Nusra Front took control of the city and its strategic dam, the largest of its kind in the country. They also seized control of the three quarters that housed dam workers – many of whom were Christian Assyrians. Whilst they allowed the dam’s original staff to remain in the city in order to continue its operation, management and upkeep, those who were not Sunni Muslim were not afforded the same privilege.

23. Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion
19 July 2013 / Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera examines the military and political opposition groups trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

24. The Political Economy of Inequality, Redistribution, and the Protests in Turkey
4 August 2013 / Research Turkey
The obvious injustice and police brutality in Gezi Park was the last drop in a long process of accumulation of discontent against an authoritarian government, their social policies pushing for a conservative Islamic life style threatening in particular women and the youth, criminalization and imprisoning of oppositional groups ranging from seculars to Kurds, socialists, and trade unionists, and last but not least neoliberal policies which increasingly commercialized public services, created areas of rent for large corporations, destroyed the ecological environment, and increased insecurity for a significant part of the working people. 27 May and the mobilizations that have followed will mark a historic moment for the collective memory of the movements in Turkey. This has been the spontaneous mobilization of a new generation, who has been brought up by the conservative neoliberal authoritarian AKP regime for a decade.

25. Troubled Kurds Draw Closer
7 August 2013 / PIS
“The Islamists’ announcement that god supported the killing of Kurds in Syria made us react,” recalls Farouk Aziz Khadir. This 60-year-old Iraqi Kurd is ready to take up arms to defend his kin in the neighbouring war-torn country. And there are many more like him. Khadir, who spent nine years as a peshmerga (as armed Kurdish fighters are called), is also chair of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Veterans Association. A mandatory requisite for membership is “to have fought the tyrant until 1991.” That was the date when Iraq’s Kurds managed to push Saddam Hussein’s troops from their territory and set the grounds of their own autonomous region. At their headquarters in Suleymania, 260 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, IPS is briefed on the most urgent project for these almost retired members of the peshmerga – that translates into the Kurdish language as “those who face death”.

26. The Observer: Turkey’s lack of democracy is storing up problems
4 August 2013 / InfoTurk
It is proving a long, turbulent summer for Turkish democracy. The chaos of Gezi Park may have abated after judges conveniently stopped building work there; but the fundamental reasons for protest haven’t gone away – just as tourists, alarmed by demonstrations spreading far beyond Istanbul, haven’t come back. And the crisis of Turkish journalism – too many reporters in prison, far too many sacked for telling their readers what happened in Taksim Square – grows worse, not better, in a climate of fear where even the most distinguished professionals, such as Yavuz Baydar, ombudsman of the daily Sabah, or Derya Sazak, editor of Milliyet, can suddenly find themselves out of a job.

27. Turkey, Egypt and the end of high expectations
5 August 2013 / Hurriyet
Turkey’s “model” of democracy for Muslim countries, was like U.S. President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. Both phenomena were based on a curious mixture of high expectations and wishful thinking. It was thought that Obama’s election would be enough to ensure peace in the Middle East, so he was given a prize in advance; likewise, Turkey was assumed to be a model democracy for Muslim countries in advance. Unfortunately, the assumptions and expectations failed dramatically. The ex-Islamists of Turkey reinvented themselves as “conservative democrats” under the name of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002, won three successive elections afterwards and managed to transform the status quo by eliminating the military and judicial hegemony of secularists in a decade.

28. More Troubling News For Turkish Media’s Independence
2 August 2013 / Al Monitor
It’s getting more depressing every day writing about yet another veteran journalist, this time Can Dundar of Milliyet daily, getting fired because of his critical approach to government handling the Gezi Park protests in June, and being personally warned to be cautious by family, friends and colleagues in this new political environment before commenting on anything about the Justice and Development Party (AKP). As someone who lost her contract in May 2010 with Haberturk, allegedly by a request from the prime minister’s office, I empathize with those caring voices around me.

29. Media Autocracy
30 July 2013 / Freedom for Turkish Media
During the week of July 22-28 Turkish journalists were not immune to censorship. This time it was revealed that, RTUK the Turkish Higher Board of Radio and Television, has deliberately blocked and fined broadcasting of Gezi protests in the name of public interest. On July 18th, the chair of RTUK Mr. Davut Dursun has stated that 5 television networks were fined for their continuous coverage of Gezi events and that more fines may be on the way. RTUK’s composition is determined by government appointments.

