KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 12 – 18 July 2014

 

SELAHATTIN DEMIRTAS RALLY THIS SUNDAY

Demirtas: “Our call is to build a brand new life where all peoples and faith groups in Turkey live together freely without resembling, or being made to resemble each other.

Dear friends, on the 2nd anniversary of the Rojava silent revolution Selahattin Demirtas, presidential candidate for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), will be joining us to speak for a public event at Lee Valley athletic club.
This one-off event has been organised by Kurdish community organisations in the UK. We invite you to join us on Sunday and hope to see you there.

Date and time:Sunday 20 July, 1-6pm
Full address: Lee Valley Athletic Centre, 61 Meridian Way, N9 0AR

NEWS
1. People of Botan to abolish Rojava border on 19 July
2. ‘May God help Erdoğan if I’m elected president’: Demirtaş
3. Turkey’s youngest Kurdish mayor slams ‘ridiculous’ jail term
4. Turkish support for ISIS is proved
5. KCK: Turkey facilitates ISIS attacks on Syrian Kurdistan
6. Turkish Airline Transporting Tajik Militants to Syria, Iraq
7. ISIL ‘attacks Shiite mosque’ in Istanbul
8. Turkey embracing Iraq’s Kurds as trade erodes old enmity
9. People flooding to Rojava border
10. Hundred of Kurds enter Syria to fight ISIL as Turkey increases security on Rojava border
11. KRG leader pays a critical visit to Turkey, oil revenues discussed
12. Barzani’s Ankara meetings end
13. Turkish airlines transporting ISIS gangs
14. Prosecutor uses PKK evidence against ‘girl with red foulard,’ lawyers cry foul
15. HDP: does Kürecik radar base protect Israel too?
16. While Iraq burns, Isis takes advantage in Syria
17. Syrian Kurdistan to defend itself with new law
18. Doctors confirm ISIS use of chemical weapons in Kobane (Graphic Photos)
19. Iraq crisis: Kurdistan’s female fighters take on Isis (with video)
20. Hundreds of Turkish Kurds en route to Syria to fight jihadists
21. YPG inflicts heavy losses on ISIS in Kobane
22. Syria conflict: ISIS marches further into Syria tipping the balance of power in the civil war
23. Syria conflict: Western countries sending millions of pounds in aid to ISIS-controlled regions
24. CIA expanding facilities in Kurdistan?
25. Uncertain welcome for Israel’s support in Iraqi Kurdistan

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
26. Kurds hope oil boom will fuel prosperous independent future
27. Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country
28. “Iraq Has Already Disintegrated”: ISIS Expands Stronghold as Leaks Expose US Doubts on Iraqi Forces (Video)
29. Explaining Kurdish Nationalism Interview With Tenn Tech Univ Prof Michael Gunter
30. Revisiting Kurdistan: ‘If there is a success story in Iraq, it’s here’
31. Kurds: Signs of division?

REPORT
32. Turkey’s illiberal turn

STATEMENTS
33. Rojava must not fall: Support Kurdish democratic autonomy against ISIS

ACTIONS
34. New petition and postcard campaign to delist the PKK
35. Appeal to all Kurdistani people, supporters and humanitarian organisations to support Syrian Kurdish region


NEWS

1. People of Botan to abolish Rojava border on 19 July
17 July / Dicle News
The people of Botan are determined to cross the border in the great Rojava march on 19 July. Cizre Municipality Co-mayor Leyla İmret called on everyone to join the march, saying, “those borders will be crossed by tens of thousands on 19 July.”
DBP (Party of Democratic Regions) Cizre district co-chair Ali Gün said: “Our main aim is render even more meaningless these already meaningless borders.” The people of Botan have begun to flood to the district of Cizre in Şırnak province to lend their support to the great Rojava march. The people of Botan, responding to PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s call for “allout resistance” to the ISIS attacks on Rojava, will march from the Saklan area of Cizre towards the Cizirê (Jazire) Canton of Rojava on 19 July, the second anniversary of the Rojava revolution.

2. ‘May God help Erdoğan if I’m elected president’: Demirtaş
18 July / Hurriyet News
The Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, Selahattin Demirtaş, revealed the roadmap of his campaign at an Istanbul meeting on July 15, along with a slogan declaring a “call for a new life.”
In the meeting, Demirtaş underlined his stance against all kinds of discrimination in Turkey while also boldly claiming that he will win the elections in the first round, scheduled for Aug. 10.

3. Turkey’s youngest Kurdish mayor slams ‘ridiculous’ jail term
14 July / eKurd
A 25-year-old Kurd who is Turkey’s youngest mayor slammed on Monday as “ridiculous” a four-year jail sentence she was handed for taking part in protests she claims she did not attend.
A court in the southeastern Kurdish regional capital Diyarbakir said Monday she had been convicted because judges believed the profile of her nose and mouth matched that of a protester filmed at a violent Kurdish rally.

4. Turkish support for ISIS is proved
13 July / Hawar News
The Turkish State is continuing in its support for ISIS mercenaries, which is ranked internationally on the list of ‘Terrorists’, through the reception of these mercenaries in its airports and sending them to Rojava to attack Kurdish people.
During the last clashes, which took place yesterday between People’s Defense units and ISIS mercenaries, in which many of mercenaries were killed, People’s Defense Units gained the identity papers of an Egyptian Emir (price) and a Tunisian with his passport.

5. KCK: Turkey facilitates ISIS attacks on Syrian Kurdistan
13 July / Bas News
On Sunday the Kurdistan Democratic Communities’ Union (KCK) issued a statement claiming the Kurds of Syrian Kurdistan will “not bow to the oppressor and will resist until the end”.
The statement was issued in response to the recent attack of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) on Kobani. […]
KCK accuse Turkey of opening its borders to ISIS, “ensuring their crossing into Rojava and setting them against the people of Kobani” and of cooperating with the Sunni insurgents.

6. Turkish Airline Transporting Tajik Militants to Syria, Iraq
15 July / Fars News
Turkish Air has been transferring large groups of Takfiri terrorists from different countries to Syria and Iraq, including nearly a hundred Takfiri Tajiks to Iraq lately, sources revealed on Tuesday.

7. ISIL ‘attacks Shiite mosque’ in Istanbul
18 July / Hurriyet News
Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked a Shiite mosque in Istanbul last week, a human rights association has claimed in report, refuting official statements about the incident.

8. Turkey embracing Iraq’s Kurds as trade erodes old enmity
12 July / Daily Star
Once branded an enemy of the state, the leader of Iraq’s Kurds, Massoud Barzani, has become Turkey’s best friend in the Middle East.
For decades, Turkey regarded Barzani’s aspirations for independence as an incitement to ethnic Kurds on its soil who had taken up arms for self-governance. During the 2003 U.S. invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, Turkey came close to sending troops into northern Iraq  to prevent the Kurds extending their borders to oil-rich Kirkuk. Last month, amid Iraq’s latest crisis,Kirkuk   fell to the Kurds without a fight, and without any sign of Turkish concern.

9. People flooding to Rojava border
14 July / The Kurdish Question
Hundreds of people have left in convoys of vehicles from the cities of Amed, Batman and Van heading for Suruc, while preparations are being made for a tent protest at the border in Cizre.
Hundreds of people have left the districts of Lice, Hani, Kulp, Hazro and Kocakoy in Amed province to demonstrate their support for the resistance in Kobane. Musicians and singers also on the way Members of the Cegerxwin Culture and Art Centre are also heading to the border in a convoy of 6 vehicles.

10. Hundred of Kurds enter Syria to fight ISIL as Turkey increases security on Rojava border
18 July / Hurriyet News
Hundreds of Kurdish fighters have entered the predominantly Syrian Kurdish region known as Rojava in recent days to battle jihadists besieging the Kurdish city of Kobane, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdul Rahman said July 14, as the Turkish army beefed up its security on the border.

11. KRG leader pays a critical visit to Turkey, oil revenues discussed
14 July / Today’s Zaman
Ten months having passed since his historic visit to Diyarbakır to enhance the settlement process between the Turkish government and the country’s Kurdish population, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani again paid a visit to Turkey, this time with the Kurds’ share from Iraqi oil revenue at the top of his busy agenda.
12. Barzani’s Ankara meetings end
15 July / ANF News
Kurdistan Federal Region President Massoud Barzani has held talks in Ankara with Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
It is understood that subjects discussed included the independence referendum, the plight of Turkish consular staff being held hostage by ISIS and the oil crisis.

13. Turkish airlines transporting ISIS gangs
16 July / Dicle News
Turkish Airlines (THY) has been transferring large groups of militants from different countries to Syria and Iraq, including nearly a hundred Tajiks to Iraq lately, sources revealed on Tuesday.

14. Prosecutor uses PKK evidence against ‘girl with red foulard,’ lawyers cry foul
18 July / Hurriyet News
Reports on a young Gezi protester, who became publicly known as “the girl with the red foulard,” which states that she joined the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), have been used as evidence by the prosecutor in her trial.
Ayşe Deniz Karacagil, 21, who faces up to 98 years in prison for participating in the Gezi Park demonstrations last year, had joined the outlawed PKK months after being released from a four month-long custody.

15. HDP: does Kürecik radar base protect Israel too?
15 July / ANF News
HDP MP İdris Baluken has asked in the Turkish parliament whether military intelligence is being gathered from the Kürecik radar base, which countries the base is protecting and whether Israel is among those countries.

16. While Iraq burns, Isis takes advantage in Syria
18 July / BBC
While international attention has been fixated on the disintegration of Iraq and the expansion of the so-called caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Sunni insurgents have moved their offensive back into Syria with a newly acquired haul of US-made weapons and cash.

17. Syrian Kurdistan to defend itself with new law
15 July / eKurd
The Democratic Autonomous Administrations Founder Assembly held a meeting in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and legislated an important law regarding the service of defense.
According to ANHA, the Democratic Autonomous Administrations Defense Law, which will be applied in all three cantons of Rojava (western Kurdistan), has been published in the official gazette. Defense Law includes 9 articles. According to the law, civilians aged between 18 and 30 must enlist in the military for six months. The law also states that the soldier can choose to either serve the six months with no interruptions or in break the time up into different phases.

18. Doctors confirm ISIS use of chemical weapons in Kobane (Graphic Photos)
15 July / The Kurdistan Tribune
Local doctors and officials have confirmed that the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) used some sorts of chemical weapon that instantly killed Kurdish fighters during clashes in Kobanê of Rojava northeast Syria.

19. Iraq crisis: Kurdistan’s female fighters take on Isis (with video)
16 July / BBC
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have moved into parts of northern Iraq abandoned by the army in the face of an advance by jihadist-led rebels. The BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil met members of an elite female unit as they prepared to go to the front line.

20. Hundreds of Turkish Kurds en route to Syria to fight jihadists
15 July / Albawaba News
Hundreds of Kurds from Turkey are heading en masse to northern Syria to help their counterparts fight against jihadists,according to Agence France Presse Tuesday.
“At least 800 Kurdish fighters crossed the Turkish-Syrian border to help their comrades in Ain Al Arab (Kobani in Kurdish), which is under total siege by Islamic State jihadists,” UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

21. YPG inflicts heavy losses on ISIS in Kobane
13 July / ANF News
ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) gangs attacking Kobanê with heavy weaponry brought from Iraq are sustaining heavy casualties in clashes with the YPG (People’s Protection Forces).
According to the YPG 61 gang members have been killed in the last 24 hours and large amounts of military hardware have been seized.

22. Syria conflict: ISIS marches further into Syria tipping the balance of power in the civil war
15 July / The Independent
Isis fighters have captured much of eastern Syria in the past few days while international attention has been focused on the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. Using tanks and artillery seized in Iraq, it has taken almost all of oil-rich Deir Ezzor province and is battling to crush the resistance of the Syrian Kurds.

23. Syria conflict: Western countries sending millions of pounds in aid to ISIS-controlled regions
16 July / The Independent
Western governments are sending millions of pounds of aid to areas held by the radical Islamic group Isis in northern Syria, The Independent can reveal.
The aid, which is paid for by the UK, European and US governments, consists of food, medicine and hygiene kits. It is brought into the country through the war-torn north from the two last remaining border posts open with Turkey in Reyhanli and Kilis.

24. CIA expanding facilities in Kurdistan?
14 July / Hot Air
It’s no secret that the Kurds see the civil war in Iraq as their opportunity for independence, but until now the US has publicly insisted on keeping Iraq a unitary state, even to the point that the Kurds began complaining that the US was the main obstacle to their national aspirations. Privately, however, it appears that the CIA has begun investing in infrastructure in Irbil as part of their effort to gather intel on ISIS. That, McClatchy’s Mitchell Prothero reports, suggests that the US has begun covering its bases as reality sets in on Iraq’s sunset.

25. Uncertain welcome for Israel’s support in Iraqi Kurdistan
14 July / Middle East Eye
Israel is the only country that has voiced public support for Kurdish statehood. But not all Kurds are too keen on being seen as a ‘second Israel’ in an area surrounded by Arab states and amid the ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israel. Some Kurds worry that Israel’s support for the Kurds could translate into suicide attacks and threats from Iran.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS


26. Kurds hope oil boom will fuel prosperous independent future
14 July / The Guardian
Inside the lobby of Kurdistan’s parliament, flanked by guards in traditional baggy trousers, is a giant portrait of Mustafa Barzani. The Barzanis have been fighting for Kurdish independence since the 1880s. They battled the Ottomans, the British and Baghdad. In a colourful life, including exile in Iran and the Soviet Union, Barzani tried to establish a Kurdish state. He died in 1979, in the US. Now, it seems, his moment has finally arrived.

27. Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country
13 July / The Independent
How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

28. “Iraq Has Already Disintegrated”: ISIS Expands Stronghold as Leaks Expose US Doubts on Iraqi Forces (Video)
16 July / Democracy Now
Iraq remains on the verge of splintering into three separate states as Sunni militants expand their stronghold in the north and west of Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared itself a caliphate last month and now controls large parts of northern and western Iraq and much of eastern Syria. Recent advances byISIS, including in the city of Tikrit, come amidst leaks revealing extensive Pentagon concerns over its effort to advise the Iraqi military. Iraqi politicians, meanwhile, are scrambling to form a power-sharing government in an effort to save Iraq from splintering into separate Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish states. We are joined by two guests: Reporting live from Baghdad is Hannah Allam, foreign affairs correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, and joining us from London is Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent and author of the forthcoming book, “The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising.”

29. Explaining Kurdish Nationalism Interview With Tenn Tech Univ Prof Michael Gunter
14 July / Musings on Iraq
There are more and more signs pointing towards the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) declaring independence from Iraq sometime in the future. This has been a long term goal based upon recent events in Iraq and historical imagining. To help explain the roots of Kurdish nationalism is Prof. Michael Gunter of Tennessee Tech. Univ.

30. Revisiting Kurdistan: ‘If there is a success story in Iraq, it’s here’
16 July / The Guardian
The news from Iraq has been grim of late. Sectarian killings, political feuding and the flamboyant rise of Islamist fanaticism. Last month, Isis – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, one of a series of radical Sunni groups – carried out a stunning military advance. Its fighters captured Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city, and Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace . They now control most of Sunni Iraq. Their goal is Baghdad and the overthrow of Iraq’s Shia-dominated government.

31. Kurds: Signs of division?
14 July / Kurdistan Tribune
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its president are advising for an independent Kurdish state. The dream Kurdish history has longed for. Nevertheless, as times passes, the unity of the Kurds passes too. Undoubtedly, all the Kurds long for an independent state. Yet, according to the politics played by the political parties there is a division about the timing of the independent state and about how the state will become independent. President Barzani has put on a new face and has become the Woodrow Wilson of Kurdistan. Without doubt, the Kurdish nation appreciates his approaches and tactics as the president of the KRG. Furthermore, as the head of his party, it is appropriate to appreciate the work he has done so far. As we now already know, his party has well-educated diplomatic pioneers. Yet, why do Kurds divide as time passes by? Why are the efforts deceasing?

REPORT

32. Turkey’s illiberal turn
16 July / ECFR
The European Union must re-engage with Turkey – even if it cannot with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – if it is to prevent any further backsliding on democratic reforms, according to this policy brief.
Prime Minister Erdoğan, who led his AKP (Justice and Development Party) to a landslide general election victory in 2002 and won two further terms, is expected to top the poll in next month’s presidential election beginning on 10 August.[…]
A decade ago there were high hopes that, with the help of the EU, Turkey was on its way to becoming an advanced democracy. But now this bold vision is all but dead. He writes that Turkey is now becoming an “illiberal democracy” in which Erdoğan could use his powers to turn the country into a presidential republic. Bechev details the causes of Turkey’s illiberal turn under AKP rule

STATEMENTS

33. Rojava must not fall: Support Kurdish democratic autonomy against ISIS
15 July / Peace in Kurdistan
The Kurds in Syria have been under fierce assault from ISIS since 2 July but very little of what has been unfolding has been reported in the mainstream media and few if any comments have been made by British, European or American political leaders. As the casualties start to mount, it is time that the world took note before a new tragedy in the Middle East emerges.

ACTION

34. New petition and postcard campaign to delist the PKK
Peace in Kurdistan

35. Appeal to all Kurdistani people, supporters and humanitarian organisations to support Syrian Kurdish region
Kurdish Red Cross

 

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