KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 21 – 27 July 2014

NEWS

1. Demirtaş: We will run the Presidency like a people’s assembly

2. Demirtaş: Everyone will see the power of the people

3. Turkish bill would relaunch PKK evacuation to Qandil

4. ‘Framework Law’ accepted by Turkish Parliament

5. Turkish parliament gives legal recognition to Kurdish peace talks

6. With peace process in muddle, PKK gets more recruits

7. BDF’s 3rd congress has started

8. AKP enlarging military posts in Hakkari

9. Öcalan: There must be more meetings at Imrali

10. Kobanê government calls for mobilisation against ISIS

11. Kurds resist Iranian pressure to step up fight against militants

12. Peshmarga ministry condemns Iraqi airstrike on Kurdish town, threatens retaliation

13. Kurdish ministers boycott Iraqi cabinet meetings

14. Salih Müslim: ISIS members coming through Turkey

15. Islamic militants on offensive against Kurds

16. Jihadi fighters on the offensive against Kurds in Northern Syria

17. KCK: Everyone must mobilise for Kobanê

18. Kurdish Politician: There is No Difference Between Kobane and Kirkuk

19. Kurdish canton in Syria led by an Arab Sheikh

20. The vast majority of Syrians are opposed to an Islamic caliphate

21. Our initiative could be a solution to Syria crisis: PYD official

22. Iranian Kurdish group puts civil struggle before armed fight

23. Brits who are cashing in on Kurdish oil

24. Kurdish diplomat cool to Israeli scheme

25. Turkey softens stance on independence for Iraqi Kurds

26. Kurds ‘have right to self-determination’

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

27. If Iraq falls apart, the Kurds aren’t to blame

28. Kurdish Expert: Iran wants to take all Iraq under Shiite control

29. Turkey’s Kurds prefer peace at home to statehood in Iraq

30. Why we stuck with Maliki – and lost Iraq

31. A Kurdish star rising in Turkish politics

32. Iraq Kurd secession bid faces major obstacles

 

STATEMENTS

33. KNK: “A widely planned massacre against the people in Kobane is feared imminent”

34. PYD: Stand with us against ISIS

 

REPORTS

35. Report: The Kurdish perspective on the conflict and how to end it

36. KNK releases proposals for the future of Rojava

 

 

NEWS

1.Demirtaş: We will run the Presidency like a people’s assembly
9 July / ANF News
HDP Co-president and Presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş told a panel of journalists on the Turkish CNN channel last night that if elected he would reduce the powers of the President and increase those of local government.
Demirtaş said they would see the presidency as a model of people’s democracy, adding: “the solution is radical democracy.”

2. Demirtaş: Everyone will see the power of the people
10 July / ANF News
Presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş was welcomed by supporters at the Şişli Kent Culture Centre.
A speech was made by Garo Paylan, who said: “For the first time we have a candidate who is a popular one, who represents the people and stands for equality. So we’’İl work day and night in his campaign”
In the hall a banner in Armenian reading: “we are with you” was held aloft by women from the Progressive Armenian Women’s organisation.

3. Turkish bill would relaunch PKK evacuation to Qandil
7 July / Rudaw
Fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are expected to resume a withdrawal from Turkey to the movement’s base in the Qandil mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan by this autumn if the Turkish parliament adopts a bill designed to revive the stalled peace process.
The bill, which could open the way for a formal ending of a four decades-long PKK insurgency against the Turkish state, was sent to parliament late last month by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The conflict is estimated to have cost 40,000 lives and billions of dollars.

4. ‘Framework Law’ accepted by Turkish Parliament
11 July / ANF News
Following the meetings in the Assembly General Session the “Framework Law” titled as “Draft Law to End Terror and Strengthen Social Integration” was accepted at the Turkish Parliament.  Turkish Parliament adopted a bill of six articles on reforms to help find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. The bill will allow the government to take all measures necessary to move the talks forward, including steps to grant amnesty.

5. Turkish parliament gives legal recognition to Kurdish peace talks
10 July / Chicago tribune
Turkey’s parliament approved a legal framework on Thursday for peace talks with Kurdish militants in an important step towards ending a three-decade insurgency a few weeks before a presidential election.
The bill could prove a boost for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who is hoping to pick up Kurdish votes in his quest to become Turkey’s first directly-elected president when the nation goes to the polls on Aug. 10.

