Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 24 – 31 January 2014

NEWS
1. After Cizîre, Kobanê Canton has been declared
2. KCK greets democratic autonomy in Rojava
3. Efrin Canton declares democratic autonomy
4. Latest news briefing from the PYD information office
5. Salih Muslim on Geneva 2
6. Kurds in Syria: ‘We don’t want to draw new borders’, says Democratic Union Party
7. Davutoğlu: PYD is responsible for its own absence in Geneva II
8. MIT admits links with counterguerrilla
9. Initiative for the Closure of Children’s Prisons launches campaign
10. Demirtaş: BDP and HDP real alternative
11. Freedom and rights in Turkey declining, US think tank says
12. Swoboda accuses Erdoğan of using Hizmet movement as a pretext
13. ECHR Convicts Turkey of Police Fire
14. Öcalan writes letter to Barzani
15. Relatives Bury Two More Victims of Turkey’s ‘Enforced Disappearances’
16. Öcalan: The fundamental condition for a solution is a democratic constitution
17. Reports: Ocalan Letter for Kurdish President Could Be About Rojava
18. Öcalan urges Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide
19. New protests against executions in Iran

COMMENTS, OPINIONS AND ANALYSIS
20. Syrian conference for democratic self-determination
21. Video: Conflict in Syria: Geneva II and the Road Ahead
22. Who Ordered the Killing of Sakine Cansiz?
23. The Kurds’ schizophrenic week
24. Lift the Blockade on Rojava
25. Syrian Kurds not united behind opposition delegation to Geneva talks
26. The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 5: The Kurds
27. Interview with Abbas Vali on Syria, Kurds and Turkey
28. Is Turkey on a Collision Course With the EU
29. Erdogan in Tehran
30. Terrorism or legitimate rebellion?
31. FARC-EP Alexandra Nariño on National Constituent Assembly

STATEMENTS
32. Öcalan’s letter to the Armenian people
33. Rojava: Charter of the social contract

REPORTS
35. Turkey and the Kurds: From Predicament to Opportunity

NEWS

1. After Cizîre, Kobanê Canton has been declared
27 January 2014 /ANF
Eight days after the declaration of a Democratic Autonomous Administration in Cizîre Canton the Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab) Canton has also declared its own autonomous administration. This canton will be administered by a legislative assembly president, two deputies and 22 ministers.

2. KCK greets democratic autonomy in Rojava
28 January 2014/ ANF
Remarking that the democratic autonomy in Kobanê has been attained thanks to the efforts and self-sacrifice of Kurdistan martyrs, KCK said the Rojava revolution and the declaration of democratic autonomous administrations changed the fate of not only Kurds but also the entire Middle East region.

3. Efrin Canton declares democratic autonomy
29 January 2014/ ANF
After the declaration of a Democratic Autonomous Administration in Cizîre Canton and the Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab) Canton,the former on 21 and the latter on 27 January,  Efrin Canton has also declared its own autonomous administration on Wednesday.

4. Latest news briefing from the PYD information office
28 January 2014/
Information & relations center of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)
News Briefing Regarding The News and Events in West Kurdistan
Head Lines

  • Geneva Conference 2
  • Demonstrations in Europe to demand participation of Kurds in Geneva 2
  • The dossier of three assassinated Kurdish activists
  • The Declaration of the Transitional Self-Administration government in the Jazeera region
  • Clashes and the displacement of people from Manbej to Kobanî
  • Educational and cultural events

5. Salih Muslim on Geneva 2
29 January 2014/ BIA News Desk
PYD Co-Chair Salih Muslim told bianet that the stakeholders in Geneva 2 talks didn’t represent the Syrian people. “They can’t enforce a ceasefire given that they didn’t have any influence on the opposing groups in Syria,” he said.

6. Kurds in Syria: ‘We don’t want to draw new borders’, says Democratic Union Party
29 January 2014 / Links
Salih Muslim (pictured above) shares the presidency of the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekitîya Demokrat, PYD) with Asya Abdullah. The PYD is a sister party of the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK and shares the same ideological background as its leader Abdullah Öcalan. The party is the ruling force in the Kurdish areas of Syria and took over three enclaves with Kurdish majorities in 2012. In an interview with Austria-based political scientist Thomas Schmidinger, Salih Muslim tells about the present and future project of Kurdish self-rule in Syria.

7. Davutoğlu: PYD is responsible for its own absence in Geneva II
23 January 2014 / Todays Zaman
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has stated that the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria, is responsible for its own absence at the Geneva II international peace conference for Syria, which brought together the members of the Syrian opposition and the regime for the first time.

8. MIT admits links with counterguerrilla
24 January 2014/ ANF
The fourth session of the trial of four suspects in the case on the murder of Kurdish author Musa Anter in 1992 in Diyarbakır was held at Diyarbakır 7th High Criminal Court on Friday. In a document sent to the court in relation with the case upon the demand of the court board for confirmation, the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MIT) admitted having relations with a counter-guerrilla member Mahmut Yıldırım, code name Yeşil, at the time. MIT stated that Yeşil, accompanied by Muş regional executive, wanted to get in touch with the organization on 16 January 1993 to ask its opinion concerning his plan to kill Şemdin Sakık and his demand to manage into Switzerland after the execution. MIT remarked that the organization rejected Yeşil’s demand.

9. Initiative for the Closure of Children’s Prisons launches campaign
27 January 2013/ ANF
In the last 4 years the sexual abuse and torture of children in prisons has made its mark on Turkey’s already notorious prison reputation. While the incidents in Pozantı, Şakran and Antalya jails are still fresh in the memory and no legal investigation has been initiated against those responsible, recent incidents in the Sincan Children’s Prison have again highlighted the problems of child inmates.

10. Demirtaş: BDP and HDP real alternative
29 January 2014/ANF
Speaking at the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) group meeting about the items on Turkey’s agenda, BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said balances in Turkey’s politics have changed after the bribery and corruption operation on 17 December 2013.

11. Freedom and rights in Turkey declining, US think tank says
25 January 2014 / Hurriyet
Turkey is declining in terms of freedoms and rights, according to the annual report from U.S. think tank Freedom House. The report made particular reference to the harsh police crackdown on protesters during the nationwide Gezi Park protests and the increase in political pressure exerted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
This year’s “Freedom in the World” report ranks Turkey among the “partly free” countries with a rating of 3.5 out of 7, placing it in the same category as countries such as Libya, Pakistan, Mexico, Ukraine and Indonesia.

12. Swoboda accuses Erdoğan of using Hizmet movement as a pretext
24 January 2014 / Todays Zaman
Socialist leader Hannes Swoboda accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of using the Hizmet movement as an excuse to backtrack on reforms, during their meeting in the European Parliament on Tuesday. EU sources told Today’s Zaman that Swoboda, the leader of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, grilled Erdoğan on his recent actions vis-à-vis the corruption investigations in which some of his Cabinet ministers have been implicated. The veteran Socialist leader accused Erdoğan of using the Hizmet movement to halt reforms, stressing that the prime minister had supported the movement a year ago and asked why he now saw the movement as a threat.

13. ECHR Convicts Turkey of Police Fire
28 January 2014/ BIA News Desk
The European Court of Human Rights issued a verdict on the case of Şamil Camekan, finding Turkey guilty of the lack of efficient and rapid investigation regarding right to life after a police shooting. Turkey was ordered to pay 6,000 euros as non-pecuniary damages.

14. Öcalan writes letter to Barzani
25 January 2014/ ANF
In a statement to reporters following today’s visit to Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı prison, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Amed deputy Leyla Zana said that they had handled the ongoing resolution process, relations with Federal Kurdistan region and Rojava and Kurdish National Congress.

15. Relatives Bury Two More Victims of Turkey’s ‘Enforced Disappearances’
26 January 2014/Rudaw
Relatives and activists gathered last week to bury the remains of Nurettin and Nejat Yalcinkaya, who were among hundreds of victims of Turkey’s ‘enforced disappearances’ in the 1990s.

16. Öcalan: The fundamental condition for a solution is a democratic constitution
26 January 2014/ ANF
HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) deputy co-chair Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Diyarbakır Independent MP Leyla Zana visited Mr Öcalan on İmralı island yesterday. HDP deputy co-chair Sırrı Süreyya Önder  spoke to ANF, saying they would take Mr Öcalan’s letter to Hewler on Tuesday or Wednesday, adding: “We will not only meet Barzani, we will speak to the parties.” Önder said that Öcalan had said the following regarding the Kurdish National Congress: “The Kurdish National Congress is important. It will be one of the most important guarantees of regional peace and democratisation. In this context most of the barriers to the congress taking place are not crucial. If all sides take a responsible approach realising the historical importance of this matter it can come to fruition in a short time.

17. Reports: Ocalan Letter for Kurdish President Could Be About Rojava
29 January 2014 / Rudaw
Turkish media reports suggest that an urgent letter by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan for Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani could contain a call for better ties with a new Kurdish administration in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava). The letter is expected to be delivered by Leyla Zana, a Kurdish MP from the city of Diyarbakir in the Turkish parliament, to Barzani, who has been traveling in Europe on an official visit. It is believed to contain an urgent message, and that is why Zana has been tasked with traveling to Europe to deliver it to Barzani in person.

18. Öcalan urges Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide
16 January 2014 / ArmRadio
The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has penned a letter to the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, calling on the Armenian community to support the demands of Kurds in Turkey. “The Kurdish people’s fight for freedom and the cure for the Armenian people’s sorrows have overlapped in the fight to [be able to] live in this land as citizens who share the same rights,” Abdullah Öcalan said in the letter, published Jan. 30, the Hurriyet Daily News reports. He also said the killing of former Agos editor Hrant Dink was perpetrated with the same logic. “The true friend of the people Hrant Dink was massacred by the representatives of this dirty mentality, to serve the purpose that I have attempted to describe above,” Öcalan wrote, urging the Armenian community to stand against such networks.

19. New protests against executions in Iran
29 January 2014/ ANF
Based on the official and unofficial reports Iran Human Rights (IHR) has collected, in the first 4 weeks of 2014 at least 61 people have been executed in Iran. Mahmodo Amiry-Moghaddam, the Spokesperson of IHR condemned Tuesday’s public execution in Qazvin and urged the international community to react to the wave of executions in Iran.

COMMENTS, OPINIONS AND ANALYSIS

20. Syrian conference for democratic self-determination
25 January 2014 / Anti-Imperialist Camp
By Haytham Manna: I received several letters from friends of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change – NCB expressing surprise about the NCB’s boycott of the Geneva II Conference in the context of the arrangements, the formula and the conditions in which it is being held. We were particularly the brave defenders of this conference, and we were accused of all manner of sins after our defense of it even from some people who mounted the platform of the delegation of the Coalition on behalf of the Syrian opposition in Montreux.

21. Video: Conflict in Syria: Geneva II and the Road Ahead
29 January 2014 / The Washington Institute
As the international community observes the meetings on the Syria crisis in Montreux and Geneva on January 22 and 24, many questions remain regarding what can be agreed on at the negotiating table — and to an even greater extent, what can be implemented on the ground. To discuss the outcome of the scheduled talks and the road ahead, The Washington Institute hosted a Policy Forum featuring the varied perspectives of three Washington Institute experts on Syria: Andrew J. Tabler, Jeffrey White, and Aaron Y. Zelin. Tabler will focus on the regime and the opposition, White on the military situation, and Zelin on Salafi dynamics.

22. Who Ordered the Killing of Sakine Cansiz?
30 January 2013/ Rudaw
A year after the co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was found dead at the offices of the Kurdish Information Centre in Paris, alongside the bullet-riddled bodies of two other women activists, investigators appear no closer to identifying those behind the assassinations. As French President Francois Hollande set off this week for an official visit to Turkey, Kurdish groups in France urged him to raise the case with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan following latest claims of the alleged involvement of Turkish intelligence agents.

23. The Kurds’ schizophrenic week
30 January 2013/ Hurriyet Daily News
It has been a schizophrenic week for Syrian Kurds. The very day after they declared autonomy in Rojava, the Kurdish area in northern Syria, they were excluded from the discussions on Syria’s future at the Geneva conference. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the most powerful Kurdish group in northern Syria, had already declared autonomy last November. Last week, it declared “democratic autonomy,” announcing Qamishli as the capital and Kurdish, Syriac and Arabic as the official languages.

24. Lift the Blockade on Rojava
27 January 2014/ The Kurdistan Tribune
By Michael Rubin: When I first visited Iraqi Kurdistan in 2000, life for Iraqi Kurds was difficult. Saddam Hussein may have been gone, at least from Dahuk, Erbil, and Sulaymani, but no one knew when and if his forces would be back. The Iraqi Kurdish economy suffered both from that uncertainty, and under a double embargo: The United Nations sanctioned Iraq, and the Baghdad government blockaded Kurdistan. “Brazilis” outnumbered land cruisers. The government provided for only a few hours of electricity per day. While pharmacies had medicines, there were shortages, and often those drugs available were past their expiration date.

25. Syrian Kurds not united behind opposition delegation to Geneva talks
26 January 2014/ Al Monitor
By Wladimir van Wilgenburg: The Kurdish parties failed to have a united voice in the Geneva II conference, and the Kurdish National Council (KNC) will now be the only party that claims to represent the Kurds in Geneva II, leading to more tension on the ground in Syria.

26. The Politics of the Islamic Front, Part 5: The Kurds
30 January 2014 / Carnegie Europe
The Islamic Front, widely seen as the largest alliance of rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is an umbrella movement of seven different groups. It has presented unified positions on a number of issues, but in one case the Islamic Front has had trouble reconciling its stated ideological agenda with political reality—namely, the Kurdish question. Ideologically, the Islamic Front presents itself as a Sunni Muslim project true to the Islamic ideal of nonracial Muslim solidarity. Such a project should in theory appeal equally to Kurdish and Arab Sunnis, given that the front has explicitly rejected Syria’s long-dominant Arab nationalist ideology.

27. Interview with Abbas Vali on Syria, Kurds and Turkey
23 January 2014/ BIA News Desk
“I think government’s wrong approach and calculation towards developments in Syria and Rojava have shaped its current attitude towards the peace process with the PKK. The Turkish government is stalling; they don’t want the peace process although they fear to admit it.” Bianet interviewed Abbas Vali, professor of sociology at Bosporus University, on the current events in Syria and its context in the world politics.

28. Is Turkey on a Collision Course With the EU?
29 January 2014 / Carnegie Europe
When the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, visited the EU institutions on January 21, the choreography was perfect. He was received by the presidents of the European Commission, European Council, and European Parliament, as well as the leaders of all the political groups in the parliament. But it has emerged that, behind closed doors, the going was rough. Mr. Erdoğan may be able to claim at home that his country’s EU accession process is on track, but his next moves could be harmful for Turkey’s membership prospects and, in turn, for the Turkish economy. It is time to think strategically. On the surface, the prime minister’s visit went smoothly. Nobody snubbed him, and there were no shouting matches at his two press conferences. At home, thanks to the right mix of spin and restraint, Mr. Erdoğan’s high-level meetings served his domestic political purposes well.

29. Erdogan in Tehran
29 January 2014 / Middle East Institute
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in Tehran January 28 and 29 for his first meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci are accompanying him. MEI spoke to Gonul Tol, Director of the Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies, about the meeting.
What is the reason for this high-level visit?
Iran issued an invitation to Erdogan. Both countries want to expand ties, especially in the energy sector. Turkey is an energy-hungry country and is planning to increase oil and gas imports from Tehran after the gradual lifting of sanctions. Turkey uses a significant portion of its imported Iranian natural gas to generate electricity, and Iran is Turkey’s second biggest gas supplier, after Russia. […]

30. Terrorism or legitimate rebellion?
30 January 2014/ ANF
By Alexandra Nariño: Since the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terror has been  einforced, responding to a necessity of replacing the anti-communist struggle of the Cold War. Although for many people the so-called War on Terror is something abstract, there are a lot of people in this world who have felt, in their flesh and blood, the consequences of this declaration of war. It has been a clear pretext to invade Irak, Libia, Afghanistan and Syria, with a disastrous humanitarian impact on those countries, as everybody knows.The list of terrorist organizations, as part of the world-wide war on terror, is based on a completely subjective criterion, as underlined by many scholars, politicians and other individuals. That’s to say, there is no clear, overall definition of Terrorism, and the inclusion of an organization into the list corresponds to State interests, political alliances and economic needs.

31. FARC-EP Alexandra Nariño on National Constituent Assembly
FARC-EP Peace Delegation member in Havana, Alexandra Nariño, talks about the need for a National Constituent Assembly. For the FARC the National Constituent Assembly as a mechanism for ratifying the agreements. A Constituent, that is, which will see a representative participation of all sectors of society.

STATEMENTS

32. Öcalan’s letter to the Armenian people
30 January 2014 / ANF

Armenian newspaper Agos has published the full text of the letter Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan has recently written to the Armenian people. Öcalan called attention to the disruption of social relations between the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia and Anatolia in the last three centuries, and remarked that these lands have turned to a cemetery of peoples and cultures because of the poison scattered by capitalist modernity and nation states and their projects to create monolithic states, preparing an ideological substructure for a disaster, destroying peoples as well as dozens of languages and cultures.

33. Rojava: Charter of the social contract
29 January 2014 / ANHA
We the peoples of the areas of self-administration of Democratic Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians (Assyrian Chaldeans, Arameans), Turkmen, Armenians, and Chechens, by our free will have  announced this to materialize justice, freedom and democracy in accordance with the principle of ecological balance and equality without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, creed ,doctrine or gender, to achieve the political and moral fabric of a democratic society in order to function with mutual understanding and coexistence within diversity and respect for the principle of self-determination of peoples, and to ensure the rights of women and children, the protection defense and the  respect of the  freedom of religion and belief‫.

REPORTS

35. Turkey and the Kurds: From Predicament to Opportunity, The Brookings Institute conference paper, 22 January 2014.

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