Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 8 – 14 February

NEWS
1. Abdullah Öcalan puts forward three proposals
2. “People’s Platform” for Öcalan
3. Imprisoned Kurdish leader demands legal status for peace talks
4. Ocelan asks Barzani to hold Kurdish National Conference soon
5. BDP MPs Hold Press Conference On Öcalan, Peace Process
6. Ocalan: Greater Democracy is the Solution for Turkey’s Kurdish Issue
7. Turkish editor hits out at media coercion under Erdogan
8. CPJ: Turkey world’s leading jailer of the press
9. Paris Investigation: Tensions Grow over Murder of Kurdish Activists
10. Report: Germany Has Evidence of Turkish Hand in PKK Killings in France
11. Kurdish-American relations deteriorate
12. U.S. Official: PDK and PUK to be removed from terrorist list soon
13. Iraqi Kurds protest delays in forming new government
14. Weapons of alleged Turkish terrorist ‘clean,’ forensic experts say

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
15. Special Report | Gender and justice in an emerging nation: My impressions of Rojava, Syrian Kurdistan
16. Kurds in Syria answer Geneva II with self-rule and co-existence
17. Syria’s Kurds initiate experiment in self-rule
18. In Chaos of Syria Conflict, Kurds’ Autonomy Rests on Shaky Ground
19. Dec. 17, the settlement process and the Kurds
20. Iraqi Kurdistan: Old structures, new realities
21. The Iran Interim Deal: Responses, Potential Impacts, and Moving Forward
22. End the despair of detention for female asylum seekers: ‘I saw what my mother went through’

REPORTS
23. Syria Document: Opposition Proposal at Geneva II Conference, 13 February 2014.

STATEMENTS
24. 15 years in Imrali: Free Ocalan!
25. The Öcalan Moment – Statement of the International Initiative
26. Peace, equality and self-determination: The Kurds take the lead in proposing a new way for Syria

ACTIONS
27. Turkish Internet Freedom Under Attack

NEWS

1. Abdullah Öcalan puts forward three proposals
13 February 2014 / ANF
Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan has made three proposals to enable the peace process to progress, calling for the negotiation stage to be initiated without delay. BDP MPs announced these proposals at a press conference in the Turkish Parliament. BDP group chairs Pervin Buldan and İdris Baluken and Amed MP Altan Tan organised the press conference concerning the “current stage of the process of resolution and future developments”.     Pervin Buldan, stressing the importance of the process continuing to evolve, announced the proposals made by Mr Öcalan.

2. “People’s Platform” for Öcalan
11 February 2014 / ANF
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Diyarbakır provincial organization will initiate a three days “People’s Platform” program on 13 February to mark the 15th anniversary of the international conspiracy against Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan on 15 February 1999. The event which will take place under the slogan “I demand the freedom of my leader” will start with a press conference to be held the Batıkent Square in Amed on 13 February. In a statement about the event, BDP Amed provincial co-chair Zübeyde Zümrüt described 15 February as a “black day” for the Kurdish people, and underlined that the events and activities to be held at Batıkent Square will primarily give the message that the freedom of Öcalan, who has been jailed in İmralı High Security prison for 15 years, has become a must today.

3. Imprisoned Kurdish leader demands legal status for peace talks
13 February 2014 / World Bulletin
A group of deputies from the pro-Kurdish party held a press conference on Thursday after they visited the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.
The deputies, consisted of Pervin Buldan, Idris Baluken, and Altan Tan from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), told Abdullah Ocalan’s new requests for the peace process.  Ocalan told the BDP deputies that he expected to begin the legal negotiations between the government and the Kurdish party to discuss main subjects. Secondly, Ocalan said that the government should take steps constitutionally. The leader also said that he wanted a government delagation to visit him routinely.

4. Ocelan asks Barzani to hold Kurdish National Conference soon
13 February 2014 / Bas News
At a press conference at the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) representative office in Erbil yesterday, independent Kurdish Member of Parliament Leyla Zana announced that the letter from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) jailed leader Abdullah Ocelan to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani was about the Kurdish National Conference (KNC). Both Zana and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) revealed the purpose of their three-day visit to the Kurdistan region.

5. BDP MPs Hold Press Conference On Öcalan, Peace Process
13 February 2014 / Rojava Report
BDP MPs have held a press conference in the Turkish Parliament in Ankara. Pervin Buldan, İdris Baluken and Diyarbakir MP Altan Tan all took part. The MPs discussed the recent meetings with imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, ongoing negotiations with the state, and the fragile condition of the peace process more generally. The MPs began by voicing their support for three proposals that Öcalan outlined in his most recent meeting on February 8th: the implementation of a legal framework for the negotiations, the formation of observatory bodies, and a permanent commission to oversee the negotiations along 8 general headings. The MPs also shared Öcalan’a warning to the government that certain groups were attempting to undermine the peace process.

6. Ocalan: Greater Democracy is the Solution for Turkey’s Kurdish Issue
13 February 2014 / Rudaw
A general amnesty for fighters will not solve the Kurdish problem in Turkey, which must be resolved with greater democracy for the Kurds, said Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey. His comments were aired by two Kurdish MPs in the Turkish parliament, Sirri Surreyya Onder and Leyla Zana, who recently visited Ocalan at his Imrali island prison. “A general amnesty would not solve the Kurdish issue,” Ocalan was quoted as saying by Onder.  “What solves the Kurdish issue is the guarantee of democracy for the Kurds in Turkey,” he reportedly said.

7. Turkish editor hits out at media coercion under Erdogan
11 February 2014 / Yavuz Baydar
A prominent Turkish newspaper editor has openly decried government pressure on the media, saying journalists live in fear, in unusually blunt criticism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership months ahead of elections, reports Reuters. Erdogan is facing one of the greatest challenges of his 11-year rule as he battles a graft scandal he sees as orchestrated to unseat him, triggering an open feud with an influential U.S.-based cleric whose followers say they number in the millions. He has reacted by reassigning thousands of police officers and hundreds of prosecutors – 166 more of them on Tuesday – in a bid to cleanse the influence of the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, and by seeking tighter controls over the Internet, actions his critics say highlight his authoritarian instincts.

8. CPJ: Turkey world’s leading jailer of the press
14 February 2014 / ANF
For the second year in a row, Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of the press, with 40 journalists behind bars, according to CPJ’s annual prison census. Authorities continued to harass and censor critical voices, firing and forcing the resignation of almost 60 reporters in connection with their coverage of anti-government protests in Gezi Park in June. The government tried to censor coverage of sensitive events, threatened to restrict social media, and, in one case, used social media to wage a smear campaign against a journalist.

9. Paris Investigation: Tensions Grow over Murder of Kurdish Activists
12 February 2014 / Der Spiegel
Did Turkey’s secret service order the killing of three Kurdistan Worker’s Party activists in Paris last year? Suspicion is growing that it did, and Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has curtailed its cooperation with the Turks as a result. The triple murders in January 2014 of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) activists in Paris may ultimately emerge as one of the most audacious political killings to take place in Western Europe in years. New suspicions — although they are still only that — suggest there may be Turkish intelligence links to the slayings, a development that, if proven, could have serious repercussions for relations between Ankara and Europe. The case has numerous links to Germany, and officials here are closely monitoring the investigation as it unfolds in France.

10. Report: Germany Has Evidence of Turkish Hand in PKK Killings in France
10 February 2014 / Rudaw
German security services have evidence that Turkish intelligence agents were behind the killing of three female activists of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Paris more than a year ago, Germany’s respected Der Spiegel weekly reported. The magazine warns that Turkey’s relations with the European Union will be significantly affected if Ankara’s hand in the killings is proven, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan likely to come under greater pressure.

11. Kurdish-American relations deteriorate
4 February 2014 / Bas News
Kurdish president Massoud Barzani’s delayed visit to the US has appeared to many as another indication of the weakening ties between the Kurdistan Region and Washington.  According to US political expert, professor Michael Gunter from Tennessee Technological University, this is the result of wrong calculations made by the White House toward the Kurds of Iraq. While Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman encourages Kurds to voice their concerns through American media in order shed more light on the Kurdish question.

12. U.S. Official: PDK and PUK to be removed from terrorist list soon
8 February 2014 / Bas News
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk has announced that Washington will soon remove the two major Kurdish parties in the Kurdistan region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. Last week, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani canceled his visit to Washington as a result of his opposition towards the White House’s policy to keep both his party, the PDK, as well as the PUK on the U.S. foreign terrorist organization list, despite the KRG being the U.S.’s strongest ally in the region over the last decade.

13. Iraqi Kurds protest delays in forming new government
13 February 2014 / Press TV
Demonstrations have been held in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region to criticize the delays in forming the new regional government. Citizens are threatening to ramp up their action if the government is not formed by the end of this month. The ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party has been blamed for the delay. It’s almost five months since Kurdistan’s parliamentary election results were announced. The region’s second ruling party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, was relegated to third place when the opposition Change Movement won second place. There are reports that the anti-corruption Change Movement is so fed up of the delays that the party will refuse to join the new government if it’s not formed by the end of this month.

14. Weapons of alleged Turkish terrorist ‘clean,’ forensic experts say
13 February 2014 / Ekathimerini
Forensic experts of the Greek Police on Thursday said that the weapons found in a counter-terrorism squad raid on an Athens apartment on Monday that led to the arrest of four Turkish nationals are “clean,” meaning that there is no ballistic evidence to suggest that they have been used in any crimes in the past. The suspects, all Turkish Kurds aged 49, 41, 33 and 25, were arrested on Monday, following the raid on an apartment in the neighborhood of Gyzi, near central Athens.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

15. Special Report | Gender and justice in an emerging nation: My impressions of Rojava, Syrian Kurdistan
11 February 2014 / Ceasefire
15 year-old Kadria cried as she told me that, top of her class in her school in Aleppo, she had set her heart on becoming a doctor. Without schooling for the last ten months, living with three other IDP (Internally displaced persons) families in a barely furnished two-room cold-water apartment in an unfinished building in Derek, Rojava, obviously malnourished and deeply depressed, she said she felt she had no future.

16. Kurds in Syria answer Geneva II with self-rule and co-existence
10 February 2014 / Your Middle East
“People in this region of Syria have made this move to set an example for the rest of the country, persisting that we can be united and that decentralization can bring about democracy, diversity and peaceful co-existence for us all in Syria,” says Kurdish leader. Kurds with other ethnic minorities announced amid the mayhem in Syria and on the eve of the Geneva II peace conference, the formation of three self-rule governments under the banner of “Democratic Autonomy” without an international approval.

17. Syria’s Kurds initiate experiment in self-rule
30 January 2014 / Financial Times
The long-oppressed Kurdish minority in Syria has begun an experiment in self-rule that will shake up the balance of power in an already volatile Middle East and potentially complicate Geneva peace talks to end the country’s civil war. Last week, Syrian Kurds declared the establishment of the semi-autonomous region of Rojava, the Kurdish name for one of three departments in the oil-rich Jazeera, the northwestern corridor wedged between Iraq and Turkey. They named 22 cabinet ministers to a regional government based in the city of Qamishli, where hundreds of revellers poured into the streets for a flag-waving celebration on the eve of the Geneva talks.

18. In Chaos of Syria Conflict, Kurds’ Autonomy Rests on Shaky Ground
3 February 2014 / World Politics Review
The autonomous districts recently declared by many of Syria’s Kurds—who with some 2.2 million persons make up about 10 percent of Syria’s population—have potentially important implications for the deadlocked Syrian civil war that has been raging for almost three years. This struggle has increasingly drawn in the United States and Russia, as well as various regional parties, such as Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, among others. In addition, Syria itself has degenerated into a Hobbesian war of all against all as the various opposition factions—increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadists from abroad—have begun fighting among themselves as well as against the Assad regime.

