KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 28 June – 4 July 2014

NEWS
1. Önder and Zana to meet Öcalan
2. Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party announces presidential candidate
3. TİHV, İHD: 5,848 Subjected to Police Violence
4. Turkey: Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle tried in KCK case released
5. Dicle: ‘Öcalan could be in our midst at Newroz 2015’
6. 30 Kurdish politicians released in ‘KCK’ main trial in Turkey
7. CHP wants to make a new start with Kurds
8. Spokesman Indicates Turkey Ready to Accept Kurdish State in Iraq
9. Kobanê government calls for mobilisation against ISIS
10. ISIS raises its flag on Turkish border
11. Ismail Besikci: Kurds should govern themselves
12. UNICEF calls for release of abducted Kurdish school boys in Syria
13. PYD responds to Human Rights Watch report
14. Women’s magazine launched in Rojava – Asoya Jinê
15. Mother tongue tuition from women in Rojava
16. Syrian Kurds Have Their Own TV Against All Odds
17. Israel, Turkey back off pro-Kurd independence stances
18. Massoud Barzani asks Kurdistan parliament to proceed with independence vote
19. 95% of South Kurdistan under Peshmerga control
20. Is South Kurdistan on the verge of economic crisis?

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
21. Ankara discovers the Kurdish reality
22. Turkey’s Kurdish Buffer: Why Erdogan Is Ready to Work With the Kurds
23. ISIS Pushes Turkey to Shift Its Domestic and Regional Strategy
24. Turkey and the Kurds: Dreams of Kurdistan
25. Demirtas looks beyond the ‘Kurdish vote’
26. HARDtalk: Syria’s PYD is ‘part of the solution’ says Salih Muslim
27. Why Israel is in love with Kurdistan – At least they are not Arabs

28. Iraq KRG moves against Kurdish people: Sami Ramadani
29. Leaked: Turkey backed Rasmussen NATO post after he shut down Kurd TV
30. Özgür Gündem: ISIS attack planned in Amman
31. Iraq blowback: Isis rise manufactured by insatiable oil addiction

STATEMENTS
32. One month on, UNICEF calls for immediate and safe return of abducted school boys in Syria
33. Iraqi Civil Society: The Initiative of Iraqi Intellectuals for the Unity of Iraq

 

NEWS

1. Önder and Zana to meet Öcalan
29 June 2014 / ANF News
MPs Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Leyla Zana will meet with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in the next few days, reports say.
Visits to İmralı island for meetings with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan are increasing.

2. Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party announces presidential candidate
26 June 2014 / 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”.

3. TİHV, İHD: 5,848 Subjected to Police Violence
27 June
2014 / Bianet
Human Rights Association (IHD) and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) issued a joint press release at  IHD Istanbul Headquarters on 26 June – the International Day in support of Victims of Torture.
Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, TIHV chairman and forensic science specialist; Abdülbaki Boğa, IHD Istanbul Branch chief; Kıvanç Sert from the management of IHD Istanbul Branch and Hürriyet Şener from TIHV held keynote speeches at the conference.

4. Turkey: Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle tried in KCK case released
29 June 2014 / eKurd
Kurdish politician and former DEP MP Hatip Dicle, who has been in custody for 5 years in the main Kurdistan Communities Union KCK trial, has been released on Saturday from prison in Diyarbakir. Dicle was met at the prison gates by HDP MP Faysal Sarıyıldız, Amed (diyabakir) Metropolitan Municipal co-mayors Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı in addition to family members and representatives of civil society organisations. Dicle thanked those who had come to meet him, saying: “It’s strange that I was also released 10 years ago on a June day. On that day 10 years ago I had hoped no more Kurdish politicians would go to prison on account of their opinions.” Hatip Dicle previously served 10 years in prison after being arrested in 1994 along with MPs Leyla Zana, the late Orhan Dogan and Selim Sadak.

5. Dicle: ‘Öcalan could be in our midst at Newroz 2015’
29 June 2014 / ANF News
Former DEP MP Hatip Dicle, who was released from custody yesterday, said at a press conference today: “I believe that we will see Abdullah Öcalan, the main architect of peace, in our midst in a short time through the struggle of the people. The more we maintain our unity and work in a self-sacrificing way, the sooner will we see President Apo in our midst.”
Former DEP MP Hatip Dicle and Hüsamettin Çiçek, who were released yesterday after spending over 4 years in custody in connection to the main KCK trial, held a press conference today in the BDP Amed provincial building. The press conference, which was packed by reporters, was also attended by HDP Amed MP Altan Tan.

6. 30 Kurdish politicians released in ‘KCK’ main trial in Turkey
2 July 2014 / eKurd
A Turkish court has released 30 Kurdish politicians tried in the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) main trial in Kurdish city of Diyarbakir (Amed) on Monday. 30 Kurdish politicians in custody in the main KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) trial continuing in Diyarbakir have been released. The no. 2 Serious Criminal Court released 30 Kurdish politicians including DIHA Editor Tayyip Temel, Batman former Mayor Necdet Atalay and Kayapınar former Mayor Zülküf Karatekin. The no. 2 Serious Criminal Court ordered the release of the 32 after dealing with an application from the defence based on the excessive time spent in custody. The court ordered the release of 30 of the defendants despite the request of the prosecutor to order the continued custody of all 32 defendants in the case.

7. CHP wants to make a new start with Kurds
1 July
2014 / Hurriyet News
“I am happy with the meeting. I want to see this step as the start of dialogue between us” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s social democratic main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), while sipping his after-dinner tea following a four-hour-long conference in Diyarbakır on June 20. […]
The representatives of around 60 groups, not only from Diyarbakır but from all predominantly-Kurdish provinces of east and southeast Turkey, were there in the restaurant of the hotel hosting the meeting. It was organized by the Diyarbakır-based think-tank the Tigris Communal Research Center (DİTAM) at a very critical time, when Kurdish politics play a crucial role in both Turkish foreign policy in the civil war struck southern neighbors of Syria and Iraq and in the domestic scene as the country heads to a first round of presidential elections on Aug. 10.

8. Spokesman Indicates Turkey Ready to Accept Kurdish State in Iraq
29 June 2014 / Rudaw
The spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) told Britain’s Financial Times newspaper that Ankara is ready to accept an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq, as Iraqi forces fought to turn the tide against jihadi-led insurgents threatening to divide the country.
“Unfortunately, the situation in Iraq is not good and it looks like it is going to be divided,” Huseyin Celik told the daily. He said that, in the past, an independent Kurdish state in Iraq would be a “reason for war” for Turkey. “But no one has the right to say this now.”

9. Kobanê government calls for mobilisation against ISIS
4 July 2014 / ANF
As clashes continue between YPG forces and ISIS in the Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab) area, the Canton government has declared a general mobilisation. In the last three days around 100 ISIS members have been killed in clashes in the area. In a statement the Canton government drew attention to the fact the ISIS attacks were taking place only 2 weeks before the anniversary of the 19 July Rojava revolution. ISIS is said to have fired 3,000 mortars at the village of Zor Mexar in the last 3 days.The statement emphasised that ISIS is attacking the very existence of the Kurds, and targeting civilians regardless of age. The Kobanê government declared a general mobilisation and issued an appeal for support to political forces in all parts of Kurdistan and in the diaspora.

10. ISIS raises its flag on Turkish border
1 July 2014 / ANF News
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) gangs in control of the town of Tel Abyad, in the al-Raqqah region on the border with Turkey, have raised the ISIS flag near the border. ISIS has been a neighbour of Turkey for some time.
The ISIS flag at Tel Abyad, opposite the town of Akçakale in Urfa province, can be clearly seen from Akçakale.

11. Ismail Besikci: Kurds should govern themselves
4 July 2014 / eKurd
According to Turkish sociologist and former Nobel Prize candidate Ismail Besikci Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan takes “no steps to make peace” in the Kurdish conflict.
The scholar, who spent 17 years in jail for writing about Turkey’s persecuted Kurdish minority, referred to the Lice incident in June month. Violent clashes took place in Lice district of Diyarbakir province in Southeast Turkey, when activists from the Kurdish youth organization Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H) set up of road blocks against what they considered increasing military activity in the Kurdish-speaking areas in Turkey.

12. UNICEF calls for release of abducted Kurdish school boys in Syria
2 July 2014 / ANF
The UN children’s organisation, UNICEF, has issued an urgent statement, calling on ISIS to release 140 Kurdish schoolboys abducted a month ago. The statement reads as follows: “UNICEF is following with grave concern the situation of some 140 Kurdish schoolboys between 14 and 16 years old who were reportedly kidnapped in northern Syria last month by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).“All of them, with the exception of four who escaped, are still in captivity. It has been over four weeks since the children were abducted as they returned to their hometown of Ayn al-Arab (Kobane), after taking their junior high school final exams in Aleppo. “These children have nothing to do with the war raging in Syria. They just wanted to finish their exams and go back to their families.

13. PYD responds to Human Rights Watch report
3 July 2014 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Human Rights Watch recently published a report in which their investigators claimed the Kurdish authorities in Rojava have committed arbitrary arrests, violations of due process and other abuses. In particular, the report singles out the Democratic Union Party (PYD) despite it not being the sole authority in the region, and the Foreign Relations body of Democratic Self-Rule Administration has now issued a response to the report in which they clarify certain points.

14. Women’s magazine launched in Rojava – Asoya Jinê
1 July 2014 / ANF News
Women in Rojava, who have played a leading role in the revolution there, have now published a Kurdish magazine – Asoya Jinê (Women’s Perspective). The first issue of the magazine was published in May. Kurdish women will now be able to debate developments and the problems they encounter in their mother tongue.

15. Mother tongue tuition from women in Rojava
30 June 2014 / ANF News
As mother tongue education in Rojava gains momentum after the revolution there, most of the teachers at the Kurdish Language Institute founded in the town of Derik (Malikiya) are women. While nearly all the tutors are women, 90% of the students are also women.
Saziya Zimanê Kurdî (Kurdish Language Institute) was established in Dêrik on 20 December 2011. Yasmin Hadi, one of the directors of the institute, told ANF how at the beginning they had not even had a blackboard.

16. Syrian Kurds Have Their Own TV Against All Odds
30 June 2014 / IPS News
Rudi Mohamed Amid gives his script one quick, last glance before he goes live. “Roj bas, Kurdistan (Good morning, Kurdistan),” he greets his audience, with the assuredness of a veteran journalist. However, hardly anyone at Ronahi, Syrian Kurds’ first and only television channel, had any media experience before the war. […] Against all odds, Ronahi still manages to reach its public seven days a week, mainly in Kurdish, but also in Arabic and English. There are interviews with senior political and military representatives, documentaries, funerals of fallen Kurdish soldiers, but also a good dose of traditional music to cope with the war drama. Needless to say, fresh news and updates from the frontlines are constant.

17. Israel, Turkey back off pro-Kurd independence stances
1 July 2014 / Daily Star
Officials in Israel and Turkey Monday backed away from previous enthusiasm over the prospect of an independent Kurdish state as a jihadist-led insurgency and political turbulence roil Iraq. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman described Iraqi Kurdish independence as a fait accompli but said his country was taking no action to help the Kurds achieve formal statehood. The remarks appeared aimed at heading off potential confrontation with Washington, which wants to keep Iraq united, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday called for support for the emergence of a Kurdish state.

18. Massoud Barzani asks Kurdistan parliament to proceed with independence vote
3 July 2014 / eKurd
The president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region asked the Kurdish parliament on Thursday to prepare the way for a referendum on independence, according to lawmakers who attended the closed session. In a private briefing to the Kurdish parliament, Massoud Barzani delivered on his promise of a referendum for Kurdish independence. “I ask for your assistance to set a date,” the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) told lawmakers. Iraq’s five million Kurds, who have ruled themselves within Iraq in relative peace since the 1990s, have expanded their territory by up to 40 percent in recent weeks as Sunni Islamist militants seized vast stretches of western and northern Iraq.

19. 95% of South Kurdistan under Peshmerga control
30 June 2014 / ANF News
A member of the legislation committee of the Kirkuk assembly, Awat Kerim, stated that 95% of the territory of South Kurdistan was under the control of the Peshmerga.

20. Is South Kurdistan on the verge of economic crisis?
30 June 2014 / ANF News
Following the occupation of Mosul by ISIS on 10 June, the economy of South Kurdistan has been profoundly affected. The economy in the region, which does not have a firm basis, is looking increasingly fragile. With the fall of the Baiji oil refinery a serious petrol shortage has made itself felt in the region. With the government in Hewler (Erbil) sending fuel to Kirkuk the shortage became even more acute. Long queues have appeared at petrol stations.  Petrol prices have quadrupled The price of petrol being sold on street corners in jerry cans is 4 or 5 times the official price of 0.30 Euros.

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

21. Ankara discovers the Kurdish reality
30 June 2014 / Deutsche Welle
Kurdish politicians from northern Iraq were courted as state guests last week as they held talks in the Turkish capital. At the same time, the Turkish parliament in Ankara discussed a bill which would elevate negotiations between the Turkish state and the head of the Kurdish separatists, Abdullah Ocalan, to a legal level. Domestic political considerations and foreign policy developments have radically changed Turkey’s policies toward the Kurds in recent years. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke a taboo in 2005, becoming the first Turkish prime minister to openly speak about the “Kurdish problem” – up until then the official state doctrine was that there was a “terrorist problem,” because of the uprising of Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

22. Turkey’s Kurdish Buffer: Why Erdogan Is Ready to Work With the Kurds
1 July 2014 / Foreign Affairs
(Registration required)If anything good comes out of the turmoil in Iraq, it will be improved ties between Turkey and the region’s Kurds. Until recently, they were bitter enemies. Ankara had never been able to stomach the idea of Kurdish self-government — in Iraq or Syria or Turkey — and it had generally refused to give in to Turkish Kurds’ demands for cultural rights. Instead, it preferred to crack down. Meanwhile, the region’s Kurds had never been able to stomach Iraqi, Syrian, or Turkish rule and, taking issue with Ankara’s treatment of Kurds within Turkey’s borders, threw their support behind the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a violent separatist movement in Turkey.

23. ISIS Pushes Turkey to Shift Its Domestic and Regional Strategy
3 July 2014 / Rudaw
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s seizure of Mosul was a stark reminder of Iraq’s fragility. As further chaos looms ahead for both Syria and Iraq, Turkey seems to be banking on the alliance it has forged with the Kurdistan Regional Government, not just to feed its energy-hungry economy but also to create a Kurdish buffer zone against a growing ISIS threat.

24. Turkey and the Kurds: Dreams of Kurdistan
5 July 2014 / The Economist
IN YALAZA, a remote mountain village near the town of Lice, the seeds of a “free Kurdistan” are being sown. A “popular council” vetted by rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will soon launch Turkey’s first school offering education in the Kurdish language. Last summer Yalaza’s fields were carpeted with cannabis. They are now filled with tobacco and other legal crops after the PKK outlawed the booming drug trade. “Yalaza will be a model commune for all of Kurdistan, the state cannot set foot here,” says Serdar Celik, a PKK man who seems to be in charge.

25. Demirtas looks beyond the ‘Kurdish vote’
3 July 2014 / Al Monitor
On June 30 in the conference room of a small hotel in Ankara’s Kucukesat district, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) officially nominated Selahattin Demirtas as its presidential candidate for elections scheduled for Aug. 10.An elderly woman from the audience who introduced herself as Ayse Sari said she and her husband had traveled from the southeastern city of Mardin because they believe Demirtas to be a pious Muslim. She told Al-Monitor, “We had voted for the AKP [Justice and Development Party] for the last couple of elections, but then Demirtas and his colleagues came to our town and spoke with us. In particular, the women were from our own mindset. They listened to us. Now I will vote for Demirtas for president.”

26. HARDtalk: Syria’s PYD is ‘part of the solution’ says Salih Muslim
2 July 2014 / BBC
The extremist group Isis is expanding its foothold in Syria, after its recent gains in neighbouring Iraq. The first town it seized was Raqqa in northern Syria a year ago; it holds parts of Aleppo province in the north as well as more territory on the border with Iraq. Isis is now engaging in battles with other rebel groups in Syria, splintering efforts by the opposition who now find themselves battling both Isis forces and government troops. What does the advance of Isis mean for moderate secular opposition groups inside Syria? HARDtalk speaks to Salih Muslim Mohammed, leader of the Syrian Kurdish Party, the PYD, which is part of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change, a secular, pro-democracy coalition inside Syria.

27. Why Israel is in love with Kurdistan – At least they are not Arabs
2 July 2014 / eKurd
The “Middle East” invented by British and French colonial powers almost a century ago is fast dissolving as ISIS carves a vast piece of real estate from the suburbs of Aleppo to Tikrit and from Mosul to the Jordanian/Iraqi border. Artificial geography, established in the midst of World War I, via the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, is at risk; and it’s no accident the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) itself, although dreaming of a Caliphate, is also graphically emphasizing the point. Those states carved out of the fragmented Ottoman Empire are all at risk. In this geopolitical vortex the ultimate free electron is definitely the notion of a Greater Kurdistan.

28. Iraq KRG moves against Kurdish people: Sami Ramadani
29 June
2014 / Press TV
Press TV has conducted an interview with Sami Ramadani, a professor at London Metropolitan University, to discuss the situation in Iraq. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Your take on what [previous guest speaker, Mr. Othman] Ali has said, that basically this is traditionally a Kurdish area, and regarding the resolution as far as the constitution that it’s the Kurds rights, your take, sir.
Ramadani: Well I think these developments are all unfortunate because unfortunately the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) leaders, the Kurdistani government leaders, have moved politically and militarily at one of the most difficult moments in Iraq’s modern history.

29. Leaked: Turkey backed Rasmussen NATO post after he shut down Kurd TV
28 June
2014 / Youtube
Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s term as NATO chief may be almost up – but now, questions are being asked about how he got the job in the first place. Kurdish activist Dilar Dirik tells us that when it comes to Turkey – minority rights are the least of Europe’s concerns.

30. Özgür Gündem: ISIS attack planned in Amman
4 July 2014 / ANF
It has emerged that the recent ISIS assault on Iraq was planned at a meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman. According to the Özgür Gündem newspaper, the secret meeting was attended by the KDP and Ba’athists and took place with the knowledge of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey on 1 June, 8 days before the attack on Mosul began. The article in Özgür Gündem has exposed the forces behind the Iraq plans of ISIS. According to the article, the ISIS plan to capture Mosul and advance on Baghdad was formulated at a meeting in Amman on 1 June. The meeting was attended by many influential organisations and figures in the world of Middle East politics.

31. Iraq blowback: Isis rise manufactured by insatiable oil addiction
Following the bulk of western reporting on the Iraq crisis, you’d think the self-styled ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (Isis) popped out of nowhere, took the west completely by surprise, and is now rampaging across the Middle East like some random weather event. The reality is far more complex, and less palatable. The meteoric rise of Isis is a predictable consequence of a longstanding US-led geostrategy in the Middle East that has seen tyrants and terrorists as tools to expedite access to regional oil and gas resources.

 

STATEMENTS

32. One month on, UNICEF calls for immediate and safe return of abducted school boys in Syria, 1 July 2014.

33. Iraqi Civil Society: The Initiative of Iraqi Intellectuals for the Unity of Iraq, 25 June 2014.
We are a group of Iraqi intellectuals (academics, artists, authors, journalists, and civil activists) from all Iraqi provinces including Kurdistan region, agree to launch a comprehensive national initiative to save Iraq…This is an initiative that hopes to make Iraq secure, united, and healthy.

 

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: