KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 14 – 20 November 2015

NEWS

  1. Clashes in Turkey’s southeast leave 12 dead
  2. One civilian dies, 5 others wounded in Cizre under curfew
  3. Diyarbakir Becoming Kobane
  4. EU condemns days-long curfews in Turkey’s Diyarbakır
  5. Once-jailed prominent legislator Leyla Zana again uses Kurdish in Turkey’s parliament
  6. Prosecution against HDP Co-Chair
  7. In Turkey, two journalists accused of creating terrorist propaganda with social media posts
  8. Bayık: Turkey’s policy on ISIS is dangerous for the whole world
  9. KCK: The states backing ISIS responsible for Paris attacks
  10. Syrian Kurdish-Arab alliance captures nearly 200 villages from IS
  11. Kurdish commander: Syrian Democratic Forces prepared to liberate the whole country from radical groups
  12. ISIL Militant Admits to Buying Arms in Ukraine, Sending to Syria Via Turkey
  13. Teenage girl pretended to join Kurdish militants ‘to spare family shame’
  14. German General: NATO Article 5 won’t apply to Turkey’s buffer zone in Syria  
  15. Jeremy Corbyn criticises role played by Turkey and Saudi Arabia in Syria and questions French bombing raid in Raqqa
  16. European Parliament hosts a conference and exhibition on Rojava

 

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Turkey could cut off Islamic State’s supply lines. So why doesn’t it?
  2. Outside Powers Must End Their Proxy Wars In Syria
  3. Turkey’s Opportunism, Using Paris Attack To Undermine Kurds
  4. Kurds and Assyrians Fight Back Against ISIS in Syria
  5. Sinjar ‘part of Kurdistan’, regardless of what Yazidis want
  6. Turkey’s no-fly plan grounded at G-20 summit
  7. Now the Truth Emerges: How the US Fuelled the Rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq
  8. Why States of Emergency and Extreme Security Measures Won’t Stop ISIS
  9. Turkey Destroys Kurdistan, World Silent
  10. Insights Into the Resistance Movement in Turkey (Second in a Series)
  11. Video: A rare look inside the Kurdish rebel movement
  12. The Syrian Kurds Are Winning! Review of Out of Nowhere, by Michael Gunter
  13. Isis: In a borderless world, the days when we could fight foreign wars and be safe at home may be long gone

 

STATEMENTS

  1. To The Press and Public: Turkey committing military assaults in Kurdistan

 

 