19. Dec. 17, the settlement process and the Kurds
12 February 2014 / Cihan
When we look at the statements made about the corruption probe launched on Dec. 17, 2013, we can see that the Kurdish people have reacted differently to the extraordinary developments that we have experienced since the probe became public than people living in the western parts of the country. On the one hand, the Kurds have said that allegations of corruption should be investigated and that those who are involved in corruption should be brought to trial; on the other hand, they have also interpreted the corruption probe as an attempt to undermine the settlement process launched by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to find a peaceful and political solution to the decades-old Kurdish dispute and the armed conflict. This is how the Kurdish community perceived the corruption probe.

20. Iraqi Kurdistan: Old structures, new realities
12 February 2014 / Al Jazeera
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has been in hospital in Germany for more than a year after he suffered a stroke in December 2012. Because of the highly restrictive access to his private place, nobody really knows how he is doing except for a few people including his immediate family members who claim his health condition is “improving”.  If that is the case, then it is certainly not advisable for him to be informed of what his political party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), has become since he left Iraq. PUK is no longer the strong and united party that enjoyed the support of nearly half of Iraqi Kurds for decades. In 1992, it won 49 percent of the votes and would, for two decades, remain a neck-and-neck rival of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the tribal-based group of Mullah Mustafa Barzani from which it splintered in 1975.

21. The Iran Interim Deal: Responses, Potential Impacts, and Moving Forward
30 January 2014 / Sustainable Security
Implementation of the interim deal with Iran, which freezes the country’s nuclear enrichment in exchange for limited sanctions relief, began last week. As an initial outcome of this deal, we are witnessing a substantial shift in diplomatic relations and relationships between Iran and its regional neighbours – some positive, some not. This deal marks a significant step for the international non-proliferation regime, but will it achieve the trust and confidence-building goals intended? As the US and Iran face increasing domestic pushback on the terms of the agreement, questions remain on the interim deal’s impact on relations in the region and abroad, and the effect these relations may have on the prospects of coming to a full comprehensive follow-up agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries.

22. End the despair of detention for female asylum seekers: ‘I saw what my mother went through’
10 February 2014 / Guardian
Loud noises still make her shake, says Meltem Avcil – a legacy of the day, almost seven years ago, when immigration officers arrived at her house at 6am, banged on the door, and ordered her and her mother into detention. She was 13, and had been in the UK since she was eight, a Doncaster schoolgirl with dreams of becoming a doctor. Mother and daughter packed up a few of their belongings before being driven in a caged van to Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire, Britain’s largest immigration removal centre for women. On arrival, a series of metal doors slammed behind them and Avcil found herself in a world of guards, roll calls and barbed wire, where the windows only opened a few inches.

REPORTS

23. Syria Document: Opposition Proposal at Geneva II Conference, 13 February 2014.
The proposal of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva II conference, presented on Monday to United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and immediately rejected by the Assad delegation.

STATEMENTS

24. 15 years in Imrali: Free Ocalan! 14 February 2014.

23. The Öcalan Moment – Statement of the International Initiative, 14 February 2014.

25. Peace, equality and self-determination: The Kurds take the lead in proposing a new way for Syria, PEACE IN KURDISTAN, CAMPACC, HALKEVI, KURDISH COMMUNITY CENTRE, SUSSEX KURDISH COMMNITY CENTRE Statement, 14 February 2014.

ACTIONS

26. Turkish Internet Freedom Under Attack
Access Now
This week, the Turkish parliament will vote to make its already harsh internet censorship laws even worse. Unless you help stop it, the proposed updates to the 2007 Regulation of Broadcasts via Internet and Prevention of Crimes Committed through Such Broadcasts (Law No. 5651) will increase online censorship, decimate user’s rights, and hurt business. Our friends in Turkey have asked for your help: Contact Turkish President Abdullah Gül and tell him to keep freedom of expression, creativity, and diversity alive on the Turkish web. President Gül must act and stop the proposed expansion of Law No. 5651.

It only takes a moment! Send a quick email.

 

 

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