Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 31 August – 5 September 2013

The Kurds stand for a peaceful, secular and democratic Syria


“The Kurdish experiment in democratic autonomy in Syria is now under grave threat from the Al Qaeda affiliated al Nusra Front and other Islamist factions who are waging an increasingly ruthless campaign of violence and mass killings. Their onslaught is threatening civilians in the Kurdish controlled region that has remained relatively peaceful since the start of the civil war in Syria two and a half years ago. The offensive is encroaching on the autonomy exercised by the Kurds in their own region of Western Kurdistan as the central state in Damascus, preoccupied with uprisings elsewhere in the country, proved incapable of imposing its control […]”

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NEWS
1. Kurdish National Convention Postponed For a Second Time
2. PKK: Rojava revolution must be expanded to other parts of Kurdistan
3. Turkey’s state news agency starts broadcasting in Kurdish
4. Bayık: Turkish government wants war, not a solution
5. “Kurdish Question Can’t Be Resolved Without Education Issue
6. Police block Istanbul’s Gezi Park as peace protests erupt
7. Syria on ‘verge of the abyss,’ UN refugee head says
8. Iraqi Kurdistan gets three hours to build for 5,000 refugees
9. Roboski families launch campaign against military jurisdiction
10. Platform launched to monitor return to villages
11. Kurdish women demanded justice for Sakine, Fidan, Leyla
12. Turkey Found Guilty in 4 Cases, Ordered to Pay 38,500 Euros
13. Argentine youth launch a signature-campaign for Ocalan’s freedom

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
14. Breathtaking U.S. Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons
15. “Why the US should not bomb Syria”, by Michael M. Gunter
16. What Will Turkey Do If West Attacks Syria?
17. Op-Ed: Syria and Serbia, Kurds and Israelis
18. Tamils Stand With Rojava Kurds And Condemn Ethnic Cleansing By Islamists
19. Syria: As Rebels Escalate Genocide Against Kurds, Obama Prepares Air Strikes to Bring Them to Power
20. Flaws in Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessment on the chemical weapons (CW) attacks

STATEMENTS
21. The Kurds stand for a peaceful, secular and democratic Syria

RESOURCES
22. The Syria Conflict: West Wants War / Selected articles

NEWS

1. Kurdish National Convention Postponed For a Second Time
5 September 2013 / Rudaw
An important National Convention in Erbil, scheduled for this month and aimed at gathering Kurdish groups around the Middle East to try and set a common roadmap for the world’s 30 million Kurds, has been postponed for a second time, organizers said. They said that one of the main reasons for the delay in the meeting – which is now being scheduled for November 25 — is over the number of seats demanded by the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The Kurdish National Convention (KNC) was first scheduled for August 24 and then for September 15.  The latest delay is mainly because of differences over the number of seats allocated to each of the four parts of Kurdistan, and over organization of the proceedings, said members of the preparation committee.

2. PKK: Rojava revolution must be expanded to other parts of Kurdistan
31 August 2013 / ANF
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Executive Committee has released a statement to mark the World Peace Day September 1. PKK Executive Committee said they welcomed the World Peace Day with wishes for a democratic solution to all social problems, freedom, peace and brotherhood in the world, Middle East, Turkey and Kurdistan. Reminding that the Kurdish side has taken numerous unilateral steps for peace so far, PKK underlined that nevertheless Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan initiated a new phase on 21 March 2013 in search of a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. PKK said that the Kurdish people and movement have strongly supported this historic step and the new process led by their leader, regardless of the fact that it had risks.

3. Turkey’s state news agency starts broadcasting in Kurdish
1 September 2013 / Hurriyet
Turkey’s state news agency, Anadolu Agency, began broadcasting in Kurdish Sept.1 in the language’s Kurmanji and Sorani dialects.  Anadolu Agency, which recently opened an office in Arbil in northern Iraq, has started Kurdish wire service in the two dialects as part of its aim of becoming “one of the world’s top five news agencies by 2020,” said the agency.  Apart from Turkish, the agency also broadcasts in English, Arabic, Bosnian and Russian. “The Kurdish News Desk Service will broadcast developments in politics, the economy, sports, tourism, culture and life in Turkey and the world in the Kurmanji and Sorani dialects with photo and video for the region,” said Anadolu Agency.

