KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 13 – 20 July 2015

For updates on what is unfolding on the ground in Shingal, Iraq, Rojava and across Kurdistan, keep an eye on the Rojava Report and Hawar News Agency which both bring you up-to-date news from the Kurdish perspective.

Also, check out Ronahi TV, a television broadcaster based inside Rojava, for interviews and other news on video. 

BREAKING TODAY

i. At least 30 dead in suspected ISIL suicide bombing in Turkey’s border with Syria
11.KCK: AKP directly responsible for the massacre of youths in Suruç
iii. Eye-Witness To Suruç Massacre Speaks

NEWS

1. Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu begins talks on forming coalition government
2. HDP presents AKP with document on its demands for coalition talks
3. HDP vows to play a more active role in politics
4. İHD: 6 thousand 912 human rights violations in Kurdish region in 6 months
5. Turkey detains nearly 500 people trying to cross from Syria
6. Demirtaş: Process of resolution is at its most critical stage
7. Bayık: Our people should lead the Middle East revolution
8. Islamic State used poison gas in northeast Syria: Kurds, monitor
9 Muslim: Kobanê attack was a big plan participated by Turkey
10. International aid organizations support ISIS
11. İHD: Öcalan and all political prisoners must be free
12. ‘Öcalan’s freedom is the guarantee for peace in the region’
13. KCK: Rojava Revolution is the first major revolution of the 21st century
14. TEV-DEM: Rojava Revolution made significant gains
15. PAJK: Rojava revolution is the collapse of the colonial system
16. Free Kurdish Leader In Turkey
17. Mesopotamia Ecology Movement calls for action for Cudi

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

18. Academic Tiryaki: Turkey should help the PYD/YPG to fight against ISIL, not take unilateral action regarding Syria
19. Kurdish Women’s Radical Self-Defence: Armed and Political
20. Turkey’s imperial ambitions have led to disillusionment among Middle Eastern elites
21. Kobani and Tel Abyad: meta-histories of the ‘War on Terrorism’
22. Obama’s Updated Islamic State Strategy: A Grandiose Role For Kurds – Analysis

23. 4,000-year-old tablets found in Turkey include women’s rights
24. Why I left my job in the City to fight Isis – video
25. Gul calls out Erdogan at iftar
26. 16 years of isolation in İmralı
27. Will Anyone Help the Kurds?
28. Kurds: We have the Right to Fight Anywhere in Syria
29. Eight Reasons Why Turkey Will Not Cross The Syrian Border
30. Canadian foreign policy must address tug of war between Turkey and Syrian Kurds
31. Something worse than ISIS coming, U.S. warned

VIDEO

32.Dispatches – Channel 4 documentary

REPORTS

33. Witnessing the Turkey elections: Report from the UK delegation

BREAKING TODAY

i. At least 30 dead in suspected ISIL suicide bombing in Turkey’s border with Syria
20 July / Hurriyet
An explosion has killed at least 30 in a municipal culture center in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Suruç district, as scores of people have been hospitalized.
“We are concerned that the number of death will increase. The perpetrators will soon be found and put on trial,” Turkey’s interior minister said in a statement on July 20.
Şanlıurfa Governor İzzettin Küçük has said the death toll has risen to 28, while around 100 people are injured.The death toll rose to 30 at 5 p.m. when one of the heavily injured victims died in hospital.

ii. KCK: AKP directly responsible for the massacre of youths in Suruç
20 July / ANF
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency issued a written statement on the massacre in Suruç and said that tens of revolutionary socialist youth and civilians were massacred during the bomb attack on Amara Cultural Center in Suruç. Noting that the AKP government created ISIS in Syria and Turkey, and would undoubtedly account for the massacre, KCK called on all democracy and freedom forces to stand against dirty AKP policies.

iii. Eye-Witness To Suruç Massacre Speaks
20 July / Kurdish Question
Kurdish filmmaker Garip Çelik who was filming during the explosion in Suruç spoke to ANF and said that the explosion took place inside the group that was issuing a press statement. Çelik pointed at the role of ISIS as he said that the attack was organised and professional.

NEWS

1. Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu begins talks on forming coalition government
13 July / The Guardian
Turkey’s prime minister has begun a first round of talks on forming a coalition government by meeting members of the main opposition party.
Ahmet Davutoğlu met Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and other leaders of the secular Republican People’s party to test the waters of a possible “grand coalition”.

