Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 17 – 23 May 2014

NEWS
1. KDP security forces target KNK, PCDK in Iraqi Kurdistan
2. KNK condemns operation against Kurdish institutions in KRG
3. 100th week of vigil for Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan
4. Pro-PKK Kurdish deputies meet Turkey government officials
5. Sweden Green MP: Ocalan will regain his freedom
6. Candidates for EU Parliament: Kurdish Rights Should Be Precondition for Turkey EU Accession
7. Iraqi Kurdistan defies Baghdad to load first pipeline oil sale
8. Mourner dies, several injured in Istanbul clashes
9. Kurdish book revival grows amid Turkish reforms
10. Syrian Kurdish mother killed at Turkish border
11. Regime Attacks In Hesekê, ISIS Kidnaps Civilians in Kobanê
12. Syrian Kurdish PYD Leader: Our fighters are a bastion against Islamic-Jihadist threat to Europe
13. Syrian Kurdish PYD responds to latest attacks
14. Ethnic tensions erupt in Burj Hammoud

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
15. Demir Celik: ‘The BDP’s mission is a Democratic Autonomous Kurdistan’
16. PKK Executive Committee Member Duran Kalkan: National Congress A Necessity
17. Disillusioned and divided
18. German leaders wary of Erdogan visit
19. Syrian Kurds Ache For A Lifeline
20. Political propaganda in the name of journalism: RSF report on Rojava
21. Arab Tribes Split Between Kurds And Jihadists
22. The Syrian Experiment with “Apoism”
23. Kirkuk Conflict: The Underlying Energy Dimension

STATEMENTS
24. PYD Europe: “The Kurdish initiative towards democratic change on the basis of unity and diversity”,

 

NEWS

1. KDP security forces target KNK, PCDK in Iraqi Kurdistan
20 May 2014 / eKurd
The security forces of Iraqi Kurdistan ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP launched operations targeting representatives of the Kurdish National Congress (KNK), as well as many the offices and members of many other organizations earlier Monday in three major cities in Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Many people are reported to have been taken into custody. According to information now available, the operations took place in three cities – Hewlêr [Erbil], Duhok and Zakho – and targeted, among others, representatives of the KNK, members and offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (PCDK), of Dicle News Agency’s Hewlêr bureau, the Rojava Welat Newspaper, the Patriotic Youth Center, and the Organization of Free Women of Kurdistan (RJAK). Many were arrested and a large number of documents were seized.

2. KNK condemns operation against Kurdish institutions in KRG
20 May 2014 / ANF
Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) has released a statement strongly condemning the raids and detentions carried out by Massoud Barzani’s KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) in the Hewler, Zaxo and Duhok cities of the KRG on 19 May. At least 25 people were taken into custody in the operation which targeted the offices of KNK, Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (PÇDK), Dicle News Agency (DIHA), Roja Welat daily, Patriotic Youth’s Center, Kurdistan Free Women’s Institution (Saziya Jinên Azadixwazi Kürdistan) and Weşana Roja Welat Magazine.

3. 100th week of vigil for Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan
19 May 2014 / ANF
The Freedom for Öcalan vigil outside the Council of Europe building in Strasbourg is now in its 100th week. Every week a different group from countries in Europe takes responsibility for the vigil, that is calling for the release of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners.  This week a group from the Kurdish People’s Assembly in the German city of Duisburg comprising Kahraman Çelikçel, Sozdar Biitkay, Dilar Örenç, Serhat Çorlu and Drej Mehmet are running the vigil. Kahraman Çelikçel said: “we are here for our president. We will be in solidarity with him as long as he is in a Turkish dungeon. I am also a member of the Freedom for Öcalan Initiative. I attended the demonstration here in 2012.”

4. Pro-PKK Kurdish deputies meet Turkey government officials
21 May 2014 / Kurdpress
Three Kurdish parliament deputies in Turkey parliament met officials from government to discuss peace talks that is planned to end the Kurdish conflict I the state, Anadolu agency said in a report. Sirri Sureya Onder, Idris Balkuken and Perviz Buldan met Turkey Deputy Minister and anti-terror Command Chief Basir Atalay, Justice Minister Bakir Buzdag and Interior Minister Afghan Alla. The peace talks between the government and the PKK was discussed in the meeting, Onder said, stating that the two sides have confirmed that the cease fire between the PKK and Turkey army has been considered by both sides as a great achievement and it is needed to be preserved. He further added the PKK officials have written their answer to the 18-page letter by the PKK jailed Leader Abdullah Ocalan and Kurdish deputies will take the answer to Ocalan after it will be studied by the justice minister.

