KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 24 December 2014 – 9 January 2015

Sakine, Fidan, Leyla worked for freedom and peace in Kurdistan

Today we pay tribute to three Kurdish women activists were shot dead in the Kurdistan Information Office in the French capital Paris two years ago today – Sakine Cansiz (Sara), Fidan Doğan (Rojbin) and Leyla Şaylemez (Ronahi).

NEWS
1. Exclusive: Senior Kurdish rebel leader warns Iraq must stay united to defeat ‘savage’ Isis
2. Meeting terms with PKK’s jailed leader Öcalan change
3. CENİ: Until light is shed on Paris murders our actions will continue
4. Youth killed in clashes in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast
5. Tent city in Suruç raided by troops every week
6. Turkey, UN sign agreement to assist Syrian refugees
7. Dutch journalist released after being detained at home in southeastern Turkey
8. Michael Rubin: The US should consider Turkey a terror state
9. Asya Abdulla interview: Investigation Continues on ISIS’s Use of Chemical Weapons
10. Syria Daily, Dec 26: Is the Islamic State Failing to Govern?
11. The people of Sinjar (Shengal) are drawn into struggle
12. Killing of PKK-linked women in Paris yet to be solved
13. Kurds to march in Paris on 10 January
14. Pope Francis Receives Delegation Of Persecuted Yazidis In Vatican

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
15. Sakine, a life dedicated to Kurdistan and women’s freedom
16. Peace and stability in Turkey, Kurdistan, the Middle East and the wider world: a personal perspective on the events of the year just gone and prospects for the future
17. Turkey and the media: Trying times
18. Turkey’s not so splendid isolation
19. Decentralization in the region; centralization in Turkey
20. Roboskî massacre, truths and lies
21. Ekrem Dumanli: Turkey’s witch hunt against the media
22. The Unfolding Revolution in Rojava
23. Efrîn Economy Minister: Rojava Challenging Norms Of Class, Gender And Power
24. Why Jineology? Re-Constructing The Sciences Towards A Communal And Free Life
25. No. This is a Genuine Revolution – Interview with Graeber by Evrensel Newspaper
26. The False Friends of Kobanê
27.  “Inside Kobane” – BBC World News documentary
28. ‘Everywhere Around Is the Islamic State’ — On the Road in Iraq with YPG Fighters
29. The Case Against Centralization in Iraq

REPORTS
30. Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Iraqi Kurdistan: No safe haven for human rights defenders and independent journalists

NEWS

1. Exclusive: Senior Kurdish rebel leader warns Iraq must stay united to defeat ‘savage’ Isis
24 December 2014 / Guardian
Iraq must remain a united country in order to defeat the jihadis of the Islamic State, a senior leader of the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has insisted. Cemil Bayik, co-founder of the PKK and field commander of the organisation warned that it would be “very dangerous” if Iraq were partitioned. Unless Iraq’s Shia, Sunni and Kurdish communities worked together to counter the threat of Isis, the “fascist” group would benefit, he told the Guardian in an exclusive interview. “If it (Iraq) is divided, the war will intensify and the threat of Da’esh (Isis) to smaller communities will become greater,” said Bayik, speaking in the group’s Qandil mountain stronghold in northern Iraq. “But if they stay united against Da’esh, they can sort out their differences at a later stage through dialogue.”

2. Meeting terms with PKK’s jailed leader Öcalan change
23 December 2014 / Hurriyet
The parties involved in the Kurdish peace bid have jointly declared that a new phase in the process has begun, as committees under the guidance of the Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security will meet with the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, while the İmralı delegation of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will also join the meetings. HDP’s İmralı delegation, consisting of HDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, HDP deputy parliamentary group chairs Pervin Buldan and İdris Baluken and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair Hatip Dicle, will be able to enter the meetings conducted with Öcalan on the İmralı Island together with the Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security committees.

3. CENİ: Until light is shed on Paris murders our actions will continue
4 January 2015 / Kurdish Info
The Kurdish Women’s Peace Office (CENİ) has issued a written statement saying it will continue its campaign under the slogan “Your silence is due to your complicity” until those responsible for the murders planned by shady international forces are revealed. CENİ condemned the murders of three Kurdish women revolutionaries, Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez, on 9 January 2013 in a building in one of the busiest streets in Paris in the middle of the day. CENİ commemorated the three Kurdish women, saying that Sakine Cansız had resisted all manner of repression following the military coup of 12 September, and was a role model for the Kurdish women’s movement for her resistance to all sexist and hegemonic attacks.

4. Youth killed in clashes in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast
7 January 2015 / Reuters
A 14-year-old boy was shot dead during clashes between police and Kurdish protesters in southeastern Turkey on Tuesday evening, and another man was wounded, security sources said. It was the latest in a series of deaths highlighting the fragility of a two-year-old peace process between the government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a militant group that has waged a three-decade insurgency in pursuit of greater autonomy for Turkey’s Kurds. The protests took place in Cizre, a mainly Kurdish town near Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Syria, where supporters of Kurdish Islamist party Huda-Par and youth groups linked to the PKK have clashed in recent weeks.

5. Tent city in Suruç raided by troops every week
8 January 2015 / ANF
The 6th tent city opened for refugees from Kobanê in Suruç is being raided once a week by Turkish troops in armoured vehicles. Fidan Kanlıbaş, who works at the camp, said the Turkish authorities were trying to create an atmosphere of fear. The sixth tent city being established in Suruç for refugees from Kobanê is being obstructed by the authorities. The camp, in the village of Külünçe, consists of 1,200 tents and has a capacity of 8,000, but the Turkish authorities are refusing to give permission for the camp, which has been set up by the Suruç municipality, and want the refugees to go to the state-run AFAD camp.

6. Turkey, UN sign agreement to assist Syrian refugees
7 December 2014 / World Bulletin
The Turkish Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency and UNHCR signed an agreement Tuesday to provide humanitarian services to needy Syrian refugees.  Officials said Turkey and the UN refugee agency will cooperate to deliver 12 mobile clinics, 10 ambulances and 10 vaccination units. AFAD Director General Fuat Oktay said the Turkish government has delivered $5 billion worth of aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey. “The financial aid from the international community is $264 million,” Oktay added. “$179 million of this aid came from the UN.”

7. Dutch journalist released after being detained at home in southeastern Turkey
6 January 2015 / Hurriyet
Frederike Geerdink, a Diyarbakır-based Dutch journalist, has been released after being detained by police in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Jan. 6. Geerdink had earlier stated on her Twitter account that eight police officers were searching her house and would take her to the local police station. “Terrorism police just searched my house, team of 8 guys,” Geerdink tweeted on Jan. 6. “They take me to the station now. Charge: propaganda for terrorist organization,” she added.  The Justice Ministry said in a written statement on Jan. 6 that there had been three different complaints to the Ankara police accusing the journalist of making PKK propaganda through her Twitter account, after which the Diyarbakır Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation. 

8. Michael Rubin: The US should consider Turkey a terror state
2 January 2014 / Kurdish Daily News
Former Pentagon adviser and senior scholar at American Enterprise Institute and Naval Postgraduate School Michael Rubin said that the US government should consider Turkey a terror state. In an exclusive interview with Frankfurt based Kurdish Newspaper Yeni Özgür Politika, Rubin answered various questions surrounding the current environment in the Middle East and called on the US administration to remove the Kurdistan Workers’ Party from its list of terrorist organizations.

9. Asya Abdulla interview: Investigation Continues on ISIS’s Use of Chemical Weapons
8 December 2014 / eKurd
Our appointment was supposed to be at her office, but she had guests and could not manage it. However, to keep her promise, later she suddenly entered the house where we were staying. In the first few minutes, I was stressed but she calmed me down with some soothing sentences. Having put aside her AK47 and wearing the special shawl of Kurdish guerrilla fighters, she began to answer my questions kindly. Before starting the interview, I asked her which university she graduated from; her response was subtle: “I’m a graduate of revolution”

10. Syria Daily, Dec 26: Is the Islamic State Failing to Govern?
26 December 2014 / EA Worldview
The Washington Post has published the latest in a series of media declarations that the Islamic State is failing in Syria and Iraq, not on the battlefield but in governing and delivering services in the areas that it controls: The Islamic State’s vaunted exercise in state-building appears to be crumbling as living conditions deteriorate across the territories under its control, exposing the shortcomings of a group that devotes most of its energies to fighting battles and enforcing strict rules. Services are collapsing, prices are soaring, and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the “caliphate” proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims.

11. The people of Sinjar (Shengal) are drawn into struggle
5 January 2015 / Harvest
We have several items from Sinjar to mention and comment on tonight. Once again we are highlighting the differences between the humanism of the liberation movement and the barbarism of ISIS and imperialism. It has been announced that five mass graves in and around the town of Sinune in Sinjar will be opened and documented under the supervision of officials. Xiyas Surçî, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) spokesman for Mosul, said in a statement today that the mass graves uncovered following the operations of the guerrillas, peshmerga and YBŞ (Sinjar Resistance Units) forces will officially be opened.

12. Killing of PKK-linked women in Paris yet to be solved
8 January 2014 / Todays Zaman
Two years have passed since three Kurdish women affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed in Paris, but those behind the attack are yet to be found, although the French police apprehended two suspects, one of them alleged to have links with Turkish intelligence, shortly after the crime. On Jan. 9, 2013, Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Söylemez were shot dead at the Kurdistan Information Bureau in Paris. The killings took place shortly after the Turkish government launched talks with the PKK, recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and EU, to resolve the country’s long-standing Kurdish problem.

13. Kurds to march in Paris on 10 January
1 January 2015 / ANF
On the second anniversary of the murder in Paris of Kurdish women Sakine Cansız (Sara), Fidan Doğan (Rojbîn) and Leyla Şaylemez (Ronahî) on 9 January 2013, the Kurds are to hold a march under the slogan: “Your silence is due to your being an accessory”. An organising committee established following a call by the Democratic Kurdish Council in France, has announced the activities which will take place on 9 and 10 January. The commemoration activities will include a “March for Truth and Justice” and events being organised under the heading: “France is remaining silent at these murders because of political interests.” French organisations are also involved in the organising committee.

14. Pope Francis Receives Delegation Of Persecuted Yazidis In Vatican
8 January 2014 / Breitbart
Pope Francis today received a delegation of the community of the Yazidi, led by their world leader, Tahsin Said Ali Beg, and their supreme spiritual leader, the Skeikh Kato, both of whom are residents of Iraqi Kurdistan. One of the delegates referred to the Pope as “father of the poor” as the delegation thanked him for his support for the Yazidi in this time of persecution and suffering, as well as speaking of some 5,000 women Yazidis who have been enslaved by ISIS.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

15. Sakine, a life dedicated to Kurdistan and women’s freedom
9 December 2014 / ANF
It is the second anniversary of the murder of Sakine Cansız (Sara) a founder member of the PKK and the Women’s Freedom Movement. Sakine Cansız was known for her part in the party’s legendary prison struggle and represented the spirit of women’s international solidarity in the 21st century. Sakine Cansız was one of the sources of the strength, morale and motivation of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. Sakine Cansız’s 40 years of experience of resistance and struggle, her courage, passion for life, loyalty, enthusiasm, determination, honesty and simple outlook on life, her love for the Kurdish leadership and a free Kurdistan established the identity and hue of the Kurdish Freedom Movement.

16. Peace and stability in Turkey, Kurdistan, the Middle East and the wider world: a personal perspective on the events of the year just gone and prospects for the future
6 January 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
David Morgan: Peace and stability in Turkey, in Kurdistan, in the Middle East and in the wider world might seem extremely precarious and elusive prospects in the light of the descent into chaos in Syria and Iraq witnessed in 2014, but there is never an option to entirely give up hope if you believe in life and it is a natural instinct for all living creatures to desire to continue to live in a state of comfort where basic wants for food, sustenance and love are satisfied. Thousands of years of human progress, enlightenment, ingenuity, creativity and inventiveness cannot simply be wiped out by the wars, wanton destruction and genocide endured in the recent period.