4. Bayık: Turkish government wants war, not a solution
5 September 2013 / ANF
Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council co-presidents Cemil Bayık and Besê Hozat welcomed a delegation of the Iraqi and Southern Kurdistan Commission, which has been formed to serve the signature cmpaign for freedom for Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan, in Media Defense Areas controlled by HPG (People’s Defense Forces) guerrillas. During the meeting on Thursday, Bayık extended his thanks to the delegation for their efforts and underlined that Öcalan represented the Kurdish nation, putting emphasis on the relation between the freedom of the Kurdish leader and that of the Kurdish people. Bayık also extended his thanks to the government, people, political parties and non-governmental organizations in southern Kurdistan where -he said- people have achieved to have national status by paying great prices.

5. “Kurdish Question Can’t Be Resolved Without Education Issue”
30 August 2013 / Bianet
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş announced their two overarching themes for their World Peace Day campaign: Resolution process and Rojava.  At a press conference in the parliament, Demirtaş said Turkey is experiencing a critical period on the resolution of Kurdish question and the government must take a step forward soon.  Reminding the latest incidents in Syria and attacks in Rojava, he claimed that Ceylanpınar is open to Al Nusra Front and he could point out the addresses of 9 militants.  According to an article by Rıfat Başaran in Radikal newspaper, Demirtaş said the following: “AKP is having a coward attitude on negotiations. They are speaking so covertly and anxiously that they are measuring every sentence with polls. You can’t resolve the Kurdish question like that.”

6. Police block Istanbul’s Gezi Park as peace protests erupt
1 September 2013 / AFP
Turkish police Sunday blocked the entrance to Istanbul’s Gezi Park, the epicentre of anti-government protests in June, to prevent a demonstration against a possible military intervention in Syria. Riot police advanced with shields but held back from using tear gas or water cannon against about 1,000 activists who instead formed a human chain on the city’s celebrated Istiklal Avenue, according to an AFP photographer who witnessed the scene. “United States, killers, stay out of Syria,” shouted protesters, who are firmly opposed to Ankara’s support for proposed US-led air strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Smaller human chains were formed in neighbourhoods across Istanbul, with many protests organised by the same groups who had occupied the park to fight against its commercial development.

7. Syria on ‘verge of the abyss,’ UN refugee head says
1 September 2013 / Business Mirror
The head of the United Nations refugee agency warned last week that Syria could be on the “verge of the abyss” as aid workers brace for a likely increase in the nearly 2 million refugees who have already fled the country’s civil war. Antonio Guterres, the head of the Office for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, called on Syria’s neighbors to keep their borders open to accommodate additional Syrians seeking to escape the war. He made the comments during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad while on a visit to Iraq. The country’s northern Kurdish region has been flooded with tens of thousands of refugees since the middle of the month. Guterres stopped short of predicting the effect on the refugee crisis if the United States and its allies move ahead with a possible military intervention in the more than two-year-old civil war. But he said his agency is prepared for the conflict to “go on escalating” and called for further support from international donors.

8. Iraqi Kurdistan gets three hours to build for 5,000 refugees
4 September 2013 / Christian Science Monitor
Trucks cut through the dry makeshift streets, spreading dust over the tops of the tents stretching through Kawergosk Refugee Camp near Arbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish province. Three weeks ago, this was empty land on the edge of a tiny town. In the late afternoon of Aug. 15, Rezgar Mustafa, mayor of the Khabat district about 12 miles west of Arbil, got a call from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. He was told he had three hours to prepare for the arrival of about 5,000 Syrian refugees, mostly ethnic Kurds.  Tens of thousands of refugees have streamed across Kurdistan’s northern border with Syria in recent weeks. They initially amassed just over the border, but there was little in the way of readily available food and shelter there, so the International organization for Migration, in coordination with the Kurdish Regional government, brought them to the camp by bus by or drove themselves south in their own private vehicles.

9. Roboski families launch campaign against military jurisdiction
2 September 2013 / ANF
“We do not want military jurisdiction” campaign has been launched by the families of 34 Kurdish civilians who were massacred by Turkish warplanes in the village of Roboski in Şırnak’s Uludere district on 28 December 2011. Families launched the campaign, led by peace activists İbrahim Yaylalı and Meral Geylani, to protest against the chief public prosecutor’s office of Diyarbakır for ruling the ongoing Roboski case out of its jurisdiction and transferring the case to the military prosecutor of the chief of General Staff. Speaking to the press in the graveyard of 34 victims, Meral Geylani said that the government has given no answer to the families’ demand for peace and disclosure of the truth on the massacre. Geylani noted that signatures collected in the campaign would be sent to Turkish President Abdullah Gül and President of Turkey’s Assembly Cemil Çiçek. She called on everyone to support the campaign in order to prevent the government’s attacks on Roboski families and to ensure a fair trial of the Roboski case.

