Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 6 – 12 September 2013

“The Kurds stand for a peaceful, secular and democratic Syria”

‘It appears that the Al Nusra rebels, whose leaders have openly pledged support for the Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, are intent on destabilising the Kurdish region and dragging the Syrian Kurds into the violent conflict which they have successfully resisted so far. As an alternative to the bloody uprising, which to date has claimed some 100,000 lives, the Syrian Kurds led by the PYD have put forward detailed and constructive proposals for a peaceful democratic transformation of Syria that preserves the ethnic diversity and secular character of the country. These proposals need to be more widely supported as they lay the basis for a way forward for Syria […]’

Read the rest of our latest statement, which we also sent as an open letter to US President Barack Obama this week, here:

NEWS
1. KCK: We will be supporting the struggle of democracy powers in Turkey
2. PKK pullout halt puts Kurdish bid in danger
3. Turkey to unveil reforms key to Kurdish peace next week – Erdogan says
4. 33rd Anniversary of the September 12, 1980 Coup: The putschists’ constitution is always in force
5. Turkish NGO takes humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees
6. Turkish Government Killed One More Anti-War Protester in Antakya (Antioch)
7. 25 gang members killed, nine taken captive in Aleppo
8. CONFIRMED: US Claims Against Syria – There is no Evidence
9. US Planned Syrian Civilian Catastrophe Since 2007
10. Peace Day speaker criticises chemical attack

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
11. Is Turkey’s peace process with the Kurds collapsing?
12. In Kurdish Syria, A Different War – Analysis
13. Syria’s Sisters of War
14. Gerger: Turkey cannot endure if peace process fails
15. Turkey’s Kurdish Strategy Muddled By Talk of US Syria Strike
16. Ankara Embraces Regime Change: Zero Problems and the Syrian Crisis
17. VIDEO: Chomsky: Instead of “Illegal” Threat to Syria, U.S. Should Back Chemical Weapons Ban in All Nations
18. The silent military coup that took over Washington
19. The Kurdish Quest in Syria
20. Syria, Obama: Wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan, wrong man
21. Letter: Obama, Kerry misguided on Syria
22. Interview Pr. Noam Chomsky
23. War comes to Syria’s quiet Christian hinterland
24. Divided town of Deir Ezzour is a microcosm of Syria’s bitter conflict
25. Paris Institute an Anchor for Kurds Worldwide

STATEMENTS
26. Statement by The Co-Presidency of KCK Executive Council

ACTIONS
27. New video and humanitarian appeal: Stop the Massacres in Rojava
28. GIT America Petition: Academic Freedom is Our Freedom!

 

NEWS

1. KCK: We will be supporting the struggle of democracy powers in Turkey
11 September 2013 / ANF
In a statement condemning the killing of 22 year old Ahmet Atakan by police in Hatay on Monday, Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Presidency said that they would be supporting the struggle of democracy powers in Turkey. KCK strongly condemned the murder of Ahmet Atakan as a result of police violence and called on the Kurdish people to do their part for the achievement of democracy and a solution to the Kurdish question. Remarking that the AKP government is supressing the meetings and demonstrations with police force not only in Kurdistan but also across Turkey, KCK underlined that each demo in the country ended up with the death of several demonstrators deliberately aimed at by police forces. KCK noted that the AKP government has created a police state by multiplying the number of police forces and providing them with new technical equipments.

2. PKK pullout halt puts Kurdish bid in danger
9 September 2013 / Hurriyet
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) announced yesterday that it was halting the pullout of its militants from Turkey, putting the fragile process to find a solution to the decades-long Kurdish problem in jeopardy. In a statement carried by the Fırat news agency, which is known to have close links with the PKK, the group pledged to maintain a cease-fire for now. “While the withdrawal is halted, the cease-fire position will be maintained so as to give [the ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP an opportunity to take steps in line with Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]’s project,” the PKK said in the statement.

3. Turkey to unveil reforms key to Kurdish peace next week – Erdogan says
12 September 2013 / Reuters
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he would announce next week a package of reforms designed to strengthen democracy and keep on track a fragile peace process to end an insurgency by Kurdish militants. The announcement of the “democratisation package” follows the declaration this week by the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that it had halted its withdrawal of fighters from Turkey because the government had failed to take steps it had agreed to. Kurdish politicians are seeking reforms to allow full Kurdish-language education, soften anti-terrorism laws, lower the electoral threshold to enter parliament from 10 percent and strengthen local government, but it was unclear how far the package would go in satisfying these demands.

4. 33rd Anniversary of the September 12, 1980 Coup: The putschists’ constitution is always in force
12 September 2013 / InfoTurk
September 12, 2013 marks the 33rd dark anniversary of the 1980 Military Coup, second phase of a process of militarization in all fields of the country. In fact, the Coup of March 12, 1971 had already abolished or destroyed many democratic rights and institutions by the application of a repression without precedent.  The 1980 Coup completed the militarization by imposing to the country a racist and despotic constitution following a more cruel repression. The 1982 Constitution denies the basic rights of the Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian, Ezidi and Greek peoples of Turkey. Articles 3, 42 and 66 preach the superiority and the monopoly of the Turkish race and language. Article 4 declares that Article 3 can never be modified, even its modification can never be proposed. For 33 years, despite all protests of democratic forces, all governments have ruled the country always under the threats and blackmails of the military hierarchy.

5. Turkish NGO takes humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees
7 September 2013 / World Bulletin
A Turkish NGO “Kimse Yok Mu” sent a lorry of basic foodstuff and clothing to the Kawrgosk Refugee Camp in Northern Iraq, where tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds settled after fleeing violent civil war in Syria. North Iraqi officials stated that this kind of organizations helps the consolidation of brotherhood of Turkish and Kurdish nations and Head of Kimse Yok Mu’s Diyarbakır Branch quoted that they do not consider language, race or religion of the people while they are in need. More than 200 thousand civilian Kurds fled to Northern Iraq after violence among Terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) Syrian offset PYD and al-Nusra Front militants. Northern Iraq’s Local government is having hard time to address their needs as the number of refugees became multiple times more than expected.

6. Turkish Government Killed One More Anti-War Protester in Antakya (Antioch)
10 September 2013 / Medium
Yesterday in the evening; there were anti-war protests in Antioch/Turkey, as Turkish Government and USA are thought to be preparing for a military intervention, which is believed to be threatening lives of millions of people, against Syria . Police used violence against protesters and 22-year-ol Ahmet Atakan was shot by tear gas canister. First his heart stopped beating; after a few hours we have been informed that Ahmet Atakan passed away.His body was sent to Adana forensic medicine institution for autopsy. His comrades and friends are still waiting on the spot where he was shot. He became the sixth person killed since the start of the protests in May 27th. There had been calls for the protests in different cities of Turkey this evening and attendance is expected to be much higher than last few weeks.

7. 25 gang members killed, nine taken captive in Aleppo
7 September 2013 / ANF
Clashes are going on in Aleppo since armed gang groups acting for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) attacked the control points of YPG (People’s Defense Units) and the Kurdish al-Akrad Front in Kurdish neighborhoods on Friday afternoon. An armed group led by Xalid Heyani and the Rebii EL Erebi group, accompanied by Selahaddin Brigade and some groups affiliated to Azadi Party, launched the attack against YPG control points in the mainly Kurdish Sheik Maksoud (Şêx Meqsûd), Esrefiye, Sekin Şebabi and Şiqêf neighborhoods of Aleppo city. YPG and al-Akrad fighters strongly responded to the heavy weapon attacks of the gang groups which were later joined and supported by some other jihadist groups. At least 25 members of the gang groups were killed and many others were wounded in clashes with YPG fighters who also took nine gang members captive. Kurdish fighters also seized three headquarters of the Heyani group in the Seken Şebabi neighborhood.

8. CONFIRMED: US Claims Against Syria – There is no Evidence
28 August 2013 / Land Destroyer Report
The Wall Street Journal has confirmed what many suspected, that the West’s so-called “evidence” of the latest alleged “chemical attacks” in Syria, pinned on the Syrian government are fabrications spun up from the West’s own dubious intelligence agencies. The Wall Street Journal reveals that the US is citing claims from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency fed to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a repeat of the fabrications that led up to the Iraq War, the Libyan War, and have been used now for 3 years to justify continued support of extremists operating within and along Syria’s borders.

9. US Planned Syrian Civilian Catastrophe Since 2007
4 September 2013 / Land Destroyer Report
NBC News’ report, “‘The great tragedy of this century’: More than 2 million refugees forced out of Syria,” stated: More than 2 million Syrians have poured into neighboring countries as refugees, the United Nations revealed on Tuesday. Around 5,000 people per day are fleeing the three-year conflict, which the U.N. says has already claimed over 100,000 lives.   “Syria has become the great tragedy of this century — a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history,” said António Guterres,  the U.N.’s high commissioner responsible for refugees.  But, while the UN and nations across the West feign shock over the growing humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in and around Syria, the goal of a violent sectarian conflict and its predictable, catastrophic results along with calls to literally “bleed” Syria have been the underlying strategy of special interests in the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their regional partners since at least 2007.

10. Peace Day speaker criticises chemical attack
4 September 2013 / SES Turkey
The chairwoman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) used a World Peace Day rally as a platform to criticise the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, where a two-year civil war has killed 100,000 people and sent more than 450,000 refugees fleeing into Turkey. BDP co-chairwoman Gultan Kisanak addressed a crowd of thousands at a rally in Diyarbakir on September 1st to denounce the August 21st chemical weapons attack in Damascus that killed more than 1,000 civilians, but warned that the Turkish government should not intervene in Syria. “If Turkey is going to play a role, it should do so for a political solution, peace, and the brotherhood of peoples,” she said. The opposition in Syria blamed Assad’s forces for the chemical attack, but the government has denied responsibility.

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

11. Is Turkey’s peace process with the Kurds collapsing?
9 September 2013 / BBC News
The Kurdish rebel PKK’s announcement that it is ending its withdrawal from Turkey casts doubt on a peace process that many had hoped was the best chance yet of ending a 30-year conflict. Mahmut Hamsici, of BBC Turkish, reports from PKK camps in northern Iraq. Devrim, a PKK fighter, joined the organisation in the mid-1990s. After a long period spent in the mountains of Turkey, she pulled back to Iraqi Kurdistan two months ago as part of the PKK’s withdrawal from Turkish soil. The deserted mountains of Iraq’s Behdinan region, running along Turkey’s south-eastern border, are now home to PKK camps and groups of fighters like Devrim. After three decades and more than 40,000 deaths, a new peace process was launched in March.

12. In Kurdish Syria, A Different War – Analysis
11 September 2013 / Eurasia Review
On August 15, a car bomb ripped through a Beirut suburb, killing 21 people. The explosion was but the latest in a wave of attacks across Lebanon throughout 2012 and 2013 that were linked to events inside Syria. The ease with which violence in Iraq and Syria has negatively impacted surrounding countries underscores the declining significance of borders throughout the Levant. Sectarian and ethnic identities, rather than citizenship, are proving increasingly influential in shaping the political orientation of communities throughout the region. From Beirut to Baghdad, conservative Sunni Islamists wish to rid the Arab world of Iranian influence, weaken Hezbollah’s position, and restore Sunni rule to Iraq and Syria. Naturally, the Levant’s Shia and Alawite communities are unified in opposition to this agenda. Amid these deepening regional divisions, a new opening has emerged for one of the Middle East’s longest-suffering minority groups: the Kurds.

13. Syria’s Sisters of War
10 September 2013 / The Daily Beast
Cracks of sniper fire and the thud of artillery echo around the deserted neighborhood. Dressed in a bright purple top, tight jeans, and a bohemian headband, Delar, a young Kurdish Syrian woman, brandishes her AK-47 like a seasoned soldier, clipping in the magazine and taking aim. At the heart of the embattled Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood in Aleppo in northern Syria, Delar, 22, is an unusual sight on the front lines—a woman fighting alongside the men against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. “There is no difference between women and the guys here. I learn to fight, and they learn to cook,” says Delar, who fights with the female branch of the Kurdish YPG army. Unusual for this part of Syria, neither Delar nor her female commanders wear hijabs on the front lines.

14. Gerger: Turkey cannot endure if peace process fails
8 September 2013 / ANF
Speaking at a “Peace and resolution process” themed conference in İzmir, Middle East specialist Professor Haluk Gerger pointed out that the lack of law and justice in Turkey was because of not the ruling AKP government but the present system in the country. Gerger remarked that the system in Turkey needed to change in order for the achievement of changes in all areas of life. Gerger pointed out that the Kurdish issue has deepened since the establishment of the Turkish Republic, adding; “The last 30 years in the country have passed in a dirty war which is still continuing. The Kurdish question needs to be approached from a regional aspect but in consideration of the fact that it is an international matter”.

15. Turkey’s Kurdish Strategy Muddled By Talk of US Syria Strike
5 September 2013 / Al Monitor
The opening of the border between Turkey and Syria’s Rojava (Western Kurdistan), which we have been treating at different times with optimism, caution and suspicion, has not achieved any of its desired results.  On Aug. 6, when I met in Istanbul with a representative of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), he told me that they were asked by Turkish Foreign Ministry officials to “wait 10 days for good developments.” The most significant development expected from the dialogue Ankara established with PYD co-chair Salih Muslim was the opening of border crossings between Turkey and Rojava, the Kurdish region in Syria’s north. For the Kurds, the opening of the crossings would be an important sign of the end of Turkey’s hostile attitude, held ever since the PYD took control of the region.

16. Ankara Embraces Regime Change: Zero Problems and the Syrian Crisis
10 September 2013 / RUSI
After the ruling and Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) election in 2002, Turkish foreign makers sought to deepen the country’s influence in the Middle East. Thus, in a departure from the Kemalist favoured ‘peace at home, peace abroad’, foreign policy mantra, the AKP began to actively engage with countries in the region.Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described Turkey as a ‘centre state’ intent on acting independently when making foreign policy decisions. Thus, in order for Turkey to move beyond the Cold War era mind-set that dominated and limited previous decision-making, Ankara must first embrace its own identity via democratic reforms at home, and then act independently when making foreign policy decisions abroad.

17. VIDEO: Chomsky: Instead of “Illegal” Threat to Syria, U.S. Should Back Chemical Weapons Ban in All Nations
11 September 2013 / Democracy Now
I
n a national address from the White House Tuesday night, President Obama announced he is delaying a plan to strike Syria while pursuing a diplomatic effort from Russia for international monitors to take over and destroy Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons. However, Obama still threatened to use force against Syria if the plan fails. We get reaction to Obama’s speech from world-renowned political dissident and linguist, MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky. “The Russian plan is a godsend for Obama,” Chomsky says. “It saves him from what would look like a very serious defeat. He has not been able to obtain virtually any international support, and it looked as though Congress wasn’t going to support it either, which would leave him completely out on a limb. This leaves him a way out: He can maintain the threat of force, which incidentally is a crime under international law. We should bear in mind that the core principle of the United Nations Charter bars the threat or use of force. So all of this is criminal, to begin with, but he’ll continue with that.”

18. The silent military coup that took over Washington
10 September 2013 / Guardian
John Pilger: On my wall is the Daily Express front page of September 5 1945 and the words: “I write this as a warning to the world.” So began Wilfred Burchett’s report from Hiroshima. It was the scoop of the century. For his lone, perilous journey that defied the US occupation authorities, Burchett was pilloried, not least by his embedded colleagues. He warned that an act of premeditated mass murder on an epic scale had launched a new era of terror. Almost every day now, he is vindicated. The intrinsic criminality of the atomic bombing is borne out in the US National Archives and by the subsequent decades of militarism camouflaged as democracy. The Syria psychodrama exemplifies this. Yet again we are held hostage by the prospect of a terrorism whose nature and history even the most liberal critics still deny. The great unmentionable is that humanity’s most dangerous enemy resides across the Atlantic.

19. The Kurdish Quest in Syria
7 September 2013 / Huffington Post
Delovan Barwari, Fmr. president, American Kurdish Council of California: The tragedy unfolding in Syria will likely provide an opportunity for the Kurds of Syria, the largest ethnic minority that has been long discriminated against by the regime, to achieve their political and cultural rights under a federal democratic system or possibly establishing an independent Kurdish state in the post Assad era. Nonetheless, they must unite and prepare for what lies ahead, especially as the President Obama is anticipating the congressional approval for military strikes on Syria. Endemic corruption, poverty, high unemployment, and the desire for democratic principles such as civic equality, political freedom, and freedom of speech ignited the Arab Spring in Tunisia in December 2010, which quickly spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria.

20. Syria, Obama: Wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan, wrong man
7 September 2013 / The Nation
It is hard, if you’ve got a head and a heart, to come down against a strong US response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons against its civilian population. This is especially so if you believe that humanity stands at a door that leads only to darkness. Those who say, “But Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons-the taboo was broken long ago,” are missing the point. When Saddam used gas against the Kurds it was not immediately known to all the world. It was not common knowledge. The world rued it in retrospect. Syria is different: It is the first obvious, undeniable, real-time, YouTubed use of chemical weapons. The whole world knew of it the morning after it happened, through horrified, first-person accounts, from videos of hospital workers and victims’ families.

21. Letter: Obama, Kerry misguided on Syria
6 September 2013 / Aiken Standard
Leave it to President Obama to cunningly distract the country from the scandals that plagued his administration for the past year with wanting to strike a sovereign country because its tyrannical leader has gassed his own people. This would be the same man who opposed the Iraq war and former President Bush for going after another murderous tyrant who gassed thousands of Kurds. His excuse to invade Syria over the use of gas that killed 1,400 or more people is hypocritical at best. To add insult to injury, Secretary of State John Kerry goes public with a great speech to invade another country, telling we the people that we should jump on board. This is the same man who went before Congress during the Vietnam War and charged that our military was committing atrocities in that country without providing evidence.

22. Interview Pr. Noam Chomsky
6 September 2013 / Le Mur a des Oreilles
Phone interview with Noam Chomsky (recorded 06/09/2013)

23. War comes to Syria’s quiet Christian hinterland
8 September 2013 / Independent
Patrick Cockburn: At the end of last year I visited the ancient Christian town of Maloula in a deep gorge in the mountains 20 miles north-west of Damascus. It has been a place of refuge for 2,000 years, its cliffs riddled with caves and its buildings clinging to towering walls of rock. It is one of the few towns in Syria where Christians are a majority and the only place where Western Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is still spoken. People in Maloula were nervous when I was there, wondering just how long they would remain immune or at least largely unaffected by the violence that had engulfed the rest of Syria. Already, they were feeling its impact, mostly in the shape of criminal attacks on well-off Christians.

24. Divided town of Deir Ezzour is a microcosm of Syria’s bitter conflict
12 September 2013 / Amnesty International
As the threat of military intervention looms over an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus, in a far flung corner of Syria the town of Deir Ezzour offers an insight into the suffering of ordinary Syrians.  Once a thriving hub of Syria’s oil industry, today Deir Ezzour has become a bleak microcosm of the Syrian conflict. The town, on the banks of the Euphrates River, some 450km north-east of the capital, is divided. Half is under the control of Syrian government forces and the other half is in the hands of armed opposition fighters, who also control much of the surrounding areas all the way to the Iraqi border.  Few outsiders make it to this isolated corner of Syria. No human rights organizations and only a handful of journalists have visited the town. The opposition-controlled section of the town is the only area I can access as the Syrian government has banned Amnesty International and other human rights organizations from areas of the country under its command. The streets are eerily quiet and much of the town is in ruin. Many of the residents have fled.

25. Paris Institute an Anchor for Kurds Worldwide
11 September 2013 / Rudaw
When Kurds fled the Middle East in large numbers after Turkey’s crackdown on its large Kurdish minority following the 1980 military coup and during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war, it was the Kurdish Institute of Paris that helped many of the intellectuals in the fleeing crowds settle in France. One of the oldest Kurdish organizations in the West, the institute has served as an ambassador for the Kurdish language, history and cultural heritage. Its tasks have included gathering Kurdish and Western activists and specialists together to influence international policy makers. The institute has helped many Kurdish artists escape repression in Iran, Iraq and Turkey, among them Yilmaz Guney, the Turkish-born award-winning film director who was acclaimed at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival for his film, ‘’Yol.’’

STATEMENTS

26. Statement by The Co-Presidency of KCK Executive Council, 9 September 2013.

ACTIONS

27. New video and humanitarian appeal: Stop the Massacres in Rojava

28. GIT America Petition: Academic Freedom is Our Freedom! 8 September 2013.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: