Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 12 – 17 April 2014

NEWS
1. Autonomy project launched in pilot areas
2. New Communal Model Of Self-Government Takes Root In North Kurdistan
3. Syriacs, Arabs and Yezidis gathering signatures for freedom of Öcalan
4. Turkey’s jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan nominated fro Nobel Peace Prize

5. Objection raised for 43 Kurdish politicians
6. Turkish Soldiers Attack Rojava Residents Along Border
7. Representatives of Syrian Kurdish PYD party visits European Parliament
8. Leading UK role sought to resolve crisis in Syria
9. Calls Grow Louder for Kurdish Independence from Iraq
10. US senators file bill to remove Kurdish groups from terror list
11. Iraq Kurds press states to recognise genocide
12. Plane Passengers Refuse to Buckle up, Saving Iranian Kurd from Deportation

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
13. We Quit Working for Erdogan’s Propaganda Mouthpiece
14. Islamists make their move in Kurdish problem
15. Rojava’s Economic Model Is A Communal Model
16. A Static Nexus or a Dynamic Network? Rethinking the Security-Development Relationship within the Context of Southeastern Anatolia Project
17. The Changing Role of the Kurds: Perceptions in Europe
18. Alternative Left Perspectives on Syria

STATEMENTS
19. KCK: It’s high time to embrace and defend the Rojava revolution

REPORTS
20. Legitimacy and peace processes: from coercion to consent (Accord 25)

NEWS

1. Autonomy project launched in pilot areas
15 April 2014 / ANF

The BDP, which is aiming to implement its Democratic Autonomy project, has selected Colemêrg (Hakkari) and Şirnex (Şırnak) as pilot provinces. BDP MP Demir Çelik said they intend to introduce autonomy in other areas, too, adding: “Turkey can no longer be governed by a single central authority.” At a press conference organised by BDP MP and deputy in charge of local administration, Demir Çelik, and BDP MP Halil Aksoy in the Turkish parliament, the MPs stressed the will of the people had been usurped at the local elections in Agirî (Ağrı), Wêranşar (Viranşehir) and Serêkanî (Ceylanpınar). Çelik responded to a reply by the Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Taner Yıldız, to BDP Amed Metropolitan Municipal Co-Mayor Gültan Kışanak’s comment regarding local authorities receiving a share of oil revenue, drawing attention to the fact 80% of oil in Turkey is from the region.

2. New Communal Model Of Self-Government Takes Root In North Kurdistan
16 April 2014 / Rojava Report
A new article for Özgür Gündem by Murat Çiftçi looks at the emergence of a communal form of social and economic organization in the village of Karakoyun, in the Sêwreg district of Riha (Turkish: Urfa) Province. The villagers are attempting to build a model of social self-government in which decisions are made in common and carried out through common labor. The villagers are most focused on urgent problems and are putting together a common budget out of which the needs of the entire community might be met. They are working together on road and other infrastructure work, in agricultural production and are also constructing common living spaces.

3. Syriacs, Arabs and Yezidis gathering signatures for freedom of Öcalan
14 April 2014 / ANF
Minority communities in the district of Midyat in Mardin province are to sign the petition calling for the release of Öcalan and all political prisoners. Representatives of the Syriac, Yezidi and Arab communities in the district are preparing to collect signatures for the petition in villages in the area. They told the ANF that: ”Öcalan’s freedom means the freedom of the peoples of Mesopotamia,” saying they would join the campaign led by the BDP.  Pir Emer, a Yezidi religious leader, said: “With the emergence of President Öcalan we began to become free. Öcalan rose like a sun in these lands and all the peoples of Mesopotamia should support the campaign for his freedom. We will endeavour to get Yezidis to sign the petition. We will offer the necessary support. Our hope is that everyone will participate.”

4. Turkey’s jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan nominated fro Nobel Peace Prize
14 April 2014 / eKurd
Heval Kwestani, a member of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament for the Gorran (change) movement, has nominated jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Kwestani’s application has been accepted by the Nobel Committee. The Member of Parliament for Slêmanî [Sulaimaniyah] said that “Öcalan’s 2013 Newroz message emphasised peace and democracy, it was a manifesto for the peaceful solution of the Kurdish question in Turkey. The fact that Times magazine placed Öcalan in a list of the 100 most influential people in the World – he added – was also a factor behind my nomination of Öcalan for the prize.”

5. Objection raised for 43 Kurdish politicians
14 April 2014 / Dicle News Agency
The lawyers of Diyarbakır “KCK” main lawsuit raised an objection regarding the verdict towards 43 Kurdish politicians. After over 4 years in prison, finally on Saturday night 48 Kurdish politicians and rights activists have been released from jail. Among them Mehmet Abbasoğlu, Bayram Altun, Besime Konca, lawyer Muharrem Erbey and Celal Yoldaş have all been released. In 2009 some 92 politicians and human rights activists had been arrested within the scope of the so called KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) trial. On the same day, the court board did not release 43 Kurdish politicians including the DEP Former MP Hatip Dicle and Journalist Tayyip Temel.

6. Turkish Soldiers Attack Rojava Residents Along Border
16 April 2014 / ANF
Turkish soldiers severely beat and robbed 10 individuals from Rojava attempting to cross the Turkish-Syrian border into Northern Kurdistan.
The incident is reported to have taken place this morning, April 1, at 05:00 local time when 10 Rojava residents attempted to cross the border from the village of Gerdeniye in the district of Dêrik in the Cizîre Canton to Derbaciya in the district of Cizre. Soldiers stopped the ten, before beating them with fists and rifle butts. Hisen Eyyub from Dêrik suffered a broken nose; Ali Muhammed from Til Koçer had his foot and nose broken, while Remiz Hemze from Qamişlo had his hand broken and Şadi Temo – also from Qamişlo – suffered a fractured skull.

7. Representatives of Syrian Kurdish PYD party visits European Parliament
16 April 2014 / eKurd
Representatives of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) are having talks prior to the session to take place at the European Parliament to handle “the situation of the people in Syria left without any defense” on Thursday. PYD Party Assembly member and European representative Abdulselam Mustafa, accompanied by BDP’s (Turkey’s Peace and Democracy Party) EU and EC representatives, started talks with parliamentarians on Tuesday to provide information regarding the general situation and the position of Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan region (Rojava) and Syria.

8. Leading UK role sought to resolve crisis in Syria
17 April 2014 / Arab News
Senior Saudi officials, Shoura Council members and academicians called on the United Kingdom on Tuesday to take a “leading role” in resolving the Syrian crisis, as many of the West’s policies on both Syria and Iran risk the stability and security of the Middle East. They also called on the UK to adopt more aggressive policy on regional issues, especially on, Syria and work closely with allies including the Kingdom. Officials and academicians were speaking during the inaugural session of the first workshop entitled “Saudi-British relations” on Tuesday night. Several speakers and participants, both Saudi and British, expressed their disappointment and dissatisfaction on the international response to the systematic genocide carried out by Assad regime, saying that the crisis continues unabated.

9. Calls Grow Louder for Kurdish Independence from Iraq
13 April 104 / Rudaw
As relations between Erbil and Baghdad continue to sour, some Kurdish leaders speak of an inevitable divorce from Iraq to establish an independent Kurdish state. “By all standards, the Kurdistan Region has the right to become a sovereign state,” said Ali Bapir, leader of the Kurdistan Islamic League (Komal), at a press conference last week. Bapir’s comments, which he called a road map, came just hours after Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani told Sky News Arabia that, “A Kurdish state is on the way.” Bapir said that a committee within the party has been studying the ways and possibilities of a Kurdish state.

10. US senators file bill to remove Kurdish groups from terror list
12 April 2014 / Middle East Online
Senator Menendez and Senator McCain argue that Iraqi Kurdish groups took up arms against Saddam and have since helped stabilize region. Two prominent US senators introduced legislation Friday that would remove Iraqi Kurdish organizations KDP and PUK from a terrorist blacklist. The Obama administration supports the move, which officials have said requires legislative action rather than an executive order from the White House. Washington designated the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan as terrorist groups in 2001 in part for their insurgent activity in the 1990s Kurdish civil war. In introducing their bill, Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator John McCain argued that the two groups took up arms against Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein and have since helped stabilize the region.

11. Iraq Kurds press states to recognise genocide
14 April 2014 / Al Jazeera
Twenty-six years have passed since Saddam Hussein’s campaign of mass killings against the Kurds in northern Iraq. Yet to date, no governments except for Iraq’s have officially recognised the campaign as constituting a genocide. Saddam systematically killed more than 100,000 Iraqi Kurds in the al-Anfal (“the spoils of war”) campaign, which lasted from February to September 1988, towards the end of Saddam’s war against neighbouring Iran – in which the Iraqi leader was supported by many Western countries. In March 1988, Saddam also ordered the chemical bombing of Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds – including women, children and entire families – were murdered.  Some of Iraq’s largest military operations against the Kurds took place on April 14, 1988 – which is now the official day of remembrance for those killed in al-Anfal.

12. Plane Passengers Refuse to Buckle up, Saving Iranian Kurd from Deportation
16 April 2014 / Rudaw
A planned deportation of an Iranian Kurd from Sweden to Iran was halted last week after passengers on the plane refused to fasten their seat belts, deterring the aircraft from taking off, in solidarity with the Kurdish man who feared reprisal if he returned to the Islamic Republic. Sanna Vestin, chairwoman of the Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups, FARR, said that family friends of the man to be deported, Ghader Ghalamere, were behind the move to stop the deportation. Before the flight from the Swedish airport of Ostersund, they spoke to passengers in the departure lounge, others went to the runway to see what they could do, and yet others refused to fasten their seatbelts on the plane, Vestin added.

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

13. We Quit Working for Erdogan’s Propaganda Mouthpiece
8 April 20134 / Vice
“Journalists wanted for international news agency,” read the Guardian job ad. As an editor in an industry where opportunities seem to be fading away by the day, you apply for pretty much any full-time job you see. A couple of months later, we arrived in Ankara, Turkey, ready to “write history” as the first international journalists to be welcomed into the Anadolu Agency (AA) family. We joined the agency in January, hired to edit English-language news, but quickly found ourselves becoming English-language spin-doctors. The agency’s editorial line on its domestic politics – and Syria, in particular – was so intently pro-government that we might as well have been writing press releases. Two months into the job, we listened to Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç talking bollocks about press freedom from an event at London’s Chatham House, downplaying the number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey. Soon after that, we got the chance to visit London on business. We grabbed it and resigned as soon as we hit UK soil.

14. Islamists make their move in Kurdish problem
17 April 2014 / Hurriyet
As the government continues its efforts to find a peaceful solution to the decades-long Kurdish problem, Islamists made their move yesterday by announcing that a “Democratic Islam Conference” will be held in Diyarbakır next month. The announcement of the conference is the fulfilling of a wish first voiced by Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who is serving a life sentence on İmralı island. In November 2013, Öcalan had issued a call for a “Democratic Islam Congress” to convene in Diyarbakır against “groups betraying Islam, in particular al-Qaeda and al-Nusra.”

15. Rojava’s Economic Model Is A Communal Model
15 April 2014 / ANF
In a new interview for ANF, Seyit Evran has spoken with Professor Dr. Ahmet Yusuf, who was made President of the Committee On Economy and Trade of the Afrin Autonomous Canton following its proclamation of autonomy this past January. Dr. Yusuf spoke about the prevailing economic model in the world, and the attempt in Rojava to build an alternative economy around a social communal model as laid out by Abdullah Öcalan. “Because this model” Dr. Yusuf says, “is the model by which the history of humanity will be brought back to life are chances of winning are high.” Evran’s interview with Dr. Yusuf has been translated into English below.

16. A Static Nexus or a Dynamic Network? Rethinking the Security-Development Relationship within the Context of Southeastern Anatolia Project
15 April 2014 / Research Turkey
The concepts of security and development have been central to the theory and practice of international affairs. Even though there is little sense of common agreement within both arenas, there is a seeming consensus among international organizations, key think-tanks, and university-based research that security and development are interconnected. Arguably, the political and bureaucratic elite of Turkey has also long assumed that fusing security and development was desirable and would produce positive outcomes. The Southeastern Anatolia Project (Guneydogu Anadolu Projesi, or GAP in its Turkish acronym), the large-scale, multi-sectoral regional development project initiated in early 1980s in Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, sets a good example as to how the elite has conceived development–GAP in particular–as a complementary means to deal with Turkey’s Kurdish question and to maintain peace and security.

17. The Changing Role of the Kurds: Perceptions in Europe
The Kurdish Question
Since 2002, the European Union and related institutions politically supported the AKP for its disposition to democratisation which has seemingly ceased gradually as of early 2011. Several reasons may be counted for this, but I would prefer to elaborate on the EU’s (specifically the European Parliament’s) consideration of the Kurds and Turkey. The perception of European politicians and parties of the AKP government and the Kurds was influenced by Regional and international political developments and will no longer be as it used to be. I prefer to extract my comments from the European Parliament (EP) because of two reasons. The first, is that the EP is a platform for the various debates that concern the European countries and their external relations; the second, is that the EP is the most representative European institution, among others, in relation to the lingual and political diversity of Europe.

18. Alternative Left Perspectives on Syria
13 April 2014 / Pulse Media
Here, collected in one place, are some of the key texts of the dissident left camp in response to the conflict in Syria. Emphasis on some of the key texts – this list is by no means exhaustive. It’s limited to English-language sources. We offer it here as a living resource, one that is expanding on a daily basis.

 

STATEMENTS

19. KCK: It’s high time to embrace and defend the Rojava revolution, 13 April 2014.

 

REPORTS

20. Legitimacy and peace processes: from coercion to consent (Accord 25), April 2014.

 

 

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