10. Platform launched to monitor return to villages
3 September 2013 / ANF
Several NGOs joined their forces to establish Marmara Migration Watch Platform in order to ensure a healthy process for returns to villages, as well as raise the demands of displaced people. Forced migrations, a 1990’s phenomenon in Turkey with the displacement of Kurdish people from their villages in the southeastern part of the country, has been brought to the public attentions both by Kurdish movement and current Turkish government. The platform aims to provide orientation assistance for displaced people of all religious and ethnical origins, as well as to help them to bring awareness those who were subjected to forced migrations. It also aims to help them to seek their personal rights. “Turkish governments have officially declared they caused the displacement of 401,328 people from 3,428 households. However, researchers estimate the toll around 3.5 million including forced migrations,” platform spokesperson Gülay Kılıçarslan said.

11. Kurdish women demanded justice for Sakine, Fidan, Leyla
5 September 2013 / ANF
Kurdish women staged a demonstration in the French capital Paris to protest the French state’s ongoing silence about the execution of three Kurdish politicians, 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, in Paris on 9 January. Staging a march from Kurdish Cultural and Art Academy of Paris to the Kurdistan Information Office, where three women were found shot dead, demonstrators tied their mouths with black bands to condemn the French judiciary’s failure to shed light on the killings so far. “France will be partner in crime should it shed no light on the killings” read the banner they carried as they demanded the exposure and trial of perpetrators.

12. Turkey Found Guilty in 4 Cases, Ordered to Pay 38,500 Euros
5 September 2013 / Bianet
In 4 separate cases, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Turkey guilty of torture, police murder, suspected soldier death and limitation of defense rights. Ruling that Turkey violated Convention Articles 2,3 and 6 more than once, ECHR ordered Turkey to pay applicants a total of 38,500 euros. On 28 March 2006, Meydin Athan (39) attended a funeral of PKK guerrillas killed by Turkish Armed Forces (TAF). Police attacked demonstrators, detaining several people including Athan with beating.   On 25 May 2007 the Diyarbakır Assize Court convicted Athan under Article 314 of the Criminal Code for being “a PKK member” and sentenced him to six years and three months’ imprisonment.  In the meantime, on 18 September 2006, on the basis of the medical reports, the applicant filed a complaint with the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor alleging ill-treatment by police officers. He also alleged that the doctor who had not found any new traces of ill-treatment was guilty of professional misconduct.

13. Argentine youth launch a signature-campaign for Ocalan’s freedom
1 September 2013 / Rojhelat
Che Guevara Youth Movement of Latin America launched a signature campaign for freedom of Kurdish national leader Abdullah Ocalan. The Argentines branch of Che Youth Movement decided to launch a campaign for freedom of Ocalan in their 8th congress that was held few days ago. In a statement issued after their congress they stated: “we follow the struggle of our comrades of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party” and also stressed that they will collect signatures for Ocalan and the Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey. Their goal is to collect 2 million signatures in Latin America. “We extend this campaign all over Argentina with the slogans of Freedom for Ocalan, Peace in Middle East and revolution and socialism all over the world,” they stressed.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

14. Breathtaking U.S. Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons
4 September 2013 / Global Research
The U.S. encouraged Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons against Iran … which was the largest use of chemical weapons in history.  While the number of people killed in the August 21st chemical weapons attack has been estimated at between 350 and 1,429, 20,000 Iranians and 5,000 Kurds were killed by Saddam’s chemical weapons attacks with full U.S. support and backing. The U.S. sprayed nearly 20,000,000 gallons of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use.   The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange.

15. “Why the US should not bomb Syria”, by Michael M. Gunter
3 September 2013 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
On August 21, 2013 the Syrian regime apparently used chemical weapons against the opposition in Ghouta, an eastern suburb of Damascus, killing anywhere from 500-1,300 people, the numbers vary according to U.S. intelligence reports made public. While the Assad regime has long had a great deal of innocent blood on its hand and now may be guilty of using chemical weapons, this is not a sufficient reason for the United States and its Western allies to bomb Syria. Indeed, the United States has neither an intelligent entry or exit plan. In the first place, however, we are not yet even certain the Syrian regime actually used these weapons. U.S. intelligence on these matters has erred and lied to the world before.

16. What Will Turkey Do If West Attacks Syria?
29 August 213 / Al Monitor
A joint Western military operation against Syria is clearly at hand. The Financial Times said in an editorial on Aug. 26, “There are no good options, but to do nothing is the worst.” The French foreign minister had uttered the same sentence several days ago. Cutting short his holiday, British Prime Minister David Cameron returned to London and convened a key meeting on the action to be taken in Syria. For days, Cameron had been pressing the United States and France to do “something” against Syria. Britain wants to act. France, too, is willing. The “problem” was the United States. With the “Iraq syndrome” haunting its foreign policy, the Barack Obama administration — as everybody has long known — has no enthusiasm at all for a military intervention in Syria. But to stand by with folded arms was unthinkable for the US president after more than 1,000 people were killed in a “chemical weapons attack” in Damascus’ outskirts on Aug. 21, on the first anniversary of his declaration that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would amount to crossing “the red line.”

17. Op-Ed: Syria and Serbia, Kurds and Israelis
1 September 2013 / Arutz Sheva
American and possible other Western military action aimed against the Assad regime in Syria has suddenly become the “moral” and pressing issue of the day. It  seems that Syria actually used some of its enormous stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against Arabs instead of the “Zionist Entity”, which is where they are meant to be used. In everyday language, WMD means poison gas – you know, what Iraq’s Saddam “didn’t have” once he had used them to kill thousands and transferred what was left to Syria. Who knows what the world reaction would have been had Assad used them against Israel? Of course, Syria, as it is known today, would probably cease to exist afterwards, but not because of the West’s moral posturing. Analysts whom I respect are talking about doing this the “right way” and cutting off the head of the snake – targeting the Assads themselves.

18. Tamils Stand With Rojava Kurds And Condemn Ethnic Cleansing By Islamists
3 September 2013 / Countercurrents
We received the news of the horrible ethnic cleansing of Kurdish civilians in Rojava with great anguish. It is reported that Islamist thugs affiliated with the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra front carried out this brutal massacre in Rojava/Western Kurdistan, located in Northern Syria, over the last few days. It is also reported that civilians were butchered inside their homes, women and children were raped, and that there were also beheadings. In a revealing report on OpenDemocracy, a Kurdish activist says “The people attacked us Kurds just like that in Tal Abyad, because Arab Imams had announced fatwas declaring it is religiously ‘Halal (permissible)’ to kill Kurdish men, then take their property, women and children as slaves. It is really scary to hear it when the mosque is next door to your house in a small town like here, Tal Abyad.”

19. Syria: As Rebels Escalate Genocide Against Kurds, Obama Prepares Air Strikes to Bring Them to Power
31 August 2013 / Santa Cruz IMC
The Obama administration is preparing an imminent military attack on Syria.  British Prime Minister Cameron was to join the U.S. in the attack, but was rebuked by the British parliament, which voted 285 to 272 against a British military attack on Syria. After the vote, David Cameron acknowledged his defeat saying:  “It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the government will act accordingly.”  Barack Obama is also legally required to gain similar approval from the U.S. Congress according to the 1973 War Powers Act. Obama, however, is illegally moving ahead in preparations for war without seeking the approval of the U.S. Congress.  France, the former colonial masters of Syria, however, will still potentially join Obama in a military attack on Syria.

20. Flaws in Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessment on the chemical weapons (CW) attacks
2 September 2013 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
In ‘Means of attack identified, but not motive” (Guardian, 30 August), it was reported that Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessment on the Syrian chemical weapons (CW) attacks based its “conclusion that the Syrian regime was ‘highly likely’ to be responsible, … partly on precedent and the firm view that the opposition was not capable of carrying out attacks on this scale”. JIC’s assessment, which was used by Cameron “to build the case for action” against the Syrian regime (‘Cameron forced to rule out British attack on Syria’, Guardian, 30 August), asserted that “it is being claimed, including by the regime, that the attacks were either faked or undertaken by the Syrian Armed Opposition.”

STATEMENTS

21. The Kurds stand for a peaceful, secular and democratic Syria, 2 September 2013.

RESOURCES

22. The Syria Conflict: West Wants War / Selected articles
5 September 2013 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

 

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