Kurdish News Weekly Briefing 11 – 17 January 2014

NEWS
1. Kurdish protesters claim anti-terror police confiscated their cash
2. Hundred thousands say justice for Sakine, Fidan and Leyla
3. Kurds demonstrate over murder of activists in Paris last year
4. Kurds rally in Paris for faster inquiry into activist killings
5.
Turkey Spy Agency Denies Role in Paris Murder of Kurds
6. PKK jailed chief calls for renewed peace talks
7. Ferhat Encü Faces Prosecution as Roboski Case Dismissed
8. Police Report Recommends 13 y.o. to Be Charged With Article 301
9. Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan go to the polls
10. PYD leader: Kurds will not attend Geneva II unless Kurdish question is on agenda
11. Demirtaş: Rojava is the model for a resolution in Syria
12.  “PYD have established a model for Syria”
13. Ok: If Kurds are not recognised as a third party they’ll reject Geneva
14. Peshkhabur Crossing Reopens to Humanitarian Visits and Trade

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
15. Turkey’s power struggle affects Kurdish issue
16 . US-Turkey partnership in the Roboski and Paris murders
17. The many crises of Erdogan: have we come to an end-game?
18. A Rift In The Ruling Class
19. Gul calls for reset of Turkey’s Syria policy
20
. Repeating the Iraq Mistake in Syria
21. Time for U.S. to embrace Syria’s Kurds
22. Syrian women demand to take part in the peace talks in Geneva
23. VIDEO: Rojava: Syria’s Unknown War
24. Syrian Kurds aim to benefit from Islamist infighting
25. Good Kurd, Bad Kurd: The AKP’s Rapprochment with the KRG
26.
After the Awakening: Future Security Trends in the Middle East

ACTIONS
27. BEACON: A nation of 40 million without a voice
28. Haldane Society writes to Turkish Embassy ahead of Erbey trial

STATEMENTS
29. Kurdish Democratic Society Congress in Europe: ‘Confessions of a murderer’
30. KCK Executive Council Statement on Geneva II


NEWS

1. Kurdish protesters claim anti-terror police confiscated their cash
16 January 2014 / The Guardian
Kurdish protesters detained overnight at Dover on their way to a demonstration in Paris have claimed that their wallets were all but emptied by Metropolitan police officers under controversial anti-terror laws. The mass detention and confiscation of personal cash was carried out last Saturday under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows officers to stop and search people for up to nine hours and confiscate material even if there were no previous grounds for suspicion.

2. Hundred thousands say justice for Sakine, Fidan and Leyla
11 January 2014 / ANF
Some hundred thousand people walked today in Paris to ask justice for Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez, the three Kurdish women politicians killed in the French capital on 9 January 2013.

3. Kurds demonstrate over murder of activists in Paris last year
11 January 2014 / Press TV
These Kurdish protesters say they want justice in the triple murder case of Kurdish activists in 2013. Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez were leading Kurdish activists who were found dead in at the Kurdish Cultural Institute. Although French investigators initially provided three possible reasons behind the case, the French judiciary has announced it is following only one.

4. Kurds rally in Paris for faster inquiry into activist killings
11 January 2014 / Reuters
Thousands of Kurdish demonstrators from around Europe marched in Paris on Saturday to call for a speedier investigation into the murder of three Kurdish activists a year ago. Sakine Cansiz, a founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the early 1980s, and two other Kurdish women were found shot dead in Paris in January 2013. Carrying banners reading “Turkish state the murderer, France the accomplice”, demonstrators accused the Turkish state of being behind the murders and criticized the French judiciary for what they said was the slow pace of the investigation.

5. Turkey Spy Agency Denies Role in Paris Murder of Kurds
16 January 2014 / eKurd
Turkey’s spy agency has denied it was involved in the killings of three female Kurdish rebels in Paris a year ago but has launched an internal probe into the case. A Turkish national has been charged in France over the triple murder but the motive remains unknown. Turkey has suggested the killings were the result of an internal feud in the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over the peace process. Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) took the unusual step of issuing a statement after voice recordings and documents published in the media claimed it had paid around 6,000 euros ($8,000) to the suspect, Omer Guney.

6. PKK jailed chief calls for renewed peace talks
12 January 2014 / Press TV
The locked-up head of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan has called on the Turkish government to act swiftly to put the peace process on its agenda as soon as possible, warning that the process cannot remain unattended to forever. In a statement on Saturday, the PKK chieftain reiterated his party’s resolve to engage in talks with the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

7. Ferhat Encü Faces Prosecution as Roboski Case Dismissed
10 January 2014 / Bianet
Ferhat Encü, a Kurdish man who lost 11 family members in Roboski Massacre, has been charged with insulting gendarmerie officials, facing up to 4 years of prison. “I won’t go to the courthouse. I won’t stand trials. We don’t recognize court that don’t recognize justice. Instead of investigating the Roboski Massacre, they are investigating me,” he told bianet.  On Tuesday, Turkish Military Prosecutor’s Office released a statement, saying that they decided not to follow charges in Roboski Massacre case.

8. Police Report Recommends 13 y.o. to Be Charged With Article 301
10 January 2014 / Bianet

A 13 year old child has been ordered to stand trial on January 21 for writing wall slogans “Government Resign” and Death to Fascism” during Gezi Resistance protests in the northwestern province of Çanakkale.  The child, whose name was undisclosed, has been charged with violating Turkish Penal Code Article 152/1 on “state property damage”. He is currently facing prison sentence from 2 up to 6 years.  “As the incident qualifies for Article 301 on insulting the values of Turkish nation, Republic of Turkey and state institution…” Çanakkale Vice Police Commissioner T.G. wrote to Kids Police Headquarters.

9. Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan go to the polls
17 January 2014 / eKurd
Voters in the canton of Efrin – one of the three, newly formed cantons in Syrian Kurdistan [Rojava] – have gone to the polls to elect representatives for the newly formed Assembly of Democratic Autonomy. The election in Efrin follows elections in districts of Şiyê, Cindirês, and Şêrawa – all within the Efrin canton – and marks an important step in the development of the project of Democratic Autonomy. In line with the decision taken by the Legislative Assembly of Autonomous Government of Western Kurdistan in its meeting between January 6 and 7th, each canton will form its own Autonomous Governing Council. The Legislative Assembly accepted the “Social Contract” as the basis of its constitution and officially divided the region into three cantons – Kobani, Efrin and Jazira. This model of government is based on four pillars: the canton system, the Legislative Assembly, the Government, and the Justice and High Election Commission.

10. PYD leader: Kurds will not attend Geneva II unless Kurdish question is on agenda
15 January 2014 / eKurd
Syrian Kurdish PYD party co-chair Salih Muslim has stated at a press conference in Paris that the Kurds will not participate in the Geneva II Conference unless they are represented and the resolution of the Kurdish question is on the agenda. Muslim added that a meeting that did not address the Kurdish question would be like a second Lausanne. At the press conference entitled ‘The situation in Rojava and Syria prior to Geneva’, Muslim answered questions put to him by ANF, saying: “We will take part if the settling of the Kurdish question is to be discussed.” Muslim said that Syrian Kurdistan [Rojava] was the heart of the struggle, adding: “the struggle has been continuing for 3 years. In July certain things became clear.”

11. Demirtaş: Rojava is the model for a resolution in Syria
12 January 2014 / ANF
BDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said the key to a resolution of the conflict in Syria was the model established by the Rojava Kurds, criticizing the West for “still supporting the Free Syria Army, which does not have a peace plan”.
The BDP Co-chair spoke to journalists from the international media at the Elite World Hotel, where he was accompanied by deputy chair Filiz Koçali and BDP Istanbul Co-chair Emrullah Bingül.

12.  “PYD have established a model for Syria”
14 January 2014 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Margaret Owen, who recently returned from Rojava, wrote this letter in response to an article in the Guardian today: “Dear Sir, It is vital that the international community does not ignore the needs of Rojava, the Kurdistan region of Western Syria, now home to over 260,000 IDPs (Internally displaced persons), 90% of whom are women and children.  (Drops in the ocean, January 14th). They include Arabs, Christians, Assyrians, Alawites, and other minorities; many of the women are widows, wives of the “disappeared”, and victims of violence, including rape and sexual torture.”

13. Ok: If Kurds are not recognised as a third party they’ll reject Geneva
16 January 2014 / ANF
KCK Executive committee member Sabri Ok says Kurds should reject Geneva II if they are not recognised as a third party. “They say the Kurds can only come to Geneva without an identity. This is injustice and an insult to the Kurds.” Ok added that a model for resolution of the Syrian crisis would not succeed without taking the Kurds into account. “A status for Kurdistan without the approval of the Kurds is a non-starter. Rojava has already established its own status.” As regards a comparison between Geneva II and Lausanne, Ok said: “Neither the Kurds are the Kurds of the Lausanne era, nor do the international powers have the advantages of that period.”

14. Peshkhabur Crossing Reopens to Humanitarian Visits and Trade
6 January 2014 / Rudaw
Hundreds of Syrian Kurds have crossed the border for medical treatment and reunion with relatives at refugee camps, after the Peshkhabur border was officially reopened between Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and the Kurdistan Region, but only for humanitarian aid and trade. “We have opened the border to the people who want to cross into the Kurdistan Region,” said Shawkat Barubahri, head of the Peshkhabur border crossing in the Kurdistan Region. “Opening the border is not for trade now, it’s for people who have humanitarian cases,” said Ibrahim Yaro, a senior leader of the Azadi Kurdish Party in Syria, explaining that the opening was so far limited. “Trade can be done in the future between KRG and Syria,” he said.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

15. Turkey’s power struggle affects Kurdish issue
9 January 2014 / Al Monitor
The power struggle between Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement has shaken the political landscape in Turkey and could result in major changes for the Kurdish minority in Turkey. The political clash between the Gulen movement and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was actually first exposed when Hakan Fidan, Turkey’s intelligence chief, was summoned to court for collaborating with the Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). PKK’s rebel leaders blame the Gulen Movemenfor the KCK case that led to the imprisonment of hundreds of Kurds, targeting Fidan and leaks of the talks. Recently, five pro-Kurdish lawmakers were sworn in after they were released from prison.

16 . US-Turkey partnership in the Roboski and Paris murders
12 January 2014 / News Desk
By Ferda Çetin: With the decision of the military court the culprits in the Roboski massacre have become official.
But those who perpetrated the Roboski massacre are trying to ensure the massacre is forgotten by normalising it. They had no other option, but in order for this not to happen we need to repeat the realities, as repetition is an effective way to ensure that the truth prevails. The images were from the US, the preparation from the Turkish state.

17. The many crises of Erdogan: have we come to an end-game?
12 January 2014 / Open Democracy
By Oguz Alyanak: Never has the end seemed so near for the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). That is the word on the street, the prophecy circulating lately in various op-eds, news pieces, and messages via social media. Although this is neither the first time that the AKP has come under the spotlight, nor the first attempt to predict its expiry date, the most recent episode in the AKP’s list of crises is certainly doing the most harm to the party. But why now? How is this crisis any different from previous ones?

18. A Rift In The Ruling Class
9 January 2014/ Morning Star
What is happening in Turkey? How should one assess the current political crisis and what are the factors behind it? Eleven years ago, despite some hesitation, the United States considered Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) as “worth a try” for ruling Turkey. The neoliberal Islamic party was very enthusiastic about serving US interests in the Middle East. AKP submitted a plan to the US policymakers who were at the time envisioning the promotion of a version of Sunni Islam in the region. This version of political Islam would be compatible with the interests of the global capital and its imperialist centres. AKP was ambitious, though. It would not be satisfied with the passive diplomacy of conventional Turkish foreign policy. Having convinced the US administration of its allegiance, AKP acquired the position of a first-rank ally of the US, a “strategic partner” in the Middle East.

19. Gul calls for reset of Turkey’s Syria policy
15 January 2014 / Al Monitor
It is an open secret in Ankara that President Abdullah Gul is far from pleased with the government’s handling of foreign policy in general and the Syrian crisis in particular. He has not spoken out critically on Syria in the past in order not to embarrass Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minster Ahmet Davutoglu, given their determination to pursue a one-track approach to this crisis that is predicated solely on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s demise. But, like most people, Gul sees that Turkey is not only facing new and previously unexpected threats as a result of the crisis in Syria, but also that Ankara is on the fringes of all the major diplomatic efforts currently underway to stabilize the Middle East, including the Geneva II conference on Syria planned for Jan. 22.

20. Repeating the Iraq Mistake in Syria
13 January 2014 / Commentary Magazine
By Michael Rubin: No, this is not a post about the wisdom of using military force in either Iraq or Syria. Long before the decision to go to invade Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, the United States was confronted with a decision about how to approach Kurdish autonomy. Almost immediately after the George H.W. Bush administration decided to release Iraqi Republican Guards and other POWs captured during Operation Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein ordered his forces to attack both Shi’ite Iraqis in southern Iraq and the Kurds in northern Iraq. At the urging of Turkey, which did not want millions of Kurdish refugees flowing into its territory, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom created a no-fly zone which provided the space necessary for Iraqi Kurds to create their own administration.

21. Time for U.S. to embrace Syria’s Kurds
13 January 2014 / CNN Global Square
The United States has been searching for an ally in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011. But while the exiled opposition coalitions have been dogged by infighting and a lack of real influence inside Syria, and the armed opposition within the country is rife with extremists, Washington has been ignoring a natural and potentially valuable ally: the Kurds. Kurds administer the most stable, peaceful corner of Syria, and have been open in trying to secure better relations with the West. Yet despite this, there is little to speak of in terms of ties. It is time for Washington to accept that if it wants to eventually see a peaceful, pluralistic Syria, then the Kurds are its best partners moving forward.

22. Syrian women demand to take part in the peace talks in Geneva 
12 January 2014 / Open Democracy
By Madeleine Rees: There is nothing like a war to force a retreat into gender stereotypes; a narrative of warriors and victims, of power which is of the violent and destructive kind wielded by men with whom other men must engage to control it. It’s as if the Security Council Resolutions which reflected the need to bring the voices of others into the discourse were passed in a vacuum, that our minds could not actually catch up with what they purported to bring about, i.e. a fundamental shift in the medieval narrative. This is true not just of those engaged in the fighting, but of those who drive the politics and therefore the direction of that conflict. The international women’s movement, ( and here is one!) has not let this pass, and there has been an ongoing process of connection, support and networking to bring women into the narrative for almost two years. Amongst other activities, in December 2013 WILPF brought five brave and exceptional Syrian women to Geneva to demand the participation of women in the peace negotiations.

23. VIDEO: Rojava: Syria’s Unknown War
2 January 2014 / Vice Magazine
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 neighboring 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.

24. Syrian Kurds aim to benefit from Islamist infighting
18 January 2014 / Al Monitor
Clashes erupted between Islamist groups in the north of Syria on Jan. 3, leaving at least 700 dead. For more than a year, armed groups have imposed a blockade on the isolated Kurdish enclaves in Afrin and Ain al-Arab (Kobani) to pressure the Syrian Kurdish fighters to give up their territory. Syrian Kurds now hope the clashes between the Islamist groups will end the siege on their regions. Last summer, clashes erupted between Kurdish forces, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — which are close to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — and al-Qaeda-affiliated battalions and other Islamist groups. This led to a siege on the isolated Kurdish regions of Afrin and Kobani by Islamist groups accusing the YPG of working with the Syrian regime. Moreover, several civilians were kidnapped and others executed on charges of working with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), to which the PYD is affiliated.

25. Good Kurd, Bad Kurd: The AKP’s Rapprochment with the KRG 
24 December 2013 / vol. 6, no. 22 of the Turkey Analyst
By Gareth Jenkins: On December 1, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız met with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shristani in Baghdad in an attempt to assuage the central Iraqi government’s concerns about a string of energy cooperation agreements between Ankara and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). On November 16, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan had hosted KRG President Massoud Barzani in the city of Diyarbakır in an attempt to divide and weaken Turkey’s own Kurdish nationalist movement.

26. After the Awakening: Future Security Trends in the Middle East
10 January 2014 / Center for a New American Security
By Jacob Stokes; CNAS Research Associate Jacob Stokes identifies seven major trends driving Middle East geopolitics and economics in After the Awakening: Future Security Trends in the Middle East.  In his policy brief, Mr. Stokes offers an examination of the interrelationships among such recent developments as the changing energy map, endeavors to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and economic crises in the region.  Such a review, says the author, is intended as a constructive starting point for policymakers as they attempt to navigate the region.

ACTIONS

27. BEACON: A nation of 40 million without a voice
The Kurdish people have massive influence in a volatile region, but lack a country and lack a voice. As the only foreign reporter in the Kurdish capital of Diyarbakir, help me share what’s happening on the ground.

28. Haldane Society writes to Turkish Embassy ahead of Erbey trial, 12 January 2014.

STATEMENTS

29. Kurdish Democratic Society Congress in Europe: ‘Confessions of a murderer’, 13 January 2014.

30. KCK Executive Council Statement on Geneva II, 16 January 2014.

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