KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 1 – 7 February 2014

Statement by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, Roj Women, MAF-DAD & Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)

Outrage as Kurds held up for hours at Dover crossing

Kurdish families bound for Paris protest on anniversary of killings were stopped and searched under Schedule 7 of Terrorism Act 2000

“We were deeply shocked to learn that Kurdish families, including mothers with children and elderly people, travelling by coach from London to Paris, were stopped at Dover by police and held for over seven hours without any evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activities on their part […]”

Read the statement in full here

NEWS
1. Head of Afrin Canton: ‘We Exist and We Are Here’
2. Cizîrê Canton to establish new education system
3. Demirtaş: Salutes Rojava Revolution
4. Türk: The time has come for Kurdish unity
5. Turkey stops Rojava aid at border
6. Western Governments Lag in Accepting Syrian War Refugees
7. PKK inmates: Our friends are left to die in jail
8. Ertuğrul Kürkçü: Republic of Turkey needs a new structure
9. DTK Diplomacy Conference ended
10. Kışanak: No room for courts with special powers
11. Demirtaş tells AKP: ‘People will teach you a lesson on 30 March’
12. BDP opens election offices in Bağlar
13. BDP electoral campaign in Midyat
14. Campaign against internet censorship in Turkey
15. Repression continues to hit hard on Gezi Park protesters
16. New evidence emerges of JİTEM massacre
17. Lawyers again denied visit to Öcalan
18. Everything ready for 15 February rally in Strasbourg
19. New appeal to stop executions in Iran

COMMENTS, OPINIONS AND ANALYSIS
20. ‘We have been here longer than a thousand years’: Kurdistan’s fight for nationhood
21. Syrian Kurds want to sell oil via Turkey
22. Relations among Syrian Kurdish parties hit new low
23. A Rift in the National Coordination Body
24. Democracy in Crisis: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey
25. Turkey Increases Control Over Internet Amid Corruption Probe
26. Turkish Journalists Describe the Pressures They Face
27. Turkish power struggle leaves new questions on Kurdish issue
28. Is Kurdistan Syria Church’s Best Hope for Survival?
29. Whose Turkey Is It?
30. The Gulen Movement and Turkish Soft Power

STATEMENTS
31. Outrage as Kurds held up for hours at Dover crossing

NEWS

1. Head of Afrin Canton: ‘We Exist and We Are Here’
02 February 2014 / Rudaw
Hevi Ibrahim, named prime minister of the Kurdish Afrin Canton declared by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) last week, says that women are “leading the revolution” in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) and elsewhere. “We exist and we are here,” she says about the administrations also declared by the PYD last month in Cizire and Kobani. In this interview with Rudaw, she says that the declaration of the self-rule administrations was a response to the Geneva II conference, to which the PYD was not invited.

2. Cizîrê Canton to establish new education system
05 February 2014/ANF – Cizîrê
Mihemed Salih Ebdo, President of the Education and Training Commission of the autonomous Cizîrê Canton, said they would form a new program for a democratic education system in West Kurdistan.

3. Demirtaş: Salutes Rojava Revolution
01 February 2014 / ANF
The Co-president of the BDP, Selahattin Demirtaş, is on a two-day visit to Colemêrg (Hakkâri) province, as part of the BDP’s campaign for the upcoming election. Demirtaş spoke to a large crowd on the significance of the struggles taking place throughout Kurdistan and the wider region, and the significance that the upcoming elections in Turkey would play in these struggles more generally.

4. Türk: The time has come for Kurdish unity
6 February 2014 /ANF
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have intensified their work aiming to liberate Turkey from the crisis it is currently facing. BDP Mêrdîn co-mayoral candidate Ahmet Türk who met representatives of the civil society organizations in the city vowed to unite all colors of Kurdistan. Türk emphasized that democratic autonomy is not restricted with municipalities alone, and that all their institutions were a part of democratic autonomy. Mardin Mayoral Candidate Ahmet Türk spoke at a meeting in the city attended by representatives of civil society organisations at the Eğitim Sen Conference hall.

5. Turkey stops Rojava aid at border
01 February 2014/ ANF
Fifteen truckloads of aid destined for Rojava have been halted at the Turkish/Syrian border near the city of Mardin. BDP Mardin province Co-chair Reşat Kaymaz reacted, saying: “If the problem is not resolved by Monday we will march en masse to the border.”

6. Western Governments Lag in Accepting Syrian War Refugees
7 February 2014 / Rudaw
As a further 7,000 Syrians fled across the border near Peskhabour in January to join more than 200,000 already sheltering in the Kurdistan Region, the number of their fellow citizens fortunate enough to be admitted as refugees to the United States in the same month amounted to: Just two. The gross disparity between the burden borne by Syria’s near neighbors and more distant world powers has prompted humanitarian officials to call for a greater commitment by Western countries to provide shelter to those fleeing the civil war.

7. PKK inmates: Our friends are left to die in jail
01 February 2014 / ANF
Diyarbakır branch of the Associations of Help for Prisoners’ Families Federation (TUHAD-FED) called attention to the situation of sick prisoners in Turkish jails on the fourth day of the protest demo it staged in front of Diyarbakır D Type Closed Prison on Friday.

8. Ertuğrul Kürkçü: Republic of Turkey needs a new structure
02 February 2014/ ANF

HDP (People’s Democratic Party) Co-chair Ertuğrul Kürkçü emphasised that the system in Turkey had become blocked, saying: “the crisis is first and foremost about the form of the state, the structure of the regime.” Kürkçü added that the HDP would take advantage of the possibilities created by the crisis, and that their goal was popular sovereignty.

9. DTK Diplomacy Conference ended
03 February 2014/ ANF

Democratic Society Congress (DTK) has released the final declaration of the 1st Diplomacy Conference which was held on 1-2 February 2014 in the main Kurdish city Amed/Diyarbakır and dedicated to Engin Sincer and three Kurdish politicians murdered in Paris, Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez.

10. Kışanak: No room for courts with special powers
03 February 2014/ANF

Speaking on behalf of the politicians on trial during today’s hearing, Herdem Kızılkaya said they would not give a statement to specially authorized courts due to their failure to conduct a fair trial. “We are not escaping the trial but we demand a fair one”, Kızılkaya said, after which defendants, and their relatives, as well as lawyers, left the hearing room.

11. Demirtaş tells AKP: ‘People will teach you a lesson on 30 March’
04 February 2014/ANF
BDP Co-President SelahattinDemirtaş spoke at his party’s group meeting, saying that the conflict between the AKP and the Gülen Movement is not about democracy, and that on 30 March the people will teach the AKP a lesson. Demirtaş said: “We will print your ticket on 30 March, then at the first general elections put you on the bus and see you off.”

12. BDP opens election offices in Bağlar
7 February 2014 / ANF
The BDP has opened election offices in the Körhat and Fatih neighbourhoods of the Bağlar district of Amed province. BDP Bağlar Mayoral co-candidate Birsen Kaya Akat spoke at the opening ceremony, saying that the party was aiming for a 70% vote in the district at the upcoming elections. BDP Amed Mayoral co-candidate Fırat Anlı said they would continue to serve the people despite all the obstructions of Ankara.

13. BDP electoral campaign in Midyat
6 Fevbruary 2013 / ANF
The district of Midyat of Mardin province, a garden of peoples and beliefs, is witnessing BDP’s (Peace and Democracy Party) intense work prior to the local elections to take place on 30 March when the BDP is expected to achieve a good result in the ancient district that has housed a number of civilizations up to the present.

14. Campaign against internet censorship in Turkey
04 February 2014/ ANF
This week, the Turkish parliament will vote to make its already harsh internet censorship laws even worse. A campaign has been started to tell President Abdullah Gül to protect the open internet in Turkey!

15. Repression continues to hit hard on Gezi Park protesters
7 February 2014 / ANF
Repression continues to hit hard on last summer’s Gezi Park protests. A new indictment has been compiled against members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, including Chamber of Architects and Engineers’ (TMMOB) General Secretary Mücella Yapıcı and Istanbul Chamber of Doctors General Secretary Ali Çerkezoğlu.

16. New evidence emerges of JİTEM massacre
5 February 2014/ ANF
New documents detailing massacres carried out by JİTEM (Gendarme Intelligence Organisation), thought to be responsible for over 17,000 unsolved murders, has emerged. A witness has explained how JİTEM turned into a body called İDLM, and exposed the executions carried out by the Hilal Team with photographs.

17. Lawyers again denied visit to Öcalan
06 February 2014/ ANF
After an application by lawyers Rezan Sarıca, Cengiz Yürekli, Mazlum Dinç and Asiye Ülker to visit their client, Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan, on Imrali island on Tuesday, was rejected, they reapplied today.

18. Everything ready for 15 February rally in Strasbourg
6 February 2014 / ANF – Strasbourg
Kurds in Europe will stage a huge march and rally on 15 February to mark the 15th anniversary of the international conspiracy against Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan.

19. New appeal to stop executions in Iran
5 February 2014 / ANF – News Desk
Although the number of executions has surged alarmingly since the June Presidential elections in Iran, the international community is improving its relations with the Iranian authorities, says Iran Human Rights association.

COMMENTS, OPINIONS AND ANALYSIS

20. ‘We have been here longer than a thousand years’: Kurdistan’s fight for nationhood
1 February 2014/ The Independent
Twenty-five million Kurds live in these invisible borders today. They are the world’s largest stateless minority, and although they are divided by nationality, dialect, custom, allegiances and religion, they share a common desire: to be able to express their ethnic identity and to govern themselves in the areas in which they live.

21. Syrian Kurds want to sell oil via Turkey
4 February 2014 / Al Monitor
On Feb. 4, Asya Abdullah, co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), accompanied by a delegation, visited the Turkish parliament in Ankara to attend a meeting of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) parliamentarians. Abdullah told reporters they had not had any contacts with Turkey since their declaration of autonomous districts, but noted that they were open to dialogue.

22. Relations among Syrian Kurdish parties hit new low
7 February 2014 / Al Monitor
On Feb. 2, one of the main Syrian Kurdish groups, the Kurdish National Council (KNC), decided to expel its members who support the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) plan to form local administrations with 22 ministries, each in three different Kurdish enclaves in Syria. This has led to tensions between the two Kurdish blocs over power.

23. A Rift in the National Coordination Body
31 January 2014 / Carnegie EU

It was never really a marriage made to last, and the alliance between Syria’s Arab nationalist and pacifist opposition and its most hardline Kurdish guerrilla movement may now be nearing a divorce.

24. Democracy in Crisis: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey
03 February 2014 / Freedom House
The report catalogues the Turkish government’s actions to suppress freedom of speech, which have intensified since the emergence of a major corruption scandal in December 2013. Over the past year, dozens of journalists have been fired as a result of government pressure, and government officials’ threats against journalists have become common.
The report provides short and long-term recommendations to the Turkish government, the European Union, and the United States for how to support Turkey’s democracy.

25. Turkey Increases Control Over Internet Amid Corruption Probe
6 February 2014 / Bloomberg
Turkey’s parliament approved a bill giving Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government broader powers to block access to websites, as wiretaps allegedly documenting official corruption were being shared on the Internet. Legislators late yesterday authorized the head of Turkey’s telecommunications authority to ban access to content deemed to violate personal privacy within four hours of a petition, eliminating the need for a court order. Access can be unblocked if a judge decides against it within 48 hours.

26. Turkish Journalists Describe the Pressures They Face
2 February 2014 / Freedom House
In the following video, Turkish journalists describe the pressure they face. Video produced for Freedom House special report ‘Democracy in Crisis: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey’.

27. Turkish power struggle leaves new questions on Kurdish issue
04 February 2014 / Al Monitor
By Wladimir van Wilgenburg: The escalation of the power struggle between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamic movement of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen has brought out new revelations supporting suspicions of the Kurdish movement against the government. New leaks have increased suspicions that the Turkish state was involved in the killing of three Kurdish activists in Paris on Jan. 9, 2013.

28. Is Kurdistan Syria Church’s Best Hope for Survival?
5 February 2014/ CBN News
Islamic militants are driving hundreds of thousands of Syrian Christians from their homes, causing Christian leaders to fear that without help from the outside, the Syrian church may disappear. But there is one group on the inside, the country’s Kurdish population, who are friendly to both America and Syrian Christians, and they are offering hope.

29. Whose Turkey Is It?
5 February 2014 / New York Times Magazine
It is still a marvel to behold Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s self-confidence, even after 11 years of his rule. In recent weeks, a new poster featuring Turkey’s prime minister has appeared throughout Istanbul, on highway billboards and mass transit. Wearing his usual dark suit, Erdogan looks to be in purposeful motion, like an action hero. Two large words in block letters, SAGLAM IRADE, Turkish for “Iron Will,” accompany him. Surely some of his supporters appreciate this evocation of 1930s-era masculinity, but for others, it must feel like an invasion of personal space.

30. The Gulen Movement and Turkish Soft Power
4 February 2014 / Carnegie Endowment for Peace
For more than a decade, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has enjoyed unwavering support from the religious and social movement of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic scholar. Through a unique, transnational approach, Gülen and his followers have built up a global web of influence, creating schools, business associations, and cultural institutions on virtually every continent.

STATEMENTS

31. Outrage as Kurds held up for hours at Dover crossing, 6 February 2014. Statement by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, Roj Women, MAF-DAD & Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC).

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