KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 26 June – 3 July 2015

NEWS

  1. Syria Kurds regain control of Tal Abyad after IS attack
  2. Syria’s Kurds warn Turkey against military move
  3. Turkey, Jordan discuss moves to seize territory in Syria
  4. Establishing Syria buffer zone is ‘remarkable challenge,’ US warns
  5. Turkish army reluctant over government will to intervene in Syria
  6. Turkey Uneasy as U.S. Support of Syrian Kurds Grows
  7. Kobanê Health Council President: Most urgent need is a hospital
  8. Interview With Rami Abdulrahman Of SOHR
  9. Eyewitness: The Liberation of Tel Abyad
  10. Conference at EP calls on Turkey to open its borders for Kobanê
  11. Kurdish autonomous region of Rojava and peace-building efforts in Syria: A panel discussion held at the House of Commons
  12. Imrali Peace Delegation: End Öcalan’s Isolation And Give Up On War Plans
  13. The Road Ahead: An Interview with Garo Paylan

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Erdogan’s five+1 Strategic Blunders – All Bad for Turkey’s Future
  2. Ocalan niece’s swearing-in ceremony marks milestone for Kurds
  3. Who Gets To Allow A Kurdish State In Syria?
  4. Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres
  5. ISIS or ISn’t an enemy? And legally high
  6. The Kurdish light at the end of the IS tunnel?
  7. Turkey’s Wrong Bet on Syria

STATEMENTS

  1. PYD condemns deadly ISIS massacre in Kobane
  2. PYD releases a public statement on military threat from Turkey
  3. HDP: Solidarity With Greek People, Greek Government And Syriza

PUBLIC EVENT

Witnessing HDP victory in Turkey: Election monitors report back

Where: Committee Room 15*, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
When: Tuesday 7 July 2015 // 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Speakers:

Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer in Political Sociology in Department of sociology at Cambridge University
Melanie Gingellhuman rights lawyer; barrister, Doughty Street Chambers
Bronwen Jonesfamily and immigration barrister, Mansfield Chambers
John Huntjournalist, writer, and editor
Sean Hawkeyphotojournalist and Green Party member
Derek WallInternational Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales
Hosted by Kate Osamor MP

NEWS

  1. Syria Kurds regain control of Tal Abyad after IS attack
    1 July 2015 / Yahoo
    Syrian Kurdish forces regained full control of Tal Abyad on Wednesday, expelling Islamic State group fighters who had seized a district of the strategic border town, a monitor said. “Kurdish fighters expelled IS from the Mashur al-Fawqani district that they had captured yesterday (Tuesday),” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. He said at least three fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and four IS jihadists were killed in clashes on Wednesday.
  1. Syria’s Kurds warn Turkey against military move
    2 July 2015 / Daily Star
    Syria’s main Kurdish party warned Turkey Wednesday that any military intervention would threaten international peace and said the country’s main Kurdish militia is ready to face any “aggression.” The statement by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) comes as Turkish media is abuzz with talk of a military intervention to push ISIS back from the Turkish border – a move that would also outflank any Kurdish attempt to create a state along Turkey’s southern frontier. “Any military intervention in Rojava will have local, regional and international repercussions and will contribute to complicating the political situation in Syria and the Middle East and threaten international security and peace,” the PYD statement warned. Rojava refers to Syria’s predominantly Kurdish region.
  1. Turkey, Jordan discuss moves to seize territory in Syria
    1 July 2015 / World Socialist Web
    Turkish and Jordanian military forces, including tens of thousands of ground troops, are preparing to invade Syria, with the aim of establishing militarized buffer zones in the northern and southern areas of the country, according to media reports Tuesday. The Jordanian-occupied area would include large areas of Syria’s southern Deraa and Suweida provinces, as well as Deraa city. The Turkish zone would be established along Syria’s northern border. It was explicitly authorized by Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan in the name of blocking the formation of a Kurdish state in the area, “no matter what it costs.”
  1. Establishing Syria buffer zone is ‘remarkable challenge,’ US warns
    29 July 2015 / Todays Zaman
    The United States has said there is no solid evidence that either Turkey or Jordan is seriously considering establishing a buffer zone within Syria, but warned that any possible action will pose remarkable security challenges. “The creation and enforcement of a no-fly zone or any other military enforced zone presents significant challenges. We’ve been very upfront about that,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Monday. He added that any buffer zone includes military, financial, but also humanitarian challenges that “we need to obviously consider in the broader context.”
  1. Turkish army reluctant over government will to intervene in Syria
    27 June 2015 / Hurriyet
    Turkey’s government wants more active military action to support the Free Syrian Army (FSA) against the regime, Kurdish and jihadist forces in Syrian territory, but the military is reluctant to do so, playing for time as the country heads for a new coalition government, official sources told the Hürriyet Daily News. According to the HDN sources, who asked not to be named, the “active support” which Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu government has been seeking from the military ranges from long-range artillery fire (not only in retaliatory terms) against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) positions in Syrian territory to air operations and entering Syria with land forces to secure a strip along the Turkish border.
  1. Turkey Uneasy as U.S. Support of Syrian Kurds Grows
    29 June 2015 / New York Times
    The United States has stepped up its military support for Syrian Kurdish militias fighting the Islamic State, efforts that have angered Turkey, a longtime ally and NATO member, which is now weighing new measures to contain the ambitions of the Kurds, including a buffer zone within Syria. Ankara sees the Syrian Kurds as a serious national security threat because of their links to Kurdish nationalists in Turkey, who have waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. So it has looked on with growing concern at the expanding cooperation between the Syrian Kurdish militias and the United States military in the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
  1. Kobanê Health Council President: Most urgent need is a hospital
    2 July 2015 / ANF
    Kobanê Canton Health Council President Welat Omer stated that they lived in conditions where tens of people may get injured in one moment, and the canton’s most urgent need was a hospital. 233 civilians lost their lives and 270 people got injured during the massacre in Kobanê on June 25. Some of the wounded lost their lives because medical insufficiencies prevented them from receiving treatment. ISIS destroyed medical equipments and medicines during its occupation of the Doctors Without Borders hospital, which is currently inoperative.
  1. Interview With Rami Abdulrahman Of SOHR
    2 July 2015 / Kurdish Question
    The SOHR is an organization located in London. It collects and publishes information about violation of human rights in Syria. In North Syria, there are three areas which are mainly populated by Kurds: Kobani, Jazira and Afrin. Resisting the Assad regime in Damascus and the Islamic opposition, these areas have been declared to be autonomous. On the 24th of June, 2015, Julia Schlüns, intern of the Middle East department and Kamal Sido, head of the Middle East department of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), have spoken with Rami Abdulrahman.
  1. Eyewitness: The Liberation of Tel Abyad
    1 July 2015 / Kurdistan Tribune
    Last week’s ISIS raid on Kobane, with the murder of more than 240 civilians, was a fiendish reprisal for the humiliating defeat the jihadists had suffered the previous week when they were driven from Tel Abyad by the YPG, supported by US air strikes. The Kobane raid began, probably from inside Turkey, with a suicide bomb attack on the Mürşitpınar border gate. Reports indicate that the next major assault on Kobane, and on all of Rojava, could come directly from the Turkish army because President Erdogan is so alarmed by the liberation of Tel Abyad (called Girê Spî in Kurdish) and he clearly prefers to have ISIS (known locally as Daesh) on the border, rather than the secular YPG, even though it has been coordinating with Turkey’s NATO ally, the USA.
  1. Conference at EP calls on Turkey to open its borders for Kobanê
    2 July 2015 / Help Kobane
    The European Parliament is today hosting a conference under the title “International Mobilisation for Rebuilding Kobanê”. The European Parliament is today hosting a Conference for International Mobilisation for Rebuilding Kobanê. The conference has drawn great attention and is attended by parliamentarians and representatives of the NGOs from different countries across Europe. The European Union has offered support for the rebuilding of Kobanê through the representative it sent to the conference which has started in the European Parliament this morning.
    President Martin Schulz, video message for International Mobilisation to Rebuild Kobanê 01 July 2015 hosted by the European Parliament.
    Statement on the behalf of the EEAS (European External Action Service) to the  International Mobilisation to Rebuild Kobanê 01 July 2015 hosted by the European Parliament
  1. Kurdish autonomous region of Rojava and peace-building efforts in Syria: A panel discussion held at the House of Commons
    3 July 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    On 30 June, a round table discussion was held at the House of Commons focused on prospects for Kurdish autonomous region of Rojava and peace-building efforts in Syria. The event was jointly organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and Kurdistan National Congress and hosted by Lord Hylton. The debate was held to highlight what was happening in Kurdish autonomous region of Rojava and Syria and to present recent developments in the region and some of the key issues involved.
  1. Imrali Peace Delegation: End Öcalan’s Isolation And Give Up On War Plans
    3 July 2014 / Kurdish Question
    The İmralı Delegation made a statement where it demanded the immediate end of the isolation targeting Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan. The Delegation called upon circles of peace and democracy to take responsibility and invited the Turkish state and government to give up on their war plans.
    “As the HDP İmralı Delegation, we have been working hard over the past two and a half years in order to overcome the deadlock regarding the “Peace Process” to the Kurdish Question, which directly affects the democratic future of our country and our region, as well as peace in the Middle East.“
  1. The Road Ahead: An Interview with Garo Paylan
    1 July 2015 / Armenia Weekly
    Three weeks after his election into Turkey’s Parliament on the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) list, Garo Paylan spoke to the Armenian Weekly about his path to parliament, and the challenges of being an Armenian in Turkey’s political scene. During the interview conducted in Istanbul, Paylan also discussed issues that are close to his heart, including the HDP’s politics and commitment to creating what he terms a “new world” founded on equality.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Erdogan’s five+1 Strategic Blunders – All Bad for Turkey’s Future
    30 June 2015 / Iranian.com
    The rise of Erdogan’s party the AKP is no coincidence. He has been a recipient of major money from Gulf Arab backers, and thus leveraged an Islamic brand, and the financial support that comes with it, to gain power and enrich himself and his cohorts.

    1. An alliance with Gulf Arab states: This, my friends, is his first blunder. Yes, the money was good. Yes, that led to winning multiple elections. Yes, it propelled his part and him to power. However, what is good for the AKP is NOT strategically good for Turkey. He has in effect become a puppet of these Arab states. A pawn. In addition, he is executing a “Gulf Arab” strategy for Turkey NOT what is in the best interests of Turkey alone. Their interests are not exactly the same. In fact, I would argue this is a major blunder.
  1. Ocalan niece’s swearing-in ceremony marks milestone for Kurds
    1 July 2015 / Al Monitor
    The nationalistic uproar Zana caused in parliament was frequently evoked last week, when another remarkable Kurdish woman took her parliamentary oath. Dilek Ocalan — the niece of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — was among 80 members of the Kurdish-dominated Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who assumed their seats in the new parliament. Ocalan’s sheer presence in the legislature comes as a striking illustration of how far the Kurdish struggle has progressed and transformed Turkey since the days Zana was booed for simply speaking in Kurdish. In 1991, iconic Kurdish activist Leyla Zana became the first Kurdish woman elected to Turkey’s parliament. While taking the oath, she uttered a few Kurdish words that were to alter her life.
  1. Who Gets To Allow A Kurdish State In Syria?
    30 July 2015 / Alliance of Kurdish Rights
    “I am saying this to the whole world: We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria.” Such were the words of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Turkey, to guests during a dinner to break Friday’s Ramadan fasting. His warning came a day after the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) in the early hours of Thursday morning went on a killing spree in the Kurdish town of Kobane near the Turkish border where IS 6 months earlier had suffered huge losses. At least 146 people were killed in the unexpected attack but activists on the ground claim that the number of deaths is most likely more than 200. The massacre has been called one of the worst committed by IS.
  1. Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres
    27 June 2015 / Independent
    Gunmen from Isis disguised as members of the security forces entered the town at dawn on Thursday. They immediately killed at least 18 civilians, including women and children shot at close range whose bodies were later found in the street. “The body of one child bore the impact of five bullets,” says the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. At least 120 people were murdered in their homes or killed by Isis rockets. “[Isis] doesn’t want to take over the town,” a local journalist was quoted as saying. “They just came to kill the highest number of civilians in the ugliest ways possible.”
  1. ISIS or ISn’t an enemy? And legally high
    29 June 2015 / Going Underground – RT
    Afshin goes underground with Michelle Allison of the Kurdish National Congress to discuss the ongoing battle with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). And, former FBI agent Coleen Rowley tells us about the US role in creating and funding the groups it then dubs terrorists. Plus, addiction recovery consultant Kevin Dooley tells us why we shouldn’t ban legal highs.
  1. The Kurdish light at the end of the IS tunnel?
    29 June 2015 / i24
    The disintegration of the 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement is not beneficial only for the Islamic State but also for the Kurds, who have yet to earn their independence. IS fighters have succeeded in pushing back Iraqi and Syrian troops but show a weakness when faced on the battlefield with the Kurds. Why is that? A Kurdish fighter in northern Syria told Al-Arabiya television a few days ago: “We are a force that is meant to defend the people. We don’t distinguish between Kurds and Arabs.”
  1. Turkey’s Wrong Bet on Syria
    1 July 2015 / Gatestone Institute
    It was supposed to be Turkish gambit: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s days in power were numbered; the Nusayri (Alawite) man would be toppled by Syria’s Sunni majority in a popular revolt. The Sunni majority would set up in Damascus a Muslim Brotherhood type of regime that would be subservient to Ankara, and Turkey’s southern border with Syria would be now be a borderless Sunni “Schengen” zone; cross border trade would flourish with the free movement of labor and capital. Peace would prevail along the 900-km border, and Turkish and Syrian Sunni supremacists would advance their agenda in the not-always-so-Sunni lands of the Middle East.

STATEMENTS

  1. PYD condemns deadly ISIS massacre in Kobane, 26 June 2015.
  1. PYD releases a public statement on military threat from Turkey, 1 July 2015
  1. HDP: Solidarity With Greek People, Greek Government And Syriza, 29 June 2015.
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