KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 3 – 8 May 2015

NEWS

  1. HPG: Turkish army continues provocative operations
  2. Turkey’s Kurdish opposition accuse Erdogan of breaching constitution
  3. International mobilisation for Kobanê
  4. Christians, Kurds join forces against ‘IS’
  5. Turkish military puts brakes on Syrian intervention
  6. ISIS advances in Kobane countryside amid Kurdish retreat
  7. Syrians return to Kobani despite deep scars of war
  8. Kurdish Women’s Communities Of Kurdistan Calls For Action For Farinaz Xosrow
  9. Kurdish Uprising In East Kurdistan As Woman Commits Suicide To Avoid Rape By Iranian Intelligence
  10. Snowden Docs: NSA Technology Lets Gov’t Generate Transcripts of Private Phone Calls
  11. Election 2015: Greens – migrants blamed for policy woes

 COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. The Threat Posed By Unsc Resolution 2178 To The PKK, Kurdish Diaspora, Peace Process And Civil Liberties 
  2. Will Erdogan’s backtracking torpedo PKK disarmament?
  3. Yazidi candidate hopes for historic first in Turkish election
  4. The New Middle East: Turkey, Iran and an Independent Kurdistan
  5. The AKP, Kurds, pollster wars and chaos
  6. Comparing Iraqi Kurdistan with Turkey’s Kurdish dynamics
  7. What Erdoğan, Davutoğlu want to divert attention from
  8. Defying Gravity: Working Toward a Regional Strategy for a Stable Middle East

ACTIONS

  1. Stop ISIS. Act decisively

PRESS RELEASES

  1. KNK: The Hague declaration: Joint diplomatic committee of Kurdistan political groups

EVENTS

Go to our Events page

 

NEWS

  1. HPG: Turkish army continues provocative operations
    7 May 2015 / Kurdish Info
    People’s Defence Forces (HPG) Press Office has reported in a statement that the Turkish army increased its operations against guerrilla areas in the last 2 days with an aim to create provocation. HPG said a troop from Gomane military post located at the border line of Xakurke area launched a ground operation at 16:00 on 6 May. Guerrilla forces responded with warning fires after which the troop withdrew from the area at 16:30. HPG reported that an activity of warplanes took place over Avashin area at 15:00 on 6 May, while Turkish air force carried out reconnaissance flights over Gare area of Medya Defense Zones between 07:00-12:00 today.
  1. Turkey’s Kurdish opposition accuse Erdogan of breaching constitution
    5 May 2015 / Reuters
    Turkey’s Kurdish opposition accused President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday of breaching the constitution with speeches backing the ruling AK Party ahead of a June election, deepening a rift that could jeopardize a Kurdish peace process. Erdogan founded the AK Party 13 years ago and served as Prime Minister for over a decade; but he had to hand over its leadership after winning a presidential poll last August, and as head of state is constitutionally bound to stay out of party politics. 
  1. International mobilisation for Kobanê
    7 May 2015 / ANF
    As more and more Kobanê people are turning back to their hometown which they had been forced to leave during the war time, the reconstruction process and international aid and solidarity campaign has gained momentum following the conference held in Amed last week to discuss the concrete plans for the rebuilding of the devastated town. Narin Gezgör of Suruç municipality, in charge of projects within the campaign for the reconstruction of Kobanê, told that many international solidarity campaigns have been launched to provide aid for the rebuilding of Kobanê and gave information about the works.
  1. Christians, Kurds join forces against ‘IS’
    5 May 2015 / Deutsche Welle
    “We are surrounded from three sides,” says a fighter in the hilltop sniper position that looks out across the river and to the plain beyond. “If IS wants to push into the town, they will probably be able to take it.” As if in agreement, a burst of sniper fire rings out from the enemy lines. If Tel Tamer falls to “Islamic State” (IS) fighters, the people who used to live here will probably leave Syria – and maybe the Middle East – for good. This is the heart of the Khabur Valley, a small strip of Christian towns and villages marooned in a sea of Kurdish and Arab territory. Far from the regime-held areas of Aleppo and Damascus, where Syria’s Christians can find safety in numbers, the people of Khabur have been in a precarious position since the country’s revolution took an Islamist turn.
  1. Turkish military puts brakes on Syrian intervention
    4 May 2015 / Al Monitor
    There has been a recent surge of news stories and commentary in the Turkish and foreign media that Turkey might launch a military operation against Syria and Iran. For example, the Huffington Post ran an article claiming that a joint Turkey-Saudi military operation is possible in Syria, based on sources knowledgeable about Qatar-brokered senior level contacts between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to put together a regional Sunni alliance. Another commentator claims that events have passed the point of possibility, and Ankara is already preparing for a military intervention in Syria to create a buffer zone there.
  1. ISIS advances in Kobane countryside amid Kurdish retreat
    5 May 2015 / Ara News
    Subsequent to clashes with militant fighters of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS), the joint forces withdrew from southern areas of Kobane, northern Syria, Kurdish military sources reported on Monday. Speaking to ARA News in Kobane, Noureddin Gaban, fighter in ranks of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), said that the joint forces withdrew “tactically” from a location southeast of the town of Sirrin, after IS jihadists launched an offensive during which various kinds of weapons were used.
  1. Syrians return to Kobani despite deep scars of war
    6 May 2015 / KPLC TV
    Iraqi forces pushed ISIS out of the Syrian city of Kobani in January. Drone video shot by cameraman Gabriel Chaim shows a city left in ruins after months of coalition airstrikes and ISIS bombings. Buildings are inhabitable, partially collapsed or reduced to rubble. Syrian Kurds say they can’t remove the debris, and to rebuild would cost billions. Still they say some who called the city home are returning. The city now has a bakery, two schools and a hospital. Syrian Kurds say Turkey’s main border gate near the city remains closed, making it hard to get supplies into Kobani.
  1. Kurdish Women’s Communities Of Kurdistan Calls For Action For Farinaz Xosrow
    8 May 2015 / Kurdish Question
    The KJAR (Free Women’s Communities of Kurdistan) Coordination has issued a call to the Kurdish people to take ownership of Ferinaz Xosrawani, the young woman who threw herself from a 4th floor balcony in the hotel where she worked in Mahabad yesterday to avoid being raped. Ferinaz Xosrawani threw herself from the balcony to escape from Iranian intelligence operatives who attempted to molest her.
  1. Kurdish Uprising In East Kurdistan As Woman Commits Suicide To Avoid Rape By Iranian Intelligence
    8 May 2015 / Kurdish Question
    Kurds poured out into the streets in anger in Mahabad city of Rojhelat (East) Kurdistan yesterday (7 May) after a young Kurdish woman committed suicide to avoid rape by Iranian intelligence officers. Ferinaz Xosrowanî jumped off the fourth storey of the Tara Hotel, where she worked, to avoid rape by Iranian intelligence (Itlaat) officers. People in Mahabad gathered outside the hotel in anger on hearing about the incident at 6pm local time. The mass protesting outside was brutally attacked by police using real bullets and tear gas. 
  1. Snowden Docs: NSA Technology Lets Gov’t Generate Transcripts of Private Phone Calls
    6 May 2015 / Democracy Now
    A new article by The Intercept details how the National Security Agency is converting people’s private phone conversations into searchable text. According to documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the agency can now automatically recognize spoken words by generating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that are easily stored and combed for information. The top-secret documents showNSA analysts congratulated themselves on developing what they called “Google for Voice” nearly a decade ago. It remains unclear how widely the spy agency uses its speech-to-text capabilities to transcribe and index U.S. citizens’ verbal conversations.
  1. Election 2015: Greens – migrants blamed for policy woes
    4 May 2015 / Green Party
    Nathalie Bennett, Green Party leader, has delivered a passionate speech in defence of migrants as per party hits the campaign trail for the last few days before the general election. Bennett spoke alongside Green Party MEP Jean Lambert. Bennett, who was born in Australia but is a British citizen, began her speech saying: “I’m standing here today as a migrant, someone who came to this country and chose to make my life here. And today I am taking a stand against those who seek to demonise me and those like me for making that choice”. Bennett made the speech at the Kurdish Community Centre (KCC) in Haringey, North London.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. The Threat Posed By Unsc Resolution 2178 To The PKK, Kurdish Diaspora, Peace Process And Civil Liberties 
    8 May 2015 / Kurdish Question
    Part VII of Surveillance, Targeting and the Criminalisation of Kurds
    In recent months, even as human rights and civil liberties organisations, lawyers, concerned members of the public and Kurdish community representatives and politicians from centre-left-right parties in the EU states and the US have called on their respective governments and the EU to decriminalise the PKK, President Obama, Turkish ministers and publicly unaccountable intelligence, NATO and US-UK military circles have exerted their leverage at the the Fifth Ministerial Plenary of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) – “an action-oriented platform committed to strengthening international cooperation and mobilizing expertise and resources to address civilian-focused counterterrorism priorities”[i] – and at the UN Security Council (UNSC) to pass UNSC resolution 2178.
  1. Will Erdogan’s backtracking torpedo PKK disarmament?
    6 May 2015 / Al Monitor
    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent outbursts against the peace process with the Kurds have led to a profound confusion: Is Turkey gearing up for a new war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the run-up to the general elections? The controversy started when Erdogan raised objections to setting up a negotiating table for the next stage of the peace process, which had hitherto advanced in line with his guidance and with his knowledge. In response, the Kurdish side called off plans to hold a disarmament congress, charging that “Erdogan kicked the table.” The decision was first announced by Muzaffer Ayata, one of the PKK’s founders, and then confirmed by Bese Hozat, co-chair of the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the Kurdish movement’s umbrella organization.
  1. Yazidi candidate hopes for historic first in Turkish election
    5 May 2015 / Al Monitor
    “A political action movie” is how Feleknas Uca, 38, describes politics in Turkish parliament, referring to macho behavior and physical fights that sometimes break out. She thinks it will be difficult for her to adjust to it, after having served two terms, from 1999 to 2009, in the European Parliament in Brussels. “In Europe,” Uca said, “you are respected for your opinion. In Turkey, politics are carried out undemocratically.” Still, she is eager to start working in the Turkish parliament after the June 7 general elections.
  1. The New Middle East: Turkey, Iran and an Independent Kurdistan
    5 May 2015 / International Policy Digest
    The current geo-political formation of the Middle East was born over the ashes of World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Today, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria have similarly paved the way for dramatic changes in the region. One thing however remains the same – the exclusion of the Kurdish people. As it did a century ago, the new map of the Middle East has once again disregarded the future of the Kurdish people.
  1. The AKP, Kurds, pollster wars and chaos
    6 MAY 2015 / Todays Zaman
    The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been working with five different polling companies.Almost all of them are owned by staunchly pro-AKP people. Some of them were candidates for the AKP in parliamentary elections and some of them have wives who are AKP deputies. The pro-AKP pollsters claim that the AKP vote is around 43-45 percent (with an increasing trend) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) vote is around 9-10 percent. On the other hand, the companies that are regarded as more objective, such as Metropoll and Gezici — and also some that work for foreign observers — show a decreasing trend for the AKP vote and an increasing trend for the HDP. Their estimates arrive at between 38-42 percent for the AKP and 10-13 percent for the HDP.
  1. Comparing Iraqi Kurdistan with Turkey’s Kurdish dynamics
    6 May 2015 / Todays Zaman
    Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), recently visited Washington to ask for more American military and political assistance. The military assistance the KRG needs is primarily in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL). Political assistance, on the other hand, is mainly for the longer-term Kurdish agenda of independence. The independence agenda, of course, is a much more delicate issue for the White House. The last thing the administration of US President Barack Obama wants is to further complicate already thorny relations between Baghdad and Arbil.
  1. What Erdoğan, Davutoğlu want to divert attention from
    6 May 2015 / Todays Zaman
    How Turkey’s ever-baffling voters will act a month from now is, still, a grand puzzle. There is no doubt June 7 will be a ‘national day of reckoning’ for the country. It is a referendum about the ‘Erdoğan’s Way’, as much as a collective decision for the path to be chosen by roughly 56 million voters: ‘enough’ or ‘go ahead’ for the normalization; ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to what Latin America called ‘autogolpe’ (a power grab).
  1. Defying Gravity: Working Toward a Regional Strategy for a Stable Middle East
    6 May 2015 / Middle East Institute
    In this MEI Policy Paper, Ross Harrison asserts that a new regional order is emerging out of the conflicts of the Middle East. The relationships among the pillars of this order–Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran–are crucial, as they will largely determine “whether the future of the Middle East will be a continuation of the current chaos and destruction or a more positive transition toward stability and prosperity.” Harrison argues that global powers must concentrate on creating conditions conducive to cooperation among the pillars.

ACTIONS

  1. Stop ISIS. Act decisively
    A new petition set up by Vasiliki Scurfield, mother of Erik Konstandinos Scurfield who was killed on the front line while fighting with the YPG in Rojava, calls for the British Prime Minister to step up the fight against ISIS and in support of the Kurdish movement. Sign today!

PRESS RELEASES

  1. KNK: The Hague declaration: Joint diplomatic committee of Kurdistan political groups. 27 April 2015.
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