NEWS

  1. Clashes in Turkey’s southeast leave 12 dead
    19 November 2015 / Business Insider
    Ten militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have been killed in clashes with security forces in southeast Turkey, as well as two civilians, authorities said. Security forces launched operations in the town of Nusaybin on the Syrian border last week, killing 10 PKK fighters, the Mardin governor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday. Two civilians were killed and 13 injured. The statement did not offer any details of how the casualties were caused. A two-year ceasefire and peace talks between the Turkish state and the PKK lie in tatters after a 31-year war was reignited in July, following the ruling AK Party’s loss of its majority in a June election.
  1. One civilian dies, 5 others wounded in Cizre under curfew
    15 November 2015 / ANF
    Following the imposition of the 4th curfew of recent months in Şırnak’s Cizre district, police forces targeted the people with gunfire. The police blockade claimed a civilian’s life. Following the declaration of a curfew on Yafes and Sur neighborhoods Saturday evening, police and special operation teams attacked the people in areas outside of the curfew area. While clashes erupted upon the response of the people, armed attacks by police forces left 5 civilians wounded, including one seriously who has been referred to Şırnak. Electricity has been cut off in Yafes and Sur neighborhoods which further witness an intense activity of herons.
  1. Diyarbakir Becoming Kobane
    13 November 2015 / Rojava Report
    Women in the Sûr district of Diyarbakir, where attacks by Turkish security forces have killed 9 people in recent months, have declared their intentions to take part in the self-defense of the neighborhood, saying that ‘It will be Kurdish women who destroy the AKP’s power” – reports an article from JINHA carried in Özgür Gündem. Women in the neighborhood. Self-defense forces are forming in cities across Kurdistan in response to recent attacks orchestrated by the ruling AKP and President Erdoğan. In the Sûr district of Diyarbakir Turkish security forces have declared martial law 6 times in the last three months and killed 9 local civilians, three of them children. In response local women in Sûr have formed self-defense units, stating that “it is us who will defend our children.”
  1. EU condemns days-long curfews in Turkey’s Diyarbakır
    19 November 2015 / Press TV
    A European human rights body has strongly condemned the Turkish government for its days-long curfews imposed across the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern province of Diyarbakır. In a single-page statement issued on Wednesday by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, Turkish government’s “frequent and widespread” use of curfews in the towns  of the southeastern region was described as disproportionate and unnecessary.
  1. Once-jailed prominent legislator Leyla Zana again uses Kurdish in Turkey’s parliament
    18 November 2015 / eKurd
    A member of Turkey’s parliament spoke Kurdish while taking her oath of office on Tuesday, but the acting speaker said her vow was invalid. Turkey’s prominent Kurdish rights activist, lawmaker and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Leyla Zana, spent a decade in prison for links to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants after speaking Kurdish in parliament in 1991. A representative from her office said Tuesday’s gesture was to raise awareness of the renewed conflict that has killed hundreds of people in Turkish Kurdistan, the Kurdish region in the southeast, since July.
  1. Prosecution against HDP Co-Chair
    19 November 2015 / Bianet
    Prosecution has been brought against Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair, Figen Yüksekdağ over “insulting public officer” by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Yüksekdağ had been subjected to police attack as she was trying to get to the neighborhoods in Silvan where curfew is imposed and police launch operation against people. She had evaded a gas capsule about to hit by bowing down her head. Yüksekdağ had filed a complaint as to police intervention against herself and the delegation with her. According to Fırat News Agency (ANF), prosecution has been started following the complaint.
  1. In Turkey, two journalists accused of creating terrorist propaganda with social media posts
    19 November 2015 / Committee for the Protection of Journalists
    The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrests of two reporters from pro-Kurdish news agencies on Friday. Idris Yılmaz, of Dicle News Agency, and Vildan Atmaca, of the women’s news agency JİNHA, were detained in the Erciş district of Van, a city in eastern Turkey, according to reports. Authorities accused Yılmaz and Atmaca of “making terrorist propaganda” for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media and Yılmaz was also accused of insulting the president on social media, according to documents from the police, prosecutor, and court that were reviewed by CPJ.
  1. Bayık: Turkey’s policy on ISIS is dangerous for the whole world
    19 November 2015 / ANF
    KCK Executive Council Co-President Cemil Bayık stated that the AKP government blackmails the whole world by legitimating and promoting ISIS. Calling the world’s attention to the effective battle of SDF led by YPG/YPJ against the ISIS, Bayık emphasised that; “SDF is capable of pushing the ISIS out of Jarablus within a short time. They can take Raqqa as well unless there happens a support to the ISIS from Turkey’s side. International powers should remove this obstacle of Turkey.”
  1. KCK: The states backing ISIS responsible for Paris attacks
