KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 5 – 11 NOVEMBER 2016

NEWS

  1. Operation Wrath of Euphrates fighters free dozens of civilians
  2. SDF commander Tolhildan: We reached the end of our initiative’s first half
  3. Kurdish Woman Leads 30K-Strong Offensive to Conquer ISIS in Their Capital
  4. Kurdish female fighters join battle for Raqqa ‘to free women from ISIS’: spokeswoman
  5. Demirtaş: Kurdish MPs taken hostage by Turkey, Erdogan’s ’empire of fear’ will collapse soon
  6. US condemns HDP arrests—but won’t do more
  7. EU rapporteur calls for freezing accession talks with Turkey
  8. Turkey: 10,000 More Public Workers dismissed
  9. Publishers from Germany to Come to İstanbul for Aslı Erdoğan
  10. EU Progress Report: Turkey Has Been Backsliding

 OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Why Turkey’s hostile stance doesn’t worry PYD leader
2. Turkey’s domestic policy losing its foreign friends
3. We Must Open Our Eyes To The Kurds’ Oppression
4. Turkish universities latest domino in Erdogan’s path
5. Turkey: the road towards dictatorship and the west’s responsibility
6. Turkey crosses new thresholds in descent to autocracy
7. Turkey Drifting Away From the European Union

 STATEMENTS
1. Solidarity Statement–Emancipatory Transformations: engaging radical democracy in Kurdistan workshop
2. Greens condemn arrests of members of Turkey’s opposition HDP party
3. Socialist International Statement
4. Support for HDP and Kurdish people from the Philippines parliament
5. Meeting in Aberdeen Scotland

 REPORTS
Parliament Publications and Records

ACTION
Early Day Motion 653 Primary sponsor: Joan Ryan MP

 EVENTS
Leeds demo on 28 October 2016

 ———————

NEWS
1. Operation Wrath of Euphrates fighters free dozens of civilians
9 November/ANF News
Wrath of Euphrates Action Room fighters moving in from Ayn Îsa town liberated the Etiye, Celîl, Qedrie and Ebdulhadî villages from ISIS gangs completely. A large number of gang members were killed in the operations and ammunition from gangs was seized by he Wrath of Euphrates Action Room fighters. Meanwhile, dozens of civilians have been freed from ISIS gangs and transported to free lands in the Operation Wrath of Euphrates launched on November 5 by SDF, YPG and YPJ forces.
http://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/operation-wrath-of-euphrates-fighters-free-dozens-of-civilians

2. SDF commander Tolhildan: We reached the end of our initiative’s first half
11 November/ANF English
SDF Commander Amed Tolhildan spoke to ANF and stated that they have reached the end of the first half of the ‘Wrath of Euphrates’ initiative to liberate Raqqa from ISIS gangs. Tolhildan said that they have advanced a total of 30 kms in the past week, and were about to unite with the Eyn Îsa armd of the operation.
http://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/sdf-commander-tolhildan-we-reached-the-end-of-our-initiative-s-first-half

3. Kurdish Woman Leads 30K-Strong Offensive to Conquer ISIS in Their Capital
6 November/PJ Media
The operation has begun to retake Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State — and it’s a Kurdish woman commanding the Syrian Democratic Forces who could take the city that brings down the caliphate.
https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/2016/11/06/kurdish-woman-leads-30k-strong-offensive-to-conquer-isis-in-their-capital/

4. Kurdish female fighters join battle for Raqqa ‘to free women from ISIS’: spokeswoman
9 November/ARA News
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched on November 6 a new military operation against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Raqqa city. Several SDF militias are participating in the campaign, known as the Euphrates Wrath Operation, among them the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).
http://aranews.net/2016/11/kurdish-female-fighters-join-battle-raqqa-free-women-isis-ypj-official/

5. Demirtaş: Kurdish MPs taken hostage by Turkey, Erdogan’s ’empire of fear’ will collapse soon
9 November/ARA News
Selahattin Demirtaş, a co-Chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said on Tuesday that Kurdish parliament members have been taken hostage by Turkey’s government.
http://aranews.net/2016/11/demirtas-kurdish-mps-taken-hostage-by-turkey-erdogans-empire-of-fear-will-soon-collapse/

6. US condemns HDP arrests—but won’t do more
6 November/Kurdistan 24
State Department spokesperson John Kirby affirmed on Friday that the US was “deeply concerned” by Ankara’s detention of a dozen parliamentary members of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including the two party co-chairs, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/Analysis/55077d2d-7670-48f4-94bc-446c2b8279a0/US-condemns-HDP-arrests—but-won’t-do-more

7. EU rapporteur calls for freezing accession talks with Turkey
10 November/ARA News
The European Commission’s rapporteur on Turkey, Kati Piri, on Wednesday called for the EU to freeze its accession talks. Piri argued that political consequences were required to demonstrate the cost Ankara would bear if it continued its crackdown.
http://aranews.net/2016/11/eu-rapporteur-calls-for-freezing-accession-negotiations-with-turkey-after-crackdown-on-kurds/

8. Turkey: 10,000 More Public Workers dismissed
10 November/etuc.org
The government of Turkish President Erdogan has recently fired a further 10,131 of its employees, bringing the total number of public sector employees dismissed or suspended since the failed 15 July military coup attempt to more than 100,000. 
https://www.etuc.org/press/turkey-10000-more-public-workers-dismissed#.WCUPd-l-4yE

9. Publishers from Germany to Come to İstanbul for Aslı Erdoğan
11 November/Bianet English
German Book Publishing and Publishers Association Stock Market Union CEO Alexander Skipis and John Steinmark will come to İstanbul to hold talks regarding imprisoned author Aslı Erdoğan.
http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/180571-publishers-from-germany-to-come-to-istanbul-for-asli-erdogan

10. EU Progress Report: Turkey Has Been Backsliding
9 November/Bianet English
European Union Commission has announced its 102-page 2016 Turkey Progress Report. Announced by Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, the report suggested that Turkey’s reform speed has slowed down and efforts into human rights and basic freedoms have failed to satisfy.
http://bianet.org/english/world/180580-eu-progress-report-turkey-has-been-backsliding

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Why Turkey’s hostile stance doesn’t worry PYD leader
9 November/Al Monitor
I ran into Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party leader (PYD) Salih Muslim at a well-protected hotel in a Stockholm suburb. Our previous meeting had taken place some six months ago in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah when I had asked him whether it was true that the Americans were encouraging the PYD to operate east of the Euphrates and advance toward Raqqa, despite Turkey’s pressures not to let the Syrian Kurdish forces move to the west of the Euphrates. 
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-syria-operation-raqqa-salih-muslim.html#ixzz4Pi6MigcD


2. Turkey’s domestic policy losing its foreign friends
8 November/Al Monitor
Upon assuming office in May, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim promised that he would “increase the number of Turkey’s friends and reduce the number of its enemies.” Today, however, Ankara is losing friends rapidly, especially in Europe where there are calls for sanctions against Turkey.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-with-fewer-friends-than-ever.html#ixzz4Pi6kKRRH


3. We Must Open Our Eyes To The Kurds’ Oppression
7 November/Morning Star
IT HAS been a tumultuous week in Turkish politics from the announcement of plans to reintroduce the death penalty to the arrests of pro-Kurdish opposition politicians.
https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-7a4b-We-must-open-our-eyes-to-the-Kurds-oppression#.WCEWBel-4yE

4. Turkish universities latest domino in Erdogan’s path
7 November/Al Monitor
When the Turkish government called for a state of emergency six days after the failed coup attempt of July 15, many critics of the government, including this journalist, supported the move, given that the nation had just confronted a lethal threat. As the state of emergency unfolded, however, some of these initial supporters, again including this one, began to change their minds primarily for two reasons.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-erdogan-took-full-control-of-universities.html#ixzz4Pi7RTHRu

5. Turkey: the road towards dictatorship and the west’s responsibility
4 November/Open Democracy
Let us stop pretending otherwise: Turkey is now under a dictatorial regime established step by step under the gaze of, and with tacit support from western governments and institutions. Kurdish and democratic forces within the country are paying a heavy price, not only because of the brutality of the AKP ruling elite informed by a mix of neoliberal economic policies and political Islam, but also the failure of western governments and institutions to read the script correctly and develop a principled response. 
https://www.opendemocracy.net/mehmet-ugur/turkey-road-towards-dictatorship-and-west-s-responsibility

6. Turkey crosses new thresholds in descent to autocracy
4 November/Al Monitor
Watching the state of affairs in Turkey, one cannot help but wonder whether the country weathered a coup attempt in July or fell victim to a successful one. This alarming question is fueled by three patterns of action the government has followed after the botched coup, using extraordinary powers made possible by its declared state of emergency.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-breaking-point-with-democracy.html#ixzz4Pi9PW2sp

7. Turkey Drifting Away From the European Union
6 November/The Real News
Video: Violence will escalate now that Turkey has left no peaceful space for the Kurdish movement, says Baris Karaagac
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=17597 <http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=17597>

8. Turkey Abandons the European Integration Project in Favor of Extreme Power Consolidation
3 November/The Real News Network
Video: Turkish media, Kurds and Kurdish supporters, and Gulanists, anyone who gets in the way of this consolidation of power will endure severe state repression says Baris Karaagac
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=17557 <http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=17557>

STATEMENTS
1. Solidarity Statement–Emancipatory Transformations: engaging radical democracy in Kurdistan workshop
We strongly protest the illegal detention of the two HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, alongside that of 11 other HDP MPs: Sirri Sureyya Onder, Ziya Pir, Ferhat Encü, Leyla Birlik, Mehmet Ali Aslan, Nursel Aydoğan, Gulser Yildirim, Idris Baluken, Abdullah Zeydan, Selma Irmak, Abdullah Zeydan Hakkari, İmam Taşçıer, Pervin Buldan.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nK8iuNFiyAjMXgV3h2OCWMb8xlQtfwLmX9YmMtJq3FM/edit

2. Greens condemn arrests of members of Turkey’s opposition HDP party
7 November/Green Party
“It is unacceptable that Selahattin Demirtas and the other members of the HDP opposition party have been unlawfully detained. Turkey is becoming more authoritarian by the day and this is another example of the great threat facing democracy in the country. The Green Party stands in solidarity with the HDP politicians boycotting parliament.”
https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2016/11/07/greens-condemn-arrests-of-members-of-turkey’s-opposition-hdp-party/

3. Socialist International Statement
4 November/Socialist International
The Socialist International firmly deplores the arrest this morning of Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, Co-Chairs of the People’s Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi), HDP, an SI member party, and the detention of 11 other HDP parliamentarians, in a further blow to Turkish democracy following earlier crackdowns and restrictions on the freedoms and rights of the citizens of that country. 
http://socialistinternational.us7.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=a87b91878b538e5c8b228148d&id=899f953304&e=c1d8ba1748>

4. Support for HDP and Kurdish people from the Philippines parliament
11 November/ANF English
In the statement made in the name of MAKABAYAN (The Patriotic Coalition – Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan), the group of leftist parties in the Philippines House of Representatives, the fascist attacks on the HDP were strongly condemned and all defenders of human rights and democracy were called on to stand with the Kurds.
http://anfenglish.com/news/protests-continue-kurds-will-topple-your-reign

5. Meeting in Aberdeen Scotland
Discussion and Solidarity.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/11/11/revolution-in-rojava-solidarity-in-aberdeen/

REPORTS
Parliament Publications and Records
Foreign Affairs Committee – Oral evidence: The UK’s relations with Turkey HC 615
Chair: Welcome to this afternoon’s sitting of the Foreign Affairs Committee and to our inquiry into the United Kingdom’s relations with Turkey. This is our first evidence session. I am delighted we have such a distinguished panel to do, to a degree, the scene-setting for the Committee’s inquiry. I invite our witnesses to identify themselves for the record, starting with Professor Hale.
http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/foreign-affairs-committee/uks-relations-with-turkey/oral/42570.html

ACTION
Early Day Motion 653 Primary sponsor: Joan Ryan MP
That this House is gravely concerned by the arrest and imprisonment of Members of Parliament from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including the HDP Co-Chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, in Turkey on 4 November 2016; agrees with the statement from the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, that these arrests compromise parliamentary democracy in Turkey; notes that hundreds of other Kurdish members and officials from HDP and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) have also been detained and imprisoned in recent months;
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/653

EVENTS
Leeds demo on 28 October 2016
8 November/Liverpool Echo
Around 80 protestors from Liverpool Rise for Kurdistan began at 11am in Derby Square and ended at around 1.30pm on College Lane. Various roads were blocked as the protest made its way through the city.
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/what-protest-liverpool-earlier-12145947

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk
http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596
Patrons: Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Kate Osamor MP, Elfyn Llwyd, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary,  Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, James Kelman, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall, Melanie Gingell, Steve Sweeney

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