Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 21 – 27 June 2014

NEWS

1.Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party announces presidential candidate

2. Turkey submits bill to boost Kurdish peace process

3. Message from Öcalan to HDP congress

4. Turkish war planes fly over guerrilla areas

5. March to Ankara for sick prisoners

6. HDP holds its congress in Ankara

7. We don’t want our children to come back until there is peace

8. Gezi protestor joined the PKK: “Sad but not surprising”

9. Turkish Supreme Court: Öcalan’s rights violated

10. Thousands of women attend rally for Öcalan in Van

11. Yüksekdağ and Demirtaş elected as HDP’s co-chairpersons

12. Taksim Solidarity members summoned by prosecutors again

13. Tens of thousands march in Soma

14. Up to 186 Kurdish students kidnapped by Isis in northern Syria

15. Kurds seize Jalula to attack ISIS, Iraq loses border crossing with Syria

16. Kerry in South Kurdistan for talks – Update

17. Iraq’s Christians seek refuge with Kurds

18. Iraqi Kurdistan president says it’s time for self-determination

19. Iraqi Kurdistan gets around $100 million for first major oil export as third oil tanker…

20. The Supreme federal court rules against Iraqi minister of oil’s request to prevent Kurdistan oil exports

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Turkey and the ISIS Challenge

22. David Morgan – Turkey and the Kurds – ISIS Challenge

23. Turkey’s Best Ally: The Kurds

24. Iraq crisis: Kurds winning the battle for self-rule as country disintegrates

25. Popularity Contest: The Implications of Turkey’s Local Elections

26. Iraqi Kurds strengthen their positions while Isis advances on Baghdad

27. Kurds’ Takeover of Iraqi City of Kirkuk Strengthens Their Hand

28. The People’s Democracy Party (HDP): A short history

 

CONFERENCES

29. Fifth annual conference on Turkey – VIDEO

 

STATEMENTS

30. Initiative for a democratic Syria

 

REPORT

31. Living Freedom: The London launch of Adem Uzun’s important new report

 

NEWS

 

1.Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party announces presidential candidate

26 June / Reuters

The co-chairman of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) will run in the country’s first direct presidential election in August, Turkish media said on Thursday. The HDP’s Selahattin Demirtas announced his candidacy on Turkish news channel Haberturk TV before tweeting: “I would like to (be) perceived as the candidate of all the oppressed and the neglected groups in Turkey”.

 

2. Turkey submits bill to boost Kurdish peace process

26 June / Reuters

Turkey’s government sent a bill to parliament on Thursday setting out a legal framework for peace talks with Kurdish militants, a step that may boost support for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan before an August presidential election. […]

The draft law protects anyone involved in the talks from prosecution over the insurgency by Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It also makes it the government’s responsibility to rehabilitate militants who lay down their weapons.

 

3. Message from Öcalan to HDP congress

22 June / ANF News

Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan has sent a message to the HDP’s 2nd Extraordinary Congress. In his message Öcalan said: “We have enabled the HDP to form a group in parliament. This will be the biggest political breakthrough since the emergence of the TIP (Turkish Labour Party) in 1965. It will make a contribution to the development of the workers’ movement.”

 

4. Turkish war planes fly over guerrilla areas

24 June / ANF News

Increased activity by Turkish war planes has been observed in the skies over the Medya Defence Areas controlled by PKK guerrillas.
A large number of planes have been seen over the Gare, Haftanin, Metina and Çemço areas.

 

5. March to Ankara for sick prisoners

24 June / ANF News

Members of the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) have begun a march from Istanbul to Ankara demanding the release of sick prisoners. They started out in front of the Bakırköy Women’s Hospital, where they issued a press statement. The chair of the Istanbul branch of the IHD, lawyer Abdülbaki Boğa, said that the AKP government was continuing to ignore the situation of sick prisoners despite all the efforts of human rights activists.  Boğa added: “the government is waiting for the others to die. We warn the government: take note of this march!”

 

6. HDP holds its congress in Ankara

22 June / ANF News

The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) held its 2nd extraordinary congress today in Ankara. The Congress started this morning in the Ahmet Taner Kislali sports hall and is expected to continue until the evening. The congress will elect its new administration after the merging of HDP and BDP in April as well the new co-presidents. […]

Breaking news: as expected, Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş were elected as the HDP’s new co-Presidents.

 

7. We don’t want our children to come back until there is peace

22 June / ANF News

Women who have been holding a sit-down protest in a park in front of the Amed Governor’s office for 4 days, say they don’t want their children to return until there is peace. ‘Women resisting for peace’ whose children are either in the mountains as guerrillas or in prison, have launched an indefinite sit-down strike. The women spoke to ANF (Fırat News Agency). Hundreds of people are encouraging the mothers by visiting them. The mothers said that their children joined the guerrillas of their own volition and that they fully respect the decision made by their children.

 

8. Gezi protestor joined the PKK: “Sad but not surprising”

20 June / Bianet

Progressive Lawyer Association (ÇHD) Antalya Branch Chairman Münip Ermiş confirmed the allegations that Ayşe Deniz Karacagil, a Gezi Resistance protestor charged with 98 years of prison, joined PKK. “I am sad but not surprised that another young person took the mountains due to narrowing of democratic space,” he said.  Hürriyet newspaper interviewed Nuray Erçağan, Ayşe Deniz Karacagil’s mother, who also confirmed the allegations.

 

9. Turkish Supreme Court: Öcalan’s rights violated

25 June / ANF News

Concerning the appeal of Abdullah Ocalan against the confiscation and the burning of his manuscripts for “The Fifth Defence” by the Turkish police while the book was being printed by Ararat Press, the Turkish Supreme Court has decided that Abdullah Ocalan’s rights were violated.

 

10. Thousands of women attend rally for Öcalan in Van

27 June / ANF News

Thousands of women attended a rally calling for freedom for Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan in the city of Van yesterday.
The rally was organised by the Democratic Free Women’s Movement (DÖKH) and took place in the Van Musa Anter Peace Park.

 

11. Yüksekdağ and Demirtaş elected as HDP’s co-chairpersons

23 June / Bianet

After the Congress of the People’s Democracy Party (HDP), Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş were elected as new co-chairpersons. The election was held with a single list.  Taking place in Ankara, the congress also determined HDP’s new Party Assembly, Central Disciplinary Board and Reconciliation Board members. While the former co-chairperson Ertuğrul Kürkçü was elected as honorary chairman, Sebahat Tuncel remained as a member of party assembly.

 

12. Taksim Solidarity members summoned by prosecutors again

24 June / Bianet

Taksim Solidarity members lawyer Can Atalay, Mücella Yapıcı, the Secretary General at the Chamber of Architects Istanbul Branch, Ali Çerkezoğlu, the Secretary General at Istanbul Chamber of Medicine and Akif Burak Atlar, Istanbul county clerk at the Chamber of City Planners were summoned one more time to testify.  The reason for summoning is that they wanted to issue a press statement on May 31 – the anniversary of Gezi Resistance.

 

13. Tens of thousands march in Soma

23 June / ANF News

Tens of thousands of workers joined a rally in Soma yesterday, where 301 mineworkers died in the recent mine disaster, protesting against both the government and the Türk-Iş union administration. After workers from Yatağan and the Soma Mine holdings raided the Turk-İş union headquarters in protest, a meeting was organised with the participation of tens of thousands of people. The rally was called against the “worker killings, privatisation, plunder and pillage” by the Türkiye Maden-İş union (mine workers union of turkey).

 

14. Up to 186 Kurdish students kidnapped by Isis in northern Syria

26 June / The Guardian

The kidnapping of 186 teenage boys in Syria on 30 May has gone largely unreported in the wider world, a curious omission given the outcry over the teenage girls in Nigeria. The abduction was no less sinister. The students needed to travel from the Kobani enclave on the Turkish border to Aleppo to take their exams, as required by Syria’s education system. The journey is perilous, but they reached Aleppo without incident. On the way home, however, a convoy of about 10 minibuses containing 186 boys aged 14-16 was stopped and taken to a religious school in Minbej, for training in the Qur’an and jihad. The vast majority are still there.

 

15. Kurds seize Jalula to attack ISIS, Iraq loses border crossing with Syria

21 June / Hot air

There’s more news today from Iraq, most of it bad and getting worse. ABC reports that the Kurdish Peshmerga have advanced to the south to seize Jalula in order to help relieve the Iraqi army forces in Baquba, but not with too much success. The Peshmerga have fought more effectively than the Iraqis, but they cannot blunt the momentum of ISIS on their own.

 

16. Kerry in South Kurdistan for talks – Update

24 June / ANF News

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has arrived in the capital of the Federal Kurdistan Region, Hewler (Erbil) to hold talks with President of the Kurdistan Federal Region, Massoud Barzani. Barzani told Kerry: “We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq. We are seeking a solution to the crisis.” Mr Kerry said: “As everyone knows, this is a crucial time for Iraq, and our main problem is the establishing of a government,” adding that Kurdish forces had a key role to play against ISIS.