    14 November 2015 / ANF
    KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency has released a statement condemning the deadly Paris attacks which claimed the lives over 120 people last night. KCK offered condolences to the families of the victims, the French people and all humanity targeted by the multiple attacks, for which it held the states backing and supporting these inhuman groups responsible. The statement underlined that; “The states, which fed and raised up these gangs and are now engaged in bargaining with the world over them, must be put on trial as well.”
  1. Syrian Kurdish-Arab alliance captures nearly 200 villages from IS
    16 November 2015 / France24
    An alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces fighting the Islamic State group in northeast Syria has driven the jihadists out of nearly 200 villages, its spokesman told reporters on Monday. Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Talal Ali Sello said at a press conference that “between October 30 and November 13, an area of 1,362 square kilometres (545 square miles) was cleansed of IS”. That area included 196 towns and villages, among them Al-Hol which lies along a strategic IS supply route and where Sello made his comments. He said these “victories” had been achieved with air support from a US-led coalition striking IS targets in Syria over the past year.
  1. Kurdish commander: Syrian Democratic Forces prepared to liberate the whole country from radical groups
    18 November 2015 / Ara News
    Hussein Kocher, leading member of Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and a prominent commander in the Kurdish-Arab alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said their forces are determined to “liberate the whole Syrian soil from Deash (ISIS) terrorists”. “At this sensitive phase, we (Kurds) have put hands in hands with our Arab and Christian brothers and established the Syrian Democratic Forces in order to eliminate the terror group of Deash,” Kocher said in an exclusive interview with ARA News. Kocher added that all freedom-fighters in Syria should unify in the face of the current challenges, emphasizing that several rebel groups have caused damage to the Syrian social fabric.
  1. ISIL Militant Admits to Buying Arms in Ukraine, Sending to Syria via Turkey
    20 November 2015 / Sputnik
    Kuwaiti security forces have uncovered an international cell that supplied the Islamic State terrorist group with Chinese-made weapons purchased in Ukraine, funds and new recruits, US media reported on Friday. Six members of the group were arrested but four others are still at large, AP reported, citing Interior Ministry officials in Kuwait City. The leader of the group, 45-year-old Lebanese national Osama Khayat, was detained first and disclosed information about the rest of the members during interrogation, the ministry said in a statement.
  1. Teenage girl pretended to join Kurdish militants ‘to spare family shame’
    19 November 2015 / Guardian
    A British teenager charged with trying to join the PKK, a proscribed terrorist organisation, “was being accused, almost, of thought crime”, a jury has heard. There was “not a shred of evidence” that Silhan Özçelik, 18, travelled from her London home to Belgium to realise any ambition to become a guerrilla fighter and militant, her lawyer told the Old Bailey on Thursday. Özçelik, of Highbury, north London, who was born in Britain but is of Kurdish descent, denies one charge of engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.
  1. German General: NATO Article 5 won’t apply to Turkey’s buffer zone in Syria  
    14 November 2015 / Asia Times
    In a Nov. 9 interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said a ground forces operation in Syria could be possible to establish a buffer zone, but Turkey would not conduct it alone. “[A] ground forces [campaign] is something which we have to talk [about] together and share…there’s a need of an integrated strategy, including an air campaign and ground troops.”  Davutoglu added that Turkey alone cannot take on this burden. A Turkish security source said such an operation is unlikely without support from the UN Security Council or NATO Council.
  1. Jeremy Corbyn criticises role played by Turkey and Saudi Arabia in Syria and questions French bombing raid in Raqqa
    18 November 2015 / Independent
    Jeremy Corbyn has criticised Turkey and Saudi Arabia for their failure to tackle Isis in Syria and also questioned the effectiveness of France’s bombing raid in Raqqa.  The Labour leader said Turkey’s bombing of Kurdish insurgents on the Syrian border had undermined efforts by the international coalition to target Isis targets operating in the region. Jeremy Corbyn has criticised Turkey and Saudi Arabia for their failure to tackle Isis in Syria and also questioned the effectiveness of France’s bombing raid in Raqqa. The Labour leader said Turkey’s bombing of Kurdish insurgents on the Syrian border had undermined efforts by the international coalition to target Isis targets operating in the region.
  1. European Parliament hosts a conference and exhibition on Rojava
    18 November 2015 / ANF
    The European Parliament in Belgium capital Brussels has hosted a conference and photography exhibition on West Kurdistan, titled “Rojava model for a democratic and fair society’”. Organized by the European United Left, the conference was attended by member of the German Bundestag Ulla Jelpke, Austrian political scientist Thomas Schmidinger as well as MEPs Sabine Lösing and Cornelia Ernst. Following the conference during which Paris attacks were also condemned, photographs by Birgit Haubner taken in Rojava were exhibited.

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Turkey could cut off Islamic State’s supply lines. So why doesn’t it?
    18 November 2015 / Guardian
    In the wake of the murderous attacks in Paris, we can expect western heads of state to do what they always do in such circumstances: declare total and unremitting war on those who brought it about. They don’t actually mean it. They’ve had the means to uproot and destroy Islamic State within their hands for over a year now. They’ve simply refused to make use of it. In fact, as the world watched leaders making statements of implacable resolve at the G20 summit in Antalaya, these same leaders are hobnobbing with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a man whose tacit political, economic, and even military support contributed to Isis’s ability to perpetrate the atrocities in Paris, not to mention an endless stream of atrocities inside the Middle East.
  1. Outside Powers Must End Their Proxy Wars In Syria
    19 November 2015 / The Intercept
    A french news cameraman burst into the bar of Beirut’s Commodore Hotel, where his colleagues gathered most evenings, on November 17, 1983. “At last,” he shouted, cupping both hands upward, “someone with balls!” French warplanes had just bombed the town of Baalbek, site of magnificent Roman ruins but also of a Shiite Muslim militant barracks. This was France’s revenge for the killing of 58 French troops by a suicide bomber four weeks earlier. On the same morning the French died, the United States had lost 241 American service personnel, most of them U.S. Marines, to another suicide bomber. So far, Washington had not responded. We learned later that Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who was against sending Marines to Lebanon in the first place, had dissuaded President Ronald Reagan from bombing Lebanon until there was evidence to prove who had done it.
  1. Turkey’s Opportunism, Using Paris Attack To Undermine Kurds
    19 November 2015 / World Crunch
    Opportunism may be one of the accepted facts of life in foreign policy, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. The Turkish government is busy right now trying to make the most of two pieces of the Syrian crisis that have come to the fore: The recent flood of refugees to Europe, and the ISIS attacks in Paris. They are both likely to backfire. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s coy question “What would happen if these 2.2 million refugees get out of Turkey and start marching towards the EU?” is a cheap bargaining trick to say the least, attempting to introduce the destiny of desperate Syrian as a new unofficial dossier in EU-Turkey relations.
  1. Kurds and Assyrians Fight Back Against ISIS in Syria
    19 November 2015 / AINA
    ‘ISIS asked us for a cease-fire two days ago,” Kino told me. “They asked us for a safe pass out of Hasakah. The forces here refused to do that, because we want to finish them.” My translator, an Assyrian American named Helma Adde, stood with me and Kino Gabriel, the 24-year-old spokesman for the Assyrian Christian army of the Syriac Military Council. We were in the city of al-Hasakah, near the banks of the Khabour River and about 700 meters from the front line of the Islamic State in eastern Syria. For all the doubts that the West has about the war in which he is fighting, Kino was optimistic about how the battle is going in this neighborhood.
  1. Sinjar ‘part of Kurdistan’, regardless of what Yazidis want
    18 November 2015 / Al Araby
    After 15 months of living under the Islamic State group, the Iraqi city of Sinjar was taken back by Kurdish forces in the early hours of Friday morning.  The sheer speed of the Kurdish offensive was a surprise to many, with IS failing to put up much resistance after the bombardment of US airstrikes took its toll on its few fighters remaining there. In the immediate aftermath of the operation, Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, made a speech from the top of the mountain overlooking the city of Sinjar.  “Sinjar is part of the Kurdistan region,” he said. “Aside from the Kurdistan flag, no other flag will rise in Sinjar.”
  1. Turkey’s no-fly plan grounded at G-20 summit
    18 November 2015 / Al monitor
    For some, the G-20 meeting in Turkey Nov. 15 that brought together leaders of the “global elite” was to serve as the coronation for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was still basking in his party’s stunning Nov. 1 election victory. The eyes of the whole world would be focused on the meeting — and Erdogan, as its host. Luminaries were to include US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.
  1. Now the Truth Emerges: How the US Fuelled the Rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq
    18 November 2015 / Alternet
    The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting. The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead with the trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition.
  1. Why States of Emergency and Extreme Security Measures Won’t Stop ISIS
    16 November 2015 / Counterpunch
    Patrick Cockburn: The “Islamic State”, as ISIS styles itself, will be pleased with the outcome of its attacks in Paris. It has shown that it can retaliate with its usual savagery against a country that is bombing its territory and is a power to be feared at a time when it is under serious military pressure. The actions of just eight ISIS suicide bombers and gunmen are dominating the international news agenda for days on end.
  1. Turkey Destroys Kurdistan, World Silent
    19 November 2015 / Gatestone Institute
    In 1990s, the Turkish military used to burn down Kurdish villages; today they burn down Kurdish towns. This month, three neighborhoods in the Kurdish city of Silvan in Diyarbakir Province — Tekel, Konak and Mescit — were put under military curfew and then attacked from November 3 to November 14. Telephone lines, water, and electricity were cut. The neighborhoods, besieged by armored police vehicles, were then bombarded by tanks and artillery shooting from the hills. Many houses were hit by bullets and bombs; some houses were burned.
  1. Insights Into the Resistance Movement in Turkey (Second in a Series)
    19 November 2015 / Foreign Policy in Focus
    After the Ankara bombing, a statement by the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) co-chairs, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdag—it is an HDP rule that both a man and a woman serve together—called for the “international community who stand in solidarity, to extend their condolences directly to the peoples of Turkey—not to the state representatives who are politically and administratively responsible from the massacre.”
  1. Video: A rare look inside the Kurdish rebel movement
    16 November 2015 / France 24
    FRANCE 24 brings you a rare look inside the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, in the midst of fighting a guerrilla war against the Turkish army and the Islamic State group. Some, such as the United States and the European Union, see them as terrorists, others as saviours. PKK fighters are waging a war on two fronts, between Turkey and Iraq. FRANCE 24 was able to meet several members of the group in their stronghold of the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq.
  1. The Syrian Kurds Are Winning! Review of Out of Nowhere, by Michael Gunter
    14 November 2015 / New York Review of Books
    Jonathan Steele: Anyone searching for a sliver of light in the darkness of the Syrian catastrophe has no better place to go than the country’s northeast. There some 2.2 million Kurds have created a quasi state that is astonishingly safe—and strangely unknown abroad. No barrel bombs are dropped by Bashar al-Assad’s warplanes. No ISIS executioners enforce the wearing of the niqab. No Turkish air strikes send civilians running, as Turkish attacks on Kurdish militia bases do across the border in Iraq.
  1. Isis: In a borderless world, the days when we could fight foreign wars and be safe at home may be long gone
    18 November 2015 / Independent
    Early in 2014, Isis released one of its first videos. Largely unseen in Europe, it had neither the slick, cutting-edge professionalism of its later execution tapes nor the haunting “nasheed” music that accompanies most of its propaganda. Instead, a hand-held camera showed a bulldozer pushing down a rampart of sand that had marked the border between Iraq and Syria. As the machine destroyed the dirt revetment, the camera panned down to a handwritten poster lying in the sand. “End of Sykes-Picot”, it said.

 

STATEMENTS

  1. To The Press and Public: Turkey committing military assaults in Kurdistan, KNK Press Release, 18 November 2015

 

 

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