5. Sweden Green MP: Ocalan will regain his freedom
17 May 2014 / ANF
Sweden Green Party MP Mehmet Kaplan has visited Gävleborg Democratic Kurdish Society Center, and said in a speech there he looks forward to the sucess of the peace process and Ocalan’s gaining his freedom back, adding “I belive that house probation is possible at the moment, and Ocalan will be freed within 5 years” Mehmet Kaplan visited Gävleborg Democratic Kurdish Society Center together with Roger Persson, a local councellor in Gävle from the Green party, and shared his thougths on the recent developments in Sweeden, Turkey and Kurdistan with the Kurdish people.

6. Candidates for EU Parliament: Kurdish Rights Should Be Precondition for Turkey EU Accession
21 May 2014 / Rudaw
As voters in Europe go to the polls this week to choose the new European Parliament, a number of Kurdish and non-Kurdish candidates spoke to Rudaw about their views on Turkey’s possible membership in the European Union (EU), and the Europe-wide recognition of Saddam Hussein’s atrocities against the Kurds as genocide. British Sarah Ludford, a current MP for the Liberal Democrats who is a candidate again, said she was a supporter of Turkey’s accession to the EU. But, by her own admission, she has been very concerned by the developments in Turkey over the last 12 months, for example the police crackdown on the Gezi Park protesters in the summer of 2013.

7. Iraqi Kurdistan defies Baghdad to load first pipeline oil sale
22 May 2014 / Reuters
Iraqi Kurdistan started loading oil from its new pipeline for shipment from a Turkish port on Thursday, defying the Baghdad government, which claims sole authority over Iraqi crude and declares any independently sold oil as ‘smuggled’. The cargo of 1 million barrels of crude oil was being loaded on a tanker in the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters on Thursday. “Loading will be completed today,” Yildiz said, declining to name the buyer. The sale is likely to infuriate Baghdad, which has been at loggerheads with the autonomous Kurdish region over the sharing of oil revenues, and denounced Turkey’s courtship of the Kurds, warning that steps towards Kurdish economic independence could threaten Iraq’s sovereignty.

8. Mourner dies, several injured in Istanbul clashes
22 May 2014 / Hurriyet
One person died after being shot by a stray bullet during clashes between police and a group in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı district May 22, while several others were injured. One man is in a critical condition after being injured during clashes that intensified throughout the night. The victim, identified as Uğur Kurt, was attending a funeral procession as police cracked down on a group consisting of 10 to 15 people who had gathered in the neighborhood. After the police fired tear gas, the group dispersed into side streets. An armored police vehicle was set alight after being hit by a Molotov cocktail thrown by a protester, after which the police exited the vehicle and opened fire on the group, allegedly with live ammunition.

9. Kurdish book revival grows amid Turkish reforms
22 May 2014 / World Bulletin
It has been a very busy time for Abdullah Keskin, the owner of Istanbul-based Kurdish book publisher. Last month, the Avesta publisher set up a stand at book fair in the western city of Izmir, a place well-known as a stronghold of Turkey’s nationalist and republican heritage. During the fair, Keskin hung a large banner in front of his book stand, displaying a word which has been taboo for years by successive Turkish governments: ‘Kurdistan’. Despite this sensitivity when asked about any reaction, he says: “I did not face any insult from pro-republicans during the fair”. Another Kurdish-language publisher, Suleyman Cevik, owner of Istanbul-based publisher Nubihar, had a similar experience,

10. Syrian Kurdish mother killed at Turkish border
21 May 2014 / Al Monitor
On the night of May 18, Saadet Dervis, 30, along with her two children and her father, attempted to cross the border from northern Syria’s Rojava region, which is controlled by the Kurds, into Turkey. Her husband had gone to Turkey a few months prior. Dervis, also known as Saada Darwich, was fleeing an area under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). As they approached the Turkish border near the Derik district that night, they were detected by Turkish soldiers. Dervis and her group waved and shouted that they wanted to cross the border. Their plea was met with fire from a Scorpion armored vehicle, and Dervis was hit in the stomach. She died in front of her young children and father, Mithat Dervis.

11. Regime Attacks In Hesekê, ISIS Kidnaps Civilians in Kobanê
21 May 2014 / Rojava Report
Syrian regime forces have attacked a fire station under the control of YPG faces in Hesekê, while in Kobanê gangs affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) have kidnapped a group of 15 women and children. According to information obtained from YPG sources, regime forces attacked a fire station under control of YPG fighters in the Til Tecer neighborhood of Hesekê. YPG forces responded, destroying at least one regime vehicle in the subsequent clashes, and killing and wounded a large number of regime soldiers, although the exact number remains unknown. Regime forces were eventually forced to withdraw and the fire station, which was captured by the YPG forces in fighting yesterday, remains under YPG control.

12. Syrian Kurdish PYD Leader: Our fighters are a bastion against Islamic-Jihadist threat to Europe
22 May 2014 / eKurd
Kurdish fighters in Syria represent a bastion against foreign jihadists who pose a future threat to Europe, according to the leader of the dominant Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Rojava. Salih Muslim, the PYD co-chairman, was speaking in London as part of a visit in which he was seeking to drum up support for the self-declared autonomous zones that have been set up in the Kurdish regions of Syria. “We are fighting these Salafists, who mostly don’t accept Kurdish existence,” Muslim told the Kurdish Society at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies on Wednesday. “We have no alternative because otherwise there would be a vacuum in which the Salafists would control everything.”

13. Syrian Kurdish PYD responds to latest attacks
20 May 2014 / eKurd
The Executive Committee of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD has released a statement to clarify some issues following the intensified media campaign against the party, from political parties associated with regional and international powers. Efforts to distort facts and involvement in dirty tricks to destabilize Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) runs against the interest of the people and is an offence against the sacrifice of the people, says the party. In the statement the PYD underlines the following points:
– We are a political party active in Syrian (west) Kurdistan and all our activities are open to public scrutiny. We do not interfere with the practice of national institutions. These are democratic institutions that were established by our people, based on decision made in the Supreme Kurdish Council.

14. Ethnic tensions erupt in Burj Hammoud
20 May 2014 / Daily Star
The stout, gray-haired man, who says he is “bigger than the mukhtar” in the community, stares coldly and speaks with authority. “The Kurds have no religion,” Serge says firmly, standing only a block away from where a Syrian Kurd put a local man in intensive care Saturday. “They have no Jesus, no God.”Serge is one of many in Beirut’s northeastern suburb of Burj Hammoud who harbors a flagrant resentment toward Kurds. Enmity between some runs so deep that tensions have even descended into gang warfare in the past. That sentiment boiled over during the weekend after Lebanese citizen Elias Kalash was knocked unconscious by a gas canister thrown by a Syrian Kurdish man.

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

15. Demir Celik: ‘The BDP’s mission is a Democratic Autonomous Kurdistan’
20 May 2014 / The Kurdish Question
The BDP ‘s deputy Co-President responsible for Local Administration, Demir Celik, says the new mission of the party is to gain legitimacy for the Democratic Autonomy project and give it a broader perspective covering the whole of Kurdistan. Celik emphasised that this mission of the BDP will be combined with the HDP in Turkey and has the meaning of constructing a new period in which a solution will be produced to the question of democratisation and to a series of problems from poverty to unemployment, from hunger to the question of education in the mother tongue. BDP MPs, from 28 April, joined the HDP and will now continue their parliamentary activities within the HDP group.

16. PKK Executive Committee Member Duran Kalkan: National Congress A Necessity
May 2014 / The Kurdish Question
The need for a national congress for the national-democratic representation of the will of the Kurdish people is unquestionable. In this regard, the footing attained in the Summer of 2013 has now matured to an even further level. Many were expecting this historical dream to materialise; the inability in doing so, has left the Kurdish public disappointed. National unity is a historical problem for the Kurds. The incapability of unifying is one of the main reasons as to why the Kurds are still exposed to cultural genocide. One of the main ambitions of every national liberation movement has been to construct a national unity. The embodiment of this would be a national congress representing the national will.

17. Disillusioned and divided
24 May 2013 / The Economist
AS TURKEY grieves over 301 miners who died in its biggest industrial disaster, in Soma on May 13th, another truth is sinking in. Most of them perished because of appallingly unsafe conditions, lax government inspectors and an operator that put profit first. Yet Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claimed that such tragedies were “in the nature” of mining—never mind that methane leaks had been reported and ignored. Mobbed by locals baying for him to resign, Mr Erdogan slapped one miner and called him an “Israeli spawn.” Photographs of one of his advisers kicking a protester as gendarmes pinned him to the ground came to stand for the government’s response.

18. German leaders wary of Erdogan visit
21 May 2014 / Al Monitor
A Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hungry for votes — he has not announced his candidacy for the presidency, but is likely to — and angry with Germany over strong criticism of his policies by President Joachim Gauck during Gauck’s recent visit to Turkey, is heading to Germany.May 24 may be a crucial date, as he will appear before the Turkish community in Cologne to further his presidential ambitions and also promote Turkish-German (Turkish-European Union) relations. Particularly in the wake of the mining disaster in Turkey that tarnished the prime minister’s image further and attracted very harsh criticism from the German press, this will be a controversial, troublesome visit to Germany. Erdogan is an unwelcome visitor for members of the German political class, irrespective of their political inclinations.

19. Syrian Kurds Ache For A Lifeline
18 May 2014 / IPS
“We all know that Ankara and Erbil have a joint plan to evacuate the entire region,” Abdurrahman Hemo, head of the Kurdish Humanitarian Aid Committee tells IPS. “They want to choke the people here until they flee en masse.” From his office in Derik, 700 km northeast of Damascus, Hemo denounces a blockade allegedly enforced by the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq and Turkey over the Kurdish areas of Syria. “The latest proof of this is the ditch that Erbil (the administrative capital of Iraqi Kurdistan) is building along their common border,” notes the Kurdish official. The “ditch” is a 17 km-long trench, three metres wide and two deep, which comes on top of the recent dismantling of the bridge across the Habur river, at the only official border crossing between the Kurds of Iraq and Syria.

20. Political propaganda in the name of journalism: RSF report on Rojava
17 May 2014 / Kurdistan Tribune
The RSF report on Rojava is anything but an exposé of the reality on the ground. As an independent journalist and videographer, I have been in and out of Rojava since July 2012, freelance reporting for international news agencies, regional media outlets and Kurdish newspapers. As a journalist, I have no interest in political parties, Kurdish and non-Kurdish alike. But my experience in Rojava as a journalist is very different from how the reality on the ground for journalists is portrayed in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report. The RSF this year awarded the editor of ‘Awene’ Kurdish newspaper as one of the world’s “100 Information Heroes” for World Press Freedom Day. I freelance report for this newspaper too and greatly admire the RSF’s work internationally.

21. Arab Tribes Split Between Kurds And Jihadists
15 May 2014 / Carnegie Endowment for Peace
Since summer 2013, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Syrian Kurdish political group, has been engaged in armed conflict with jihadist groups such as the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known by the acronym ISIS) to retain control of Kurdish-majority areas in northern Syria. So far, the YPG has fared well in this struggle. The fighting along the front south and southeast of Qamishli is contained for the moment. Since autumn 2013, the oil fields around Rmeilan have been safely in YPG hands, as has the border crossing at al-Yarubiya that is 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) further south along the Iraqi border.

22. The Syrian Experiment with “Apoism”
20 May 2014 / Carnegie Endowment for Peace
The Syrian civil war has presented unexpected opportunities for many political actors in the region that have been able to establish a presence on the ground and implement their own agendas. Among them is the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which follows the ideology of Abdullah Öcalan (“Apo”), the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the main Kurdish party in Turkey. The PKK is currently engaged in a peace process with the Turkish government, while affiliated parties following Öcalan’s ideology have won elections in some municipalities. However, the “Apoist” movement has never before held the kind of complete control over territory and civilian populations as it does now in northern Syria.

23. Kirkuk Conflict: The Underlying Energy Dimension
20 May 2014 / Peace and Conflict Monitor

The Kurdish people within northern Iraq have a complicated relationship with the state of Iraq, as they are currently a semi-autonomous region within it. However, there are many other regions and cities surrounding this area that are “disputed” between Iraqi Central Government and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). Since oil was discovered in this part of the country, it has fueled the tensions in this region. The rich oil reserves in the disputed region of Kirkuk have created a focal point of the governance of oil question and the ongoing Kurdish-Iraqi territorial disputes. This paper will review the Kurdish-Iraqi conflict from the environmental resource perspective in order to find recommendations that will mitigate or prevent further conflict in the region.
STATEMENTS

24. PYD Europe: “The Kurdish initiative towards democratic change on the basis of unity and diversity”, 23 May 2014.

 

 

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: