KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 9 – 15 January 2016

 

NEWS

  1. Over 160 civilians, incl. unborn child, killed in Turkish crackdown on Kurds – report
  2. Kurdish MP Says Ankara Declared War Against Kurds In Turkey
  3. Lawyers invite CoE to help cease ongoing human rights violations in Turkey
  4. Academics calling for peace ‘conscience’ of Turkey: HDP
  5. Erdogan slams academics over petition, invites Chomsky to Turkey
  6. Chomsky hits back at Erdoğan, accusing him of double standards on terrorist
  7. 12 Civilians Killed In Cizre, Silopi And Şirnak Laid To Rest
  8. 23 soldiers resign from Turkish army in Şırnak
  9. Kurds on hunger strike for bodies of dead relatives
  10. Istanbul bomber entered Turkey as refugee from Syria, PM says
  11. 774 journalists fired, 156 detained last year in Turkey: CHP
  12. For journalists fleeing Islamic State, Turkey ‘is as dangerous as Syria’
  13. WATCH: EU press conference – Escalating State Violence in Turkey; Kurdish People under Attack
  14. GUE/NGL appeal for urgent action to end violence against Kurds in Turkey
  15. Demo by Kurdish politicians outside EP against AKP’s war on Kurds
  16. Europe rights court condemns Turkey for dissolving pro-Kurdish party
  17. European court rejects petition to end curfews in Turkey’s Kurdish region
  18. Portuguese Parliament Condemns Killing Of Three Kurdish Women
  19. Turkey blockades Syrian Kurdish areas surrounded by ISIS (RT EXCLUSIVE)
  20. School Bus Project for Kobane Children a Smashing Success

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Erdogan exploits Istanbul terror —of course
  2. Surrounded By Troubled Neighbors, Turkey’s Conflict At Home Escalates
  3. People are dying in Turkey and we are told not to talk about it
  4. Threat perception in Turkey needs to change
  5. WATCH: Peace Group in Diyarbakır: Streets Quiet, Gunshots from Sur
  6. Mr. Erdogan’s offensive
  7. Istanbul attack: Isis may be concluding Turkey is no longer a place where it need tread carefully
  8. Syria’s Kurds Have Nearly Tripled Their Territory Fighting the Islamic State in 2015
  9. Is Rojava’s model the awaited solution for Syrian crisis?
  10. Rebuilding Kobanê
  11. Thoughts on Rojava: an interview with Janet Biehl

 

REPORTS

  1. REPAK Information File: Women of Resistance targeted by the state, 11 January 2015.

 

EVENTS

See our Event page

 

