KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 30 August – 4 September 2014

NEWS
1. Davutoglu Says Kurdish Issue is a Priority of New Turkish Government
2. Tensions in Lice as new Turkish PM Promises to Pursue Kurdish Peace
3. 49 Men and 5 Women to Bolster Turkey’s “Left”
4. Suspected PKK leader arrested in Germany
5. AI: ISIS carried out ethnic cleansing on a historic scale
6. Peshmergas kill ISIS amir, capture dozens of gang militants
7. Getting ready to fight back
8. Islamic State sells Kurdish Yazidi women.
9. German Chancellor Merkel says arms aid for Iraqi Kurdistan in Europe’s interest
10. Kurdish oil exports mark 10 million barrels despite Baghdad’s woes
11. Demonstration in solidarity against ISIS in Glasgow

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

12. The ‘other’ Kurds fighting the Islamic State 

13. Rojava: a beacon of hope fighting Isis

14. Why the PKK needs to be taken off the terror list

15. Exclusive documentary: Get up close with Kurdish female fighters in Syria (video)

16. Should US Remove PKK From Its Terrorist List? (video)

17. A Two-Faced Friendship: Turkey Is ‘Partner and Target’ for the NSA

18. Turkey’s Syria and Iraq Policy Hostage to Islamic State
19. ‘Islamic State tore our families apart. Now we’re fighting back’. Meet the Kurdish women’s resistance army
20. ISIS – good business for Turkey
21. “Is Perishing of All Syrians the Solution?”

STATEMENTS
22. Stand up for Humanity in Kurdistan and North Iraq
23. Syria’s forgotten crisis: Enforced disappearances rife amid UN inaction
24. Iraqi Women Network Calls for Action Against ISIS

ACTIONS
25. Appeal by Co-chairman of the PYD, Mohamed Saleh Muslim, on behalf of the people in the cantons of Rojava

NEWS

1. Davutoglu Says Kurdish Issue is a Priority of New Turkish Government
2 September / Rudaw
Resolving the Kurdish issue is one of the priorities of the new Turkish government, Prime Minister Ahmed Davotuglu said, urging public support for the bid to end the three-decade conflict.
“As Turkey’s 62nd cabinet, the targets of the new roadmap are ending terrorism, disarmament, bringing (militants) into society and participation in democratic policy,” Turkey’s Anadolu Agency quoted Davutoglu as saying in the Turkish parliament.

2. Tensions in Lice as new Turkish PM Promises to Pursue Kurdish Peace
3 September / Rudaw
As Turkey’s new government promised to pursue the stalled peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), tensions with the Kurds remained high in the Diyarbakir town of Lice.

3. 49 Men and 5 Women to Bolster Turkey’s “Left”
2 September / Bianet
A meeting was held in Ankara and its goal was discussing about opportunities of forming common struggles in the left. Many participators from different organizations took part in the meeting; however, low number of women participators was conspicuous. 49 out of participators were men and 5 out of them were women.
4. Suspected PKK leader arrested in Germany
3 September / eKurd
German prosecutors say they’ve arrested a 45-year-old Turkish-Kurdish man on suspicion he was a regional leader of the banned Kurdish separatist group of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK.

5. AI: ISIS carried out ethnic cleansing on a historic scale
2 September 2014 / ANF
Fresh evidence uncovered by Amnesty International indicates that members of the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) have launched a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, carrying out war crimes, including mass summary killings and abductions, against ethnic and religious minorities.

6. Peshmergas kill ISIS amir, capture dozens of gang militants
1 September / Dicle News
Kurdish forces killed a prominent Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) leader and captured 36 militants near Sulaiman Beg.
“Abu Taiba has been killed and 36 other militants were captured by Peshmerga forces in Sulaiman Beg,” said an official. Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been fighting Islamist militants at Sulaiman Beg, 80 kilometers east of Tikrit, for the past two days. “Peshmerga and Iraqi forces supported by the US airpower have been pounding Sulaiman Beg for the last 22 hours and according to the information Peshmerga forces gave to me, there has been lots of casualties in the ranks of the IS militants and many have been killed,” said the official.

7. Getting ready to fight back
1 September / The Economist
In A military camp close to the Syrian Kurdish city of Derik a group of 26 young Iraqi men dressed in camouflage stood to attention as instructors and a sheikh officiated a ceremony to mark the end of their training on August 27th. Martyr Dilovan camp is the new name of an old base being used to train men from the Yazidi sect, a small ancient minority in Iraq. The camp has been renamed after a Yazidi who died in battle in August.

8. Islamic State sells Kurdish Yazidi women.
1 September / Kurdish Question
The UK based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday 30th August that they have documented 27 cases of ‘bride-selling’ to Islamic State militants in Syria. Militants in Iraq have sold up to 300 Kurdish Yazidi girls and women to their counterparts in Syria for up to $1000 said SOHR.

9. German Chancellor Merkel says arms aid for Iraqi Kurdistan in Europe’s interest
1 September / eKurd
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday defended a watershed decision to send arms to Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan battling jihadist militants, saying Europe’s own security was at stake.
Merkel told parliament that Germany’s move to break with a post-war policy of refusing to send weapons into conflict zones was crucial in strife-torn Iraq, the scene of “inconceivable atrocities” against civilians.

10. Kurdish oil exports mark 10 million barrels despite Baghdad’s woes
4 September / Hurriyet
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has said the total exports of Kurdish Iraqi oil through Turkey since May has reached 10 million barrels, amid ongoing tension with the Iraqi government over the legitimacy of the sales. Answering questions at a news conference with members of the Economy Correspondents Association on Sept. 4, Yıldız said the 13th oil tanker had been loaded with oil at the port of Ceyhan, which is located in southern Turkey. He said 180,000 barrels of oil were being transferred to Turkey on a daily basis from northern Iraq and $188 million had been paid into Turkey’s Halkbank by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

11. Demonstration in solidarity against ISIS in Glasgow
29 August / Kurdish Question
A demonstration has been planned in support of Kurdish Yezidis, Christians and ‘Others’ who have been targeted by ISIS. Due to be held in Glasgow on Saturday 30th August, it is jointly organised by the Scottish Friends of Kurdistan and Scottish Kurdish Human Rights. The demonstration will assemble at George Square at 12 noon.
Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC), which supports the demonstration, issued a solidarity statement that also clarified that it is calling for the decriminalisation of the PKK. SACC was established in March 2003 in response to fears that minority communities in Scotland were “being victimised to create a climate of fear and to provide a justification for the invasion of Iraq and for a policy of threat and aggression elsewhere in the world” (SACC).

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

12. The ‘other’ Kurds fighting the Islamic State
2 September / Al Jazeera
By Dilar Dirik: Rojbas! “Good morning” to the world, which waited until the Yazidi Kurds in Sinjar (Sengal) faced the 73rd massacre in their history to open its eyes to the mass-murderous reality called the Islamic State group!
The Islamic State has been committing massacres in Syria for almost two years, without global outrage or action. In fact, it was even supported by several governments in the enthusiastic attempt to topple Bashar al-Assad – no matter the cost.
After a vicious attack on Sinjar in August, in which thousands of Yazidi Kurds were killed, hundreds of women raped, kidnapped, and sold as sex-slaves, and tens of thousands stranded on the Sinjar mountains, without food and water, Western governments now supply the peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) with weapons.

13. Rojava: a beacon of hope fighting Isis
25 August / Morning Star
Rojava should be trending on Twitter. Rojava should be on the lips of all of us, especially of those on the left. Rojava (or Syrian Kurdistan) is a sign of hope in a world which often seems rather dark. However, most of us haven’t even heard of Rojava. 
Rojava is an autonomous socialist state with a population of 2.5 million that has recently been formed in the Middle East.

14. Why the PKK needs to be taken off the terror list
2 September / Kurdish Question
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was formed in 1978 in Diyarbakir by a group of student revolutionaries led by Abdullah Ocalan. It has evolved from being a classic Marxist-Leninist party into an ideological-political organisation that is now the vanguard of the Kurdistan Communities’ Union (KCK).

15. Exclusive documentary: Get up close with Kurdish female fighters in Syria (video)
29 August / Your Middle East
Journalist Rozh Ahmad has filmed a day in the life of female fighters from the pro-Kurdish Yekineyen Parastina Jin (Women Protection Units). Hear them tell their stories, their experiences, why they joined and what they fight for in this women-only militia amid the civil war in Syria.

16. Should US Remove PKK From Its Terrorist List? (video)
2 September / Rudaw
For those interested in the Middle East, few haven’t heard of the PKK. They are the Kurdish initials for the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has fought to achieve more cultural and political rights for Turkey’s 15 million Kurds since 1984.
In that often bloody conflict, more than 40 thousands people, mostly Kurds have died. As a result, the PKK has found itself in the terrorist lists of he United States and the European Union. 
But the PKK has never attacked Western targets. And over the past few years. it has largely refrained from killing civilians in Turkey and negotiates with the Turkish state.

17. A Two-Faced Friendship: Turkey Is ‘Partner and Target’ for the NSA
31 August / Der Spiegel
On a December night in 2011, a terrible thing happened on Mount Cudi, near the Turkish-Iraqi border. One side described it as a massacre; the other called it an accident.
Several Turkish F-16 fighter jets bombed a caravan of villagers that night, apparently under the belief that they were guerilla fighters with the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). The group was returning from northern Iraq and their mules were loaded down with fuel canisters and other cargo. They turned out to be smugglers, not PKK fighters. Some 34 people died in the attack.  An American Predator drone flying overhead had detected the group, prompting US analysts to alert their Turkish partners.

18. Turkey’s Syria and Iraq Policy Hostage to Islamic State
1 September / Middle East Institute
As the United States struggles to mobilize a coalition of allies including Turkey behind potential military action against the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) in Syria, Turkey’s Iraq and Syria policies remain captive to ISIS and the 49 Turkish hostages it holds. Turkey might be key to the U.S. effort to confront ISIS, and it is in a very tough spot.


19. ‘Islamic State tore our families apart. Now we’re fighting back’. Meet the Kurdish women’s resistance army
3 September/ The Telegraph
A shot rings out across an oval of dusty land, next to a man-made lake.
There, crouched in front of a light support weapon, is a young Iraqi woman, her hair in a long plait tied with a silver butterfly clip, hanging over her shoulder. Two Syrian Kurdish soldiers instruct her on how to aim and shoot, while a row of women dressed in camouflage sit beind her on a mound of sand, looking on. And awaiting their turn.

20. ISIS – good business for Turkey
3 September / ANF News
Reports that Turkey has almost doubled its exports to Syria after ISIS stepped up its control of border crossings has focused attention once more on the relationship between Turkey and ISIS gangs.
‘Co-operation’ between ISIS and Turkey led to a 99% increase in Turkish exports to Syria in the month of August, with the country jumping 10 places to 33rd most important export market.

21. “Is Perishing of All Syrians the Solution?”
1 September / Bianet
Sabiha Khalil from Syrian Women’s Network (SKA) argued that a political solution should be found out for the problems of Syrian refugees. “Many ameliorations can be made for refugees but not a paradise can be created fro them. Wherever you go, your home is always the best,” she said.

STATEMENTS

22. Stand up for Humanity in Kurdistan and North Iraq
28 August / SACC
We support the people of Kurdistan in their resistance to the murderous attacks by ISIS. Our long-standing call for an end to the British Government’s ban on the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) as a supposedly “terrorist” organisation is now more urgent and relevant than ever. The ban is an obstacle to a peaceful and democratic resolution of Turkey’s Kurdish question, an infringement of the right of Kurdish people everywhere to political self-expression, and an impediment to solidarity against ISIS.

23. Syria’s forgotten crisis: Enforced disappearances rife amid UN inaction
29 August / Amnesty
Enforced disappearances in Syria are continuing more than half a year after the UN demanded that Syria put an end to this abhorrent practice, Amnesty International said ahead of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on 30 August.

24. Iraqi Women Network Calls for Action Against ISIS
3 September / AINA
The Iraqi Women Network (IWN) has called on the international community to take action against the Islamic State. The network has more than 100 female NGOs and members in all parts of Iraq. IWN cites ISIS’s crimes of ethnic and religious cleansing, abduction of women and girls, sexual slavery and subjugation to Sharia law as justification for action against ISIS.

ACTIONS

25. Appeal by Co-chairman of the PYD, Mohamed Saleh Muslim, on behalf of the people in the cantons of Rojava. 1 September 2014. 

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