KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 13 – 19 June 2015

 

University of Strathclyde Students’ Association grants Honorary Life Membership to Kurdish Leader Abdullah Ocalan

 June 19th 2015

Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned Kurdish leader, will be granted honorary life membership of the USSA at a ceremony on Saturday 20 June at the University of Strathclyde Students Association in Vertigo at 5pm.

Joining the students at the ceremony will be award winning prominent Scottish writer and cultural and political campaigner James Kelman and Reimer Heider, spokesperson of the International Initiative “Freedom for Ocalan-Peace in Kurdistan”.

James Kelman said “It is a great thing that the students of Strathclyde University should honour Abdullah Ocalan in this way. The people of Kurdistan have been struggling for decades for the right to determine their own existence. This honour recognises the justice of the struggle. From Scotland the message is one of support and solidarity. Let the politicians heed the students.”

NEWS

  1. Thousands Of Syrian Refugees Pour Into Turkey As Kurds Advance On ISIS Stronghold
  2. TEV DEM celebrates liberation of Girê Spî
  3. PKK congratulates Girê Spî victory
  4. As Kurds progress against ISIS, Turkey fears Kurdish autonomy in Syria
  5. PYD leader: YPG forces will hand over Tel Abyad city to a civil administration
  6. PKK Commander Karayilan: Success Against Isis Is A Victory For Humanity
  7. Turkey’s jailed Kurdish leader Ocalan to be honoured with Scottish university accolade
  8. Woman politician Sebahat Tuncel’s retrial begins
  9. Captured fighter details Islamic State’s Turkey connection
  10. Report: Turkish authorities providing electricity to ISIL in Tel Abyad
  11. Conference on Yazidi women at UN

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Electoral Shock in Turkey
  2. In Turkey, a Perfect Storm Gathers on the Horizon
  3. Rojava cantons connected after major Kurdish victory
  4. From Atatürk to demokrasi: a glossary of changing Turkey
  5. Erdogan fears fall of Syria’s Tell Abyad
  6. HDP: focus of left-wing opposition beyond pro-Kurdish mobilization
  7. Countering Violent Extremism: Local and Global Approaches

 

NEWS

  1. Thousands Of Syrian Refugees Pour Into Turkey As Kurds Advance On ISIS Stronghold
    13 June 2015 / Huffington Post
    Hundreds of Syrian refugees poured into a Turkish-Syrian border crossing Saturday, fleeing intense fighting between Syrian Kurds and militants from the Islamic State group in nearby towns and villages. The mass displacement of Syrians came as Kurdish fighters announced they are making headway toward Tal Abyad, a stronghold of the extremist group near the Turkish border. The Kurds are backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes that have added to the fears of the fleeing civilians.
  1. TEV DEM celebrates liberation of Girê Spî
    16 June 2015 / ANF
    The Movement for Democratic Society (Kurdish: Tevgera Civaka Demokratîk‎, TEV-DEM) Executive Assembly has celebrated in a written statement the liberation of Girê Spi which it described as an important step for building democratic nation. TEV-DEM has issued a statement in celebration of the liberation of Girê Spi by the joint operation of YPG/YPJ and Burkan Al Fırat forces, which it said is the result of the common will of the peoples of the region, the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Syriac and the Turkmens. TEV-DEM stressed that the Operation Commander Rubar Qamishlo gained victory in the leadership of the YPG/YPJ forces and forces from FSA and with the contribution and support of the peoples of the region, ending the oppression of the ISIS gangs on the people.
  1. PKK congratulates Girê Spî victory
    18 June 2015 / ANF
    PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) Executive Committee has released a statement congratulating the Girê Spî victory over ISIS. Recalling that the liberation of Girê Spî (Tal Abyad) from ISIS fascism has come after that of Mount Kizwan, PKK Executive Committee congratulated YPG-YPJ and Burkan Al Fırat forces, the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian-Syriac peoples in Rojava, as well as all women and youths on the victory, and wished them outstanding success in the democracy struggle they wage against fascism and colonialism.
  1. As Kurds progress against ISIS, Turkey fears Kurdish autonomy in Syria
    18 June 2015 / Ara News
    The Turkish military and security commanders held several meeting earlier this week to discuss the latest developments in northern Syria, amid fears of the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous entity by Syrian Kurds. According to Turkish local media, the meetings were held with attendance of leaders of the Turkish General Staff and the intelligence service. The Turkish fears arose after the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) were able to defeat militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in several areas in northern Syria, which led to the liberation of major Kurdish-populted cities and towns and linked several Kurdish areas near the Turkish border.

 

  1. PYD leader: YPG forces will hand over Tel Abyad city to a civil administration
    18 June 2015 / Ara News
    Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) said Wednesday that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) will deliver the liberated city of Tel Abyad (Gire Spi) in Raqqa province to local civilians, after reinforcing security across the city.  Two days ago, the Kurdish YPG forces, with the support of the U.S.-led coalition’s warplanes, were able to expel the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) from the area, after two years of control over the city.  In an interview with the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, Saleh Muslim, the PYD co-chair, said: “In the coming days, the city and its surroundings will be cleared of mines, in parallel with the formation of defensive lines to counter any IS attacks.”

 

  1. PKK Commander Karayilan: Success Against Isis Is A Victory For Humanity
    17 June 2015 / Kurdish Question
    People’s Defence Center (PKK guerrilla force) Headquarters Commander Murat Karayılan spoke to ANF on the war against ISIS.
    There are important developments in Rojava. Recently, YPG-YPJ forces launched an offensive on Tel Abyad (Girê Spî) located in between two cantons that plays a vital role in Turkey’s logistical support for ISIS. Incoming reports confirm the liberation of the town by YPG-YPJ, what are your thoughts on the political implications of this development?
    The liberation of Girê Spî, which came as a result of the Martyr Commander Rûbar Qamişlo Initiative that began in Cezire Canton and the Martyr Commander Gelhat Initiative that began in Kobanê Canton, is a crucial development.

 

  1. Turkey’s jailed Kurdish leader Ocalan to be honoured with Scottish university accolade
    12 June 2015 / eKurd
    The University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) is to grant Honorary Life-Membership to Abdullah Ocalan, the founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). PKK founder is serving a life sentence for treason in solitary confinement on a Turkish island. Ocalan has been imprisoned by the Turkish state since 1999 and is held as the sole prisoner on the Imrali island in the Sea of Marmara.

 

  1. Woman politician Sebahat Tuncel’s retrial begins
    19 June 2015 / Jihna
    Turkish courts will retry Kurdish woman politician Sebahat Tuncel, co-speaker of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress. Lawyers objected to her previous conviction based on inadequate evidence. Sebahat is a former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentary representative and current speaker of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress. Last year, she was sentenced to eight years and nine months of jail time for “membership in an illegal organization.” Her lawyers have requested that her case be moved to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in Turkey, on the basis that courts have violated her rights in the previous conviction. Yesterday, Sebahat’s retrial began.
  1. Captured fighter details Islamic State’s Turkey connection
    17 June 2015 / Al Monitor
    When Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) closed in on their Islamic State (IS) rivals in Tell Abyad, a strategic jihadist stronghold, thousands of civilians flocked to the Turkish border in scenes repeated since the Syrian conflict erupted four years ago. At first, Turkey, already home to nearly 2 million Syrian refugees, balked and fended them off with water cannon. Under a barrage of international criticism, the Turkish authorities relented. By the time the YPG declared victory at Tell Abyad on June 15, at least 23,000 Syrian refugees were thought to have crossed into Turkey, some illegally. Thousands more are expected to follow and the big question is not so much how Turkey will cope with the added burden, but how many IS militants are lurking in their midst.

 

  1. Report: Turkish authorities providing electricity to ISIL in Tel Abyad
    12 June 2015 / Todays Zaman
    In the latest of a series of revelations, the Turkish authorities have allegedly been providing electricity to Tel Abyad — a northern Syrian city just across the border from the Turkish city of Akçakale — which is controlled by militants linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). More stunning is the not-so-secret presence of ISIL militants on the streets of Akçakale, in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, a reporter with the Birgün daily claimed in a piece published on Friday. His account echoes many other reports, revealing the risks Turkey is facing as fighting between Kurdish forces and ISIL militants in and around Tel Abyad continues to rage on.

 

  1. Conference on Yazidi women at UN
    19 June 2015 / ANF
    A conference on Yazidi women under the title “Freedom of Freedom of Shengal women is the freedom of humanity” is to be held today at between 16:00-17:30 at the UN. The conference is jointly organised by Women’s Peace Bureau (CENI), International Kurdish Women’s Movement (TJKE), Yazidi Kurdish Women’s Assembly Berivan and Femmes Solidaire. Speaking about the conference, Canan Polat, a member of the organising committee, drew attention that femicide, which includes physical, mental and economical violence against women, is threatening and ignoring the lives, health and rights of billions of women today.

 
COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Electoral Shock in Turkey
    12 June 2015 / Counterpunch
    Among the many things behind the storm that staggered Turkey’s ruling party in last week’s elections, a disastrous foreign policy looms large. But a major factor behind the fall of the previously invincible Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a grassroots revolt against rising poverty, growing inequality and the AKP’s war on trade unions.

 

  1. In Turkey, a Perfect Storm Gathers on the Horizon
    12 June 2015 / TeleSur
    Another crisis looms in Turkey as a combination of internal instability and external pressures reveal the contradictions of Erdogan’s debt-driven development model. The historic gains of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the Turkish elections have upset the autocratic ambitions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After managing to cross the very high electoral threshold of 10 percent, the HDP’s surprise showing means that a pro-Kurdish party will, for the first time, be officially represented in parliament — preventing Erdogan from obtaining a majority and thereby obstructing his ambitions to rewrite the constitution and grant himself sweeping autocratic powers.

 

  1. Rojava cantons connected after major Kurdish victory
    17 June 2015 / Roar Mag
    Monday’s capture of Tel Abyad by the predominantly Kurdish YPG/YPJ forces in northern Syria represents a major defeat for ISIS just weeks after the jihadists’ string of victories in Iraq and Syria, in which they captured the towns of Ramadi and Palmyra. The defeat has surprised many, not least because Tel Abyad has long been considered a stronghold for ISIS. Not only does Tel Abyad lie directly north of Raqqa on the Turkish border, but it also lies directly between the two Kurdish cantons of Kobani and Cezire. Taking Tel Abyad marks a breakthrough for the YPG/YPJ forces in that it gives the Syrian Kurds a 250-mile border with Turkey as well as uniting two of their three cantons.
  1. From Atatürk to demokrasi: a glossary of changing Turkey
    12 June 2015 / Guardian

    As every writer, journalist or poet knows only too well, words are not to be taken lightly. Especially so in Turkey. Words can get you sued and put on trial, demonised by the government and their henchmen in the media, sent to prison or into exile. Critical-minded individuals can be branded as “traitors” overnight – just because of an article or a poem or even a tweet. The surprise outcome of last Sunday’s Turkish elections, in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) lost its majority, leading to the resignation of prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, has sent shockwaves around Europe and the Middle East.
  1. Erdogan fears fall of Syria’s Tell Abyad
    14 June 2015 / Al Monitor
    Ankara appears to be seriously disturbed by joint operations of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Burkan al-Firat forces made up of Arab opposition elements from the Raqqa region, backed by US air support, to oust Islamic State (IS) forces from Tell Abyad in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Kurds are being settled in areas abandoned by Arabs and Turkmens during the aerial bombing by the Western coalition. In September and October 2014, when IS was besieging Kobani, Erdogan’s declaration — sounding like he was delivering good news — that ‘‘Kobani is about to fall” infuriated Kurds. This may help explain his total loss of Kurdish regions in the June 7 elections. Now the question being asked is why Erdogan seems to be so concerned about the possible IS loss of Tell Abyad?

 

  1. HDP: focus of left-wing opposition beyond pro-Kurdish mobilization
    15 June 2015 / Open Democracy
    Turkey left behind it a thirteen-year-long period of single-party majority governments in the June 7 election. AK Party (Justice and Development Party) lost its parliamentary majority as a result of HDP (Peoples’s Democratic Party) success in overcoming the 10 percent election threshold. It is obvious that Erdogon is the loser of the election and the HDP achieved a glorious success on the evening of June 7. The election results put an end to the rise of Erdogan, while it opened a new page for the HDP to provide a new focus of opposition at the national level, and for the leading Kurdish national movement (KM) that leads the party to reshape the Kurdish space beyond Turkey’s borders.

 

  1. Countering Violent Extremism: Local and Global Approaches
    12 June 2015 / Middle East Institute
    The Middle East Institute and the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, the French-speaking world’s leading think tank on strategic and security issues, conducted a full-day conference with over 200 participants, comparing and assessing the policies of the United States and the European Union with regard to preventing the advance of radicalized violent groups such as the Islamic State. Through expert presentations, the examination of case studies, and lively exchanges, the conference identified the challenges and best practices for countering radical groups and advaned the productive dialogue between U.S., European, and regional policy experts and practitioners.

 

 

 

 

 

Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com

Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Sirinathsingh – Tel: 020 7272 7890

Fax: 020 7263 0596

Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd, Conor Murphy, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall

 

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