NEWS

  1. Over 160 civilians, incl. unborn child, killed in Turkish crackdown on Kurds – report
    11 January 2016 / RT
    In five months of battling the Kurdish insurgency in southeastern Turkey, Ankara has killed over 160 civilians, according to a rights group report. Among them was an unborn child, whose mother was shot. In August, Ankara launched a ground operation to crack down on Kurdish fighters linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The violence ended a two-year truce with the Kurdish militants, who have been fighting a guerrilla war for independence for decades. An estimated 10,000 Turkish troops armed with heavy weapons and armored vehicles, including tanks, were deployed.
  1. Kurdish MP Says Ankara Declared War Against Kurds In Turkey
    12 January 2015 / NRT
    Turkey has declared war against Kurds by tanks and military vehicles in southeastern Turkey, a Kurdish member of Turkish Parliament said Tuesday (Jan. 12). Parliament member from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Osman Baydemir told NRT that the Turkish tanks and military vehicles bombard Kurds throughout southeastern Turkey. “As Erdogan [Turkish President] called on Bashar Assad not to kill civilians, we also call on Erdogan to listen to Kurds and do not kill them,” Baydemir told NRT correspondent in Brussels Barzan Hassan. According to MP Baydemir, 400 Kurdish people have been killed since increased fighting and curfew began in the southeastern towns of Turkey.
  1. Lawyers invite CoE to help cease ongoing human rights violations in Turkey
    14 January 2016 / Todays Zaman
    In a letter to the commissioner for human rights in the Council of Europe (CoE) on Wednesday, the Lawyers for Peace platform invited Commissioner Nils Muiznieks to Turkey to help put an end to the ongoing human rights violations against the Kurdish population in southeast Turkey. With the signatures of 111 lawyers on the letter, Lawyers for Peace underlined that the death toll of children killed during the clashes between the security forces and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has reached to 58 as of Jan. 9.
  1. Academics calling for peace ‘conscience’ of Turkey: HDP
    13 January 2016 / Hurriyet
    Academics and intellectuals who publicly called on the Turkish government to end security operations in southeastern Anatolia and return to the table for talks to resolve the Kurdish issue are the “conscience of the country,” a co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has said.
  2. Erdogan slams academics over petition, invites Chomsky to Turkey
    12 January 2015 / Hurriyet
    President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has strongly reacted to a petition signed by more than 1,000 local and international academics calling on the Turkish government to end the security operations being committed in southeastern Anatolia and to return to table for talks to resolve the Kurdish issue, describing the signatories as “ignorant.” After an urgent meeting on Jan. 12, the Supreme Education Board (YÖK) announced that legal action would be taken over local academics who have signed the petition.  Some 1,128 academics from 89 different universities – including foreign scholars like Noam Chomsky, David Harvey and Immanuel Wallerstein – signed the petition titled “We won’t be a part of this crime,” which called on Ankara to end the “massacre and slaughter.”  
  1. Chomsky hits back at Erdoğan, accusing him of double standards on terrorist
    14 January 2015 / Guardian
    The leftwing US academic Noam Chomsky has hit back at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the Turkish president accused him of ignorance and sympathising with terrorists. Hours after Tuesday’s bomb attack on a tourist area of Istanbul, Erdoğan delivered a sneering criticism of Chomsky and “so-called intellectuals” who had signed a letter calling on Turkey to lift its siege against Kurdish towns and cities in the south-east of the country. He invited Chomsky to visit the area in a defiant televised speech to a conference of Turkish ambassadors in Ankara. Chomsky has now rejected the invitation. In an email to the Guardian he said: “If I decide to go to Turkey, it will not be on his invitation, but as frequently before at the invitation of the many courageous dissidents, including Kurds who have been under severe attack for many years.”
  1. 12 Civilians Killed In Cizre, Silopi And Şirnak Laid To Rest
    12 January 2015 / Kurdish Question
    Tens of thousands attended a funeral ceremony for 12 people killed by state forces in the towns of Cizre, Silopi and Şırnak. Kurdish woman politician Sêvê Demir’s mother Sakine Demir, speaking at the funeral, said, “Our children were killed because they did not surrender.” As the people of the towns of Cizre, Silopi and Şırnak maintain a resistance for the right to self-government, 12 people killed by state forces in the towns were buried in Şırnak’s Naralo Cemetery today with the attendance of a massive crowd. Sêvê Demir, Fatma Uyar, Pakize Nayır, Çetin Taşar, Cebrail Mungan, Murat Ekinci, Ahmet Zırığ and Hakan Şengül were buried in the ceremony, which started hours late due to the blockade on Şırnak.
  1. 23 soldiers resign from Turkish army in Şırnak
    14 January 2016 / Kurdish Info
    23 soldiers, including 12 specialist sergeants, have resigned from Turkish army due to the escalated onslaught and psychological warfare committed against the Kurdish population in Turkey. The names of these soldiers, hidden by the Turkish state fighting Kurdish people’s resistance, have been revealed. While the AKP government’s perception operation and genocidal onslaught in Şırnak and its Silopi, Cizre districts remain inconclusive, popular resistance in the areas of self-rule endures for one month now.
  1. Kurds on hunger strike for bodies of dead relatives
    8 January 2016 / Al Monitor
    “We were supposed to be receiving visitors for condolences now, but we are still trying to get our dead,” Mithat Ogut said bitterly. The middle-aged Kurd — visibly weak — is on a hunger strike. The reason: to press the authorities to let him have the body of his son, killed in clashes between the security forces and Kurdish militants that are raging in urban areas in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since summer 2015. His son’s body, he believes, has been left in the streets in Diyarbakir’s historic Sur district, now a virtual war zone, cut off from the outside world amid round-the-clock curfews. Along with Ogut, five other Kurds have been on a hunger strike at the Human Rights Association’s Diyarbakir office since Jan. 1, demanding the handover of two other bodies from Sur.
  1. Istanbul bomber entered Turkey as refugee from Syria, PM says
    13 January 2015 / Reuters
    An Islamic State suicide bomber who killed 10 German tourists in the heart of Istanbul’s historic district entered Turkey as a refugee from Syria and went undetected as he was not on any watch lists, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday. The bomber, who blew himself up among groups of tourists on Tuesday near the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, the top sites in one of the world’s most visited cities, had registered with immigration authorities in the city a week ago. Turkey has kept an open border to refugees from Syria’s civil war and is now home to more than 2.2 million, the world’s largest refugee population. But its border has also been used by foreign fighters seeking to join Islamic State or return from its ranks to commit atrocities abroad.
  1. 774 journalists fired, 156 detained last year in Turkey: CHP
    11 January 2016 / Hurriyet
    Almost 800 journalists were fired in Turkey last year, while 156 were detained and nearly 500 legal actions were taken against journalists by judicial authorities, according to a senior member of the country’s main opposition party. In 2015, 774 journalists were fired, 484 legal actions were taken by judicial authorities, 200 press members and seven media companies were subjected to an investigation, 156 journalists were detained, court cases were opened against 238 journalists and at least 32 journalists were currently under arrest, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu said on Jan. 11.
  1. For journalists fleeing Islamic State, Turkey ‘is as dangerous as Syria’
    11 January 2016 / Committee for the Protection of Journalists
    For the past two years, activists and journalists seeking refuge from Islamic State repression in Raqqa would take sanctuary across the border in southern Turkey, setting up safe houses and offices, and darting back to Syria regularly with camera equipment and other vital supplies. But that sanctuary is now under threat. Islamic State is increasingly able to reach into Turkey and members of media organizations covering the militant group’s crimes have told CPJ they are scared to operate out of the country.
  1. WATCH: EU press conference – Escalating State Violence in Turkey; Kurdish People under Attack
    12 January 2016 / European Commission
    With Gabriele ZIMMER (DE), GUE/NGL President, Osman BAYDEMIR, HDP Deputy for Şanlıurfa, Member of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, Former Mayor of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality; and Eyyup DORU, HDP Representative in Europe 
  1. GUE/NGL appeal for urgent action to end violence against Kurds in Turkey
    13 January 2016 / GUE/NGL Group
    The GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament today hosted a delegation from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – Mr. Osman Baydemir, HDP Deputy for Şanlıurfa, and Ms Feleknas Uca, HDP Deputy for Diyarbakır, former GUE/NGL MEP – for an exchange of views on the dramatic situation of the Kurds in southeast Turkey, who are being violently oppressed by the Turkish government. At the moment, in the southeast of Turkey, hundreds of civilians being killed, including women and children, schools are under siege, hospitals are being transformed into bunkers, systematic curfews are being imposed on towns and villages in the region and tensions are being borne by the people who fear being bombed at any moment of the day or night.
  1. Demo by Kurdish politicians outside EP against AKP’s war on Kurds
    13 January 2015 / ANF
    A three-day demo has been started outside the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels to call attention to the genocidal attacks of the AKP government against the civilian population in North Kurdistan. Kurdish politicians Zübeyir Aydar, Feleknas Uca, Adem Uzun, Osman Baydemir, as well as KNK executives and representatives of AvEG-KON are participating in the demo which has been organised by the Kurdish institutions in Europe. The demo will continue at Shumen Square on 14 January and at Place Luxembourg Square on 15 January. 
  1. Europe rights court condemns Turkey for dissolving pro-Kurdish party
    12 January 2016 / Yahoo
    Europe’s top rights court on Tuesday condemned Turkey for dissolving a moderate pro-Kurdish political party in 2009 for alleged ties to PKK rebels, saying the party did not promote violence nor warrant such a severe sanction. The judges ruled that Turkey had violated the right to freedom of assembly and association by ordering the dissolution of the Party for a Democratic Society (DTP), part of the pro-Kurdish left-wing movement, which lost its seats in parliament, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) said in a statement.
  1. European court rejects petition to end curfews in Turkey’s Kurdish region
    14 January 2016 / eKurd
    The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has rejected a petition for a temporary injunction on frequent days-long curfews that the Turkish government has enforced in southeastern Kurdish towns since late July 2015. The petition lodged against Turkey by Diyarbakir Bar lawyer Neşet Girasun and Batman Bar lawyer Erkan Şenses in the name of five individuals who live in areas such as the Cizre district of Şırnak province and the Sur district of Diyarbakır province in Turkish Kurdistan — some of the areas most affected by curfews — requested the court for a temporary injunction against the curfews.
  1. Portuguese Parliament Condemns Killing Of Three Kurdish Women
    13 January 2016 / Kurdish Question
    The Portuguese Parliament has condemned the killing of Kurdish women politicians Sêvê Demir, Pakize Nayir and Fatma Uyar in Silopi. The Parliament held a minute’s silence in the women’s honor. On Friday, the Left Bloc brought a measure of condemnation to the Portuguese Parliament regarding the killing of Sêvê Demir, assembly member of the Democratic Regions’ Party (DBP), Fatma Uyar, Free Women’s Congress (KJA) activist and Pakize Nayır, co-chair of the Silopi People’s Assembly in Silopi on January 4. The three women activists were slain while in the town of Silopi, under assault by Turkish state forces as residents maintained a resistance for the right to self-government.
  1. Turkey blockades Syrian Kurdish areas surrounded by ISIS (RT EXCLUSIVE)
    13 January 2016 / RT
    Turkey has established a strict blockade of the Kurdish regions in Syria surrounded by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), depriving Syrian Kurds of essential supplies and shooting people trying to enter Turkey from Syria, RT’s Murad Gazdiev reports. The Turkish border with the Kurdish territories in the northern Syria, which stretches for 750 kilometers, has been fitted with two layers of barbed wire, a huge minefield, and sniper towers at regular intervals. It has only two border crossings that are closed most of the time.
  1. School Bus Project for Kobane Children a Smashing Success
    13 January 2016 / Help Kobane
    Over 36.000€ collected by Stiching Help Kobane organisation. The organisation Stiching Help Kobane, with the help of the Kobane Reconstruction Board launched a crowdfunding project to raise funds for a school bus project.
    The goal of the project was to help the children of Kobane, particularly from the
    Mishtur camp to reach school safely and in time.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Erdogan exploits Istanbul terror —of course
    13 January 2016 / World War 4 Report
     Jan. 12 suicide blast in Istanbul’s historic Sultan Ahmet district killed 10, at least eight of them German tourists. Turkish authorities have detained 68 supposed ISIS operatives in the attack. In news sure to warm the hearts of Europe’s xenophobes, Turkish authorities are saying the actual perpetrator had recently registered as a Syrian refugee. Given that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not tried pin the blame on the Kurdish guerillas of the PKK, the evidence that ISIS wa sbehinf the blast must be pretty darn incontrovertible. However, Erdogan coldn’t keep from exploiting the timing of the attack to take some bogus shots at the PKK and their foreign left-wing sympathizers.
  1. Surrounded By Troubled Neighbors, Turkey’s Conflict At Home Escalates
    9 January 2016 / NPR
    Turkey seems to be surrounded by conflicts these days — in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and tensions are running high with Russia. The fight getting the least attention is the one taking place on Turkey’s own soil. Turkish security forces resumed operations against minority Kurdish fighters last summer after peace talks broke down. The fighting in the southeast has escalated, with Kurdish areas locked down under military curfews and deadly risks facing those who do venture out. Medical workers have been among the recent victims, says Fadime Kavak with the Turkish Medical Chamber. The latest casualty was Abdul Aziz Yural, a nurse who was shot by a sniper while treating a neighbor in the town of Cizre.
  1. People are dying in Turkey and we are told not to talk about it
    14 January 2016 / Hurriyet
    Turkey has turned into a country of suicide attacks, killings and massacres. The pressure on those who want to talk about such issues is constantly growing. The latest instance came after a suicide attack by an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant, who killed at least 10 people on Jan. 12 in Istanbul’s historical Sultanahmet neighborhood.  An hour after the attack, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) issued a broadcast ban following an official demand from the Prime Minister’s Office. Hours later, an Istanbul court issued a blanket ban on “all kinds of news, interviews, criticism and similar publications in print, visual, social media and all kinds of media on the Internet.”
  1. Threat perception in Turkey needs to change
    13 January 2016 / Todays Zaman
    Will the most recent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist attack in İstanbul change anything in Turkey’s main threat perception? When will the Turkish government finally realize that the jihadist threat in the country needs to be prioritized? If you listen to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks, you will quickly realize that the real enemy he wants to fight is still the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). He tries hard after each ISIL attack to create a “generic” threat of terrorism in which all groups are bundled up together without any clear references to ISIL but a clear effort to prioritize PKK as enemy number one.
  1. WATCH: Peace Group in Diyarbakır: Streets Quiet, Gunshots from Sur
    30 December 2015 / Bianet
    Peace Group members consist of people independent from organizations reached in Diyarbakır last morning (December 29). The members are getting prepared for the meeting to be held at Sümerpark at 12:30 p.m. In the meeting, Türkan Elçi, the wife of Diyarbakır Bar President, Tahir Elçi, murdered in Sur district of Diyarbakır province in November, is going to give a speech after Rakel Dink, the wife of journalist Hrant Dink who felt victim to assassination in 2007. Peace call will be made on behalf of the group in the meeting and that call for the parliament to resume negotiations as to Kurdish question and take active role in solution.
    WATCH VIDEO OF MEETING HERE
  1. Mr. Erdogan’s offensive
    10 January 2016 / Washington Post
    PHOTOGRAPHS OF black smoke rising from a dense thicket of concrete buildings have by now become a painfully familiar emblem of ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq. So it’s perhaps less shocking than it should be that such images are now appearing from the cities of Turkey, a NATO member as well as a country thought to be one of the last anchors of order in a tumultuous region. With little international notice, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is engaged in a full-scale military campaign against ethnic Kurdish militants that has killed thousands, displaced hundreds of thousands and left parts of several large towns in ruins.
  1. Istanbul attack: Isis may be concluding Turkey is no longer a place where it need tread carefully
    12 January 2015 / Independent
    Turkey is becoming a more dangerous place, but then so is the Middle East and North Africa and anywhere Isis can send its suicide squads. The Turkish authorities say that the bomber who killed at least 10 people, mostly German tourists, near the obelisk of Theodosius, not far from Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, was a 28-year-old Saudi making it likely though not certain that Isis ordered the attack. If Isis was behind the bombing it is important to know if this is a one-off or the start of a new campaign. In July its suicide bombers killed 30 Turks going to help rebuild the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani and in October they killed a further 100 peace demonstrators outside Ankara railway station.
  1. Syria’s Kurds Have Nearly Tripled Their Territory Fighting the Islamic State in 2015
    22 December 2015 / Vice
    Amid the chaos in Syria, the country’s Kurds have managed to resist the advances of the Islamic State and carve out a zone of unprecedented autonomy in their own lands. Over the past year, the YPG Kurdish militia beat back the Islamic State (IS) and nearly tripled the size of Kurdish-controlled territory in Northern Syria, all the while helping shrink the size of the IS caliphate by around 14 percent. That’s according to a new report by the IHS Jane’s, a private intelligence company that analyzes international security issues,  and has been tracking the ground war in Syria.
  1. Is Rojava’s model the awaited solution for Syrian crisis?
    8 January 2016 / Al Monitor
    Eldar Khalil, a Syrian national and member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), has been the shining star of the Syrian revolution since its outbreak in 2011. He was interviewed on behalf of Kurdish parties and set the foundations for their autonomy project to protect the Kurdish areas in the Rojava region — the term Kurds use to refer to western Kurdistan in Syria — including the Kurdish cantons of Kobani, Afrin and Qamishli. In the prime of his youth, in the early 1990s, Khalil joined the PKK-linked People’s Defense Force. He then became a member of the governing body for the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) until the founding of the Democratic Union Party in 2003.
  1. Rebuilding Kobanê
    January 2016 / Red Pepper
    We have cleared 1.5 million tonnes of rubble,’ Abdo Rrahman Hemo (known as Heval Dostar), head of the Kobanê Reconstruction Board, tells us humbly as we sit in his office in Kobanê city in November 2015. But as we walk through the bombed streets, with collapsed buildings all around us and dust filling our lungs, it’s hard to believe that Kobanê could have been any worse. We have estimated that 3.5 billion dollars of damage has been caused,’ he continues.  It’s been one year since the US bombing of Kobanê—then partly occupied by Daesh—and most of the buildings are still in tatters. Kobanê is in Rojava (meaning ‘West’ in Kurdish), a Kurdish majority region in the north of Syria that declared autonomy from the Assad regime in 2012.
  1. Thoughts on Rojava: an interview with Janet Biehl
    13 January 2016 / RoarMag
    In this interview, independent filmmaker and journalist Zanyar Omrani talks to Janet Biehl about her late companion Murray Bookchin, her trips to Rojava and the important question of how to build bottom-up power structures without risking the reversal of the process over time. Janet Biehl has traveled to Rojava twice in the past year and has written extensively about her experiences and observations while visiting the autonomous cantons in northern Syria. She is the author of the book Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin.

 

REPORTS

  1. REPAK Information File: Women of Resistance targeted by the state, 11 January 2015.

 

EVENTS

See our Event page

 

 

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