Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 14-20 June 2014

NEWS

1. Rally in Amed demands freedom for Öcalan
2. March for freedom of Öcalan in Qamişlo
3. Buldan and Baluken return from Qandil
4. Turkey sends 400 road tankers of petrol to South Kurdistan
5. Election threshold lowered to 2 percent in Rojava
6. Minibus carrying building materials to military base set alight
7. Turkish Kurds hope ISIS offensive will end Turkey’s allowing of jihadists
8. Investigation into Paris murders: focus on MIT responsibility
9. Turkey would support Iraqi Kurds’ bid for self-rule, spokesman says in historic remark
10. ECtHR finds Turkey violated freedom of expression
11. Attorney Özkan: No investigations were opened regarding killing of Aras
12. Protests against the murder of İbrahim Aras
13. Soma miners on wage protest
14. Foreign backers re-evaluate Syrian quagmire
15. Broadcast ban for ISIS
16. Amid Iraq crisis, Kurds form new regional government
17. Kurdish oil exports rise as Iraq faces off with insurgents
18. Iraq conflict: Iraqi Kurd PM Nechirvan Barzani
19. Peshmerga control all Kurdish territories in Iraq
20. U.N. agency raises disaster designation in Iraq as refugees flood into Kurdistan

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

21. House of Kurds: Only an independent Kurdistan can save what’s left of Iraq from becoming a terror state
22. The sectarian myth of Iraq
23. Will Iraq or Syria survive? UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on sectarian war & the disastrous ’03 invasion
24. Unthinkable thoughts about in the debate about ISIS in Iraq
25. Abbas Vali in MedNuçe: Kurds must generate a mutual transitory defense unit

NEWS

1.Rally in Amed demands freedom for Öcalan
19 June / ANF News
Tens of thousands of people attended a rally in Amed today calling for peace and the release of Abdullah Öcalan.
The rally was organised by the DÖHK (Democratic Free Women’s Movement).
Addressing the rally, HDP MP Sırrı Süreyya Önder said: “Nobody should forget that as long as Öcalan is held hostage, peace too will be held hostage. When we demand freedom for Öcalan we are advocating peace.”

2. March for freedom of Öcalan in Qamişlo
19 June / ANF News
Young people in Rojava marched with the slogans of “freedom for Öcalan, status to Kurdistan” in Qamişlo (Qamishli) yesterday. Alongside the hundreds of youths, people of all ages joined the march which started at 6 P.M. The march was organised by the leadership of the Ciwanên Şoreşger “Revolutionary youths”.

3. Buldan and Baluken return from Qandil
16 June / Kurdishquestion
HDP Group chairs Pervin Buldan and Idris Baluken have returned to Turkey after meeting KCK officials in Qandil. Buldan said: “We had a 5 or 6 hour meeting in Qandil at which we evaluated the meetings we had had with Mr Ocalan on 1 and 9 June. We then assessed the meetings we had had with the government. The KCK want concrete steps to be taken and laws to be passed before parliament goes into recess. They do not want the plight of sick prisoners to be used as a bargaining ploy and they want an end to the construction of military bases. The setting up of a monitoring committee is also on the agenda, as you know. The KCK said that if such a body had existed the incidents in Lice would not have occurred.”

4. Turkey sends 400 road tankers of petrol to South Kurdistan
20 June / ANF News
After ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) gangs captured Mosul and launched attacks on the Baiji oil refinery, petrol supplies from refineries to south Kurdistan have been reduced and long queues of vehicles have built up at petrol stations.

5. Election threshold lowered to 2 percent in Rojava
20 June / ANF News
Cizire Canton’s Legislative Assembly has completed the legislative work that has been carried out for the last 6 months.
The co-chair of the Legislative Assembly of the Canton, Hakem Xelo, said they have accomplished important legislation and replaced the monolithic and racist laws of the Syrian regime with democratic laws. The new legislation also lowers the electoral threshold to 2 per cent.

6. Minibus carrying building materials to military base set alight
20 June / ANF News
A minibus carrying construction materials to a military base in the Hozat district of Dersim province has been set alight by an armed group that stopped the vehicle. Following the incident the Turkish Gendarme took the driver to the Hozat district Gendarmerie where he was questioned.

7. Turkish Kurds hope ISIS offensive will end Turkey’s allowing of jihadists
16 June / eKurd
“Radical Islamic groups with the knowledge of the Turkish intelligence service recruit and are sending our young kids to the war in Syria from border bases in Turkey’s Kurdish provinces,” Atilla Yazar, head of the Urfa branch of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD), told Rudaw.
All experts Rudaw spoke to agree that Turkey has tolerated jihadists crossing the border, to support the fight against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, which is considered a offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been at war with Turkey for 30 years. Now, one of these groups, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has moved into Iraq and captured the Turkish consulate in Mosul, releasing them one day after.
“Now we hope that the Turks have realized how dangerous these groups are that they’ll stop supporting the anti-Kurdish groups and engage in a dialogue with the Kurds in Syria,” Yazar said.