30. Water conflicts will increase tensions as rural areas suffer
5 August 2013 / The National
Three days after the fall of Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak, the then Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, announced the start of construction of a dam on the Nile’s main tributary. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be the first Ethiopia has built on the river. The move is a direct challenge to downstream Egypt’s “hydro-hegemony”, which had ensured that it and Sudan enjoy essentially exclusive use of the river, thanks to favourable colonial and postcolonial agreements. Until 2010, Ethiopia, South Sudan and eight other states were negotiating water sharing under the auspices of the Nile Basin Initiative. These discussions have now degenerated into threats. There is a similarly short-sighted dynamic occurring on the Tigris and Euphrates. Turkish plans to develop the primarily Kurdish south-east are centred on the Southeastern Anatolia Project – a series of 22 dams scheduled to be completed by 2023.

31. What Has Changed In Turkey’s Northern Syria Policy?
4 August 2013 / Al Monitor
At first glance, two developments concerning northern Syria create the impression of a major shift in Turkey’s policy. First, Salih Muslim, head of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has organic links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was invited to Istanbul and held talks with Turkish officials for two days. Second, the Turkish government displayed a critical attitude for the first time toward the radical Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra. Is this really a new shift in Turkey’s fundamental policies or just a tactical adjustment? It’s still premature to answer the question with certainty, but the issue is already worthy of discussion.

32.  De Facto Relationship: Turkey and the Kurds
6 August 2013 / Hurriyet
The meeting between Prime Minister Erdoğan and Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani last week could be described as “sweet and sour.” Erdoğan assured that Turkey was not lending support to the al-Qaida affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria, whereas Barzani assured there would be no declaration of an independent Kurdish state during the Kurdish National Conference to take place in Arbil on August 19. The two leaders also agreed on the completion of a new pipeline to carry oil from northern Iraq to the Turkish border, expected to start exports in 2016. This was the sweet part.

33. Washington’s Syria Policy: A Repeat of Afghanistan?
6 August 2013 / Al Monitor
The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan in December 1979. At the time, Jimmy Carter was in the White House and his chief national security adviser was Zbigniew Brzezinsky. Eyes turned to Washington. The United States did not intervene militarily, but transformed Pakistan into a war-front country. It organized Muslim mujahedeen resistance against the Soviet invasion with oil dollars flowing from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The plan was to make the Soviet army bleed, without directly clashing with it. The plan succeeded and the Soviets had to withdraw in 1989.

34. Kurds carve out their own region in northeastern Syria
3 August 2013 / South China Post
Street names in Syria’s far northeastern corner have been changed from Arabic to Kurdish, schools openly teach the Kurdish language and the country’s most powerful Kurdish militia flies its flag from checkpoints on main roads.  Across northeastern Syria, the Kurds, the country’s largest ethnic minority, have taken advantage of the vacuum left by the civil war to push for the autonomy long denied them by the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Their struggle does not fit neatly into the war between Assad’s government and the rebels seeking his ousting, and different parts of the scattered Kurdish population have allied at times with forces on either side.

35. VIDEO: Inside Syria: Where do Syria’s Kurds stand?
4 August 2013 / Al Jaezeera
Debate with Dr Alan Semo, PYD Foreign Relations Representative, political analyst Vladimir Van Wilgenburg and SNC member Monzer Akbik.
It has been a week of major developments for Syria’s Kurds, the largest non-Arab ethnic minority in the country. On Tuesday, the main Kurdish militia issued a call to arms against factions fighting the President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. This followed the killing of Isa Huso, a leading Syrian Kurdish politician, in a car bomb attack near the Turkish border. Huso, a member of the Supreme Kurdish Council was targeted outside his house in Qamishli. The incident raises questions about where the Kurds stand in Syria’s confusing and bloody conflict. In the days after Huso’s death there have been battles between Kurdish fighters and armed men from groups allied to al-Qaeda.

36. Ankara must embrace new Syrian Kurdish reality
5 August 2013 / Kurdish Globe
The reality is that Syrian Kurds, with renewed vigour and standing, are not about to go away, with or without Assad.  A year after Syrian Kurds took historic control of their territory, proposed plans for an autonomous Syrian Kurdistan region sent fresh shivers down Ankara.  Any anxiety towards the establishment of de facto autonomy for Kurds is amplified all the more by the PKK connections with the dominant Democratic Union Party (PYD) that exercises the greatest political and military influence in the region.  Turkey has fought a bitter 3 decade war with the PKK and to see PYD flags proudly hosted atop buildings clearly visible from Turkish soil was difficult to stomach. Turkey rushed to kick-start the peace process with the PKK and Ocalan in the full knowledge that they could soon be swamped with PKK forces enjoying not just mountain passes but theoretically an autonomous area.

REPORTS

37. Chatham House Briefing Paper: After the boom: Risks to the Turkish Economy, August 2013.

STATEMENTS

38. PiK: Defend the Kurds in Syria from massacre and ethnic cleansing, 8 August 2013.

39. PYD: Stop massacres of Kurdish civilians in Syria, 8 August 2013.

 

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