Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 10 – 16 May 2014

NEWS
1. Kurdistan rises up for Soma
2. Turkey mine disaster death toll disputed by furious locals
3. Protests Erupt Across Turkey as Death Toll in Soma Mine Disaster Tops 274
4. Roboski families: We feel the pain of Soma people in our hearts
5. On Mother’s Day in Turkey, Pleas for Answers about Missing Kurds
6. Kurdish Mother and Infant Twins to Begin Prison Term in Turkey
7. ‘Democratic Islam’ conference calls for peace
8. Turkey: Seven Kurdish journalists on KCK trial released
9. Paris massacre suspect attempted to escape from prison
10. KCK calls for solidarity with Yazidi Kurds in face of ISIS attacks
11. Thousands receiving Kurdish Language education in Syrian Kurdistan’s Jazeera Canton

12. Cizîre Canton delegation in Germany
13. Kurdish official reveals content of Syria opposition meetings in US

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
14. Does Erdogan need Ocalan to be elected president?
15. Giving up on Kurdish nation-state
16. The role of EU and US in the war against Kurds

17. Turkey’s Search For A New Paradigm For The Resolution Process
18. 10 things you must know about Kurds from the “Other Syria”
19. ‘They cut hands, cut heads, play with corpses’: Islamic extremists fighting brutal war against Kurds in Syria
20. Kurdish Enclaves in Syria Battle Islamist Militant Groups
21. Turkey, Qatar strengthen economic ties
22. Iraq Potentially Turkey’s Biggest Energy Partner
23. Violence in Britain: how the war on terror criminalises ordinary people
24. The Road from Diyarbakir: A Call to Deepen Kurdish Commitment to Genocide Justice
25. Erdogan Claims it’s not Genocide Because not All Armenians were Killed

REPORTS
26. “Turkey after the Elections”: Delegation Report

STATEMENTS
27. “We share your sorrow”: KCK Statement

 

NEWS

1. Kurdistan rises up for Soma
15 May 2014 / ANF
People of North Kurdistan took to the streets today, joining massive marches and demonstrations to protest against the AKP government for bearing responsibility in the Soma massacre which has left hundreds of miners dead, injured or still trapped underground. The banners protestors along with workers on strike and students boycotting schools and universities carried read; “We know the murderer, from Roboski to Soma”. The AKP government was called on to resign.
In Pictures: Kurdistan rises up for Soma

2. Turkey mine disaster death toll disputed by furious locals
16 May 2014 / Guardian
The final death toll from Turkey’s mine disaster will likely be around 300, government officials have said, though furious locals say the authorities are covering up far greater loss of life. According to the latest official numbers, the number killed in Monday’s explosion and fire at the mine in western Turkey stands at 284. The energy minister, Taner Yildiz, said on Friday that 18 miners were still missing. But one miner who works at the pit in Soma who wished to remain anonymous sdisputed the energy minister’s claim: “This is disgraceful, an incredible lie. They are trying to cover up the exact numbers of the accident. I have been down there. There are more than 18 bodies still trapped in the mine.”

3. Protests Erupt Across Turkey as Death Toll in Soma Mine Disaster Tops 274
15 May 2014 / Global Research
Rescue efforts are still ongoing at the Soma mine, where the death toll topped 274 yesterday. This makes the Soma disaster the most deadly industrial accident in the history of Turkey, surpassing the 1992 mine explosion in Zonguldak that killed 263. One of the dead was an underage 15-year-old miner who was apparently an unregistered worker at the mine. The death toll in Soma is expected to rise even further. Officials have said that at least 120 miners are trapped inside the mine, and several reports indicate that the number may be over 200. Hope is rapidly dwindling that they could have survived until now.

4. Roboski families: We feel the pain of Soma people in our hearts
15 May 2014 / ANF
Families of Roboski victims, 34 Kurdish civilians murdered in a Turkish airstrike on 28 December 2011, offered their condolences to the families of the victims of Soma mine disaster. Gathering at the graveyard of Roboski victims, as they do every Thursday in their vigil for justice, families protested this week the murder of hundreds of workers in a coal mine in Soma district of western Manisa province.

5. On Mother’s Day in Turkey, Pleas for Answers about Missing Kurds
12 May 2014 / Rudaw
On Mother’s Day in Turkey on Sunday, a group of Kurdish mothers took to the streets to demand answers about their missing relatives. In Istanbul, as well as Hakkari and Diyarbakir in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast, relatives of missing Kurds, known as the “Saturday Mothers,” gathered and carried photographs of their loved ones. Tahir Elci, president of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, criticized the Turkish government for failing to prosecute the perpetrators behind 17,500 Kurdish intellectuals, journalists, businessmen and politicians who disappeared and probably died in custody in the 1990s. “If the state wants, they can easily find the perpetrators. They should make an objective and neutral investigation,” Elci told Rudaw.

