KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 7 – 13 November 2015

LONDON KURDISH FILM FESTIVAL BEGIN’S TODAY!

LKFF2015

There is a fantastic set of feature films in the programme for this year’s 9th Kurdish Film Festival. You can visit the website for a full programme and more information about the films. Go to www.lkff.co.uk for more information!

NEWS

  1. HDP calls for urgent action for Silvan
  2. VIDEO: Turkey attacks Kurdish town of Silvan, several killed
  3. Six people killed as Turkish military launches attack on rebels in mostly-Kurdish town
  4. VIDEO: Police fire tear gas, water cannon at HDP delegation in Turkey’s southeast
  5. Conflict in Turkey’s Southeast: What Happened in Silvan over 10 Days?
  6. ‘Tens of millions of Turkish Kurds feel hard-done by the government’
  7. HDP says unfair election conditions, deliberate polarization behind poll result
  8. Erdoğan calls for new constitution, reform in next four years
  9. Turkish journalist wanted on terrorism charges
  10. Investigation launched into journalist Cengiz Çandar for ‘insulting’ President
  11. Pro-Kurdish politician faces 6 lawsuits over ‘terrorism propaganda’
  12. EU urges Turkey to lift media curbs, resume peace talks with Kurd rebels
  13. EU urges Turkey to lift media curbs, revive settlement process
  14. Lord Hylton: Assaults on the Living and the Dead in Turkey
  15. Top EU officials to visit Ankara after progress reports slams Turkey
  16. Turkey’s Erdogan puts Syria, Iraq on G20 leaders’ agenda
  17. HPG-YBŞ: Shengal liberated
  18. Kurdish Forces Liberate Shingal
  19. Iraqi Kurds enter Sinjar ‘from all directions’, take control of town center
  20. Iraqi Kurdish Yazidis seek Russian help in rescuing hostages from Islamic State
  21. Iranian Kurdistan News in brief – November 7, 2015

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. After the Turkish elections
  2. Erdogan Won Bloodstained Election, But HDP Hope Lives On
  3. Voter intimidation in Turkey’s Kurdish villages
  4. Kurds in postelection Turkey: Silver lining or tough times?
  5. Turkish President Ignores Isis, Stokes Civil War With Kurds
  6. Deploying F-15s to Incirlik: Why now?
  7. Video From This Year’s New World Summit In Rojava
  8. Syria: anti-ISIS forces advance —despite everything
  9. Galbraith: Syrian Kurds have gone from being rebels, having attributes of a government
  10. Dangerous liaisons
  11. Fried Chicken and Skulls of ISIS Fighters

 

REPORTS

  1. 2015 Turkey Progress Report finally published by the EU

STATEMENTS

  1. Urgent Call for International Solidarity: Lift the siege of Silvan

 

EVENTS

See our Events Page

NEWS

  1. HDP calls for urgent action for Silvan
    11 November 2015 / Kurdish Info
    The Central Executive Board of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has released a statement calling for urgent solidarity with Silvan district of Amed where a heavy military operation in civilian areas is going on since early this morning, on the ninth day of the curfew. Pointing to the ongoing repression of Turkish state forces in Silvan for almost two months now, HDP recalled that the curfew currently in effect is the sixth one imposed in the district recently, and called attention to the reports of casualties as a result of today’s ongoing attacks, from both the air and the ground.
  1. VIDEO: Turkey attacks Kurdish town of Silvan, several killed
    12 November 2015 / RT
    Armored vehicles patrolling the streets, reports of starvation looming and civilians killed – a small pro-Kurdish town of Silvan has become a hotspot after the Turkish military launched and operation on November 3. The curfew has entered its second week. 
  1. Six people killed as Turkish military launches attack on rebels in mostly-Kurdish town
    11 November 2015 / Raw Story
    Fighting raged Wednesday in a flashpoint town in southeastern Turkey as the death toll mounted from attacks blamed on Kurdish rebels and local lawmakers warned of a humanitarian crisis. Turkish security forces backed up by tanks and combat helicopters launched a large-scale operation against the militants in the battered town of Silvan, which has been under a punishing curfew for nine days. Local MPs have warned that the mainly Kurdish town of 90,000 people is facing dire shortages of water, food and electricity and one accused Ankara of trying to “massacre” the population.
  1. VIDEO: Police fire tear gas, water cannon at HDP delegation in Turkey’s southeast
    12 November 2015 / Hurriyet
    Turkish police drew criticism on Nov. 12 for firing tear gas and water cannon at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) delegation attempting to enter Diyarbakır’s Silvan district, which has been under a curfew since Nov. 3. “Our co-chair [Figen] Yüksekdağ and a delegation accompanying her were attacked in Silvan with water cannon and tear gas,” the official account of the HDP announced on Twitter. The party also released additional footage and photographs displaying the moments before and after the attack.
  1. Conflict in Turkey’s Southeast: What Happened in Silvan over 10 Days?
    13 November 2015 / Bianet
    Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) Documentation Center has announced violation of rights against civilans during curfew that is in its 10th day now. The announcement stated that six people have been kiled by fire security forces opened.
  1. ‘Tens of millions of Turkish Kurds feel hard-done by the government’
    12 November 2015 / RT
    The outbreak of violence against the Kurds paid off for the ruling AK Party in Turkey and the president managed to get the majority he needs in parliament, says Shwan Zulal, a Middle East political risk analyst. At least seven people were killed by gunfire in the Turkish city of Silvan when government forces fought militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party known as the PKK. Turkish tanks and armored vehicles have been patrolling the streets where a curfew has entered its second week.
  1. HDP says unfair election conditions, deliberate polarization behind poll result
    1 November 2015 / Todays Zaman
    The leaders of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) have said that unfair election conditions and a deliberate policy of polarization by President Tayyip Erdoğan explain their drop-off in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. The HDP was forced to cancel election rallies following two deadly attacks on pro-Kurdish gatherings since July. Television stations gave party representatives little air-time amid government attacks branding the party as the political wing of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). HDP’s co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş told reporters that “there wasn’t a fair or equal election… We were not able to lead an election campaign. We tried to protect our people against attacks.
  1. Erdoğan calls for new constitution, reform in next four years
    10 November 2015 / Todays Zaman
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday called for reforms and the creation of a new constitution in the next four years, steps that would move the country closer to the executive presidency he has long sought. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) founded by Erdoğan swept back to single-party rule at a snap election on Nov. 1, taking 317 of the 550 seats in parliament, just shy of the 330 seats required to hold a referendum on changing the constitution.
  1. Turkish journalist wanted on terrorism charges
    9 November 2015 / Hurriyet
    An arrest warrant was issued for Ekrem Dumanlı, the former editor-in-chief of daily Zaman, on Sept. 18 for “attempting a coup” and “forming an organization with felonious intent,” it has emerged. Dumanlı delivered instructions from U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen to members of the alleged “Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ)/Parallel State Structure (PDY)” and molded public opinion in line with the organization, according to a prosecutor. The prosecutor’s office accordingly requested Dumanlı’s detention on the charges.
  1. Investigation launched into journalist Cengiz Çandar for ‘insulting’ President
    11 November 2015 / Todays Zaman
    Two separate investigations have been launched into radikal daily columnist Cengiz Çandar over claims that he insulted the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in seven of his columns. Radikal reported that Erdoğan’s lawyer Ahmet Özel submitted a petition to the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office and said Çandar attacked Erdoğan’s personal rights by insulting him in the media. The prosecutor’s office cited seven of Çandar’s columns published on radikal.com.tr between the dates July 26 and Aug. 19 as the reason for the investigation, in a written notice sent to Çandar.
  1. Pro-Kurdish politician faces 6 lawsuits over ‘terrorism propaganda’
    10 November 2015 / Todays Zaman
    The co-spokesperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) has had six different court cases brought against her on charges of spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization. The İstanbul Anadolu Public Prosecutor’s Office has opened six lawsuits against Sabahat Tuncel, a former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy, for disseminating propaganda in favor of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). According to a report by the Dicle news agency (DİHA), which is known to have ties to the HDP and the HDK, the allegations against Tuncel date back to 2008 and 2009, when she gave a series of talks in İstanbul. Tuncel was called to the courthouse to give a statement.
  1. EU urges Turkey to lift media curbs, resume peace talks with Kurd rebels
    10 November 2015 / Reuters
    The European Commission urged EU candidate Turkey on Tuesday to lift restrictions on media freedom, respect human rights and stop interfering in the judiciary, criticism that Ankara described as “unfair and excessive”. In its annual progress report on Turkey, whose decade-long accession talks with the European Union have largely stalled, the Commission called for a relaunch of peace talks with Kurdish militants in the southeast, where violence has surged. The report also noted with concern President Tayyip Erdogan’s push for a constitutional overhaul that would give him much greater powers.
  1. EU urges Turkey to lift media curbs, revive settlement process
    10 November 2015 / Todays Zaman
    On Tuesday, the European Commission urged EU candidate Turkey to lift restrictions on media freedom, respect human rights and relaunch peace talks with the militants of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the violence-racked southeast of the country. The EU severely criticized Turkey for a series of flaws in its respect for human rights and democratic standards at a time when the bloc is seeking Ankara’s help dealing with the migrant crisis, the worst Europe has faced since World War II.
  1. Lord Hylton: Assaults on the Living and the Dead in Turkey
    13 November 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    In September and October 2015 the Government of Turkey, headed by President Erdogan, launched attacks against their presumed enemies and opponents. These took place in the run-up to the general election of 1st November. The PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, has been involved in political and armed struggles against the state. Many ceasefires have been offered, especially since 1999, the date of the capture and imprisonment of the party leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The PKK, with the constitutional pro-Kurdish party, the HDP (Peoples Democratic Party), and other cooperating groups including trade unions, different ethnic and religious communities, human rights and women’s organizations, and opposition parties etc, had long since declared in speeches and in writing that they did not seek to become independent or to separate from Turkey.
  1. Top EU officials to visit Ankara after progress reports slams Turkey
    10 November 2015 / Hurriyet
    Top EU officials are set to pay a visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara for talks expected to focus on the refugee crisis shortly after the release of a progress report in which the EU’s executive body accused the full membership candidate of backsliding on the rule of law, rights and the media, while calling on the new government to take urgent action. The scathing report on Ankara’s EU candidacy, originally due for release before the vote that returned the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power, praised Turkey for housing Syrian refugees and for cooperating on the migration crisis.
  1. Turkey’s Erdogan puts Syria, Iraq on G20 leaders’ agenda
    11 November 2015 / Yahoo News
    President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday he wanted world leaders to discuss conflicts in Syria and Iraq at a G20 summit in Turkey this weekend and is ready to take “stronger steps” in the region after polls this month strengthened the ruling party, Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies (G20), including the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia and Brazil, are to meet on Sunday and Monday in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya primarily to discuss global economic issues.
  1. HPG-YBŞ: Shengal liberated
    13 November 2015 / Kurdish Info
    HPG Shengal Command and YBŞ General Command announced in a written statement that Shengal town centre has been liberated from ISIS occupation. The joint statement recalled that HPG and YBŞ forces had inflicted severe blows on ISIS gangs during the offensive in Shilo area that started on October 8, after which they launched an operation to liberate villages in west Shengal on October 31.
  1. Kurdish Forces Liberate Shingal
    13 November 2015 / Kurdish Question
    The People’s Defence Forces (HPG – Military wing of the PKK) Shingal Command and the Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ) General Command announced in a written statement that Shingal (Shengal) town centre has been liberated from ISIS occupation. The joint statement said that the HPG and YBŞ forces had inflicted severe blows on ISIS gangs during the offensive in the Shilo area that started on October 8, after which they launched an operation to liberate villages in west Shingal on October 31.
  1. Iraqi Kurds enter Sinjar ‘from all directions’, take control of town center
    13 November 2015 / eKurd
    Iraqi Kurdish forces entered Sinjar on Friday in a major operation to retake the northern Yazidi town from the Islamic State jihadist group, an AFP journalist reported. Peshmerga and Yazidi forces claimed full control over Sinjar on Friday, as Operation Free Sinjar entered its second day. Kurdish fighters are in control of the center of the strategic Iraqi town after taking it from the IS group, witnesses say.
  1. Iraqi Kurdish Yazidis seek Russian help in rescuing hostages from Islamic State
    11 November 2015 / eKurd
    A delegation of the Yazidi spiritual council is in Moscow to seek help from the Russian government in rescuing Yazidi hostages from the self-claimed Islamic State IS. The delegates told Rudaw the main reason for the visit was the need for the support of the Russian government, adding that the US-led coalition had not been very effective in rescuing those under IS captivity in Raqqa, Syria.
  1. Iranian Kurdistan News in brief – November 7, 2015
    7 November 2015 / eKurd
    Urmiye: Seven Kurdish prisoners of conscience, who are under detention since more than six years ago, are held in undecided conditions in various prisons in the country. According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), seven Kurdish prisoners named Davud Abdullahi, Kamran Sheikhi, Farhad Salimi, Anvar khezri, Khosrow Besharat, Qasem Absteh, and Ayoub Karimi, who were arrested in 2009, after more than six years of detention still remain in an indeterminate status.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. After the Turkish elections
    9 November 2015 / Kurdish Solidarity Network
    The Turkish elections of November the 1st were held under extraordinary circumstances. In June the AKP, the party that has ruled Turkey since 2002, lost its absolute majority and was thus unable to embark on its programme to concentrate power in the hands of an executive AKP presidency. Not only did the AKP lose much of its power in the June 2015 elections, but they lost power to the pro-Kurdish, leftist HDP. The HDP won a surprise 13%, passing the 10% threshold needed to gain representation in the Turkish parliament.
  1. Erdogan Won Bloodstained Election, But HDP Hope Lives On
    9 November 2015 / Pasewan
    Tear gas and water cannon, fired against angry Kurdish youth, marked the end of the 1 November elections in Amed (Dyarbakir), in stark contrast to the heady celebrations that followed the 7 June polls. This time the results were disappointing for the pro-Kurd HDP, which lost more than a million votes and 21 parliamentary seats while, against expectations, the ruling AKP got more than 4 million extra votes and regained its parliamentary majority. Fundamentally both elections were not really about parliament, but the powers of Turkey’s president. Recep Tayyip Erdogan craves more power and has masterminded a shockingly effective campaign to secure it.
  1. Voter intimidation in Turkey’s Kurdish villages
    12 November 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    The re-run election of 1st November was carried out against a backdrop of extreme state violence particularly in the South East of the country. Thousands of HDP and civil society activists had been arrested and hundreds of HDP offices had been attacked in separate incidents across the country. The mood was extremely sombre and there was little evidence of campaigning by any of the political parties. The two suicide bomb attacks in Suruc and Ankara had inflicted a terrible price on HDP supporters and progressive groups. HDP officials in Diyarbakir said that they had been busy organising funerals in the run up to the election, not campaigning.
  1. Kurds in postelection Turkey: Silver lining or tough times?
    10 November 2015 / Al Monitor
    One of the most respected thinkers of the liberal left in Turkey, Murat Belge, assessed the outcome of the Nov. 1 elections in his column in the daily Taraf: “From June to November, we passed through an absurd half-year. … All the loss of life became the most bitter item in the balance sheet of that lost half-year. At the end of half a year, in terms of the Kurdish question, we are at the worst point that could be imagined.”
  1. Turkish President Ignores Isis, Stokes Civil War With Kurds
    10 November 2015 / The Intercept
    Since Turkey Joined The U.S.-Led Coalition to fight ISIS, its military actions have struck far more Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) targets than ISIS targets, leading many to suspect that the government is using ISIS as an excuse to reignite the civil war against the PKK and intimidate the Kurdish population. Critics argue, further, that Turkey’s failures to combat ISIS are calculated, given the Islamic State’s repeated attacks on Kurdish targets, such as the Suruc bombing last July and the Ankara bombing last month.
  1. Deploying F-15s to Incirlik: Why now?
    12 November 2015 / Journal of Turkish Weekly
    Chief of US European Command (EUCOM) Air Force General Philip Breedlove remarked on October 30th that some F-15 aircrafts will be sent to Incirlik Air Base, which is located in Turkey’s southern province of Adana, while the current F-16s in Incirlik are being redeployed back to their NATO bases. Who is the real adversary here? The F-15 is specifically designed to fight air-to-air combat, rather than ground elements, and as far as we know, ISIS has no air capabilities. At first glance, this decision has significant political implications for Turkey. It suggests a guarantee of direct support from the top US general commissioned to Europe. This move reinforces NATOs commitment to secure its allies amidst a deeply challenging security environment.
  1. Video From This Year’s New World Summit In Rojava
    9 November 2015 / Rojava Report
    Below you can watch footage from this year’s New World Summit held in the Cizîrê canton of Rojava. The New World Summit is an artistic and political organization founded by visual artist Jonas Staal in 2012, dedicated to providing “alternative parliaments” hosting organizations that currently find themselves excluded from democracy. You can learn more about the New World Summit at their website.
  1. Syria: anti-ISIS forces advance —despite everything
    11 November 2015 / WW4 Report
    Since launching their offensive on ISIS-controlled territory in northern Syria a week ago, the Kurdish-Arab alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, also rendered DFS or QSD) says it has recaptured 36 villages in Hasakah governorate and is advancing towards Raqqa, the “Islamic State” capital. The SDF leadership said in a statement Nov. 7: “Within a week of anti-ISIS operations, we have liberated 350 square km held by Daesh (ISIS) terrorists, including 36 villages, 10 farms, 2 gas stations and 6 border posts.” The statement also claimed 196 ISIS “terrorists have been killed since the operation started,” and “13 SDF fighters have been martyred during the battles so far.”
  1. Galbraith: Syrian Kurds have gone from being rebels, having attributes of a government
    10 November 2015 / eKurd
    Peter Galbraith, a former Politics and Economics student at St Catherine’s College, returned to his alma mater on 27th October to deliver a talk on Syria, Iraq and ISIS. Highlights of his career include helping to uncover Saddam’s Hussein attempted genocide of the Iraqi Kurds, being the first US Ambassador to Croatia during the Balkan Wars and uncovering election fraud as Deputy UN Special Ambassador to Afghanistan during the 2009 Afghan presidential elections. Galbraith has also been one of the most vocal supporters of an autonomous Iraqi Kurdish state. I caught up with him after his talk to discuss the state of the Kurds in Syria and Iraq, the US-Iran nuclear deal and a potential resolution to the Syrian conflict.
  2. Dangerous liaisons
    10 November 2015 / Todays Zaman
    On Oct. 30 two young Syrian journalists who fled Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and took up residence in Şanlıurfa, Turkey, were brutally murdered in their apartment. Ibrahim Abdel Qader, 22, was beheaded, and the throat of 20-year-old Fares Hammadi was slit. They were staunch enemies of ISIL, which has claimed to have killed them. This ruthless organization later posted a video of their murder, warning that “enemies will never be safe from the blade of the Islamic State.

  3. Fried Chicken and Skulls of ISIS Fighters
    11 November 2015 / Daily Beast

    “There are a lot of bodies and it smells like hell. It’s full of diseases there, what are you doing there?” shouts Zilan, the local female commander of Kurdish troops in this dusty village.
    “I am making tea,” a fighter replies in the ruins of a house that was previously used by a local ISIS commander, but destroyed by a coalition airstrike here in Hasakah province in northwest Syria. As he and his comrades finish up their fried chicken and french fries, they seem to hardly notice the skulls and bones of killed ISIS fighters.

REPORTS

  1. 2015 Turkey Progress Report finally published by the EU, 10 November 2015.

STATEMENTS

  1. Urgent Call for International Solidarity: Lift the siege of Silvan, 12 November 2015.

EVENTS

With many interesting events coming up over the next few weeks, keep an eye on our Events page

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: