Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 25 – 31 October 2014

International Call Leads To Global Day Of Action For Kobane And For Humanity

Join us for a rally in London on Trafalgar Square on 1 November 2-5pm!

Hundreds of individuals and organisations representing thousands of members from across the world have signed an urgent call for action appealing to people all over the world to show solidarity with Kobane, which is still under siege by ISIS and facing the possibility of a genocide.

Renowned Palestinian singer and musician Reem Kelani records a message in solidarity with the people of Kobane.

NEWS
1. KCK calls for strong participation in Kobanê demos worldwide
2. PKK: AK Party has already ended settlement process
3. Remarkable video shows ISIS fighters strolling right up Turkish border checkpoint for a relaxing chat with guards 
4. Breaking: Turkish Army Statement On Video Of Isis Meeting
5. First Iraqi Kurdish fighters enter Isis-besieged Kobani
6. Erdoğan: America Helped Kobanê Despite Our Objections
7. Assad’s warnings start to ring true in Turkey
8. How a Turkish leftist gave his life to save Kurdish Kobane
9. European delegations in Suruç: We will push for a corridor
10. Wales’ Plaid Cymru Supports Kobane
11. Pittella: Turkey not doing enough to support domestic freedoms, Kobani
12. U.S. Alliance with FSA and ISIL in Six Photographs

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
13. Whose side is Turkey on?
14. Why ISIS’s treatment of Yazidi women must be treated as genocide
15. Why Kobani could be an opportunity for Turkey, the Kurds and the U.S.
16. Has Obama Realized The PKK Can Be Allies?
17. A Town Shouldn’t Fight the Islamic State Alone
18. Democratic Autonomy in Rojava
19. Is the PYD Collaborating With Imperialism?
20. Kurds lead a revolutionary democratic struggle for justice and modernity in Kobani
21. Sukant Chandan Discusses ‘Isis’, Kobane, Syria The PKK/YPG On Press TV
22. Western fascination with ‘badass’ Kurdish women
23. Kobane Is This Generation’s Stalingrad
24. REPORT: Children of the Caliphate

STATEMENTS
25. PYD: Kobani will remain a symbol for the defense of human values

REPORTS
26. Syria: Voice in Crisis

ACTIONS
27. Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity!

NEWS

1. KCK calls for strong participation in Kobanê demos worldwide
30 October 2014 / ANF
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency has released a statement calling for strong participation in the demonstrations to be held worldwide in solidarity with the Kobanê resistance on 1 November. Greeting all the academics, writers and intellectuals who have called for global support to the Kobanê resistance, KCK said the announcement of November 1 as International Day of Global Action for Kobanê was an honorable attitude.

2. PKK: AK Party has already ended settlement process
28 October 2014 /  Todays Zaman
Following a recent statement of Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç in which he said the government is not dependent on the Kurdish settlement process, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) published a written statement on the Internet on Tuesday saying the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has already ended the settlement process and the PKK cannot talk about such a process unless concrete steps are taken.
Published on a PKK-affiliated website, the statement announced that the PKK held a central committee meeting in the region of the Kandil Mountains between Oct. 15 and 21 that included the input of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

3. Remarkable video shows ISIS fighters strolling right up Turkish border checkpoint for a relaxing chat with guards 
28 October 2014 / Daily Mail
A remarkable video has emerged purporting to show Islamic State militants chatting casually with a group of Turkish border guards near the besieged Syrian city of Kobane. The amateur footage, understood to have been filmed close to Zarova Hill in the outskirts of Kobane, raises serious questions about the apparently relaxed relationship between the terror group and officials from the Nato member state. It appears to show two heavily armed militants wandering nonchalantly up to the Turkish border fence – displaying shocking bravado as they smile and wave at the camera.=

4. Breaking: Turkish Army Statement On Video Of Isis Meeting
30 October 2014 / Kurdish Question
The Turkish army has released a statement regarding footage that was released yesterday, showing Turkish army personnel meeting with ISIS members at the Turkish-Syrian border.
The statement, issued by the Presidency of General staff, stated that “the footage and related media headlines were aimed at blemishing the reputation of the Turkish army as part of a larger smear campaign”.

5. First Iraqi Kurdish fighters enter Isis-besieged Kobani
30 October 2014 / Guardian
The first Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters have entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobani through the border crossing with Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The British-based monitoring group said 10 fighters moved in on Thursday and the others were expected to enter the town, which has been under attack by Islamic State (Isis) for more than a month, “within hours”.bA convoy of peshmerga fighters had arrived close to the Turkish town of Suruc on Wednesday night, meeting up with others who had flown in earlier in the day.

6. Erdoğan: America Helped Kobanê Despite Our Objections
23 October 2014 / Rojava Report
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters that America delivered aid to Kobanê despite Turkey’s objections, according to an article from DIHA carried in Özgür Gündem. President Erdoğan made the remarks in the course of a joint press conference with Latvian President Andris Berzins. Erdoğan is on an official visit to the country. When asked if Turkey viewed the aid positively, Erdoğan responded by saying: “Did Turkey view this act positively? No it did not. American did this in spite of Turkey. The PYD and PKK are the same. I told this to Obama in our telephone conversation. Right now the PKK leadership is fighting in the ranks of the PYD over there. Therefore the aid which you give to the PYD is going to a terrorist organization.”