8. Investigation into Paris murders: focus on MIT responsibility
18 June / firatnews
The investigation concerning the murder of 3 Kurdish women politicians in Paris in January 2013 is now concentrating on the responsibility of the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) for the murders.
French anti-terror magistrate Jeanne Duye, who is leading the investigation, held a meeting with the families of the three women for two hours on 17 June in the Palace of Justice. The French authorities regularly inform the families about the investigation.

9. Turkey would support Iraqi Kurds’ bid for self-rule, spokesman says in historic remark
17 June / Huffington Post
In a statement that could have a dramatic impact on regional politics in the Middle East, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling party recently told a Kurdish media outlet that the Kurds in Iraq have the right to self-determination. The statement has been relatively overlooked so far, but could signal a shift in policy as Turkey has long been a principal opponent of Kurdish independence, which would mean a partitioning of Iraq.

10. ECtHR finds Turkey violated freedom of expression
17 June / ANF News
The European Court of Human Rights has decided that Turkey has violated the freedom of expression. […]
The Court examined the news published in the newspaper Evrensel and the journal Dema Nu, because of which the newspaper and the journal were either censored or confiscated by the state authorities for making propaganda for a terrorist organisation. […]
The court has ordered Turkey to pay a total of 30 thousand euros.

11. Attorney Özkan: No investigations were opened regarding killing of Aras
17 June / Dicle News
Ibrahim Aras was massacred two days ago after being hit on the head by a stun grenade or a gas canister fired from a police armoured vehicle. We interviewed with Aras family’s lawyer Vedat Özkan regarding the subject. Attorney Özkan drew attention that there has been no prosecutors in the investigations today. […]
Barrister Özkan added: “Crime scene investigations were not made properly. Skull bones belonging to Ibrahim are still on the ground. The juridicial officials are very slow at probing the incident. It has become 3 days. However, there has been no investigations yet. All these are bringing the question of ‘Are they trying to cover up the incident?’ to our minds.”

12. Protests against the murder of İbrahim Aras
17 June / ANF News
The killing of İbrahim Aras (15) by Turkish police in Adana has been protested in the Istanbul districts of Sultangazı and Okmeydanı and in the cities of Amed, Çanakkale, and Izmir.
In Sultangazi, supporters of the HDP (People’s Democratic Party) and HDK (People’s Democratic Confederation) youth assembly raised a banner reading “from Berkin, to İbrahim; the murderer is the state”. In the Gazi neighbourhood in the Sultangazi district of Istanbul, youths chanting the slogans “murderer AKP” and “murderer police will be called to account” started to march towards the Cemevi (faith house). […]
In Okmeydanı, clashes occurred between the Turkish police and youths from the YDG-H (patriotic revolutionary youth movement) protesting the murder of İbrahim Aras. Youths threw Molotov cocktails at water cannons and an armoured vehicle was set alight after being hit by a Molotov cocktail. The fire was extinguished by pressurized water from water cannons.

13. Soma miners on wage protest
17 June / Bianet
Miners affiliated with three different mining zones under Soma Mining Co. have launched a protest, saying that the company didn’t pay their wages.
Following the mine disaster that took at least 301 miners’ lives on May 13, the company workers received their wage on May 15. However, as of today, they have yet to receive their next wages due by June 15.

14. Foreign backers re-evaluate Syrian quagmire
19 June / Daily star
Top Western and Arab security officials have cut the Syrian opposition out of their decision-making process as Islamists that gained momentum in Syria sweep across northern Iraq, threatening U.S., European and Gulf Arab interests.
In parallel, Hezbollah is considering its own partial withdrawal as its base in Lebanon begins to question how many fighters must fall for a never-ending war across the border.

15. Broadcast ban for ISIS
17 June / Dicle News
Turkey’s media watchdog has delivered a court ruling to newspapers, television and websites on June 17, announcing a broadcast and publication ban on reports relating to the kidnappings of Turkish citizens in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Some 49 members of Turkey’s Mosul Consulate and 31 truck drivers were kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), after they seized Mosul late June 9. One of the Turkish drivers managed to escape over the weekend.

16. Amid Iraq crisis, Kurds form new regional government
19 June / Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Nine months since the regional parliamentary elections, the Kurdistan Region formed a new government under Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Wednesday, ending months of negotiations and brining all parties into a broad-based cabinet.
“The partners in this government will shoulder economic, financial and administrative responsibilities and will help implement all the decisions of the cabinet that will work on the trust of the people of this region,” said Barzani in his opening speech.

17. Kurdish oil exports rise as Iraq faces off with insurgents
17 June / Reuters
As Iraq struggles to stop an insurgency by Islamist militants, its autonomous region Kurdistan is ramping up independent oil exports, with a third tanker set to load a cargo of crude from its disputed pipeline.

18. Iraq conflict: Iraqi Kurd PM Nechirvan Barzani
17 June / BBC
The prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region has told the BBC’s Jim Muir he does not believe the country will stay together, as Sunni extremist militants continue to make territorial gains.
Nechirvan Barzani said it would be “almost impossible” for Iraq to return to the situation that existed before the city of Mosul was captured, and that the various factions needed to “sit down and find a way to live together”.

19. Peshmerga control all Kurdish territories in Iraq
17 June / Rudaw
Kurdish forces are in control of all their claimed but disputed territories in Nineveh and Kirkuk, but facing a harder task in Diyala which is a stronghold of armed Islamist groups in Iraq, Kurdish officials said.

20. U.N. agency raises disaster designation in Iraq as refugees flood into Kurdistan
18 June / Washington Post
IRBIL, Iraq — The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF on Wednesday upgraded Iraq’s latest crisis to a level 3 humanitarian disaster — its most severe designation — as U.N. officials said they were scrambling to provide basic services while preparing to cope with an estimated 1.5 million displaced people.
“Now we’re focused on delivering water, food and essential items,” said Colin MacInnes, deputy head of UNICEF in Iraq. The organization has been collaborating with other U.N. and humanitarian agencies to deliver aid.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

21. House of Kurds: Only an independent Kurdistan can save what’s left of Iraq from becoming a terror state
17 June / Politico
President Obama says he is considering all options in Iraq, except sending U.S. troops back in. The trouble is, there is no feasible military response to the rapid advance of the terrorist group ISIS that does not include ground troops. If not American troops, then whose?

22. The sectarian myth of Iraq
16 June / the Guardian
Tony Blair has been widely derided for his attempted justification of the 2003 Iraq invasion, and his claim last weekend that he’s blameless over the current turmoil. Unfortunately, though, many of his critics have also bought into a central plank of his argument: that Iraqi society is no more than a motley collection of religions and ethnicities which have been waiting for decades, if not centuries, to slaughter each other and plunge the place into a bloodbath.
The main difference between the two sides seems to be that Blair believes western intervention is the answer; some of his critics say Iraq needed a dictator like Saddam to hold the nation together. Neither side, though, has yet produced historical evidence of significant communal fighting between Iraq’s religions, sects, ethnicities or nationalities.

23. Will Iraq or Syria survive? UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on sectarian war & the disastrous ’03 invasion
18 June / Democracy now
As a Sunni militancy overtakes large parts of Iraq, former U.N.-Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi joins us to discuss the escalating Iraqi conflict, the long-term impact of the 2003 U.S. invasion, and the crisis in neighboring Syria. A former Algerian freedom fighter who went on to become Algeria’s foreign minister, Brahimi has been deeply involved in Middle Eastern diplomacy for decades.

24. Unthinkable thoughts about in the debate about ISIS in Iraq
15 June 2014 / Commondreams
This week Iraq emerged from the recesses of American memory and became a hot topic of conversation. Alarming headlines about ISIS’s “takeover” of Mosul and their march towards Baghdad have elicited a number of reactions: The most conservative call for direct US military action against ISIS to ensure that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki remains stable in Baghdad. The most liberal lament the ongoing violence and divisions in Iraqi society caused by the US occupation; though they make no attempt distinguish between the violence of ISIS and the violence of the Maliki government. […]
This loose coalition of militias—from the tribal militias in Fallujah, to Baathist militias like Naqshabandi, and Islamist groups like ISIS—have come to embody the hopes and aspirations of Sunnis in Iraq to one day be free of Maliki’s oppression. For them there is no other option, no other future is imaginable, and there is no turning back.

25. Abbas Vali in MedNuçe: Kurds must generate a mutual transitory defense unit
17 June / Dicle News
While the gangs of Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) are signing new massacres in Iraq for all the world to see, the chaos situation in the region is gestating to new librations in all the Middle East.
The Peshmergas forces, army of Federal Kurdistan Region, who stopped the Kirkuk march of ISIS, have become the first indication of this. The actual partnership of Peshmergas forces and People’s Defense Units (YPG), army of Rojava Democratic Autonomous Cantons, at the border of Iraq-Syria has become another indication of these new librations in the region.
Prof. Dr. Abbas Vali noted: “Kurds are in an advantageous situation. They must generate a mutual transitory defense unit to evaluate this advantageous situation well. All the powers and sides, who have relations with Iraq and regional countries, have to revise their policies.”

 

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