KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 12 – 18 NOVEMBER 2016

 

NEWS

  1. 10 thousand people march against AKP fascism in Brussels
  2. Mardin Co-mayor Ahmet Türk: They cannot suppress us, we will resist
  3. HDP MPs meet EP President Schulz in Brussels
  4. Turkey stops HDP MP from briefing TDs on Ankara’s crackdown on Kurds and opposition
  5. Pictures: Scots Kurdish solidarity activists step up fight as Turkey continues clampdown
  6. EPSU Executive Committee expresses deep concern regarding recent Turkish developments
  7. US-led coalition strikes ISIS headquarters in Raqqa
  8. Syrian Kurds tackle conscription, underage marriages and polygamy
    9. Kurdish volunteers dismantle hundreds of explosives
    10. YBŞ fighters: We’ll resist all attacks, no matter where they come from
    11. BBC must stop ‘false & negligent’ Raqqa coverage, say Kurds

    OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
    12. Erdogan’s War on Women
  9. LT. GEN. Michael T. Flynn: “Gun for Hire”
    14. Team Trump’s first ethics scandal?
    15. Why Turkey’s Islamist Leader Is So Happy About Trump
  10. HDP arrests: on the road to dictatorship in Turkey
    17. Sarah Glynn: More than ever we need to show our support for Kurds and others under threat around the world

    18. The Middle East Will Bring an End to the EU
    19. Op-ed: Turkey has declared war against the Kurds
    20. Does Turkey have upper hand in EU membership battle?
    21. Will Turkey’s negative growth rates lead to political crisis?
    22. The Repression And War Crimes Inflicted On Turkey’s Kurds
  11. Turkey: the road towards dictatorship and the west’s responsibility
  12. Kurdish war history preserved through art

 

BOOK REVIEW

Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in the Middle East

STATEMENTS
1. Closing Down of NGOS in Turkey is Another Step Towards Tyranny
2. Statement on the Closure of Women’s Organisations on 12th November in Turkey

  1. Scots activists condemn suppression of NGOs in Turkey

 

ACTION
Early day motion 653 – POLITICAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN TURKEY

EVENTS

  1. PUBLIC FORUM WITH SALEH MUSLIM, CO-LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC UNION PARTY (PYD)
    November 22, 2016 at 7pm – 9pm
  2. New World Embassy: Rojava
  3. Democratic transformations, Kurdish women and regional conflict: Lessons from Rojava and beyond
    Workshop, exhibition and roundtable discussion on 10 December 2016

 ————————–

 NEWS

  1. 10 thousand people march against AKP fascism in Brussels

The protest organized by Kurdish Women’s Movement Europe (TJK-E), Kurdish Democratic Congress Europe (KCDK-E), Peoples’ Democratic Congress Europe (HDK-E) and Democratic United Forces started in Gare Du Nord in Brussels early in the morning. […] 10 thousand people carrying posters of Selahattin Demirtaş, Figen Yüksekdağ and other arrested MPs and Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan chanted slogans against AKP.
http://anfenglish.com/news/10-thousand-people-march-against-akp-fascism-in-brussels

2. Mardin Co-mayor Ahmet Türk: They cannot suppress us, we will resist

Mardin Metropolitan Municipality Co-mayor Ahmet Türk has been suspended today in line with an instruction from the Ministry of Interior. Türk was later replaced by a trustee, Mardin Governor Mustafa Yaman.
http://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/mardin-co-mayor-ahmet-turk-they-cannot-suppress-us-we-will-resist

3. HDP MPs meet EP President Schulz in Brussels

A delegation from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) held talks in the European Parliament in Brussels and spoke of the dimension Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s dictatorial practices have reached today.
The delegation was made up of HDP deputies Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Faysal Sarıyıldız, Tuğba Hezer and HDP Representative for Europe, Eyüp Doru.
http://anfenglish.com/news/hdp-mps-meet-ep-president-schulz-in-brussels

4. Turkey stops HDP MP from briefing TDs on Ankara’s crackdown on Kurds and opposition
TURKEY has cancelled the passport of a Member of Parliament from the pro-Kurdish (HDP) Peoples’ Democratic Party, preventing him from meeting civil rights campaigners and Irish parliamentarians this week to give evidence of suppression of political opposition and Kurds in the wake of July’s failed military coup.
http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/26497

5. Pictures: Scots Kurdish solidarity activists step up fight as Turkey continues clampdown
SCOTTISH KURDISH solidarity campaigners are stepping up their activities in defence of the civil liberties of Kurds and everyone living in Turkey in the face of an accelerating crackdown in the country.
https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/9868/pictures-scots-kurdish-solidarity-activists-step-fight-turkey-continues-clampdown

6. EPSU Executive Committee expresses deep concern regarding recent Turkish developments
This edition of the EPSU newsletter has a strong focus on all that was achieved at last week’s Executive Committee. You can read about the informative and impassioned speech – which received a standing ovation – from our colleague representing the Turkish public sector confederation KESK – the Executive Committee adopted a resolution condemning the coup and expressing deep concern regarding recent developments in Turkey, particularly the dismissals and suspensions of public workers.
http://www.epsu.org/newsletter/epsu-executive-committee-expresses-deep-concern-regarding-recent-turkish-developments

7. US-led coalition strikes ISIS headquarters in Raqqa
Coalition warplanes launched several airstrikes on Thursday, targeting the Islamic State’s (ISIS) headquarters in Raqqa Governorate. The airstrikes were in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) Euphrates Wrath Operation.
The penultimate goal of Euphrates Wrath is the isolation of ISIS in Raqqa city, the extremist group’s de facto capital. The campaign began almost two weeks ago.
http://aranews.net/2016/11/us-led-coalition-strikes-isis-headquarters-raqqa-amid-sdf-advance/

8. Syrian Kurds tackle conscription, underage marriages and polygamy
In the Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava (NSR), unlike the rest of the country, female soldiers and officers are commonplace. Breaking with centuries of tradition, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fought to the death in defense of Kobane and now they’ve taken point in the battle for Raqqa.
http://aranews.net/2016/11/syrian-kurds-tackle-underage-marriages-polygamy/

9. Kurdish volunteers dismantle hundreds of explosives
The Islamic State (ISIS) has been on the back foot for months, losing hundreds of villages and towns in northern Syria. As the jihadists withdraw they are planting landmines, near communities and along public roads.
http://aranews.net/2016/11/kurdish-forces-dismantle-hundreds-isis-explosives-northeast-syria/

10. YBŞ fighters: We’ll resist all attacks, no matter where they come from
Shengal Resistance Units (YBŞ) fighters that participate in the defense of Shengal spoke to ANF and stated that they would resist all attacks no matter where they come from, just like they defended Êzidî people to the death when all other forces turned their back on Shengal.
http://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/ybs-fighters-we-ll-resist-all-attacks-no-matter-where-they-come-from

11. BBC must stop ‘false & negligent’ Raqqa coverage, say Kurds
A Kurdish rights group has accused the BBC of “false and negligent” reporting on Kurdish involvement in the campaign to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
In an article posted to the group’s website and backed by MEP Julie Ward, Lord Rea, Hywel Williams MP and a number of NGOs and academics, the Peace in Kurdistan campaign slammed the broadcaster for “spreading false news … when covering the Raqqa operation.”
https://www.rt.com/uk/366904-bbc-raqqa-kurdistan-bias/

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Erdogan’s War on Women
Kurdish women in one of the strongest and most radical women’s movements in the world are taking a battering from the Turkish state with impunity – as Europe looks the other way.
https://opendemocracy.net/5050/dilar-dirik/erdogan-s-war-on-women

2. LT. GEN. Michael T. Flynn: “Gun for Hire”
Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, a Trump national security adviser, has been paid by Turkish money laundered through a Dutch company to lobby on behalf of the Turkish government. More than bad judgement, Flynn’s egregious conduct raises ethical questions. It also casts doubt on his suitability for public office.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-l-phillips/lt-gen-michael-t-flynn-gu_b_13013248.html

3. Team Trump’s first ethics scandal?
I wrote on Thursday about Gen. Michael Flynn’s sudden about-face on Turkey, both with regard to his assessment of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s helpfulness in the war against terror and with regard to exiled Islamic theologian Fethullah Gülen, a one-time ally of Erdogan whose exile and perhaps execution the Turkish president now demands. What raised so many eyebrows was how sharply the op-ed diverged from his previous positions and how it appeared to be in complete conformity with the Turkish government’s positions.
https://www.aei.org/publication/team-trumps-first-ethics-scandal/

4. Why Turkey’s Islamist Leader Is So Happy About Trump
Many people are delighted by Donald Trump’s election last week. There are (some) Republicans. Some Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Alt-right online trolls and opponents of free trade. Add to this list Turkey’s Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan himself has already invited Trump to Ankara. In an interview after the election, he said he thought the U.S. and Turkey could cooperate more on Syria.
So why is a Turkish leader whose political party is a coalition inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood so happy about a president-elect who pledged at times to ban Muslim immigration into the U.S.?
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-11-17/why-turkey-s-erdogan-is-so-happy-about-trump-s-victory

5. HDP arrests: on the road to dictatorship in Turkey
The political situation in Turkey continues to deteriorate in the wake of the attempted coup d’état in July 2016, allegedly organized by the Gülen Movement, a former ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). It has in fact led to a slow incremental counter-coup where Erdogan and his cronies have progressively jailed, marginalized and silenced opponents of all hues — but especially the Kurdish movement.
https://roarmag.org/essays/hdp-arrests-dictatorship-turk

6. Sarah Glynn: More than ever we need to show our support for Kurds and others under threat around the world
Author and campaigner Sarah Glynn says building links with movements across the world is vital in defeating dangerous ideologies.
https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/9864/sarah-glynn-more-ever-we-need-show-our-support-kurds-and-others-under-threat-around

7. The Middle East Will Bring an End to the EU
Iraqi and international troops have been in Mosul, the bastion of the so-called Islamic State (IS) since 2014. Zekine Türkeri, author of Un Verano Kurdo (A Kurdish Summer, Editorial Descontrol, 2016), is convinced that the consequences of this operation will be, once again, disastrous for all.
https://www.equaltimes.org/the-middle-east-will-bring-an-the#.WC9xv-l-4yE

8. Op-ed: Turkey has declared war against the Kurds
“All friends, enemies, and the mountains shall know that the Turk is the master of this country. All those who are not pure Turks have only one right in the Turkish homeland: the right to be servants, the right to be slaves,” Turkey’s Minister of Justice, Mahmut Esat, declared in 1930.
The notion of a “pure Turk” is without a doubt an invention of Kemalist theories; such actuality ceases to exist. However, this should still raise concerns for where Turkey is heading today. For Kurds, there has been zero progress in the attainment of true democracy in the Turkish state.
http://www.theeagleonline.com/article/2016/11/op-ed-turkey-has-declared-war-against-the-kurds

9. Does Turkey have upper hand in EU membership battle?
In the joint press conference in Ankara by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Steinmeier (a Social Democrat) voiced his concern about the massive crackdown and waves of arrests and the pressures on the media. Concerning the continuation of accession negotiations between the European Union and Turkey, he said, “The decision [to suspend them] should not be made by the EU capitals, but Turkey should reach a decision on [its relations with the] EU.”
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-european-union-can-not-take-unified-position.html#ixzz4QOTtDt4w

10. Will Turkey’s negative growth rates lead to political crisis?
Toward the end of the year, when the time comes to disclose Turkey’s growth rate in the third quarter, the Turkish Statistical Institute is expected to announce the country’s worst rate for the past 27 quarters. The signs are already there, growing clearer every day. In its latest report on Turkey, the International Monetary Fund has already said the year-end rate would be below 3%, a projection that is likely to be revised further downward.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-economy-in-harsh-fall-season.html#ixzz4QOTVfqvQ

11. The Repression And War Crimes Inflicted On Turkey’s Kurds
“BE Smart, We’ll Be Back.” Neatly stencilled onto a wall in central Nusaybin, the warning is less crude than other graffiti scrawled by Turkish soldiers on walls and inside homes after they’ve besieged and pulverised Kurdish towns across south-east Turkey, but in context it’s equally chilling.
https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-19aa-The-repression-and-war-crimes-inflicted-on-Turkeys-Kurds#.WC93tel-4yE

12. Turkey: the road towards dictatorship and the west’s responsibility
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. The west’s failure today is similar to the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s.
https://www.opendemocracy.net/mehmet-ugur/turkey-road-towards-dictatorship-and-west-s-responsibility

13. Kurdish war history preserved through art
Thirty years ago, Ako Ghareb joined the Kurdish rebellion against Saddam Hussein’s regime, in a bid for Kurdish independence. At the age of 23, he fled to the Jafaiti Valley and surrounding mountains in northern Iraq, where he remained entrenched with the Peshmerga for seven years.
Following the first Gulf War, Iraq’s Kurds achieved a measure of autonomy with the creation of a no-fly zone, and cemented those gains during the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
With the ongoing war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and a crippled economy, the struggle for fully fledged Kurdish independence is today described by many Kurds as an “aspiration” or a fanciful dream. But for Ghareb, the battle continues in a different form: Back in the 1980s, his weapon was an old Kalashnikov. Today, he uses an easel and a brush.
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/11/kurdish-war-history-preserved-art-161107131123027.html

BOOK REVIEW
Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in the Middle East
by Michael Knapp, Anna Flach and Ercan Ayboga
(Pluto Press, £14.99)

WITH a population of 30 million people, the Kurds remain the world’s largest stateless community and the Rojava revolution in northern Syria is seen as a beacon of hope for the Kurdish diaspora. It’s also perceived as a threat by those who fear the spread of the democratic ideals that it embodies.
http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2a3d-How-women-are-at-the-core-of-the-Rojava-revolution

STATEMENTS
1. Closing Down of NGOS in Turkey is Another Step Towards Tyranny
First the Turkish authorities came for the politicians, then they came for the journalists and the lawyers, the academics and students, then the political advisors and now it is the turn of NGOs.
Hundreds of NGOs have become the latest victims to feel the wrath of President Erdogan and his clampdown on democracy which he is carrying out under pretext of eradicating the social and political support base of the failed coup.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/11/14/closing-down-of-ngos-in-turkey-is-another-step-towards-tyranny/

2. Statement on the Closure of Women’s Organisations on 12th November in Turkey

Peace in Kurdistan/12 November
They have undoubtedly been instrumental in breaking down the barriers that have traditionally trapped women in the private sphere; they have been at the fore front of the movement to break down the barriers, inspiring women across the region to demand their equal rights and to participate equally in society, to seek equality in political office, for example, with each post being held jointly by a women and a man.

https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/11/21/statement-on-the-closure-of-womens-organisations-on-12th-november-in-turkey/

28. Scots activists condemn suppression of NGOs in Turkey
Scottish activists have condemned the suppression of civil society groups in Turkey.
It is estimated that 370 charities, NGOs and trade unions have been shut down by government decree since a failed coup in the country in July.
Organisations targeted have had their offices sealed and members have been warned to stay away from them.
They have been accused of having contacts with either the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), the Gulen Movement, which is said to have been behind the coup attempt, or Islamic State.
http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/scots-activists-condemn-suppression-of-ngos-in-turkey

ACTION
29. Early day motion 653 – POLITICAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN TURKEY
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; further notes that since the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016, President Erdogan and the Turkish government have imposed greater restrictions on the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press, as well as threatened the independence of the judiciary; believes that the current situation in Turkey is undermining democracy and the chances of resolving the Kurdish issue; urges the Turkish authorities to respect the rule of law and the fundamental rights of all of its citizens, including Kurds, Alevis and other minority groups; and calls on the Government and the Council of Europe to make representations to the Turkish government expressing serious concern at the imprisonment of the HDP MPs, the suspension of provisions within the European Convention on Human Rights and President Erdogan’s support for the reintroduction of the death penalty.
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/653

EVENTS
1. PUBLIC FORUM WITH SALEH MUSLIM, CO-LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC UNION PARTY (PYD)
November 22, 2016 at 7pm – 9pm

In this highly crucial meeting Mr Saleh Muslim will provide an update on the PYD’s role in Syria and in the region. He will analyse the Syrian crisis with respect to Kurds’ expectations and objectives in the post-war environment. He will also elaborate on the role of the international powers in the post-war political setting. The model of self-governance that has been under way will also be discussed.
http://www.kurdishprogress.org/public_forum_with_saleh_muslim_co_leader_of_the_democratic_union_party_pyd?utm_campaign=22_nov_16&utm_medium=email&utm_source=kurdishprogress

2. New World Embassy: Rojava

The New World Embassy: Rojava is a temporary embassy that will be constructed in Oslo, and which represents, through cultural means, the ideals of “stateless democracy” developed by the communities of the autonomous region of Rojava, northern Syria. The embassy will consist of a large-scale oval shaped architectural structure, designed as an “ideological planetarium.”

The Embassy will operate for two consecutive days on 26 and 27 November 2016, bringing representatives from Rojava together with international politicians, diplomats, academics, journalists, students, artists, and more. Through open deliberation and public discussion the New World Embassy: Rojava proposes a platform to build new transnational relationships and explore alternative models of people’s diplomacy. This includes an analysis of the history, ideals, and implementation of stateless democracy; of the successes of Rojava in building a new civil society in a war-torn region; and finally the alternative that Rojava proposes in order to confront the crises of democracy seen on a global scale.

http://newworldsummit.org/locations/embassy-rojava/

  1. Democratic transformations, Kurdish women and regional conflict: Lessons from Rojava and beyond
    Workshop, exhibition and roundtable discussion on 10 December 2016
    The Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre of the University of Greenwich and Peace in Kurdistan – Women’s Alliance for Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria, would like to invite you to a workshop, exhibition and roundtable discussion on “Democratic transformations, Kurdish women and regional conflict: lessons from Rojava and beyond”.

Against a background of conflict and repression in the Middle East, Kurds in four countries (Iraq, Iran, Syrian and Turkey) are asserting their political and cultural rights; and transforming both themselves and the countries they live in. They pursue a democratic, secular and gender-equal political project in which women play a crucial role. The aim of this workshop and roundtable discussion is to discuss the unfolding experience; and its achievements and challenges with respect to participatory democracy, human rights, gender equality and security in Kurdistan and beyond.

Event registration https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/democratic-transformations-kurdish-women-and-regional-conflict-tickets-28868615807

Event Program: http://www.gre.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/1319553/Workshop_Program_Logo2.pdf

 

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, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federations of Trade Unions, 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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