7. Assad’s warnings start to ring true in Turkey
27 October 2014 / Yahoo
When Sunni rebels rose up against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in 2011, Turkey reclassified its protégé as a pariah, expecting him to lose power within months and join the autocrats of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen on the scrap heap of the “Arab Spring”. Assad, in contrast, shielded diplomatically by Russia and with military and financial support from Iran and its Shi’ite allies in Lebanon’s Hezbollah, warned that the fires of Syria’s sectarian war would burn its neighbors.

8. How a Turkish leftist gave his life to save Kurdish Kobane
22 October 2014 / Al Jazeera
Suphi Nejat Agirnasli lived a scholar’s life on an island in the Sea of Marmara, a short ferry ride from the center of Istanbul. He was translating a multivolume encyclopedia of psychology from German into Turkish. He often worked in the living room, in sweatpants, looking out at the water. “He told me that he didn’t want to grow up. He didn’t want to go to the adult world,” said his close friend Omer, a student who asked to be identified by only his first name.

9. European delegations in Suruç: We will push for a corridor
29 October 2014 / ANF
Deputies of the party of the European Left, the Greek Syriza and the French Communist Party are continuing their contacts in Suruç, meeting members of the HDP and DBP, emphasising that they will push for a corridor be opened into Kobanê town of West Kurdistan, Rojava, as soon as possible. European delegations are continuing to visit the Kobanê-Suruç border area. Deputy president of the Party of the European Left, Tobias Plfueger, its general secretary, Paolo Ferrero, Nikolaj Villmunsen from the Danish Red/Green Alliance and Syriza MEP Nantia Valavani and advisor Evangelos Kalpadakis, president of the Party of the European Left and French Communist Party (FKP) National Secretary Pierre Laurent, FKP Lydia Samarbash and FKP international relations member Sylvie Jan are continuing their meetings in Suruç.

10. Wales’ Plaid Cymru Supports Kobane
27 October 2014 / Kurdish Question
The Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru had a two day annual conference on the 24th and 25th of October in Llangollen Pavilion. The conference was attended by members of parliament, representatives and supporters from around the UK and world. There were many messages of solidarity for the Kurds resisting the Islamic State in Kobane and around Kurdistan. Kurdistan National Congress representative Michelle Allison told Kurdish Question: ‘They have also passed a Motion to support the Kurdish people’s resistance in Kobane, opening a humanitarian corridor to provide aid to Kurdish fighters and civilians and also recognising the Rojava Cantons’.

11. Pittella: Turkey not doing enough to support domestic freedoms, Kobani
30 October 2014 / Todays Zaman
A representative from the Socialists and Democrats group (S&D) at the European Parliament (EP) has said that the EP expects Turkey to put laws and reforms into practice regarding freedoms and rights, and to support the Western alliance in the defense of Kobani. “Turkish authorities need to take steps forward because the steps taken are not good enough. Laws needed to be put in practice,” said Gianni Pittella, president of the S&D at the EP, on Oct. 30 at a press conference in İstanbul.

12. U.S. Alliance with FSA and ISIL in Six Photographs
3 October 2014 / Washington’s Blog
The following six photographs confirm that a favorite “moderate rebel” leader, Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, is allied with ISIL. The first photograph is from Spring 2013 and shows Okaidi with the American who has been the principal coordinator of US policy on Syria. The last two photographs are from a meeting days ago when Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (Rep Illinois) and George Holding (Rep. North Carolina) met with Okaidi and other “moderate rebels” in Turkey.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

13. Whose side is Turkey on?
24 October 2014 / London Review of Books
Patrick Cockburn: Over the summer Isis – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – defeated the Iraqi army, the Syrian army, the Syrian rebels and the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga; it established a state stretching from Baghdad to Aleppo and from Syria’s northern border to the deserts of Iraq in the south. Ethnic and religious groups of which the world had barely heard – including the Yazidis of Sinjar and the Chaldean Christians of Mosul – became victims of Isis cruelty and sectarian bigotry.

14. Why ISIS’s treatment of Yazidi women must be treated as genocide
30 October 2014 / CNN
“I was hiding behind a water tank in the front yard and saw them killing my father and brother and [taking] away my mother and sister. I don’t know anything about them since,” says Dunya, a 14-year-old Yazidi girl. “They put us in trucks and drove us to a big building, before transferring us to a hall across the road,” explains Solav, 19 and also Yazidi. “Then their seniors came and started condemning our religion and asking us to convert to Islam … They separated me along with other young ones and ordered us to stay there while taking away the elderly women.

15. Why Kobani could be an opportunity for Turkey, the Kurds and the U.S.
29 October 2014 / CNN
In the space of just 48 hours last week, Turkey went from calling the PYD — the Kurds defending the Syrian border town of Kobani — a terrorist group to opening up an arms corridor from Iraq to aid its fight against ISIS. That dramatic change in policy, along with growing collaboration between the United States and the PYD (the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party), could tip a month-long battle against ISIS militants in favor of the Kurds. It could also, finally, pave the way for a resolution between Turkey and the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state. This would remove a major irritant in the coalition’s strategy in Syria.

16. Has Obama Realized The PKK Can Be Allies?
October 2014 / Kurdish Question
Difficulties in the Turkish government’s relationship with Turkey’s Kurdish population continue to overshadow efforts to implement a coherent and comprehensive strategy to address the problem of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The problem is this: While to most American audiences the Kurds might simply be the Kurds, they are divided politically, linguistically, and culturally. In short, the United States now works closely with Iraqi Kurds, but labels the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist group.

17. A Town Shouldn’t Fight the Islamic State Alone
28 October 2014 / New York Times
Meysa Ebdo: Since Sept. 15, we, the people of the Syrian town of Kobani, have been fighting, outnumbered and outgunned, against an all-out assault by the army of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Yet despite a campaign that has intensified in the past month, including the deployment of United States-made tanks and armored vehicles, the Islamic State has not been able to break the resistance of Kobani’s fighters.

18. Democratic Autonomy in Rojava
10 October 2014 / New Compass
In the past 33 years, the Kurdish freedom struggle, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and its leader, Abdullah Öcalan, have not only reacted to social changes but shaped them and proposed further steps in the direction of a liberated society.  Significantly, the PKK conceives the Kurdish question as an issue not of nation or ethnicity but of the liberation of society, of both sexes, and of all people.  Öcalan’s book Sociology of Freedom is a kind of a road map for the liberation of Rojava and the entire Middle East, highlighting in detail steps toward freedom.

19. Is the PYD Collaborating With Imperialism?
27 October 2014 / Rojava Report
The following piece – “PYD emperyalizmle işbirliği mi yapıyor?” -was written by Rıdvan Turan, the General Secretary of the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) in Turkey, and confronts allegations made by some on the left that the PYD is ‘collaborating’ with imperialism. It originally appeared in Özgür Gündem and has been translated into English below.  The US airstrikes on ISIS positions around Kobanê and the subsequent delivery of weapons to the PYD has caused a fictitious debate within the left around the question of imperialism.

20. Kurds lead a revolutionary democratic struggle for justice and modernity in Kobani
28 October 2014 / Medhaj News
Due to the fact that US ocassionally supports actions of Left-wing Kurdish fighters against ISIS and hardline extremists, there is a tendency to view the processes around Kurdish nation-building and the struggles in this direction as collaboration with imperialism.  This is a form of denialism inspired by Kemalism, the Turkish nationalist movement opposed to Kurdish self-determination, which forced even the Turkish Communist party to sever ties with Kurdish national movement, led by the Left.

21. Sukant Chandan Discusses ‘Isis’, Kobane, Syria The PKK/YPG On Press TV
30 October 2014 / Son of Malcom
In this edition of The Debate, Press TV has conducted an interview with Sukant Chandan, political commentator from London, and Richard William Murphy, former US assistant secretary of state from New York, to discuss the significance of Iraqi army’s victory in Jurf al-Sakhr and to see why the US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq have failed to have any tangible result so far.

22. Western fascination with ‘badass’ Kurdish women
29 October 2014 / Al Jazeera
Dilar Dirik: A young Kurdish woman called “Rehana” has garnered a great deal of media attention over the past few days, after reports emerged claiming that she had killed more than a hundred ISIL fighters – single-handedly. A picture of the smiling beauty, wearing combat gear and toting a rifle, is still making the rounds of social media. Even as Rehana’s circumstances remain uncorroborated, the overabundance of attention she has received raises several important questions. It adds to the plethora of reports out there glamorising the all-female Kurdish battalions taking on ISIL fighters, with little attention to the politics of these brave women.

23. Kobane Is This Generation’s Stalingrad
29 October 2014 / Eric Lee
By the summer of 1942, the outcome of the second world war was easy to predict.  The German U-boat operations in the North Atlantic were proving increasingly successful in sinking Allied ships.  In North Africa, Rommel’s forces had taken Tobruk.  And one year into Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht had wrested control of most of the western part of the country.  The forward march of Nazism seemed unstoppable.

24. REPORT: Children of the Caliphate
27 October 2014 / Foreign PolicyThey stand in the front row at public beheadings and crucifixions held in Raqqa, the Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria. They’re used for blood transfusions when Islamic State fighters are injured. They are paid to inform on people who are disloyal or speak out against the Islamic State. They are trained to become suicide bombers. They are children as young as 6 years old, and they are being transformed into the Islamic State’s soldiers of the future.

STATEMENTS

25. PYD: Kobani will remain a symbol for the defense of human values, 1 November 2014.

REPORTS

26. Syria: Voice in Crisis, Amnesty International Monthly Report. 28 October 2014.

ACTIONS

27. Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity!
Saturday 1st November,  2-5pm

A global rally is taking place this Saturday in solidarity with the Kobane resistance. Hundreds of people signed the call for action, which you can read in full here.

Details about the rally in London can be found here.

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