2. HDP presents AKP with document on its demands for coalition talks
15 July / ANF English
HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) met with an AKP (Justice and Development Party) committee as part of the coalition talks, and presented it with a document on the themes of Democracy, Justice and Peace. The document included the demands for the restriction of presidential authority, the repeal of Homeland Security and Anti-Terror laws, prosecution of Roboskî, Gezi and Kobanê massacres’ perpetrators, realization of a consolidated and mutual ceasefire and the initiation of the negotiation process.

3. HDP vows to play a more active role in politics
16 July / ANF English
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has decided to play a more active role in the political arena following the criticisms recently raised against the party for being inert in the post-election period. The party’s Executive Committee gathered to discuss the works it must undertake in the coming period and took decisions to intervene more into the legislation facilities in the parliament and politics in Turkey, including supporting the social movements.

4. İHD: 6 thousand 912 human rights violations in Kurdish region in 6 months
14 July / ANF English
Human Rights Association (İHD) Amed Branch released report on right violations committed in the North Kurdistan region during the first 6 months of 2015.
In its report, Human Rights Association (İHD) Amed Branch stated that 6 thousand 912 human rights violations were made in North Kurdistan during the first 6 months of 2015. İHD Vice-President and Amed Branch President Raci Bilici stated that the isolation of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan carries the risk of returning to an atmosphere of armed confrontation.

5. Turkey detains nearly 500 people trying to cross from Syria
19 July / Yahoo
Ankara (AFP) – Turkey’s security forces detained nearly 500 people attempting to cross the border from war-torn Syria on Saturday, the army announced.
“488 people were detained by the land forces command border units while trying to cross into Turkey from Syria and 26 while attempting to cross into Syria from Turkey,” the army said on Sunday in a statement posted on its website.

6. Demirtaş: Process of resolution is at its most critical stage
13 July / ANF English
HDP Co-President Selahattin Demirtaş stated that the process of resolution should restart at a level that is further than the one in which the negotiations stopped, and the Turkish state should change its stance on Abdullah Öcalan.

7. Bayık: Our people should lead the Middle East revolution
19 July / ANF News
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-President Cemil Bayık spoke about the July 19 Rojava Revolution in its third year on a program by Kurdish Ronahi TV.Bayık congratulated the third anniversary of the revolution in the person of Rojava people and freedom fighters, and commemorated all the martyrs with respect.

8. Islamic State used poison gas in northeast Syria: Kurds, monitor
17 July / Reuters
The Islamic State group used poison gas in attacks against Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria in late June, a Syrian Kurdish militia and a group monitoring the Syrian conflict said on Saturday.

9. Muslim: Kobanê attack was a big plan participated by Turkey
19 July / ANF News
PYD (Democratic Union Party) Co-President Saleh Moslem stated that the June 25 attack on Kobanê was a big plan undoubtedly participated by Turkey on a political or another level. “The attacks were conducted and munitions were brought in over Turkey”, he said.
Speaking at the World Agenda program on Mednuçe TV, PYD Co-President Saleh Moslem said they described the transformation in Rojava as a revolution for enabling the establishment of a self-administration of the people.

10. International aid organizations support ISIS
14 July / ANF English
After the liberation of Girê Spî, YPG/YPJ forces found aid packages that had been sent to ISIS by western countries and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The packages were sent from overseas to Adana and Antep airports through MNG Cargo and Atlas Jet Airlines. The packages were then brought to Girê Spî border gate near Akçakale and handed over to ISIS gangs who were controlling the gate back then.

11. İHD: Öcalan and all political prisoners must be free
16 July / ANF English
Human Rights Association (İHD) made a written statement on the 29th anniversary of its establishment and called for the freedom of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners.
İHD was formed by 98 human rights defenders on July 17, 1986 and continued its activities on human rights and freedoms throughout the post-military intervention period in Turkey. İHD emphasized its role in the development of human rights advocacy in Turkey and commemorated Rıdvan Kızgın as well as hundreds of other İHD employees who were imprisoned or killed by state forces.

12. ‘Öcalan’s freedom is the guarantee for peace in the region’
16 July / ANF English
The ‘Freedom for Öcalan Campaign’ including representatives from institutions such as Freedom for Öcalan Initiative, KNK (Kurdistan National Congress), PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and Goran (Change) Movement began in South Kurdistan on July 8.
Freedom for Öcalan Initiative member Dr. Qulpi criticized the isolation of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan, and called on everyone to participate in their campaign for Öcalan’s freedom and participation in active politics.

13. KCK: Rojava Revolution is the first major revolution of the 21st century
18 July / ANF News
Releasing a statement to mark the third year anniversary of Rojava Revolution, KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency commemorated revolutionary martyrs and described Rojava Revolution as the first major revolution of the 21st century.

14. TEV-DEM: Rojava Revolution made significant gains
18 July / ANF News
In its July 19 statement, Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) highlighted the political, military and diplomatic successes of Rojava Revolution as well as Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s central role in the revolution.

15. PAJK: Rojava revolution is the collapse of the colonial system
18 July / ANF News
PAJK (Kurdistan Women’s Liberation Party, Partiya Azadiya Jin a Kurdistan) stated that Rojava Revolution was the collapse of the colonial system in Kurdistan, and described the protection of this revolution as the most fundamental task.

16. Free Kurdish Leader In Turkey
17 July / GMB
GMB Call On Turkish Government To Release Of Kurdish Leader Abdullah Ocalan
Abdullah Ocalan should now be freed to strengthen the peace process by enabling talks to move forward says GMB.

17. Mesopotamia Ecology Movement calls for action for Cudi
18 July / ANF News
Mesopotamia Ecology Movement has issued a statement drawing attention to the wildfire that broke out on Cudi Mountain in Silopi district of Şırnak after Turkish soldiers opened artillery fires on the area 3 days ago. The statement stressed that the Kurdistan nature is once again under attack in line with the policies of massacre pursued over geography now.

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

 

18. Academic Tiryaki: Turkey should help the PYD/YPG to fight against ISIL, not take unilateral action regarding Syria
12 July / Today’s Zaman
“Ankara should not take any unilateral action and stay within the limits of proportionality not to increase tension. Rhetoric should get softer as well since harsh rhetoric increases expectations of the actors in the game,” said political analyst Sylvia Tiryaki, co-founder of the Global Political Trends Center (GPoT) based in İstanbul.

19. Kurdish Women’s Radical Self-Defence: Armed and Political
8 July / Kurdish question
The Kurdish women’s resistance operates without hierarchy and domination and is part of larger, societal transformation and liberation.The world’s powerful institutions operate through the state-structure, which has the ultimate monopoly on decision-making, economy, and the use of force. At the same time, we are told that today’s prevalent violence is the reason why the state needs to protect us against ourselves. Communities that decide to defend themselves against injustice are criminalized. Just have a look at the generic definition of terrorism: the use of force by non-state actors for political aims.

20. Turkey’s imperial ambitions have led to disillusionment among Middle Eastern elites
11 July / Today’s Zaman
Based on the findings of a recent survey on the perception of Turkey in the Middle East by the İstanbul Institute in collaboration with Fatih University, analysts specializing in foreign policy have said Turkey’s ambitions lag behind its capability and that its imperialist tone in the wake of the Arab Spring has caused particular disillusionment among Middle Eastern elites, despite their initial sympathy towards the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

21. Kobani and Tel Abyad: meta-histories of the ‘War on Terrorism’
14 July / Today’s Zaman
On June 24, the Kurdish city of Kobani astride the Syrian-Turkish border was once again attacked by forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State (IS).
In September 2014 it was also attacked and endured a six-month siege in which the city of 200,000 was largely emptied, except for a few thousand brave Kurdish forces that remained and continued to fight, despite the virtual destruction of the city. Fortunately, by the time of the second siege, Kurdish defenders were well prepared and able to expelled IS forces.

22. Obama’s Updated Islamic State Strategy: A Grandiose Role For Kurds – Analysis
11 July / Eurasia review
The Obama administration has updated its strategy towards the Islamic State. The updates were announced by President Obama on July 6 at the Pentagon and were delineated by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter one day later during the Senate Armed Services Committee’s hearing on the counter-ISIS strategy. The update introduces additional precautions and proposes new solutions to the problems faced in the implementation of the already existing four-pillar approach. Supplementing the items already outlined in the original strategy, Secretary Carter identified “nine synchronized lines of efforts” that are hoped to further realize the aim of degrading and destroying ISIS.

23. 4,000-year-old tablets found in Turkey include women’s rights
17 July / Hurriyet
The Kültepe-Kaniş-Karum trade colony in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri continues to amaze archeologists, with an expert at the dig revealing that tablets citing women’s rights were discovered at the Bronze Age settlement.
Excavations at the ancient tumulus site began in 1948. So far, it has been discovered the center was where the written history of Anatolia began and the largest monumental structure of the Middle East was unearthed in 2013. A centuries-old baby rattle and a tablet about the sale of a donkey were unearthed last year.

24. Why I left my job in the City to fight Isis – video
15 July / The Guardian
Macer Gifford was angry and disgusted, like many in the UK, as he watched Isis grow in power during 2014. But unlike most other Britons, he decided to leave his job and fly to Syria to join the fight on the ground. He argues that the British government has let down the people of Syria and Iraq, and calls for them to increase bombing raids and further arm the resistance

25. Gul calls out Erdogan at iftar
14 July / al-monitor
The June 7 elections not only ended the 12-year rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), but they also appear to be the beginning of a change in Turkey’s foreign policy orientation. Up for debate is Ankara’s untenable position in the Middle East, where it has no say over developments despite the dire affect those developments have on its security and economic interests.

26. 16 years of isolation in İmralı
20 July / ANF English

AKP banned Abdullah Öcalan from seeing his lawyers on November 3, 2002 for the first time. The last ban came after the end of Oslo meetings on July 27, 2011 and has continued for 4 years until today.
The course of the 16 years old isolation on Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Prison is the main indicator of AKP’s approach to the Kurdish issue.

27. Will Anyone Help the Kurds?
19 July / Gatestone Institute
During Turkey’s elections on June 7, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) won a great victory by securing 13% of the vote, which allowed its candidates to occupy 80 seats in the 550-seat parliament of Turkey — not all of them are Kurdish, some are Turkish or of other ethnic groups. In any normal country, this would be welcomed by state authorities as a potential way to resolve a huge national issue in a non-violent manner for the benefit of both peoples, Kurds and Turks.

28. Kurds: We have the Right to Fight Anywhere in Syria
15 July / Kurdish Question
A top Syrian Kurdish official has stressed the right of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to fight anywhere in Syria amid allegations that the fighting force was ethnically cleansing Arabs.
“Wherever the Syrian people can be found, the YPG will be; it has the right to be in Aleppo, Damascus, Deir Ezzor, Raqqa, and on all of Syria’s geography,” Ilham Ahmed, a member of the
Executive Council of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) in Kurdish-populated Syria, said.

29. Eight Reasons Why Turkey Will Not Cross The Syrian Border
10 July / worldcrunch
Turkey is still struggling to form a coalition government weeks after the Parliamentaryelectionsthat denied an outright majority to the ruling AKP party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But in the meantime, another pressing question has been raised in the halls of Ankara: Will Turkey enter Syria to create a so-called “buffer zone?” The shortest answer to that question is Turkey should absolutely not take such action, but the reasons have both domestic and foreign implications.

30. Canadian foreign policy must address tug of war between Turkey and Syrian Kurds
10 July / Hill Times

Canadian policy-makers have to ask themselves whether or not they can get away with supporting a minoritarian separatist movement to defeat terrorists overseas—and whether they can stomach standing by a supposed NATO ally who enabled the rise of ISIS.

31. Something worse than ISIS coming, U.S. warned
11 July / WND
ISIS has taken center stage in the global effort to establish Islamic supremacy, surpassing jihadist networks such as al-Qaida and Hamas in prominence. But what if a force is coming that will dwarf the self-declared caliphate and its army, known for its savage brutality against anyone who stands in its path.
One author is warning that’s a possibility. In fact, he’s suggesting ISIS is simply a tool for the “neo-Ottoman” pretensions of America’s supposed NATO ally, Turkey, a power that eventually could surpass Hamas, al-Qaida and ISIS.

VIDEO

  1. Dispatches – Channel 4 documentary
    Channel 4 OD
    The extraordinary story of a secret network set up to save women and children from Isis

REPORTS

  1. Witnessing the Turkey elections: Report from the UK delegation, July 2015.
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