KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 30 May – 4 June 2015

NEWS

  1. Turkey election: Axe-wielding police officers round up dozens of Kurds ahead of parliamentary poll
  2. Pro-Kurdish party HDP election bus shot in Turkey’s southeast, one dead
  3. CAP report says vote to determine future of Turkish democracy
  4. 600 Kurdish civilians stranded at Turkish border after escaping ISIS
  5. YPG: Syrian National Coalition acts as collaborator of ISIS
  6. Video: Arab citizens refute rumors about displacement by Kurdish forces north Syria
  7. Fighting intensifies between Kurds and ISIL militants in northern Syria
  8. Oil Agreement Central To Iraq’s Unity In ISIS Fight May Be Crumbling
  9. Over a hundred supporters of the HDP sign international appeal
  10. Greens support People’s Democratic Party in upcoming Turkish Election
  11. Vigil for Freedom for Öcalan continues in its 154th week

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. The Turkish Opposition’s Secret Weapon
  2. Can Kurds Shake Up Turkey’s Politics?
  3. The Next Step in Erdogan’s Dance With the Kurds
  4. Turkey’s Kurds are threatening Erdogan’s quest for greater powers
  5. Turkey’s General Elections 2015: High Stakes at Home and Abroad
  6. Turkey’s crossroads: Democracy, Kurdish peace bid dominate concerns
  7. Turkey: People’s Democratic Party (HDP) takes centre stage with bold campaign
  8. Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq
  9. ISIS gains in Syria
  10. U.S. Policy towards the Islamic State after its Seizure of Ramadi and Palmyra

APPEALS

  1. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign: Support the HDP in the coming elections in Turkey

PRESS RELEASES

  1. Delegation from Britain heads to Turkey to observe crucial election

ACTIONS

  1. Implement legislation to ensure women and men are equal in all their civil and individual rights. To replace the Iraqi Personal Code with the below Equality and Women Act.