6. Kurdish Mother and Infant Twins to Begin Prison Term in Turkey
11 May 2014 / Rudaw
A Kurdish mother, convicted for selling books related to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), begins her jail sentence in Turkey later this month, along with her twin infants. Mulkiye Demir Kılınc was convicted for selling books related to the PKK at the Mesopotamian Culture Center. After one of her clients, who was sending the books to the PKK, was arrested, Kilinc also was charged with “aiding a terror organization.” The new mother, whose jail term starts on May 19, has asked for the sentence to be postponed for a year, so that her six-month-old twins are a little older and can walk.

7. ‘Democratic Islam’ conference calls for peace
15 May 2014 / SES Turkiye
As armed groups in the Middle East kill civilians and destroy communities in the name of religion, Diyarbakir hosted a conference last weekend promoting a “Democratic Islam” that embraces all of society. As armed groups in the Middle East kill civilians and destroy communities in the name of religion, Diyarbakir hosted a conference last weekend promoting a “Democratic Islam” that embraces all of society. “The Islamic world has been thrown into chaos by rising violence, division, and conflict. Yet the message of Islam carries universal messages of justice, peace, and humanity,” the conference’s closing declaration said. “Ethnic and sectarian violence have created great concern and trepidation. Policies that upset the peace and brotherhood of peoples must be abandoned immediately.”

8. Turkey: Seven Kurdish journalists on KCK trial released
13 May 2014 / eKurd
Following an evaluation of the monthly state of detentions, Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court has ruled the release of seven Kurdish journalists tried in the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) main trial in Istanbul.
The 7 Kurdish journalists, who have been in jail for 29 months within the scope of “Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Press Committee” and were were arrested in the operations against Kurdish press foundations like Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Daily Özgür Gündem, Daily Azadiya Welat,www.Ekurd.net Democratic Modernity journal and Firat News Agency ANF, were released by the Istanbul 3rd Heavy Penalty Court.

9. Paris massacre suspect attempted to escape from prison
14 May 2014 / Kurdish Info
It has emerged that Ömer Güney, the chief suspect in the murder of three Kurdish revolutionary women in Paris in January 2013, has tired to escape from prison. According to a source in the judiciary accessed by AFP, Ömer Güney, who was accused of the murders on 7 May 2013, had made preparations to escape using weapons or explosives. It is reported this escape attempt emerged in a conversation in January between Güney and a person resident in Germany who French prosecutors had asked to question.The source said: “Elements confirming the escape plan were found on this person’s mobile phone,” adding that Ömer Güney had considered using a gun against members of the security forces in order to escape.

10. KCK calls for solidarity with Yazidi Kurds in face of ISIS attacks
13 May 2014 / eKurd
In a statement from the Co-Presidency of its Executive Council, the KCK has called for all the peoples and faith groups of Kurdistan to stand in solidarity with Yazidis following attacks against the community by units with the Islamic State or Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in Iraqi Kurdistan. The KCK statement also confirmed the body’s commitment to protecting the Yazidis and all other peoples in the region, reading, “We declare that we are prepared to fulfil all of our our responsibilities and duties as regards defending our Yazidi peoples.”

11. Thousands receiving Kurdish Language education in Syrian Kurdistan’s Jazeera Canton
14 May 2014 / eKurd
The revolution in Kurdish language education in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) is being reflected in celebrations around Kurdish Language Day, officially marked on May 15th. The Kurdish Language Institute (SZK) which first began mother-tongue education in private homes in Syrian Kurdistan, is now offering officially recognized language courses at 670 schools in the Jazeera (Cizîre) Canton alone. With three thousand teachers and 49,700 students, Kurdish courses organized by the SZK are now part of the curriculum from elementary to secondary school. Once more, the preparation of teachers for the other parts of Kurdistan has now come onto the SZK’s agenda.

12. Cizîre Canton delegation in Germany
16 May 2014 / ANF
A delegation from West Kurdistan’s Cizîre Canton has arrived in the German city of Dusseldorf as part of its European tour which will witness talks with parties, parliamentarians and officials in Germany, Belgium, Holland, France and Scandinavia. The delegation that has gone on a European tour following its talks in South Kurdistan was received by European executives of the PYD (Democratic Union Party) and YEK-KOM (Federation of Kurdish Associations in Germany ) in Dusseldorf. In a statement to the press on behalf of the delegation, Cizîre Canton Minister of Foreign Affairs Salih Gedo said the purpose of their European tour was to tell Europe about the Democratic Autonomous system established in Rojava and the current circumstances in West Kurdistan.

13. Kurdish official reveals content of Syria opposition meetings in US
15 May 2014 / eKurd
A Kurdish member of the Syrian opposition body who visited the US last week, Salahaddin Darwish confided to Kurdpress the content of the opposition bodies meetings with the US officials and politicians. The opposition body met the US President Barack Obama two days ago as well as some other on other days during their week-long stay in the US, a supporter to the opposition coalition. Dawrish said Obama has reiterated that Syria Opposition Coalition is the real representative of the Syrians and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has no place in the country’s future. He further said Obama has asked for unity among the lines in the opposition body as unity will open the US’s hand for more help and the two sides can have more active relations.
COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

14. Does Erdogan need Ocalan to be elected president?
14 May 2014 / Al Monitor
The city of Diyarbakir is not only the largest metropolis of Turkey’s southeast. More importantly it is the center, a kind of “spiritual capital,” of the Kurds, who are called “the largest nation of the world without a state,” scattered over Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. In the recent past, there was an attempt in 1946 at the first independent Kurdish state of Mahabad Republic in Iran. It didn’t last even a year. Today, Erbil in northern Iraq is the capital of quasi-independent Kurdistan. It is, at the very least, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). There is an elected Kurdistan parliament. Even during the reign of Saddam Hussein, after 1974 Erbil was the center of autonomous Kurdistan. The town of Sulaimaniyah has always been recognized as the “cultural center” of Kurdistan.

15. Giving up on Kurdish nation-state
10 May 2014 / Todays Zaman
Mustafa Karasu is an important figure in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). In an interview conducted this past week with the pro-PKK Sterk TV, he said the PKK had “given up on the goal of forming a nation-state.”Simultaneously, we see that marginalized MPs from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) — a Kurdish ethnic party — have moved to the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), which asserts that it is a Turkey party. All these imply that the PKK is clearly making some deep-rooted changes. And what this, in turn, means is that the PKK is now obliged to re-examine and revisit all of its tactical tools within the framework of this new paradigm, including the use of violence.

16. The role of EU and US in the war against Kurds 
12 May 2014 / Ararat News
Kurdish movement in Turkey (PKK) has been added in EU terror list since 2003 after strong pushing from Turkey and USA. Kurdish politicians and leadership appealed immediately to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which has found EU injustice to put the Kurdish movement in the terror list without concrete juridical proofs. Despite ECJ’s decision, EU still renews the listing of the Kurdish movement in the terror list. Kurds do believe that “some Turkish-US-EU war lobbies earning bloody money from Kurdish-Turkish conflict are still working actively to keep the list”.   Now, Kurdish leaders and organizations are asking EU and US “to put in table all the crimes Kurds are doing in EU: “They have to prove those accusations or they have to respect the values of the democracy and human rights and to stop with the criminalization policy and war against Kurdish people”, saying Kurdish leaders.

17. Turkey’s Search For A New Paradigm For The Resolution Process
16 May 2014 / Daily Sabah
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once said, “We are looking for clear water to turn our faces,” a comment which preceded his condolence message for the 1915 tragedy. This expression seemingly caught the attention of no one but Etyen Mahçupyan. At least, there weren’t many people who wrote about this critical and radical sentence. This radical remark actually has showed the reformist leader and his party’s need and determination to break all ties from Turkey’s oligarchic state regime as a paradigm. Even though the reforms might have been casually made in 2002, when the story of the party’s rule began, they now demand intellectual depth and ideological background.

18. 10 things you must know about Kurds from the “Other Syria”
12 May 2014 / Your Middle East
An oft-quoted Kurdish proverb, “Kurds have no friends but the mountains,” speaks to Kurdish experiences of being repeatedly snubbed by potential allies and finding protection only in the rigid mountains of Kurdistan. However, Rojava – as the Kurdish regions of Syria are also known – lacks mountainous terrain, which is perhaps one of the main reasons Syrian Kurds never engaged in an armed struggle prior to the 2012 collapse of the Syrian state. With the greater Syrian opposition unprepared to address the so-called Kurdish question, Kurds in Rojava began mobilizing in 2012.

19. ‘They cut hands, cut heads, play with corpses’: Islamic extremists fighting brutal war against Kurds in Syria
11 May 2014 / National Post
A dirty little war is grinding on in northern Syria, off the West’s radar and beyond the reach of much of its media, writes Jonathan Spyer, who has just returned from a visit to the besieged Kurdish enclave of Kobani. The conflict between the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the Kurdish upstarts provides a glimpse of what the future might hold for the country, now in the fourth year of a punishing civil war — wars within wars.Syria is now fractured into a multitude of interests, split along ethnic, religious and regional grounds — and each badly disposed to the others.

20. Kurdish Enclaves in Syria Battle Islamist Militant Groups
2 May 2014 / Jamestown Foundation

The main Kurdish militia in Syria, the Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG – Kurdish People’s Protection Units), has survived a siege of the town of Kobani (Arabic: Ayn al-Arab) by Islamist extremists belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The siege of the Kurdish-controlled town near the Turkish border began on March 10. ISIS was not able to manage to force the Kurds into submission and the Kurds now say ISIS has ended its attempt to capture Kobani, moving most of their forces to the town of Tel Hamis (close to Qamishli), which will lead to more suicide attacks in the Hasakah governorate (Firat News, April 18). Lacking any Syrian Kurdish support, ISIS was unable to overcome the YPG and their efforts only increased support for the YPG among Syrian Kurds despite shortages of food, weapons and other supplies.

21. Turkey, Qatar strengthen economic ties
9 May 2014 / Al Monitor
It has not been easy to affirm meaningful cooperation between Qatar and Turkey in several fields, despite the political geniality that grew out of the Arab Spring. Serious relations lag behind nonpolitical factors, like Turkish TV serials and coach Bulent Uygun, who upgraded Qatari football. Despite their common moves in international platforms, especially in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and their similar reactions to the political processes in Syria, Egypt, Libya and Jordan, for some reason, Qatar and Turkey have not been able to develop the economic aspect of their partnership.

22. Iraq Potentially Turkey’s Biggest Energy Partner
9 May 2014 / AINA
Iraq’s oil and natural gas reserves hold great importance for Turkey, a country which is highly dependent on imports for energy consumption.
Iraq has been struggling to stabilize politically since the US invaded in 2003 and removed the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein, yet Iraq has become Turkey’s second largest trade partner after Germany. As of 2013, Iraq and Turkey have a trade volume of $12 billion. According to the American Energy Information Administration (EIA), Iraq holds the world’s fifth largest known oil reserves with 143 billion barrels. According to the EIA, Iraq has 3.1 trillion cubic meters of known natural gas reserves, the world’s 11th biggest proven natural gas reserves. Yet problems with infrastructure and bureaucracy have meant that Iraq is not able to produce 1 billion cubic meters of gas yearly.

23. Violence in Britain: how the war on terror criminalises ordinary people
13 May 2014 / The Conversation
It is now accepted that the war on terror has generated an extensive repertoire of its very own terror. Drone strikes resulting in extrajudicial killings, rendition and torture – zones of exception like Guantanamo Bay come to mind, as does Britain’s complicity in extraordinary rendition and torture. Then there are the normalised, everyday forms of terror operational in Britain that rarely register as state-sanctioned violence because they are understood to keep us safe. This includes MI5 and police raids without charge, compulsory schedule 7 detention and questioning and stop and search of communities made suspect. Even less visible than state violence is the global regime of targeted sanctions against non-state armed actors and those even indirectly connected to them. UN Security Council Resolution 1373 requires states to establish their own domestic banning regimes in order to criminalise the support and financing for terrorism.

24. The Road from Diyarbakir: A Call to Deepen Kurdish Commitment to Genocide Justice
13 May 2014 / The Armenian Weekly
On May 10, a conference on “The 1915 Genocide: Collective Responsibility and Roles; Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian Relations” was held in Berlin. It brought together two generations of Kurdish intellectuals to discuss inter-communal relations before and after the genocide and the responsibilities of Kurds in the process and conciliation and making amends. Armenian Weekly Editor Khatchig Mouradian delivered the following speech, in Turkish, calling on Kurdish opinion-makers and politicians to expand and deepen their role in bringing justice to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

25. Erdogan Claims it’s not Genocide Because not All Armenians were Killed
7 May 2014 / Armenian Life
Within days of releasing a shrewdly-worded statement on April 23, misleading some into thinking that he was acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan reversed course on a major American TV program, claiming that the 1915 mass killings of Armenians was not genocide. When asked by veteran reporter Charlie Rose if it would be possible for the Turkish Prime Minister to characterize these killings as genocide, Erdogan became the laughing stock of TV viewers worldwide by declaring: “It would not be possible, because if such a genocide occurred, would there have been any Armenians living in this country [Turkey]?”
REPORTS

26. “Turkey after the Elections”: Delegation Report, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, 13 May 2014.
STATEMENTS

27. “We share your sorrow”: KCK Statement, 14 May 2014.

 

 

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