 

17. Iraq’s Christians seek refuge with Kurds

26 June / Aljazeera

The oil-rich, fertile and historic plains of northern and eastern Nineveh have a population of around half a million. Most are Christians, followers of the ancient Mesopotamian Yazidi faith and members of the ethno-religious Shabak community. The Kurdish Peshmerga has been present here since the US-led invasion in 2003 and is now the force that many residents look to for protection against armed groups. ISIL forces have launched small-scale attacks on certain targets in Nineveh plains including an attack on Wednesday on Christian-dominated district of Hamdaniya, east of Mosul. But, according to Halgurd Hikmat, a spokesman for the KRG ministry of Peshmerga affairs, the Peshmerga repulsed the attack and prevented ISIL forces from making any avdances.

 

18. Iraqi Kurdistan president says it’s time for self-determination

24 June / eKurd

Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani gave his strongest-ever indication on Monday that his Kurdish region would seek formal independence from the rest of Iraq.
“It is the time now for the Kurdistan people to determine their future, and the decision of the people is what we are going to uphold,” Massoud Barzani said in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the strongest statements he has made regarding independence.

 

19. Iraqi Kurdistan gets around $100 million for first major oil export as third oil tanker…

23 June / eKurd

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Monday the third tanker carrying oil from Iraqi Kurdistan has departed Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan and a fourth tanker is being loaded.
Turkey does not know who is buying the cargoes but believes the crude is being sold to Mediterranean markets, Yildiz told reporters in comments broadcast live.
Yildiz said in a press statement Monday “The Kurdistan oil’s sales are being deposited to a Turkish government bank.”

 

20. The Supreme federal court rules against Iraqi minister of oil’s request to prevent Kurdistan oil exports

27 June / eKurd

Immediately after the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG’s first export shipment on the United Leadership vessel in Ceyhan Terminal, the Iraqi Federal Oil Minister (the “Minister”) submitted a formal request to the Federal Supreme Court in Baghdad, (the “Court”) asking the Court to rule against the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources and prevent it exporting oil out of the Kurdistan Region.
On 23rd June 2014, the Court convened a special meeting to address the Minister’s request and, after examining the reasoning behind his request, the Court decided unanimously to reject the request of the Minister “for being contrary to the applicable legal contexts in Iraq.”

 

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

 

21. Turkey and the ISIS Challenge

25 June / Middle East Institute

With the Syrian civil war raging and the ISIS offensive in northern Iraq creating a fresh crisis, Turkey now effectively has two failed states on its southern border and is dealing with new security, political, and economic challenges. Gonul Tol, director of MEI’s Turkish Center, explains how Turkey is responding to this predicament.

 

22. David Morgan – Turkey and the Kurds – ISIS Challenge

Live encounters

The protracted conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdish population has claimed many thousands of lives over the past four decades and continues to inflict misery on millions adding to the toll of terrible suffering. Families still suffer grief as their children are embroiled in conflict; loved ones are detained, injured in clashes with the police or fleeing to an uncertain fate the mountains to join the Kurdish guerrillas. The criminalisation of Kurdish communities by Turkish anti-terrorism legislation imposes severe restrictions on behaviour and there is a similar criminalisation of Kurdish refugee communities across Europe living under the threat of punitive European anti-terrorism laws, in particular there is the impact of the proscription of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in circumscribing normal behaviour such as travelling, reading, speaking out, meeting up with people and even thinking in a certain way. This enormous human suffering of countless daily injustices underlines the urgent need to reach a solution whereby Turkey and the Kurds can create a shared space where they can re-establish a degree of normal living.

 

23. Turkey’s Best Ally: The Kurds

23 June / International Relations Blog

When the Iraqi city of Mosul was captured on June 10 by the armed militias of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, many world leaders were shocked and concerned. Turkey’s leaders were more alarmed than most; ISIS militants stormed the Turkish consulate in Mosul and kidnapped 100 Turkish citizens, some of them diplomats. As I write, the hostages, including two babies, are still in the hands of ISIS […]

Turks need to discuss their state’s weaknesses, and the mistakes made in the multiple crises along the country’s southeastern borders. And they should do this without falling into the deep polarization that has plagued Turkey’s political landscape recently. This is not about being for or against Mr. Erdogan; it is about Turkey’s future security and its relationship with its troubled southern neighbors.

 

24. Iraq crisis: Kurds winning the battle for self-rule as country disintegrates

24 June / The Independent

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, has urged Kurdish leaders to stand with Baghdad in the face of a Sunni Arab revolt but the Kurds appear to have concluded that Iraq is finished as a unitary state. On the battlefront, the attacks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) have slowed but government forces do not look as if they can regain lost territory. “We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq,” said Kurdish President Masoud Barzani at the start of his meeting with Mr Kerry in Iraqi Kurdistan. Earlier, he had blamed “the wrong policies” of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s for the violence and called for him to go, saying it was “very difficult” to imagine Iraq staying together.

 

25. Popularity Contest: The Implications of Turkey’s Local Elections

7 May / Washington Institute

In Turkey’s new four-party system, the AKP remains the dominant party. The governing party has an especially strong appeal in rural Turkey, including central and eastern Anatolian regions, and among the urban working and lower-middle classes that carried it to power. This support is likely to give Erdogan the numbers he needs to win the August presidential election. His path will be especially easy if he secures the Kurdish nationalist vote.

 

26. Iraqi Kurds strengthen their positions while Isis advances on Baghdad

26 June / The Guardian

Iraqis in Baghdad and the country’s south are already calling the events of the past two weeks “the catastrophe”. Not so inhabitants of the would-be Iraqi Kurdish capital of Irbil, where joy is unrestrained and a long-held sense of destiny is ever closer to being realised. As the central government teeters under the insurgent onslaught, the fate of Irbil appears more assured than ever. Kurdish politicians, in the past not shy to criticise Arab Iraqi leaders, but coy about their national ambitions, are now openly touting “a new reality”.

 

27. Kurds’ Takeover of Iraqi City of Kirkuk Strengthens Their Hand

20 June / Wall Street Journal

As thousands of Iraqi soldiers fled this oil-rich province in the face of advancing Sunni jihadists last week, the region’s Kurdish Gov. Nejmaldin Karim met behind blast walls with his security chiefs. Their decision: to order Kurdish forces, the Peshmerga, to advance from nearby cities, occupy Iraqi bases and secure the Kirkuk oil field. “It was very quick,” said Mr. Karim, a 30-year former resident of Washington. “To describe the last week as a change is an understatement. Things have turned upside-down.”

 

28. The People’s Democracy Party (HDP): A short history

22 June / The Kurdish Question

The People’s Democracy Party (HDP) was set up by civil society organisations, leftist groups and individuals from social sectors marginalised by neo-liberal policies. It aims to become the voice of Turkey’s voiceless. The Gezi Park protests last summer demonstrated the extent of popular dissatisfaction with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its authoritarian mode of governance. However, the street protests also illustrated the lack of a viable political alternative to the AKP. The Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) has been set up to fill Turkey’s “Democratic opposition” vacuum.

 

CONFERENCES

 

29. Fifth annual conference on Turkey – VIDEO

16 June / Middle East Institute

The Center for Turkish Studies at The Middle East Institute presented its Fifth Annual Conference on Turkey on Monday, June 16, 2014. The conference assembled three exceptional panels to discuss the country’s tumultuous domestic politics following recent elections, the future of democracy in the country, and Turkish foreign policy.

 

STATEMENTS                                                                                                                                                 

30. Initiative for a democratic Syria

23 June / Civaka Azad Press Release [translated from German]

The Initiative, for a democratic transformation on the basis of unity and diversity, was introduced to the public in Qamislo (Al-Qamishli) on 8 May 2014, at a press conference where a foundation text outlining its principles was presented. These principles are the basis for discussions with progressive opposition groups on the future of Syria.
The groups launching the initiative are: the Syrian Democratic Party, the Democratic Unity Party, the Left Democratic Party, the Communist Party of Kurdistan, the Liberal Unity Party, the Green Party of Kurdistan, the Syrian Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, and the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM). As well as a concrete action plan, the foundation text also insists that Syria needs a deep democratic transformation, not just regime change, a precondition for which is a constitution which recognises the rights of all ethnic, cultural and religious population groups in Syria and which counters any tendencies to exclusion or the dominance of one group.

 

REPORT 

31. Living Freedom: The London launch of Adem Uzun’s important new report

24 June / Peace in Kurdistan 

A packed meeting took place on the evening of 20th June at SOAS University to mark the UK launch of an important new report by Adem Uzun titled, Living Freedom: The Evolution of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey and the Efforts to Resolve it.

The report published by Berlin based non-governmental organisation specialising in conflict resolution methods, the Berghof Foundation provides a succinct account of the history of the Kurdish struggle, transformations in the Kurdish movement, their current demands and the prospects for peace.

 

 

 

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk
www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Sirinathsingh – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596
Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas

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