NEWS

  1. Turkey election: Axe-wielding police officers round up dozens of Kurds ahead of parliamentary poll
    3 June 2015 / Independent
    Turkish police have detained dozens of people in the mainly Kurdish south-east in an operation a pro-Kurdish politician described as a “provocation” ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary election. President Tayyip Erdogan is seeking a large majority for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to allow it to change the constitution and grant him sweeping executive powers. However, a big vote for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which nationalists accuse of supporting Kurdish armed rebels, could hinder him in that ambition.
  1. Pro-Kurdish party HDP election bus shot in Turkey’s southeast, one dead
    4 June 2015 / eKurd
    Unidentified assailants fired on a campaign minibus of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey’s Kurdish region in the southeast of the country, on Wednesday, killing the driver, local media reported, only days ahead of a crucial general election. Security forces found the driver of the bus dead around 200 meters ahead of the vehicle on a motorway around the town of Karliova, 70 km (45 miles) northeast of Bingol province, Turkey’s Dogan News agency reported.
  1. CAP report says vote to determine future of Turkish democracy
    2 June 2015 / Todays Zaman
    A report on this Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Turkey, released by the Washington-based Center for American Progress (cap) on Tuesday, stressed that the way the elections are conducted will determine the future of Turkish democracy. Stating that whatever the outcome, Turkey is headed toward its most exciting and potentially decisive election in more than a decade, the report said with three, or sometimes four, major parties competitive in certain key districts, unreliable polling, and the distorting effect of the 10 percent threshold to enter Parliament at play, it is almost impossible to call the result of the election in advance.
  1. 600 Kurdish civilians stranded at Turkish border after escaping ISIS
    3 June 2015 / Ara News
    Militant fighters of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) attacked Monday some 600 Kurdish citizen stranded at the Turkish borderline near Tel Abyad in Raqqa provimce, northeastern Syria, eyewitnesses reported. IS insurgents forced hundreds of Kurdish civilians to leave their villages in the western countryside of Tel Abyad. The displaced families tried to cross the Turkish border after escaping IS threats, but the Turkish border guards refused to open the crossing. At least 600 Kurdish civilians have been stranded at the Turkish borderline since Saturday, facing attacks by IS extremists.
  1. YPG: Syrian National Coalition acts as collaborator of ISIS
    1 June 2015 / Hawar News
    The YPG General Command has reacted strongly against the statement of the Syrian Coalition yesterday, which alleged that the YPG attacks Kurdish and Arab villages, throwing them out of their villages. YPG said the Syrian Coalition, known as the Istanbul Opposition, has turned into a collaborator and partner-in-crime of the ISIS gangs with their attitudes and statements.
  1. Video: Arab citizens refute rumors about displacement by Kurdish forces north Syria
    2 June 2015 / Ara News
    The victories of the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) against militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in the vicinity of Tel Temir town of Hasakah province, in northeastern Syria, helped lifting the siege on Arab villages, local sources said.  Several media outlets reported that the YPG forces launched a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Arab residents in the area.  Arab people in the liberated villages refuted rumors about their displacement or burning their farms by YPG fighters.
  1. Fighting intensifies between Kurds and ISIL militants in northern Syria
    3 June 2015 / Euro News
    Fierce fighting continues between ISIL militants and Kurds in Hasaka city, in north-eastern Syria. The region surrounding the city is strategic because it links Islamic State-held lands in Syria and Iraq. The fighting came a day after US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said authorities heard reports that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched air strikes supporting ISIL’s advance. ISIL fighters are said to have captured another village in the Aleppo province in northern Syria. A video posted online purportedly shows their fighters walking unopposed in the town of Umm al-Qura, near the border with Turkey.
  1. Oil Agreement Central To Iraq’s Unity In ISIS Fight May Be Crumbling
    3 June 2015 / Huffington Post
    A December 2014 oil agreement struck between Iraq’s central government and the country’s autonomous Kurdish region is in jeopardy and could soon need to be renegotiated — only adding to Iraq’s difficulties as the country attempts to push back well-armed militants tied to the extremist Islamic State group. When Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurds concluded the agreement, it was seen as a major positive development for the effort to push the Islamic State out of Iraq. The U.S. said the deal would aid both the Iraqi military and the Kurdish forces tackling the Islamic State, or ISIS.
  1. Over a hundred supporters of the HDP sign international appeal
    June 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    Over 100 prominent politicians, writers, academics, lawyers and activists signed open letter in support of HDP in Turkey’s coming elections on 7 June. Later this week, people in Turkey will vote in a general election whose outcome will determine the future direction and nature of the country for perhaps generations. The increasingly authoritarian approach of Erdogan’s presidency and the political dominance of his AKP will either be further endorsed or brought to a halt.The HDP is seen as offering the greatest hope for a shift towards a more democratic, inclusive alternative.
  1. Greens support People’s Democratic Party in upcoming Turkish Election
    29 May 2015 / Green Party
    The Turkish general election is days away, and Turkish voters who live in London can vote this weekend following a 2012 regulation that permits citizens to vote in the country in which they reside. With campaigning reaching a peak, it seems likely that the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) will win. However, the supermajority required may elude President Erdogan. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) can secure representation in a new parliament, marking a significant shift in Turkish politics by moving away from the era of AKP single-party governments.
  1. Vigil for Freedom for Öcalan continues in its 154th week
    3 June 2015 / ANF
    The Freedom for Öcalan Vigil in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg continues in its 154th week. This week’s vigil has been taken over by a group of 4 persons from London. The group members called on Kurdish people to continue their struggle for freedom for Öcalan and to vote for the HDP in the general elections to be held this Sunday, on 7 June in Turkey and North Kurdistan. The vigil held in front of the European Parliament for freedom for the Kurdish Leader Abdullah Öcalan is today in its 1074th day. The vigil is held each day at between 07:30-17:00, during which activists hold personal talks with the people passing by as well as distributing leaflets and brochures informing on the life and the struggle of the Kurdish Leader and the Kurdish Liberation Movement.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS 

  1. The Turkish Opposition’s Secret Weapon
    2 June 2015 / Foreign Policy
    On May 11, Turkey’s pro-government press reported that Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), had been spotted eating pork last summer in Germany. This is no minor accusation in an increasingly conservative Muslim country. The “revelation” came two days after Turkish police raided Demirtas’s house in Diyarbakir – “by mistake,” a police spokesman later asserted.  Just for good measure, a top government official recently described Demirtas as a “part-time terrorist.”
  1. Can Kurds Shake Up Turkey’s Politics?
    2 June 2015 / New York Times
    On Sunday more than 50 million Turks will go to the polls in parliamentary elections. No one doubts that the Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., which has been in power since 2002, will once again receive the largest number of votes. No one expects a major triumph for either of the two large opposition parties — the secularist Republican People’s Party (C.H.P.) or the Nationalist Action Party (M.H.P.). Yet one big question looms: Will the fourth-largest party, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (H.D.P.), clear the 10 percent barrier needed to enter Parliament? The answer will define Turkey’s immediate political future.
  1. The Next Step in Erdogan’s Dance With the Kurds
    3 June 2015 / Wall Street Journal
    Turks head to the polls on Sunday to elect the country’s next Parliament. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hoping that his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, will win a 330-seat supermajority in the 550-member legislature. The AKP would then be able to amend the country’s constitution and change Turkey’s political system from a parliamentary democracy into an executive presidential one—solidifying Mr. Erdogan’s position at the helm, assuming voters then endorse this change in a referendum.
  1. Turkey’s Kurds are threatening Erdogan’s quest for greater powers
    3 June 2015 / Global Post
    Turkish politics is at a crossroads. This Sunday, the country will vote in a general election that could have a dramatic impact on Turkey’s future — and it could go either way. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, previously a three-term prime minister, is calling on voters to give his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a parliamentary majority large enough to change the constitution and grant him sweeping powers. Opponents say such a move would threaten the country’s democracy, and accuse the president of attempting to become a new sultan.
  1. Turkey’s General Elections 2015: High Stakes at Home and Abroad
    2 June 2015 / Middle East Institute
    Turkish citizens are going to the polls on June 7 to elect the next government that will rule the country until 2019. With an ongoing peace process with the Kurds, a stumbling democracy, an economic recession on the horizon, the prospect of constitutional reform, a stalled EU accession process, tension in Turkey-U.S. relations, and a region engulfed in chaos, the stakes have not been higher. Twenty parties will contest the 2015 elections, while two parties will field independent candidates. Most pollsters predict that the four parties in the current parliament, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), are the most likely parties to enter the parliament in June.
  1. Turkey’s crossroads: Democracy, Kurdish peace bid dominate concerns
    2 June 2015 / Europe Weekly Online
    Turkey‘s general election on Sunday is about President Erdogan‘s grip on control and the staying power of the ruling party. With a pro-Kurdish party running and potentially disturbing Erdogan‘s plans, the future of the peace process with the armed PKK is also on the line. Istanbul (dpa) – Turkey‘s upcoming election will determine not only whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gets to cement his grip on power but also whether the peace process with the Kurds can be taken forward amid growing worries about a slide back into civil war. The two issues are inextricably linked, in part because of Turkey‘s exceptionally high election threshold, which is set at 10 per cent.
  1. Turkey: People’s Democratic Party (HDP) takes centre stage with bold campaign
    25 MAY 2015 / Green Left Weekly
    The June 7 elections to Turkey’s Grand National Assembly are shaping up to be the most important in a long time. The bold decision of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) to run as a party and strive to exceed the grossly undemocratic 10% threshold needed to win representation in parliament has put the group at the political centre stage. Although its key support base lies in the oppressed Kurdish community, the HDP is reaching out to all those oppressed, exploited and discriminated against across the country. This includes women, workers, the Alevi religious community, Armenians, Assyrians and LGBTI people.
  1. Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq
    3 June 2015 / Guardian
    The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting. The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead withthe trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition.
  1. ISIS gains in Syria
    3 June 2015 / Huffington Post
    ISIS is gaining ground in Syria. While working on a long-term strategy to train and equip the moderate Syrian opposition, the United States can stem the Islamic State’s advance by providing weapons and close air support to battle-hardened Kurdish militias — the “Peoples Protection Units” (YPG). YPG is the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which administers an autonomous region encompassing non-contiguous cantons along Syria’s border with Turkey – Jazira, Kobani, and Afrin in November 2013. They call it “Rojava.”
  1. U.S. Policy towards the Islamic State after its Seizure of Ramadi and Palmyra
    3 June 2015 / American Enterprise Institute
    Statement before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa: “Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Deutch, Honorable Members. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on an issue so important to U.S. national security. On September 10, 2014, against the backdrop of the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, Daesh)’s murder of American journalists, President Barack Obama addressed the nation. “Our objective is clear,” he declared, “We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”

APPEALS

  1. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign: Support the HDP in the coming elections in Turkey, 1 June 2015.

PRESS RELEASES

  1. Delegation from Britain heads to Turkey to observe crucial election, 4 June 2015

ACTIONS

  1. Implement legislation to ensure women and men are equal in all their civil and individual rights. To replace the Iraqi Personal Code with the below Equality and Women Act.
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: