KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 5 – 10 DECEMBER 2016

NEWS

1. KCK: All Kurdish parties should take steps for national unity
2. Yüksekdağ gives her statement in hearing regarding Ankara massacre
3. PYD’s Muslim proposes Rojava model against Sykes-Picot
4. Phillips: Only solution is Kurds’ right to self determination
5. Pro-Kurdish HDP party condemns bomb attack in Turkey, calls for change
6. Kurdish leader says Turkey invaded Syria to prevent Kurds from taking Raqqa
7. Amnesty: Half a Million Displaced in Turkey Amid Gov’t Crackdown
8. Over 1,000 new fighters join Syrian Democratic Forces in fight for Raqqa
9. Pentagon works to ease Kurdish-Turkish tensions in Syria
10. US facilitating joint talks with Turkey, Syrian Kurdish forces to ease tension
11. Barack Obama risks Turkey backlash after lifting military aid restrictions in Syria
12. AKP, MHP take major step for system change
13. As Turkey Cracks Down, Kurdish Mayors Pack Bags for Jail
14. Turkish police allegedly ‘execute 4 unarmed Kurdish youths’

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS

1. Where do Kurds fit in Syria conflict?
2. What’s brewing between the Kurds, Syrian regime?
3. Turkey turned into a war zone
4. The ‘Rojava Revolution’ in Syrian Kurdistan: A Model of Development for the Middle East? by Can Cemgil and Clemens Hoffmann – IDS Bulletin
5. Has there been psychological partition in Turkey?
6. How one woman is standing up to Turkey’s purges
7. What’s at stake in Syria
8. Why Turkey issued arrest warrant for this Kurdish leader
9. Kurdish authorities harming recovery of Iraq’s Yazidis: HRW
10. WikiLeaks dump casts rare light on Erdogan inner circle
11. Delegation Report: Fear of Genocide in South-East Turkey by Julie Ward MEP and Melanie Gingell, Barrister.

 CONFERENCE
Final Resolution of the 13th International Conference on “EU,Turkey, the Middle East and the Kurds”

 CAMPAIGNS, ACTION
1. Open Letter: Request to withdraw from the relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb in Hasankeyf/Turkey
2. URGENT APPEAL to the UK Government to Defend Democracy in Turkey
3. Amnesty urges Iran to release Kurdish prisoner, give medical care
4. ‘What do you mean you support Rojava?’

————————
NEWS
1. KCK: All Kurdish parties should take steps for national unity
12 December/ANF News
KCK Executive Council Co-leadership has stated the following in a statement regarding the recent developments in Kurdistan territory and the stance Kurds need to adopt:“The World War I in the first quarter of the 20th century has divided Kurdistan into four parts. In all four parts, starting from Turkey, Kurds have been subjected to physical and cultural genocide and they were intended to be melted into the hegemonic nations.
http://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/kck-all-kurdish-parties-should-take-steps-for-national-unity

2. Yüksekdağ gives her statement in hearing regarding Ankara massacre
9 December/ANF News
Prosecuted for giving a speech at a funeral of someone who was killed on October 10 massacre in Turkish capital Ankara in 2015, HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ stood trial via video-conference system Segbis yesterday. During the hearing held at the Adana 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, Yüksekdağ said the following:
http://anfenglish.com/news/yuksekdag-gives-her-statement-in-hearing-regarding-ankara-massacre

3. PYD’s Muslim proposes Rojava model against Sykes-Picot
10 December/ANF News
Holding the opening speech of the conference, which came after the Kurdish Conference at the European Parliament on 7-8 December, senator Billout pointed out that the situation in Turkey is evolving into a civil war. Billout said: “40 million Kurds have no state today and are subjected to a mass atrocity in Iran, Syria and Turkey.
http://anfenglish.com/news/pyd-s-muslim-proposes-rojava-model-against-sykes-picot

4. Phillips: Only solution is Kurds’ right to self determination
8 December/ANF News
The EP Kurdish Conference that started yesterday in Brussels, Belgium continued with the session titled “Lines in the Sand: The Historical Development of the Kurdish Issue and the Sykes-Picot”. Professor of History and Sociology Hamit Bozarslan, Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights Program on Peace-Building and Rights Director David Phillips, University of Sussex International Relations Professor Kamran Matin and Journalist Fehim Taştekin attended the session. Kurds’ century-long issues were presented in the session and it was underlined that the solution was through democratization and Kurds’ right to self determination.
http://anfenglish.com/news/phillips-only-solution-is-kurds-right-to-self-determination

5. Pro-Kurdish HDP party condemns bomb attack in Turkey, calls for change
12 December/ARA News
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Sunday condemned the Saturday’s bomb attack in Istanbul that killed at least 38 people, most of whom were police officers. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) on Sunday claimed responsibility for the attack.
http://aranews.net/2016/12/pro-kurdish-hdp-party-condemns-bomb-attack-in-turkey-calls-for-change/

6. Kurdish leader says Turkey invaded Syria to prevent Kurds from taking Raqqa
9 December/ARA News
Syrian Kurdish leader and co-Chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, said that Turkey wants to destroy all the Kurdish areas in Syria and that Turkey thinks that the ‘best Kurd is a dead Kurd’.
http://aranews.net/2016/12/kurdish-leader-says-turkey-invaded-syria-prevent-kurds-taking-raqqa/

7. Amnesty: Half a Million Displaced in Turkey Amid Gov’t Crackdown
9 December/Open Democracry
A new report by Amnesty International says an estimated half-million people have been forced from their homes amid a brutal government crackdown in majority-Kurdish regions in Turkey’s southeast. The report warns the widespread displacement and demolition of homes over the last year may amount to “collective punishment,” which is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/9/headlines/amnesty_half_a_million_displaced_in_turkey_amid_govt_crackdown

8. Over 1,000 new fighters join Syrian Democratic Forces in fight for Raqqa
10 December/ARA News
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will launch the second phase of the Raqqa campaign against ISIS on Saturday and have recruited more than 1,000 fighters to join the operation.
http://aranews.net/2016/12/over-1000-new-fighters-join-syrian-democratic-forces-in-fight-for-raqqa/

9. Pentagon works to ease Kurdish-Turkish tensions in Syria
8 December/Mail Online
The US military is working to ease simmering tensions between Syrian Kurdish rebels and Turkey, both fighting the Islamic State group in northern Syria, US defense officials said Thursday.
A US-led coalition has trained and armed the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces — most of whom are Kurdish — to attack the IS group.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4015178/Pentagon-works-ease-Kurdish-Turkish-tensions-Syria.html

10. US facilitating joint talks with Turkey, Syrian Kurdish forces to ease tension
9 December/Hurriyet Daily News
The U.S.-led anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) coalition stated on Dec. 8 that it was facilitating joint talks with Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in order to simmer down tensions between the two parties that are both fighting jihadists in northern Syria.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-facilitating-joint-talks-with-turkey-syrian-kurdish-forces-to-ease-tension-.aspx?pageID=517&nID=107109&NewsCatID=358

11. Barack Obama risks Turkey backlash after lifting military aid restrictions in Syria
9 December/Independent
US President Barack Obama has waived prohibitions in the US Arms Export Control Act, which will allow the country to arm groups that are currently fighting in Syria’s civil war. 
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/barack-obama-risks-turkey-erdogan-backlash-after-lifting-military-restrictions-in-syria-kurds-raqqa-a7465101.html

12. AKP, MHP take major step for system change
12 December/Hurriyet Daily News
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has submitted a 21-article constitutional amendment proposal that will usher in an executive presidential system with vastly enhanced powers for the head of state following an agreement between the government and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/charter-amendment-draft-submitted-to-turkeys-parliament.aspx?pageID=517&nID=107139&NewsCatID=338

13. As Turkey Cracks Down, Kurdish Mayors Pack Bags for Jail
10 December/The New York Times
When Kurdish officials here in Diyarbakir, the biggest Kurdish city in the world, say they’ve been “unavoidably detained,” it is not just an excuse for lateness.Even before I arrived, the co-mayors, Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli, were jailed on terrorism charges that rights groups say are trumped up. Interviews in prison are not possible because, officially, foreign journalists are barred from the city.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/10/world/europe/turkey-kurdish-mayors-expect-arrests.html?_r=0

14. Turkish police allegedly ‘execute 4 unarmed Kurdish youths’
4 December/Al Araby
Activists have claimed that Turkish forces “executed” four unarmed youths during an operation in the country’s south-east, after they had were suspected of being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organisation.
https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2016/12/4/turkish-police-allegedly-execute-4-unarmed-kurdish-youths

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Where do Kurds fit in Syria conflict?
8 December/Al Monitor
As the people filling the large hall of the European Parliament building for a conference on the Middle East listened to responses by the panel featuring British writers Jonathan Steele and Carne Ross, I thought about what their co-panelist, Salih Muslim, the leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), would say.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/turkey-syria-trump-has-to-decide-between-kurds-turks.html

2. What’s brewing between the Kurds, Syrian regime?
7 December/Al Monitor
Among all the complex alliances and shifting loyalties in Syria, the Kurds seem caught in the middle. Common sentiment is that the Kurds are now at a critical threshold of relations with the Damascus regime, and the outcome could be cooperation or, just as easily, combat.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/turkey-syria-kurdish-knot-sheikh-maqsoud.html

3. Turkey turned into a war zone
7 December/Revolutionary Communist Group
Turkey’s Kurdish areas have been turned into a war zone. Turkish jets are bombing Kurds and their allies in Syria. President Erdogan has claimed parts of Syria, Iraq and Greece for Turkey.
http://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/middle-east/turkey/4532-tt0711216

4. The ‘Rojava Revolution’ in Syrian Kurdistan: A Model of Development for the Middle East? by Can Cemgil and Clemens Hoffmann – IDS Bulletin
26 May/Institute of Development Studies
This article analyses Rojava’s model of rule and socioeconomic development, and its theory and practice in the context of the civil war, and regional Middle Eastern and wider global geopolitics. It reflects on Rojava’s place and meaning for contemporary geopolitics in the Middle East, and considers the territory’s prospects, discussing its transformative potential for an otherwise troubled region.
http://bulletin.ids.ac.uk/idsbo/article/view/2730/www.al-monitor.com/pulse/%20originals/2016/02/turkey-russia-moscow-tries-to-draw-ankara-into%C2%ADfight.html
Or http://ainfos.ca/en/ainfos34129.html

5. Has there been psychological partition in Turkey?
9 December/AE Ideas
When do countries break apart? Sure, civil war and violent conflict often precede secession. For every peaceful separation of Czechoslovakia, there is a Yugoslavia or India partition.
http://www.aei.org/publication/has-there-been-psychological-partition-in-turkey/

6. How one woman is standing up to Turkey’s purges
9 December/Al Monitor
The Human Rights Monument — a sculpture depicting a woman reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — is a well-known hallmark in a bustling pedestrian area in the heart of Ankara. Over the past month, a second fixture has appeared on the site: a woman with a banner. Despite 17 detentions, often by heavy-handed police, Nuriye Gulmen — one of hundreds of academics suspended from office after the July 15 attempted coup — keeps returning to the site to demand her job back.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/turkey-one-woman-stands-up-government-purges.html#ixzz4SZCseCO7

7. What’s at stake in Syria
9 December/Al Monitor
As three contentious forces are about to converge at the critical city of al-Bab in Syria, Turkey is stirring up conflicts and already setting its sights on the next prize: Manbij.
Summary⎙ Print Al-Bab is the current focal point of complicated, interwoven developments unfolding in northern Syria.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/turkey-syria-first-hand-information-al-bab.html

8. Why Turkey issued arrest warrant for this Kurdish leader
27 November/Al Monitor
As Turkey continues with its stance in claiming the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and actors in Rojava (the term Kurds use to refer to western Kurdistan in Syria) are one in the same, Co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim was accused of involvement in the Feb. 17 bomb attack in Ankara. Along with key PKK names, including Cemil Bayik, Murat Karayilan, Fehman Huseyin, Zubeyir Aydar and Remzi Kartal, now there is also an arrest warrant for Muslim.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/11/turkey-syria-issue-arrest-warrant-for-pyd-chief-muslim.html#ixzz4SZXU9HiC

9. Kurdish authorities harming recovery of Iraq’s Yazidis: HRW
4 December/Middle East Eye
Kurdish restrictions on the movement of goods are harming the recovery of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, which was targeted for genocide by the Islamic State group, Human Rights Watch said Sunday.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/kurdish-restrictions-harm-recovery-iraqs-yazidis-hrw-522184451

10. WikiLeaks dump casts rare light on Erdogan inner circle
6 December/Al Monitor
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems omnipotent, but few doubt that he is grooming Berat Albayrak as his successor. Foreign officials have described Albayrak to Al-Monitor as “Turkey’s most powerful man after Erdogan.” Some go as far as to suggest that he is already de facto running the country. Those who want to glean more about Albayrak, Turkey’s energy minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law, can now sift through more than 57,000 emails supposedly associated with his personal email account that WikiLeaks released Dec. 6.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/erdogan-albayrak-wikileaks.html#ixzz4SZffv5hT

11. Delegation Report: Fear of Genocide in South-East Turkey by Julie Ward MEP and Melanie Gingell, Barrister.
12 December/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.
At the time of writing, ten HDP deputies (elected members of parliament) had been detained by the Turkish State during the weeks following the brutal crack down on opposition parties in the wake of the failed coup attempt on 15th July 2016. The HDP had condemned the coup-attempt at the first possible opportunity, describing it as an assault on democracy.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/12/fear-of-genocide-in-south-east-turkey/

CONFERENCE
Final Resolution of the 13th International Conference on “EU,Turkey, the Middle East and the Kurds”
European Parliament, Brussels 7-8 January 2016
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/12/13th-international-conference-on-the-eu-turkey-and-the-kurds/
CAMPAIGNS, ACTION
1. Open Letter: Request to withdraw from the relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb in Hasankeyf/Turkey
5 December/ Peace in Kurdistan
As representatives of civil society organisations working to save Hasankeyf, an ancient city in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey, we write to urge you to withdraw from the project to relocate the Tomb of Zeynel Bey. From recent communication with Korres Engineering we understand that your companies are jointly providing the technical expertise and capability required to the Turkish company “Er-Bu” for the relocation of the Zeynel Bey Tomb, with Korres Engineering contributing to the planning and Bresser Eurasia in charge of the physical lifting and transporting of the monument. We invite you to meet with us to discuss further the concerns outlined below.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2016/12/05/7059/

2. URGENT APPEAL to the UK Government to Defend Democracy in Turkey
5 December/ Change .org
We, the undersigned, call on you to take decisive measures against the slide into dictatorship in Turkey. We demand that there is no more appeasement of the government of President Erdogan.
https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-urgent-appeal-to-the-uk-government-to-defend-democracy-in-turkey?recruiter=402018972&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

3. Amnesty urges Iran to release Kurdish prisoner, give medical care
10 December/Kurdistan 24
Zeynab Jalalian, a 34-year-old political activist, working to “empower Iran’s ethnic minority Kurds, particularly women,” was arrested in 2008, received an unfair trial, and was convicted only based on her “confessions,” AI reported.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/63329fb8-900d-4ce6-bd7b-fb23e5fabd61/Amnesty-urges-Iran-to-release-Kurdish-prisoner–give-medical-care

4. ‘What do you mean you support Rojava?’
29 November/Plan C
We have frequently been asked by our European comrades how they can best show solidarity with Rojava, so we wanted to write a brief piece covering some of the thoughts we have had about this subject on the basis of our experiences there. We have also asked the opinions of other people in Rojava (both Kurdish and international comrades) and incorporated their thoughts too.
http://www.weareplanc.org/blog/what-do-you-mean-you-support-rojava/

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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