17. Turkey and the media: Trying times
7 January 2014 / The Economist
Frederike Geerdink, a Dutch journalist with a close interest in the Kurds, claims to be the only Western journalist in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. On January 6th anti-terrorist police raided her apartment. “Terrorism police just searched my house. Team of 8 guys. They take me to the station now. Charge: ‘propaganda for terrorist organisation,’” Ms Geerdink tweeted as she was hauled off. The timing could hardly have been worse. Bert Koenders, the Dutch foreign minister, was visiting Ankara. And even as Ms Geerdink was being grilled about her Kurdish contacts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, was telling diplomats “there is no freer press, either in Europe or anywhere in the world, than in Turkey.”

18. Turkey’s not so splendid isolation
January 2015 / La Monde Diplomatique
“Turkey’s stand is ethical. Our regional policy is one of values, human and democratic, which everyone should agree on. That’s why the coup against [Egyptian president] Mohammed Morsi [on 3 July 2013] was so disappointing.” Yasin Aktay, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chairman for foreign relations, opened our conversation with Egypt and the government’s “ethical stand”, as did everyone I spoke with in and around the AKP. He went on: “We thought the West would isolate the new regime. But it sat and watched the murder of democracy — the massacre [of Muslim Brothers] in Rabia Square and the silencing of the media — which meant opening the way to IS [so-called Islamic State].”

19. Decentralization in the region; centralization in Turkey
7 January 2015 / Todays Zaman
The internal and external dynamics of decentralization are becoming more visible in the region. A demand for autonomy in the Kurdistan region of Turkey, parallel to a countrywide decentralization, is on the table for the first time in two centuries as part of a formula that would lead to power sharing without partitioning the country and violating Turkey’s territorial integrity. For the region as a whole, federalization appears to be the most reasonable option, mostly motivated by the demands for autonomous Kurdish provinces. Nevertheless it is not easy to honor these demands in a region where there is no federalist tradition, where demands for autonomy ended up either in secession or harshly repressed. But other options are definitely unsustainable following the de facto partitioning of Iraq and Syria.

20. Roboskî massacre, truths and lies
28 December 2014 / Hawar News
This place and date have embedded themselves in the memories of the peoples of Kurdistan, Turkey and the region as one of the first Kurdish massacres of the 21st century. On 28 December 2011 a group consisting mainly of children set out from the villages of Roboski (Ortasu) and Bujeh (Gülyazı) and crossed the artificial borders drawn by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, which did not just divide the country into four parts, but also dismembered towns, villages and families, to carry out cross border trade. Those on both sides of the border have been condemned to denial and annihilation, and to hunger, poverty and no identity. Despite the bans of the occupying states, the Kurds have, in addition to continuing their struggle against these borders, maintained their social cohesion.

21. Ekrem Dumanli: Turkey’s witch hunt against the media
1 January 2015 / Washington Post
When I first appeared in court after last month’s raid on my newspaper in Istanbul and 80 hours of detention, I asked the judge: “Two columns and a news report: Is that all the evidence against me?” The judge replied, “Yes.” It surely was an “I rest my case” moment for me — as well as for the dismal state of Turkish democracy under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey’s leader for almost 12 years, Erdogan contributed to economic successes and democratic reforms during his first and second terms. However, emboldened by consecutive election victories and incompetent opposition parties, he is now leading Turkey toward one-man, one-party rule.

22. The Unfolding Revolution in Rojava
8 January 2014 / Dissent
The emergence of ISIS during the summer as a regional war lord in Iraq and Syria led to the usual media hysteria about the latest threat to our turbo-consumerist societies in the West. ISIS is going to take over the Middle East and then come to get us in our affluent homelands where freedom and democracy are under peril from the Islamist bogeyman. Such simplistic nonsense echoes the media disinformation about ISIS and its ”irresistible” expansion across the Middle East. The media puts on the same tired old record. The plight of the Kurds and other ethnic minorities in Northern Iraq and Northern Syria necessitates the ”humanitarian” intervention of American imperialism and its puppet allies in Europe and the Gulf monarchies.

23. Efrîn Economy Minister: Rojava Challenging Norms Of Class, Gender And Power
22 December 2014 / Rojava Report
The following interview was conducted with Dr. Amaad Yousef, the Minister of Economy for the Efrîn Canton in Rojava by Sedat Yılmaz and appeared in Özgür Gündem. Yılmaz spoke with Dr. Yousef as he took part in a conference organized by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in the city of Van last month. The subject of the conference was the ‘Democratic Economy.’ The interview has been translated into English below.
-Let’s speak a little about before the revolution. What was the status of the Kurds? What things did they have?
Geographically Rojava covers an area of 18 thousand 300 square kilometers. It is divided into three cantons. However Rojava can support a population two or three times larger than are living there. 60% of Syria’s poor were Kurds. Because they did not allow factories to be open, or development or any form of enrichment in the region of Rojava.

24. Why Jineology? Re-Constructing The Sciences Towards A Communal And Free Life
January 2014 / Kurdish Question
Gönül Kaya is a journalist and representative of the Kurdish women’s movement. This article is the transcript of her speech at the Jineology Conference in March 2014 in Cologne, Germany.
The Free Women’s Movement of Kurdistan evaluates jineology as an important step in its ongoing intellectual, ideological-political self-defense and mobilization struggle of about 30 years. I would like to introduce -albeit briefly- the main principles of jineology, which the Kurdish women’s movement offers to the women’s movements around the world.

25. No. This is a Genuine Revolution – Interview with Graeber by Evrensel Newspaper
29 December 2014 / Lib.com
Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, activist, anarchist David Graeber had written an article for the Guardian in October, in the first weeks of the ISIS attacks to Kobane (North Syria), and asked why the world was ignoring the revolutionary Syrian Kurds. Mentioning his father who volunteered to fight in the International Brigades in defence of the Spanish Republic in 1937, he asked: “If there is a parallel today to Franco’s superficially devout, murderous Falangists, who would it be but ISIS? If there is a parallel to the Mujeres Libres of Spain, who could it be but the courageous women defending the barricades in Kobane? Is the world -and this time most scandalously of all, the international left- really going to be complicit in letting history repeat itself?”
Read additional comments to this article by David Graeber.

26. The False Friends of Kobanê
6 January 2015 / Jacobin Mag
For nearly four months now, heavily armed Islamic State (IS) militants have been laying siege to the city of Kobanê in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava). Another IS massacre was initially feared. But the homegrown defense units of Kobanê, despite being hopelessly outmatched militarily, have been able to repel IS incursions for a surprisingly long time — and for much of this time without help. It has been a pitched battle that has repeatedly seen bitter house-to-house fighting.

27.  “Inside Kobane” – BBC World News documentary
3 January 2014 / Youtube
The Kurdish border city of Kobane in Northern Syria has been under siege by Islamic State fighters for more than three months. But Kurdish forces are managing to retain hold of most of the city. As well as keeping IS at bay, they see getting their story out to the rest of the world as a vital part of their mission. An Iranian Kurdish film-maker spent a few days inside Kobane following the men and women risking their lives to publicise the ongoing battle.

28. ‘Everywhere Around Is the Islamic State’ — On the Road in Iraq with YPG Fighters
30 December 2014 / Vice
The Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) gathered behind a berm of hard brown sand as they prepared to cross the border — smoking and discussing the route among themselves. From the Iraqi side, trucks loaded with Yazidi refugees streamed through in plumes of fine dust, met by Syrian volunteers handing them cartons of fruit juice, biscuits, and cigarettes. The Yazidi Kurds, marginalized followers of a secretive religion, had fled their homes in advance of an offensive by the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, and taken shelter on Mount Sinjar — a range of barren, waterless crags, where many of the weakest died of thirst and heat exhaustion. Earlier, at the newly created Newroz refugee camp in Derik, Yazidis bitterly described their privations.

29. The Case Against Centralization in Iraq
In the past, some US policy makers extended limited calls for the partitioning of Iraq. Senator Joseph Biden in 2006 promoted the idea of a Sunni, Kurdish, and Shia state in Iraq. The pro-Kurdish former US diplomat Peter Galbraith also argued for partition in 2006. But the official US policy under the Obama administration eventually crystallized in support of a strengthened central authority under Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki, which led to the de-facto partitioning of Iraq. After the US troops left Iraqi soil in 2011, the Iraqi PM issued an arrest order for Sunni vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi, and managed to push the Sunnis into the arms of the Jihadist Islamic state (IS).


REPORTS

30. Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Iraqi Kurdistan: No safe haven for human rights defenders and independent journalists, 31 December 2014.

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