6. With peace process in muddle, PKK gets more recruits
10 June / Rudaw
Twenty one university students in Turkey are joining the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) movement, saying Ankara has been “fooling Kurds” with a peace process it has done nothing to advance.
Speaking on behalf of fellow students, Leila Nusaybein said they were declaring allegiance to the group after losing faith in Ankara’s sincerity toward the peace process, and because PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan remained jailed in his Turkish island prison.

7. BDF’s 3rd congress has started
11 July / ANF News
Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) re-structuring congress that will decide on a program and statue change as well the name of the party and its emblem is being held today in Ankara at the Hall of Civil Engineers Chambers under the slogan “We build the free life with democratic autonomy”. The 3th Congress of BDP will decide on the transformation and restructuring of the party after BDP deputies joined to HDP. With name, program and statue change, BDP is planned to be transformed into a local political formation acting in Kurdistan region in Turkey and working for the building of democratic autonomy.

8. AKP enlarging military posts in Hakkari
10 July / ANF News
The AKP government is continuing the construction of military bases in many areas of Kurdistan despite the peace process. Work has begun to enlarge a small military post on a hill near the village of Otluca in Hakkari province, under the pretext of road building.

9. Öcalan: There must be more meetings at Imrali
11 July / ANF News
The PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, demanding more meetings at Imrali, stated that there is a need for new regulations for the coordination of his works. Öcalan also sent a message to Masood Barzani and Celal Talabani regarding the National Congress and the national unification.

10. Kobanê government calls for mobilisation against ISIS
4 July / ANF News
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.

11. Kurds resist Iranian pressure to step up fight against militants
10 July / Rudaw
An Iranian delegation is in Erbil to press Iraq’s Kurds to mobilize forces in the war against Islamic State (IS) jihadis fighting the Shiite government in Baghdad, sources told Rudaw.
The Iranians have met with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Tehran’s latest effort to convince Erbil, said sources who added that the Iranians have been making concerted efforts to achieve their aim.

12. Peshmarga ministry condemns Iraqi airstrike on Kurdish town, threatens retaliation
7 July / Rudaw
The Ministry of Peshmarga warned the Iraqi air force not to attack Kurdish positions or civilian population after Iraqi jets targeted the town of Tuz Khurmatu south of Kirkuk on Sunday afternoon, killing a 12-year-old girl and wounding several others.

13. Kurdish ministers boycott Iraqi cabinet meetings
10 July / The Guardian
Kurdish ministers in the Iraqi government have said they are boycotting meetings of the country’s caretaker cabinet, as authorities in Baghdad halt cargo flights to two Kurdish cities in an escalating row between the Shia-led central government and Kurdish leaders. The suspension of attendance was in protest at Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s “provocative” branding of the Kurdish provincial capital Irbil as a haven for the Sunni militant group Isis, the Kurdish ministers said in a statement on Thursday.

14. Salih Müslim: ISIS members coming through Turkey
8 July / ANF News
PYD co-president Salih Müslim has accused Turkey of allowing ISIS members attacking Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab) to access the area through Turkish territory. He said that certain institutions within the Turkish state were supporting ISIS.
Müslim answered questions from journalist Amed Dicle on the Rojava programme on MedNuçe TV, saying that the assault on Kobanê targeted the whole of Kurdistan.

15. Islamic militants on offensive against Kurds
10 July / Seattle Times
Islamic militants using weapons they recently seized in neighboring Iraq intensified an offensive against Kurdish areas in northern Syria as they fight to expand the territory under their control, activists said Thursday. The clashes came as a Syrian watchdog group said the death toll in Syria’s three-year conflict has climbed to 171,000, reflecting the relentless bloodletting in a civil war that appears no closer to being resolved.

16. Jihadi fighters on the offensive against Kurds in Northern Syria
10 July / ny daily news
Activists say jihadi fighters using weapons they recently captured in neighboring Iraq are battling to take predominantly Kurdish areas in northern Syria. Kurdish official Nawaf Khalil says members of the Islamic State group are trying to capture an area near the Turkish border to link with their positions east of the country. He and other activists say Thursday’s fighting is concentrating in the region of Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab.

17. KCK: Everyone must mobilise for Kobanê
5 July / ANF News
The Kurdish Communities Union Executive Council Co-Presidency has called on all forces in the 4 parts of Kurdistan to support the general mobilisation declared by the Kobane Canton administration in Rojava.

18. Kurdish Politician: There is No Difference Between Kobane and Kirkuk
10 July / basnews
The Co-mayor of the Mardin Metropolitan Municipality in Turkey Ahmet Türk recently gave a statement saying that there is no difference between the Syrian-Kurdish city of Kobane and Iraqi Kirkuk.
Recently, Türk talked about ISIS attacks on Kobane Canton in Syrian Kurdistan and stated that although he has always been against violence and war, “If I were young now, I would hold a weapon and fight against ISIS insurgents.”

19. Kurdish canton in Syria led by an Arab Sheikh
10 July / basnews
The Lawmakers Council in Cizire, Syrian Kurdistan, chose Sheikh Hamedi Daham and Hadiya Yousif as the Co-Mayors of Cizire Canton.
On Thursday, Lawmakers Council of Cizire canton held a meeting in Amuda city. In the meeting, both Daham and Yousif were chosen as the co-mayors of Cizire Canton and both legally swore to work for unity and peace in the area.

20. The vast majority of Syrians are opposed to an Islamic caliphate
9 July / TIME
The Islamist insurgents who have seized towns and cities across Iraq and Syria in recent weeks have not received the warmest of welcomes from their new charges. A survey conducted by a British polling group reveals that only 4% of Syrians support the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group’s crusade for a pan-Arab Islamic caliphate — with one in three Syrians still backing the government of President Bashar Assad.

21. Our initiative could be a solution to Syria crisis: PYD official
ARA News / 25 June
With the establishment of the “Democratic Auto-Administration” by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and other allied political parties in the Kurdish-majority areas in Syria, disputes emerged between the Kurdish National Council (KNC) and the PYD-led People’s Council of Western Kurdistan, especially with the holding ot Syrian presidential elections in areas supposedly led by the Auto-Administration (also referred to as Kurdish self-rule). The KNC considers the PYD’s formation of the Auto-Administration as an attempt to monopolize power in Syria’s north.

22. Iranian Kurdish group puts civil struggle before armed fight
8 July / Rudaw
The chairman of the leftist Iranian Komala Party of Kurdistan, Omar Ilkhanizadeh, believes cooperation among parties and civil struggle are now a necessity to achieve Kurdish rights in Iran, but did not rule out taking up arms once more.

23. Brits who are cashing in on Kurdish oil
27 June / Private Eye
TWO British companies are likely to do very well from the chaos caused by Isis fighters rampaging through Iraq.
In December last year, British firm Genel Energy, led by ex-BP boss Tony Hayward, completed the KRI (Kurdish Region of Iraq) pipeline from the Kurdish area of northern Iraq to Turkey, where oil and gas can be sold to international markets via a deep sea port. For his part in the thirsty work of completing the pipeline, Hayward, who left BP after a string of gaffes during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, trousered £1.78m in pay and bonus, together with his shareholding of £16.3m.

24. Kurdish diplomat cool to Israeli scheme
5 July / Arab news
A Kurdish diplomat has played down the significance of Israeli advocacy of independence for her people, saying this was not coordinated with the autonomous Kurdish government in Iraq and may be intended to serve Israel’s interests.
While acknowledging that Israel had sway in Washington, which wants to prevent a break-up of sectarian war-torn Iraq, Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) envoy Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman suggested this was potentially counter-balanced by the hostility that perceived Israeli allies risked drawing in the Middle East.

25. Turkey softens stance on independence for Iraqi Kurds
5 July / AFP News
After embarking on a peace process with homegrown Kurdish militants, Turkey is finally reconciling itself with the prospect of an independent Kurdish state in neighbouring war-torn Iraq.

26. Kurds ‘have right to self-determination’
6 July / Middle East Diplomat
Speaking in a briefing organized by European Policy Center (EPC) in Brussels, Joost Hiltermann, responsible for the oversight and management of International Crisis Group`s programs and operations around the world, said that Kurds have right to self determination and independence. Mr. Hiltermann also said Kurdistan Region (KRG) is the only safe place in Iraq and it is playing a stabilization role in the Middle East region.

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

27. If Iraq falls apart, the Kurds aren’t to blame
7 July / Rudaw
The events of Mosul on June 10, and its consequences have weakened the federal government in Baghdad as it has lost control of most of the Sunni cities. This in turn raises the issue of state legitimacy over its territory, locally and at a federal level. In his work on Afghanistan, William Maley talks about how the state loses its legitimacy when it is geographically broken. Iraq is now facing the same challenge.

28. Kurdish Expert: Iran wants to take all Iraq under Shiite control
9 July / basnews
Dr. Khaled Salih was the advisor to Kurdish negotiators for the drafting of the permanent constitution of Iraq. He had personal involvement in the development of the Transitional Administrative Law, Iraq’s post-war interim constitution. He is now Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kurdistan – Hewler (UKH).
BasNews sat down with the Vice-Chancellor with questions regarding the future of Iraq and the Kurds in the region

29. Turkey’s Kurds prefer peace at home to statehood in Iraq
9 July / World Bulletin
What has long been a dream for the Middle East’s Kurds, an independent state, is within reach in Iraq, but Turkey’s Kurds, wearied by a 30-year conflict with Ankara, see a brighter future at home, where negotiations could deliver the rights they have fought for.

30. Why we stuck with Maliki – and lost Iraq
3 July / Washington Post
To understand why Iraq is imploding, you must understand Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — and why the United States has supported him since 2006.

31. A Kurdish star rising in Turkish politics
11 July / Hurriyet daily news
Not more than five years ago, Selahattin Demirtaş was only a name familiar among human rights circles in Turkey. As a young lawyer, he assumed leadership of Turkey’s Human Rights Association’s (İHD) Diyarbakır branch in 2006. Then, after joining the Kurdish problem-focused Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Demirtaş was elected as its co-chairman in 2010.

32. Iraq Kurd secession bid faces major obstacles
8 July / dawn news
Iraq’s Kurds would face enormous challenges if they were to secede, but the threat of an independence vote amid chaos nationwide could squeeze concessions from the federal government, experts say.

 

STATEMENT

33. KNK: “A widely planned massacre against the people in Kobane is feared imminent”
6 July / Peace in Kurdistan
The Kurdish political authorities in Rojava have consistently urged the international community to take measures against those states, which support ISIS. Instead of diplomatic and political sanctions against states using ISIS to achieve their power interests, it was preferred to turn a blind eye. This political stance has only encouraged the gangs to continue to carry out crimes against humanity in Rojava, Syria and Iraq.
Now a widely planned massacre against the people in Kobane is feared imminent.

34. PYD: Stand with us against ISIS
8 July / Peace in Kurdistan
Since the ISIS took over Iraqs second largest city Mosul, seizing heavy weaponry in the process, it quickly turned its attention to western Kurdistan (northern Syria). ISIS has increased its attacks against our Self-Administration areas dramatically, using all kinds of criminal and barbaric methods. The recent attacks have mostly been in the Kobane canton, on the western countryside, including the villages Zormagar, Al-Bouaz, Dekerman and Al-Byada. Countless civilians, including women and children have been displaced as a result of their terrorist activities.

 

REPORT

35. Report: The Kurdish perspective on the conflict and how to end it
Peace in Kurdistan / 8 July
The keynote speakers were a senior delegation of leading representatives from Rojava, Syria: namely, Saleh Muslim, co-president of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Deputy General Coordinator of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria (NCB); Basam Ishaq, chairman of Syriac Council (representing the Christian community); and Abdul Karim Omar, the spokesperson of Jazira Canton Foreign Affairs Department. The delegation, visiting the UK to urge support for the people of Rojava, explained their independent perspective on the Syrian conflict before a specially invited gathering of parliamentarians, policy advisors and researchers. The majority population of Rojava are Kurds but the self-administration that has been established in the past few months had brought together all the region’s communities. This highly positive development needed to be more widely understood.

36. KNK releases proposals for the future of Rojava
11 July / Peace in Kurdistan
This useful information pack begins by situating Rojava in its recent political context, with short sections on the ‘Kurdish question’, Syria, the Ba’ath regime, Assad, etc.  It also explains how these factors have led to the continuing repression of Kurds in Syria. Taking into account recent developments and the various interests and ideologies responsible for them, the KNK assess the recent accomplishments of the Kurds in their struggles toward self-determination, and lays a blueprint for installing ‘democratic autonomy’ as an alternative political system. The proposals are thorough, thoughtful, and grounded on statistics which are provided inside the document.

 

 

 

 

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