KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 22 – 29 May 2015

NEWS

  1. Kurdish party committed to peace talks whatever Turkish poll outcome
  2. HDP’s Demirtaş rules out coalition with AK Party after elections
  3. Turkish intellectuals warn social tensions rising, urge gov’t to provide election security
  4. HDP nominee: We translated Quran into Kurdish; Erdoğan waves it at election rallies
  5. Syrians, economic woes to cost AK Party heavily in Southeast
  6. Report from the latest hearing of the trial of Ocalan’s lawyers
  7. Kobane’s displaced families unable to return home because of mines left by ISIS
  8. Kurds oust ISIS from Christian villages in Syria: activists
  9. British Chinese volunteer fighting alongside Kurds against ISIS in Syria becomes a weibo hero
  10. Kurdish fighters in Syria on the march against IS militants

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. A big moment for Erdogan—and Turkey
  2. Why Turks should vote Kurd
  3. Turkey’s Kurdish party at the threshold
  4. Turkish election outcome could shape Syria policy
  5. Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters
  6. War with Isis: Wounded Kurdish forces count the cost of battling militants in Syria
  7. fleeing war try out life in Japan
  8. Dissecting Capitalist Modernity – Videos of speeches available
  9. Iran’s Kurdish problem in perspective

EVENTS

See our Events page

NEWS

  1. Kurdish party committed to peace talks whatever Turkish poll outcome
    28 May 2015 / Al Arabiya
    Turkey’s Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said on Wednesday June elections would lack legitimacy if a threshold for parliamentary representation deprived it of representation, but it would remain a partner in peace talks with militants. The fate of the HDP, which hopes to cross the 10 percent national vote threshold to enter parliament on June 7, will be critical not just for the Kurdish minority but also for the political future of President Tayyip Erdogan. Should the HDP cross the barrier, it could take 50 seats from the ruling AK Party, potentially causing the AKP to lose its majority and be forced to form either a coalition or minority government.
  1. HDP’s Demirtaş rules out coalition with AK Party after elections
    27 May 2015 / Todays Zaman
    Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş has said the party does not plan to form a coalition with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) nor it will lend indirect support to the AK Party if his party passes the election threshold. “We will not form a government with the AK Party either from outside or from inside,” Demirtaş said during a live interview with CNN Türk’s Ahmet Hakan on Wednesday night. “Of course, we are not running in the elections to be in the opposition with the AK Party. We are preparing to be in the government in the following elections,” he continued.
  1. Turkish intellectuals warn social tensions rising, urge gov’t to provide election security
    26 May 2015 / Todays Zaman
    A group of intellectuals, academics and artists have issued an emergency declaration calling on both the president and prime minister to refrain from hate speech and polarizing narrative while ensuring free and fair election campaigning ahead of critical national election on June 7. The declaration — signed by 200 intellectuals — states, “Our country has been ruled for some time by an extraordinary regime that violates the fundamental boundaries of the rule of law.” It underlined that the government has eliminated the independence of the judiciary via blatant interference under the pretext of combatting the “parallel structure” and has eroded checks on the executive branch.
  1. HDP nominee: We translated Quran into Kurdish; Erdoğan waves it at election rallies
    26 May 2015 / Todays Zaman
    A deputy nominee of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s use of the Quran in election rallies, saying that prominent religious figures in southeast Turkey had translated the Quran into Kurdish to make it more accessible to the Kurdish population while Erdoğan waves it around for political gain. Adem Özcaner, who is running in the upcoming general election as a deputy nominee from the HDP in the eastern province of Van and who headed the Azadi movement when he became an HDP deputy nominee, said the Kurdish translation of the Quran was prepared by religious figures in the eastern provinces and presented to the Religious Affairs Directorate multiple times since the 1990s.
  1. Syrians, economic woes to cost AK Party heavily in Southeast
    27 May 2015 / Todays Zaman
    Issues such as unemployment, the high cost of Turkey’s newly built presidential palace, locals’ dissatisfaction with public services and problems caused by Syrian refugees may well deal a blow to the ruling party’s hopes in the upcoming general election in Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep, two southeastern provinces which previously strongly voted for it. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) may well lose many of its deputies in its strongholds in southeastern Turkey, particularly if the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) manages to pass the parliamentary threshold.
  1. Report from the latest hearing of the trial of Ocalan’s lawyers
    28 May 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    Tony Fisher, member of the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee, has written a report after observing the most recent hearing in the case of Abdullah Ocalan’s lawyers, who were arrested in November 2011 following simultaneous police raids across several Turkish cities. The arrest of these 45 lawyers, all of them members of Ocalan’s legal team, formed part of the so-called ‘KCK operations’, in which over 8,000 people have been arrested for alleged membership to the Kurdistan Communities Union, the KCK.
  1. Kobane’s displaced families unable to return home because of mines left by ISIS
    29 May 2015 / Ara News
    The recently founded local office of Kobane city in northern Syria said on Thursday that a group of Danish experts are currently working on the dismantling of mines left by the extremists of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in the city before their withdrawal. The city of Kobane was liberated by the Kurdish forces and allied U.S.-led coalition three months ago. However, the group has left behind dozens of land mines and explosive materials across the city, which prevent hundreds of displaced facilities from returning home.
  1. Kurds oust ISIS from Christian villages in Syria: activists
    27 May 2015 / Daily Star
    Kurdish forces have driven ISIS from more than a dozen Assyrian Christian villages that the jihadis had captured in northeastern Syria, an activist group said Wednesday. “Following a 10-day offensive, Kurdish fighters took control early this week of 14 Assyrian villages that ISIS had controlled since February,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Assyrian Christians, who are from one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, have been under increasing threat since ISIS seized control of large parts of Syria.
  1. British Chinese volunteer fighting alongside Kurds against ISIS in Syria becomes a weibo hero
    29 May 2015 / South China Morning Post
    Photos of a British Chinese volunteer in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have gone viral on mainland social media after he posted photographs of everyday life as an international freedom fighter on his weibo account. Huang Lei, who goes by the username “LeiG7”, is one of a group of international volunteers that includes military veterans and others with no combat experience, who have travelled to Syria to help Kurdish guerillas according to an report in The Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper.
  1. Kurdish fighters in Syria on the march against IS militants
    28 May 2015 / NewsOK
    In contrast to the Iraqi army’s failures, Kurdish fighters in Syria are on the march against the Islamic State group, capturing towns and villages in an oil-rich swath of the country’s northeast under the cover of U.S.-led airstrikes. As the Kurds close in on Tel Abyad, a major commercial center on the Turkish border, their advance highlights the decisive importance of combining airstrikes with the presence of a cohesive and motivated ally on the ground — so clearly absent in Iraq.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. A big moment for Erdogan—and Turkey
    28 May 22015 / Economist
    Foreign policy is a hubristic disaster and the economy is on the slide, but that won’t stop the ruling AK party founded by Recep Tayyip Erdogan from winning CRITICS of Turkey say its democracy is under threat, but it doesn’t look that way at election time. Villagers are on the streets in their hundreds, city-dwellers in their hundreds of thousands, to listen to politicians’ pitches.
  1. Why Turks should vote Kurd
    30 May 2015 / Economist
    THE man who dominates Turkish politics, and has done so for 12 years, is not running in the general election on June 7th. As president since August, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is meant to stay above the fray. Yet the vote is still all about him. He is campaigning for the Justice and Development (AK) party that he founded to win a majority large enough to change the constitution into one with a strong executive presidency. It is to be hoped that he fails.
  1. Turkey’s Kurdish party at the threshold
    26 May 2015 / Washington Post
    Turkey’s voters head to the polls June 7 in a critical test of the future of the country’s democratic system. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seems to be on course to win a fourth consecutive victory though, if polls are to be believed, without a supermajority in the parliament. What makes this election different from others in Turkish history is the critical role of a Kurdish party contesting elections for the first time, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The traditional leading opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has long positioned itself as the bulwark of secularism in Turkish politics, with an electoral ceiling of roughly 20 to 25 percent.
  1. Turkish election outcome could shape Syria policy
    27 May 2015 / Sofia Globe
    The latest opinion polls in Turkey are predicting that the ruling AK Party could lose its majority in parliament in the June 7 election. Analysts warn a significant change in foreign policy could be looming regarding Syria and the influx of refugees into the country. The ending of nearly 14 years of one-party rule of the Islamist rooted party will have a profound effect on Turkish foreign policy, predicts diplomatic columnist Kadri Gursel of the Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper and Al-Monitor website.
  1. Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters
    27 May 2015 / Independent
    The last time I crossed the Tigris River between Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria was just before the war in 2003 when I was coming from Damascus. I crossed in an elderly flat-bottomed metal boat, its decrepit appearance making me afraid that the engine would give out and we would drift down river into territory controlled by Saddam Hussein’s forces. 
  1. War with Isis: Wounded Kurdish forces count the cost of battling militants in Syria
    23 May 2015 / Independent
    A squad of Syrian Kurdish fighters was ambushed as it advanced through a grove on the outskirts of a village held by Islamic State (IS) fighters near al-Hasakah in the Kurdish enclave in north-east Syria. Azad Judy, an 18-year-old Kurd, recalls: “We had divided into three groups that were trying to attack the village when we were hit by intense fire from behind and from the trees on each side of us.” Azad, who comes from Nusaybin just across the border in Turkey, was hit by a single bullet in the spine. He says: “After being wounded, I tried to crawl away and then another fighter came and gave me first aid and an injection.”
  1. Kurds fleeing war try out life in Japan
    27 May 2015 / Stars and Stripes
    About 4 million people are believed to have fled Syria because of the civil war that started in 2011 and the rise of the Islamic State militant group, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
    To escape from attacks by Islamic State, Ciwan Ali, 15, a Kurdish refugee in the southeastern Turkish city of Sanliurfa, left northern Syria with his family and now lives with more than 50 relatives in a small house in Turkey. The Kurds mainly live in border areas of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. The population is estimated at between 25 million and 30 million, and they are called the “world’s largest ethnic group without a country.”
  1. Dissecting Capitalist Modernity – Videos of speeches available
    29 May 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    The Dissecting Capitalist Modernity Conference, which took place in nearly April, brought together some key thinkers and activists from across the Kurdish movement and beyond to discuss alternatives to the system of capitalist modernity. There was a rich exploration of many areas, including imperialism and industrialism, capitalism and modernity, democratic autonomy and the Kurdish women’s movement, Third World alternatives, and much more. The videos from each of the speakers have now been made available online for you to view – just go to Network for an Alternative Quest’s YouTube channel. Or to the conference website
  1. Iran’s Kurdish problem in perspective
    29 May 2015 / Daily Star
    In early May a young Kurdish woman plunged to her death from the Tara hotel in the city of Mahabad, western Iran. Social media posts suggested Farinaz Khosrawani, a 25-year-old chambermaid, was escaping being raped by a member of the security forces. Within days, riots broke out, the hotel was set ablaze, and unrest spread to other Kurdish cities including Sardasht and Marivan. The ARA Kurdish news agency quoted protesters claiming two had died in Mahabad when police opened fire.
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: