Kurdish News Update, 30 December 2013

NEWS
1. Öcalan’s New Photos Released
2. Kurdish MP and HDP co-chair may lose parliamentary seat after top court approves sentence
3. Diyarbakir Mayor Tops List of BDP Candidates for Turkish Municipal Polls
4. KONGRA-GEL: Roboski will continue to be Erdoğan’s nightmare
5. Turkey applies to France for convicted sociologist Pınar Selek’s extradition
6. Around 500 lawyers gather in Silivri for trial of their colleagues
7. Kurdish Groups Agree to Attend Geneva 2 Under United Banner
8. EUTCC supports Kurdish Supreme Council’s participation in Geneva II
9. Syrian Kurds Agree to Side with Opposition in Geneva Talks
10. YPG liberate 17 villages and progressing towards Tel Hamis
11. Three Ministers Resign, One Urges PM to Resign in Turkey
12. Protesters take to the streets to protest against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan amid a growing corruption scandal

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
13. VIDEO: Rojava: Syria’s Unknown War
14. Reflections from Diyarbakir: Delivering the Message of ARF Youth
15. Rights Lawyer: Turkey Must Free Prisoners to Prove it is Sincere About Peace
16. Will Turkey’s Erdoğan Cause His Own Downfall?
17. Yet another Obama bungle: Turkey

STATEMENTS
18. Prominent human rights lawyer and women’s rights campaigner returns from solidarity visit to Rojava
19. KNK Statement: Roboski Massacre

 

NEWS

1. Öcalan’s New Photos Released
24 December 2013 / Bianet
PKK leader Öcalan’s new photos have been released as he met BDP Co-Chair Demirtaş and BDP Group Interim Chair Pervin Buldan on Imrali Island.  Released by Dicle News Agency (DIHA), the photos showed PKK leader Öcalan meeting with BDP Co-Chair Demirtaş and BDP Group Interim Chair Pervin Buldan on the peace process.  Öcalan was captured on 16 February 1999 in Kenya and jailed in Imralı Prison ever since. On 29 June 1999, he was sentenced to death.

2. Kurdish MP and HDP co-chair may lose parliamentary seat after top court approves sentence
29 December 2013 / Hurriyet
The co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Sebahat Tuncel may lose her parliamentary seat after the Supreme Court of Appeals approved on Dec. 28 an eight-year sentence against her for membership in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Elected from the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) list during the 2011 general elections, Tuncel recently joined the HDP, an umbrella party formed by leftist movements and supported by the Kurds, along with two other prominent BDP lawmakers, Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Sırrı Süreyya Önder. Tuncel may lose her parliamentary seat and immunity after the Supreme Court of Appeal’s eight-year, nine-month sentence is read out in the General Assembly, according to reports.

3. Diyarbakir Mayor Tops List of BDP Candidates for Turkish Municipal Polls
27 December 2013 / Rudaw

Prominent in the list of candidates, announced by Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) for municipal elections next March, are Diyarbakir mayor Osman Baydemir and the party’s own former co-leader Ahmet Turk, as well as 32 female hopefuls. As political parties in Turkey gear for the polls, BDP is going full strength by nominating some of its most veteran leaders. Turk has been nominated for the city of Mardin. According to a Rudaw correspondent in Diyarbakir, the BDP is working with a new system, nominating a female candidate for every male hopeful. There are 32 female candidates running across the country. In a speech announcing the list of candidates, BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas said that his party offers an alternative to all other political and religious groups in Turkey.

4. KONGRA-GEL: Roboski will continue to be Erdoğan’s nightmare
29 December 2013 / ANHA News
The KONGRA-GEL executive council has issued a statement to mark the second anniversary of the Roboski massacre in which 34 civilians, mostly children, were killed by Turkish warplanes on 28 December 2011. KONGRA-GEL remarked that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the person responsible for the Roboski massacre, and that is why he cannot admit it, and therefore it will continue to be his nightmare. The statement continued, noting that two years have passed since the attack, adding: “For two whole years the AKP government has ignored the cries of the people of Roboski, but the murderers cannot escape.”

5. Turkey applies to France for convicted sociologist Pınar Selek’s extradition
29 December 2013 / Hurriyet
Turkey’s Justice Ministry has applied to French authorities to request sociologist Pınar Selek’s extradition to Turkey, Cihan news agency reported Dec. 29.  Selek, a feminist scholar who resides in Strasbourg, was convicted of bombing Istanbul’s famous Spice Bazaar in 1998 and sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment last January, despite being acquitted of the same charge three times in the past. The verdict, which has stirred great outrage both inside and outside Turkey, was handed down in spite of the chief judge Vedat Yılmazabdurrahmanoğlu’s opposition. The chief judge rejected the verdict on the grounds that there was a lack of proof that the explosion was even caused by a bomb, but he was outvoted by his colleagues on the court board.

6. Around 500 lawyers gather in Silivri for trial of their colleagues
24 December 2013 / Hurriyet
Hundreds of lawyers gathered in Istanbul’s Silivri to watch 22 of their colleagues working for the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) being tried over alleged links with the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). All 22 lawyers, who were working for the organization that provides judicial support to human rights victims, are accused of aiding the far-leftist terrorist organization. Nine of the suspects were jailed pending the trial, which will be the first time all 22 suspects have appeared before a judge.

7. Kurdish Groups Agree to Attend Geneva 2 Under United Banner
26 December 2013 / Rudaw
The Syrian Kurdish People’s Council and Kurdistan National Council (KNC) have agreed to attend next month’s Geneva 2 conference under a united banner, and to reopen the Peshkhabur border with the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. The agreement was declared Tuesday in Erbil by Abdulsalam Ahmed, the co-leader of the People’s Council that is affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and Tahir Sifuk, who heads the KNC. Both leaders confirmed that Kurds will take part in the UN-backed conference in Geneva on January 22 as a single voice, and that whichever side attends, it will represent the other as well. They also announced a deal to reopen the Peshkhabur border crossing between Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and the Kurdistan Region for humanitarian aid, trade and political delegations within 48 hours after signing the agreement.

8. EUTCC supports Kurdish Supreme Council’s participation in Geneva II
27 December 2013 / ANF
The EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) has sent a letter to UN, US, EU – and all other relevant representatives in support of the participation of the Kurdish Supreme Council in Geneva II in which the ongoing situation in Syria will be discussed in details on 22 January 2014. The letter was signed by Kariane Westrheim, Chair of EUTCC and the 10th EUTCC conference, on EU, Turkey and the Kurds, held 4 and 5 December 2013, under the theme ‘Turkey, the Kurds and the Imralı Peace Process: A Historical Opportunity’ was attended by EU parliamentarians, civil society activists, journalists, academics and politicians from across Turkey, Europe, America and the Middle East and discussed the peace process undertaken by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leader of the PKK, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan.

9. Syrian Kurds Agree to Side with Opposition in Geneva Talks
26 December 2013 / IEDE
Despite an atmosphere of deep mutual distrust, two major rival Syrian Kurdish bodies have agreed to attend an expected international conference on the fate of Syria, known as Geneva II, on the side of the Syrian opposition forces, Syrian Kurdish sources told IPS. That is contingent on the possibility that only two sides will be allowed to sit at the negotiating table: the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition groups.  Although the decision represents a significant change of direction on the part of the deeply-divided Syrian Kurds, there are serious doubts as to whether the agreement between the Western Kurdistan People’s Council (WKPC) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC) will actually be implemented.

10. YPG liberate 17 villages and progressing towards Tel Hamis
30 December 2013 / ANHA News
The number of villages liberated by the People’s Defense Units (YPG) in the campaign initiated by the request of all the components of the region in order to liberate the region from groups of mercenaries. The fourth day of the campaign initiated by the People’s Defence Units (YPG) at the request of the people of the region, progress of the YPG, especially in the front, which lies west of Tal Hamis point of the town of Tell Brak. The total proceeds of the liberated villages in front of Tell Brak – Tel Hamis since the beginning of the campaign, 17 villages. And maintained YPG provided by the fronts in the south, east and north of Tal Hamis where the tightly grip on the process of encircling the town, close to the ones in front of Tel Panthers – Tel Hamis a distance of 3 kms.

11. Three Ministers Resign, One Urges PM to Resign in Turkey
25 December 2013 / Bianet
3 cabinet ministers declared their resignations this morning while resigner Environment and Urbanization Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar urging PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to resign as well. “PM Erdoğan knew everything [regarding the corruption allegations]. He must resign too,” he told NTV.  “I don’t find anything insulting or inexplainable in the corruption case file after December 17 raids. While PM has the right to work with any minister that he assigns, he also has the right to replace any minister he likes. It is within his competencies.  “However, I don’t accept pressures towards resignation or releasing a relieving statement concerning the corruption probe.

12. Protesters take to the streets to protest against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan amid a growing corruption scandal
27 December 2013 / Buzzfeed
Turkish riot police clashed in Istanbul on Friday with anti-government protestors demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, after a scandal erupted over allegations of widespread government corruption.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

13. VIDEO: Rojava: Syria’s Unknown War
24 December 2013 / Vice
As Syria’s bloody civil war enters its third year, fighting has reached the country’s Kurdish-dominated northeast, a region until recently almost untouched by the conflict. The Kurdish PYD party and its YPG militia, which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in neighbouring Turkey, took over control of much of Hassakeh province from the Assad regime in the summer of 2012, and with it control of Syria’s precious oilfields.

14. Reflections from Diyarbakir: Delivering the Message of ARF Youth
28 December 2013 / The Armenian Weekly
Navaf came rushing to the stage as we were coming off, ready to greet us with this piece of amazing news he had wanted to share for a long time now. My friend and I had just finished addressing the first youth conference of the Peace and Democracy of Turkey (BDP) in Diyarbakir (Dikranagerd). The mostly Kurdish crowd of supporters, upwards of 30,000, had watched in astonishment as two representatives of the ARF Youth and Student Organizations addressed the crowd first in Armenian and later in Turkish. Although I had briefly studied the Turkish language during my university days, something within me, instinct perhaps, had never allowed me to become fluent; and so, I had the honor of addressing the crowd in Armenian.

15. Rights Lawyer: Turkey Must Free Prisoners to Prove it is Sincere About Peace
26 December 2013 / Rudaw

Eren Keskin, the vice-president of the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD), has probably done more than most people for human rights in her country. And she has undoubtedly paid dearly for her work. She has been the subject of about a hundred lawsuits related to her human rights activities. In 1995, Keskin was sentenced to two-and-half years in prison for using the word “Kurdistan” in the article “The World Owes it to the Kurdish People,” which she published in the pro-Kurdish Ozgur Gundem newspaper. The same year she was named by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. But Keskin said the issue is bigger than just the use of the word Kurdistan. “We are talking about a geography which has been divided into four parts,” she told Rudaw in a recent interview. She said she learned about the hardship of the Kurds in Turkey by hearing of past massacres.

16. Will Turkey’s Erdoğan Cause His Own Downfall?
27 December 2013 / New Yorker
The revolution always eats its children: in France, in the Soviet Union, in China, and, now, in Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one of the most remarkable figures in the modern Middle East, is fast discovering that the authoritarian measures he has increasingly relied on to govern Turkey, and the cult of personality he has built around himself, are conspiring to bring about his political demise. Early this week, three members of Erdoğan’s cabinet, their sons implicated in a far-reaching corruption investigation, resigned, and one of them called on Erdoğan himself to quit. Yesterday, Erdoğan, in a blatant attempt to thwart the investigation, dismissed the lead prosecutor after he announced that he was investigating Erdoğan’s son. The drama is just beginning.

17. Yet another Obama bungle: Turkey
29 December 2013 / American Thinker
Barack Obama bet big on Turkey becoming an anchor of stability and democracy in the Middle East. And he is losing. As David Goldman writes at PJM: Obama went out of his way to make Erdogan his principal pal in foreign policy. I have been ridiculing this notion for years, for example in this 2010 essay for Tablet. As with nearly every other aspect of his Middle East policy, Obama is losing, big time. Turkey faces political and economic potential collapse.

STATEMENTS

18. Prominent human rights lawyer and women’s rights campaigner returns from solidarity visit to Rojava, 30 December 2013.

19. KNK Statement: Roboski Massacre. 28 December 2013.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: