KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 17 – 23 October 2015

NEWS

  1. Suspect who travelled with Ankara bombers was under police surveillance
  2. Suspected Ankara bombers were under surveillance, documents show
  3. CHP leader accuses gov’t of ‘protecting’ ISIL, laying ground for Ankara massacre
  4. Kurdish lawyer faces trial for saying PKK not terrorist group
  5. Turkey Has Arrested 1,000 More Suspected PKK Than Isis Members Since Suruç Bombing
  6. ISIL child training camp discovered in Istanbul: Report
  7. Renewed Kurdish conflict chokes economy in southeast Turkey
  8. Do not make Erdoğan EU’s border guard-in-chief, Greens say after refugee summit
  9. Frederike Geerdink: Reporting under siege in Turkey
  10. Int’l press freedom coalition says pressure on media ‘severely escalated’ after June 7 polls
  11. Tal Abyad Has Declared Autonomy — and That May Worry Turkey
  12. Tel Abyad joins Kurdish-led ‘gov’t’ in Syria, increasing Kurdish influence at Turkish border
  13. Turkish intelligence chief: Putin’s intervention in Syria is against Islam and international law, ISIS is a reality and we are optimistic about the future
  14. Turko-fascists in streets of New York

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Coming to terms with the Ankara massacre
  2. Turkey’s Election Turmoil
  3. Blood on Erdoğan’s hands
  4. Why Russia is Serious about Fighting Terrorism and the US Isn’t. America Protects Al Qaeda and ISIS
  1. Slavoj Zizek: Kurds Are The Most Progressive, Democratic Nation In The Middle East 
  2. The Observer view on the EU’s wrong-headed wooing of Turkey
  3. Why The Kurdish Struggle Is So Important

ACTIONS

  1. PiK sends open letter to Cameron: “End your silence on Erdogan’s abuse of power”
  2. Petitioning President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Free Rasool
  3. Global Rally for the freedom and reconstruction of Kobane: London Rally

NEWS 

  1. Suspect who travelled with Ankara bombers was under police surveillance
    21 October 2015 / Todays Zaman
    It has emerged that the man who drove to Ankara with the two suicide bombers who perpetrated Turkey’s deadliest terrorist attack had been under police surveillance since September. According to information obtained by Today’s Zaman, Yakup Şahin, the driver, had been physically tailed and electronically tracked by the intelligence unit of the Gaziantep Police Department on suspicions of having ties with members of the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The police had kept track of those whom Şahin had contacted in Gaziantep. But Şahin managed to lose the police tail for 24 hours just two days before the Oct. 10 attack.
  1. Suspected Ankara bombers were under surveillance, documents show
    17 October 2015 / Todays Zaman
    Two suspected perpetrators of a suicide attack that killed at least 102 people in Ankara a week ago were under watch since 2013 as part of a criminal investigation, news reports and legal documents revealed by two opposition lawmakers show. Yunus Emre Alagöz, one of the suspected suicide bombers, was even caught saying goodbye to one of his brothers on the phone two months before the attack, according to court documents presented by Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Eren Erdem and Ali Şeker at a press conference in Parliament on Friday. 
  1. CHP leader accuses gov’t of ‘protecting’ ISIL, laying ground for Ankara massacre
    20 October 2015 / Hurriyet
    Turkey’s main opposition leader has openly and directly accused the caretaker of the interim government of providing “protection” for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), thus paving the way for the Oct. 10 Ankara double suicide bombing which killed at least 102 people. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), reiterated his conviction that a serious security failure led to the attack. 
  1. Kurdish lawyer faces trial for saying PKK not terrorist group
    20 October 2015 / Reuters
    A top Kurdish lawyer in conflict-riven southeast Turkey faces trial after saying the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose guerrillas are battling Turkish security forces, is not a terrorist group. Police detained Tahir Elci, who heads the bar association of Diyarbakir province in southeast Turkey, during a pre-dawn raid on Tuesday on his office. An Istanbul court later ordered his release pending the trial, on condition that he not leave the country and that he report regularly to the authorities, his lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar said. 
  1. Turkey Has Arrested 1,000 More Suspected PKK Than Isis Members Since Suruç Bombing
    21 October 2015 / Breitbart
    Turkey has arrested upwards of 1,000 more suspects linked to the Kurdish PKK than to the Islamic State (ISIS) or Al Qaeda since the July bombing of a meeting of Kurdish socialist youth in Suruç, despite declaring war on ISIS following that incident. More than 1,300 people have been arrested for allegedly having ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a U.S.-designated terrorist group of Marxist ideology. In contrast, Turkish authorities report that they have arrested 276 people for having suspected ties to ISIS or Al Qaeda, rival jihadist groups.
  1. ISIL child training camp discovered in Istanbul: Report
    19 October 2015 / Hurriyet
    A total of 24 of around 50 suspects of Tajik and Uzbek origin, who were detained for having links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Istanbul on Oct. 18, have been revealed to be children being trained in basement apartments in Istanbul’s Pendik and Başakşehir districts, daily Vatan has reported. The suspects were reported to have trained children in basement apartments in Pendik and Başakşehir, using the apartments as militant training camps, according to physical and technical surveillance collected by Istanbul Police Department Counterterrorism Unit officers before raiding 18 separate homes in Pendik and Başakşehir’s Kayaşehir neighborhood.
  1. Renewed Kurdish conflict chokes economy in southeast Turkey
    21 October 2015 / Times Live
    Just a few months ago, the Hasan Pasa caravansary in southeast Turkey was teeming with visitors, but now the market in the converted inn is deserted as scared shoppers stay away amid fresh violence in the Kurdish conflict. “The resumption (of fighting) has hit us hard,” says Ahmet Onen, who has a boutique selling souvenirs and traditional Kurdish outfits in the 16th-century Ottoman building in the city of Diyarbakir.
    “Our revenue has fallen by close to 80 percent compared with last year,” he adds, sighing: “The tourism heart no longer beats here.” 
  1. Do not make Erdoğan EU’s border guard-in-chief, Greens say after refugee summit
    16 October 2015 / Todays Zaman
    A series of promises the European Union has made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in return for Turkish cooperation in stemming the flow of refugees to European countries may give rise to the impression that the 27-nation bloc supports the Turkish government’s “irresponsible politics” just weeks before a parliamentary election, the co-president of the European Greens said on Friday. EU leaders meeting for a summit in Brussels late on Thursday agreed to give “political support” for an action plan for Turkey to help it manage its refugee emergency. Under the plan, the EU will offer Turkey up to 3 billion euros in aid, easier access to EU visas and accelerated membership talks, although negotiations are to continue in Ankara on details of this deal.
  1. Frederike Geerdink: Reporting under siege in Turkey
    22 October 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan
    Last night, the Kurdish Community Centre in north London hosted an event with Frederike Geerdink, who is in London for a series of events promoting her new book on the Roboski massacre, The Boys Are Dead, which tells the story of her investigations into the atrocity on 28 December 2011 which killed 34 people. Frederike gave a captivating account of her encounters with the Turkish authorities, which she said began the day she first visited Roboski in the weeks after the massacre took place.
    The event is available to view in full on YouTube 
  1. Int’l press freedom coalition says pressure on media ‘severely escalated’ after June 7 polls
    21 October 2015 / Hurriyet
    A coalition of international free expression groups, which visited Turkey from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 and met with local journalists and media outlets, has said that pressure on journalists operating in Turkey has “severely escalated” since the parliamentary elections on June 7. The joint international emergency press freedom mission to Turkey, which consisted of representatives from the International Press Institute (IPI), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Index on Censorship, Article 19 and the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), said in a joint statement on Oct. 21 that pressure on media in Turkey has severely increased and also significantly impacted journalists’ ability to report on matters of public interest freely and independently since the June 7 election.
  1. Tal Abyad Has Declared Autonomy — and That May Worry Turkey
    21 October 2015 / Vice
    The Syrian border town of Tal Abyad has declared autonomous rule and been incorporated into Kurdish controlled territory, an official said today, a move likely to fuel Turkish concerns about Kurdish expansion in the region. The ethnically-mixed town will now be self-administered, but part of the canton, or province, of Kobane around 40 miles to the west, Idriss Nassan of the Kobane regional government told VICE News on Wednesday afternoon. He added that Tal Abyad’s new governing body would reflect its ethnic makeup, with equal representation for Kurds and Arabs and smaller presence for Turkmen and Armenians. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace described the town as majority Sunni Arab earlier this year.
  1. Tel Abyad joins Kurdish-led ‘gov’t’ in Syria, increasing Kurdish influence at Turkish border
    21 October 2015 / Todays Zaman
    A Syrian town captured by Kurdish-led forces from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in June joined the Kurdish-led political order in northern Syria on Wednesday, officials said, a move likely to deepen Turkish concerns about the Kurds’ expanding role just over the border. The town of Tel Abyad was captured by the Kurdish People’s Protection (YPG) militia with help from US-led air strikes. A local leadership council, including representatives of Tel Abyad’s Arab, Kurdish, Turkmen and Armenian communities, met to declare the town part of the system of autonomous self government established by the Kurds, according to two officials who attended the meeting.
  1. Turkish intelligence chief: Putin’s intervention in Syria is against Islam and international law, ISIS is a reality and we are optimistic about the future
    18 October 2015 / AWD News
    Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, known by the MİT acronym, has drawn a lot of attention and criticism for his controversial comments about ISIS. Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turkish President’s staunchest ally, condemned Russian military intervention in Syria, accusing Moscow of trying to ‘smother’ Syria’s Islamist revolution and serious breach of United Nations law. “ISIS is a reality and we have to accept that we cannot eradicate a well-organized and popular establishment such as the Islamic State; therefore I urge my western colleagues to revise their mindset about Islamic political currents, put aside their cynical mentalité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syrian Islamist revolutionaries,” Anadolu News Agency quoted Mr. Fidan as saying on Sunday.
  1. Turko-fascists in streets of New York
    16 October 2015 / WW4 Report
    Local HDP activists and their supporters held a rally “Condemning the Ankara Massacre” in front of the Turkish consulate in Manhattan this afternoon. They stood across from the building with their hand-painted banner reading “DESPITE EVERYTHING, PEACE” in Kurdish, Turkish and English. Ominously, across East 50th Street from the group, just outside the consulate, was a small contingent of right-wing Turkish nationalists. They were dressed in suits, holding a huge Turkish flag, and (while attempting to shout down the HDP’s slogans with their own, despite being greatly outnumbered) repeatedly making the peculiar Turko-fascist salute. This is, ironically, the same as the heavy-metal salute—only instead of the raised pinky and forefinger representing the Devil’s horns, they are supposed to represent a wolf’s ears. This identifies them as followers of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), formerly linked to the Grey Wolves paramilitary group.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Coming to terms with the Ankara massacre
    17 October 2015 / Open Democracy
    Three days after the bomb attack in Ankara, which killed at least 99 people when 2 suicide bombers detonated themselves early on Saturday, October 10 at a peace rally, a large portion of Turkey’s football fans booed the minute’s silence that was dedicated to the lives lost in the attack. Deciding to express their disregard to the Kurdish and leftist victims, a sizeable minority chanted nationalist and religious slogans.
  1. Turkey’s Election Turmoil
    18 October 2015 / Dispatches from the Edge
    As Turkey gears up for one of the most important elections in its recent history, the country appears, as one analyst noted, to be coming apart at the “seams”:
    *Longstanding tensions with the country’s Kurdish population have broken out into open war.
    *A Kurdish-led left political party is under siege by rightwing nationalists and the terrorist organization, the Islamic Front.
    *Independent journalists have been attacked by mobs led by leading members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
  1. Blood on Erdoğan’s hands
    15 October 2015 / Weekly Worker
    When I tried to translate into English the thoughts I had immediately after the October 10 massacre, the lyrics of an old rock tune that lingered in the depths of my mind came back to me – it may be something “you never gonna forget”, but “you ain’t seen nothing yet”. In the long, bloody history of Turkey we have not seen such an atrocious slaughter. We will remember this one along with the Armenian genocide, the expulsion of the Greek Orthodox population, the various Alevi massacres, the vile acts of fascist junta regimes, and the never-ending atrocities committed against Kurds. However, we must also keep in mind that 10/10 was just another cobble on the long road paved with blood-soaked stepping stones to crush the popular opposition. What the near future holds is, alas, further atrocities.
  1. Why Russia is Serious about Fighting Terrorism and the US Isn’t. America Protects Al Qaeda and ISIS
    21 October 2015 / Global Research
    Whilst the US has [allegedly] been bombing ISIS for over a year, ISIS has only grown and gained more ground in Syria. A few months ago ISIS took over the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, a UNESCO world heritage-listed site. In spite of the fact that the US government acknowledged ISIS cannot be defeated without ground troops, they have refused to work with the Syrian military, the only force on the ground commanded by the only UN-recognized government in the country, and the only force capable and willing to fight ISIS.
  1. Slavoj Zizek: Kurds Are The Most Progressive, Democratic Nation In The Middle East 
    22 October 2015 / Kurdish Question
    This interview with well-known philosopher Slavoj Zizek was conducted for Kurdish MedNuçe TV in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. In this, the first part of the interview Zizek talks about the Kurdish question and his views on the Kurdish people. The interview was translated by Kurdish Question.
    A photo of you and Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan is being shared on social media. What is the story behind this?
    Yes. They showed me that photo in Turkey. It’s on the Internet and says that it’s from the 80s. But I must say that unfortunately it’s not real. However I’m definitely not against it being done. Conversely I think there’s a beautiful story behind it.
  1. The Observer view on the EU’s wrong-headed wooing of Turkey
    18 October 2015 / Guardian
    The alarming ramifications of Europe’s chronic cluelessness over the migrant crisis were illustrated last week by something that did not happen in Brussels: the European commission’s annual progress report on Turkey’s EU membership application, due out on Wednesday, failed to appear. The problem was not a shortage of paper and ink. The problem was how Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s choleric president, might react to the report’s expected criticisms of his government’s blatant disregard for EU principles concerning free speech, impartial courts, minority rights, independent media and respect for the rule of law.
  1. Why The Kurdish Struggle Is So Important
    22 October 2015 / Kurdish Question
    This pamphlet aims to provide a short introduction to the Kurdish question for non-Kurdish readers in Australia. The focus is on Turkey and Rojava (the Kurdish majority liberated zone in northern Syria) where the struggle is being led by the revolutionary democratic wing of the Kurdish movement. That is, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD).  This is a mass struggle, involving hundreds of thousands, even millions of people. Inescapably, there is little in the pamphlet about Iraq and Iran. It also does not deal in any detail with Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdoğan’s current war against the Kurds as he schemes to get a majority for his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the November 1 parliamentary elections.

ACTIONS

  1. PiK sends open letter to Cameron: “End your silence on Erdogan’s abuse of power”
    21 October 2015.
  1. Petitioning President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Free Rasool, Change.org Petition.
  1. Global Rally for the freedom and reconstruction of Kobane: London Rally
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