KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 28 FEBRUARY 2017 – 6 MARCH 2017

NEWS
1. YPJ statement on 8 March: Every free woman is a free country
2. YBŞ/YJŞ vows to respond to every attack on Shengal soil
3. KCK urges an immediate end to KDP’s attacks on Shengal and Êzidîs
4. YPG: Turkish army attacked Rojava land 89 times in two months
5. Êzidî mothers: Barzani sold Shengal out to Erdoğan
6. Turkey behind attack on Yazidi force in Shingal: Kurdish expert
7. The current state is against the interests of the Kurdistanian peoples
8. Rival Kurdish factions clash in northwestern Iraq
9. Manbij Military Council denies handing over areas to Assad
10. Kurdish YPG fighters repel Turkish attack near Syria’s Afrin
11. Russian general confirms a Kurdish-Russian deal against Turkey
12. Syria’s Kurdish-led administration sees end to economic ‘siege’
13. US, Russia aim to prevent clashes between Turkey and Syrian Kurds: official
14. Moscow wants to include PYD Kurds in next Geneva talks

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. As Erdoğan turns the screw, we must stand up for human rights in Turkey
2. Could Turkey’s misstep in Manbij provide template for Raqqa?
3. Will Turkey attack Kurds in Manbij or move on to Raqqa?
4. Turkish court upholds free speech … for Erdogan
5. Turkey defies British anti-terror commander, escalating its assault on Syrian Kurds and their Yazidi allies

 CAMPAIGNS, ACTION, EVENTS
1. PUBLIC FORUM ‘PEACE DELEGATION CALLS FOR THE RETURN TO THE PEACE PROCESS IN TURKEY’
2. WESTMINSTER DEBATE on 9 March Press release from Joan Ryan
3. FILM SCREENING: Sara – My Whole Life Was A Struggle
4. Book launch and reception for renowned Kurdish novelist Bakhtiyar Ali
5. Turkey’s opposition HDP lawmakers join global women’s strike
6. Stop the Cardiff arms fair!
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NEWS
1. YPJ statement on 8 March: Every free woman is a free country
6 March/ANF News
The Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) General Command released a statement marking March 8th, International Women’s Day. In the statement made in front of the YPJ General Command building in Serêkaniyê, dozens of YPJ fighters and commanders were present.
http://anfenglish.com/women/ypj-statement-on-8-march-every-free-woman-is-a-free-country

2. YBŞ/YJŞ vows to respond to every attack on Shengal soil
4 March/ANHA News Agency
The Shengal/Women’s Resistance Units (YBŞ/YJŞ) Commands released a statement about the attack of KDP forces upon the request of Turkey on Shengal on Friday morning.
http://en.hawarnews.com/ybsyjs-vows-to-respond-to-every-attack-on-shengal-soil/

3. KCK urges an immediate end to KDP’s attacks on Shengal and Êzidîs
4 March/ANF News
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency released a statement regarding the attacks of KDP-affiliated forces against the Êzidî people in Shengal.
http://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/kck-urges-an-immediate-end-to-kdp-s-attacks-on-shengal-and-ezidis

4. YPG: Turkish army attacked Rojava land 89 times in two months
5 March/ANF News
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency released a statement regarding the attacks of KDP-affiliated forces against the Êzidî people in Shengal.
http://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/ypg-turkish-army-attacked-rojava-land-89-times-in-two-months

5. Êzidî mothers: Barzani sold Shengal out to Erdoğan
5 March/ANF News
Speaking to ANF, mothers in Shengal responded to the KDP attack on Shengal, saying: “Barzani sold us out once again. KDP sold us out to ISIS first, and to Erdoğan now. We will fight the KDP until one single Êzidî remains alive and we will not allow the Barzani gangs to enter our lands. With these attacks, they want to finalize the 73rd genocide against Êzidîs.”
http://anfenglish.com/features/ezidi-mothers-barzani-sold-shengal-out-to-erdogan

6. Turkey behind attack on Yazidi force in Shingal: Kurdish expert
3 March/Kom News
Clashes erupted between peshmerga forces allied to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of the Kurdish Regional Government and Yazidi Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) in Khanasor, a neigbourhood to the west of Mosul on Friday morning.
https://komnews.com/turkey-behind-attack-yazidi-force-shingal-kurdish-expert/

7. The current state is against the interests of the Kurdistanian peoples
3 March/Kurdistan National Congress
Yesterday, 2 March, an armed group related to the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) entered Şingal, intending to force their way into the town of Xanesor (near Musol in Iraq). This gave rise to tension culminating, in this morning, in a confrontation between those armed men and the Şingal Defence Units (YPŞ). There had not been any reason or necessity for the outbreak of this incident. It took place, however, after the visit of Mr. Mesûd Barzanî to Ankara-Turkey; a fact which generates suspicion. Along with Kurdistan public opinion we are saddened with this episode.
http://www.kongrakurdistan.net/en/the-current-state-is-against-the-interests-of-the-kurdistanian-peoples/

8. Rival Kurdish factions clash in northwestern Iraq
3 March/Reuters
Rival Kurdish groups clashed in Iraq’s northwestern Sinjar region on Friday, two Kurdish security sources said. The deadly fighting erupted when Peshmerga Rojava forces moved towards the border with Syria, encroaching on territory controlled by a local affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-kurds-sinjar-idUSKBN16A0HV

9. Manbij Military Council denies handing over areas to Assad
6 March/ARA News
The Manbij Military Council (MMC) on Sunday denied handing over areas to the Syrian government after increased tensions between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Sinjar.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/manbij-military-council-denies-handing-areas-assad/

10. Kurdish YPG fighters repel Turkish attack near Syria’s Afrin
4 March/ARA News
Clashes erupted on Friday between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Turkish military forces in Afrin District, in northwestern Syria.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/kurdish-ypg-fighters-repel-turkish-attack-near-syrias-afrin/

11. Russian general confirms a Kurdish-Russian deal against Turkey
5 March/ARA News
Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, has confirmed a deal between Russia, the Syrian government and the Kurds in Manbij against Turkey and Turkish-backed rebels.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/russian-general-confirms-a-kurdish-russian-deal-against-turkey/

12. Syria’s Kurdish-led administration sees end to economic ‘siege’
3 March/Reuters
The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says a new land corridor to the government-controlled west marks an economic breakthrough for their autonomous region that has been under “siege” by hostile parties.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-northeast-idUSKBN16A0K2?il=0

13. US, Russia aim to prevent clashes between Turkey and Syrian Kurds: official
5 March/ARA News
The US-led coalition is sending more armored vehicles to the north of Manbij city near the Sajur river in order to deter hostile acts between the the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkey, and to ‘keep the focus on ISIS’, a coalition spokesperson said on Saturday.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/us-russia-aim-to-prevent-clashes-between-turkey-and-syrian-kurds-official/

14. Moscow wants to include PYD Kurds in next Geneva talks
5 March/ARA News
Moscow continues to supports the participation of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in peace talks on Syria, Russian envoy to the UN Office in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin said Saturday.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/moscow-wants-include-pyd-kurds-next-geneva-talks/

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. As Erdoğan turns the screw, we must stand up for human rights in Turkey
2 March/The Guardian
If this newspaper were published in Turkey the rest of this column might be entirely blank, except for an author photograph at the top and the words, printed in large type, “124 days deprived of freedom”. That’s what the country’s most important surviving oppositional newspaper, Cumhuriyet, regularly prints for its imprisoned columnists – with the tally of days in jail ticking up and up. One leading columnist, Kadri Gürsel, recently sent a moving letter that begins: “I salute you all with love from B block, ward number 25 of Silivri prison number 9.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/02/erdogan-turns-screw-human-rights-turkey

2. Could Turkey’s misstep in Manbij provide template for Raqqa?
5 March/Al Monitor
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not winning friends with US military planners by threatening to attack Manbij, a predominantly Arab town controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Pentagon’s partner of choice among armed groups battling the Islamic State.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/turkey-misstep-manbij-syria-template-raqqa-erdogan-iraq.html#ixzz4aXMayWxO

3. Will Turkey attack Kurds in Manbij or move on to Raqqa?
1 March/Al Monitor
As US President Donald Trump is deciding who he wants to be involved alongside the United States in the operation to take Raqqa, Syria, from the Islamic State (IS), all the players on the Syrian stage are struggling to grab the most advantageous position. Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is benefiting from a perceptible increase in US military support, is advancing to the north and northeast of Raqqa.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/turkey-syria-ankara-manbij-calculations-all-muddled.html#ixzz4aIWkopqu

4. Turkish court upholds free speech … for Erdogan
1 March/Al Monitor
The botched coup attempt that rattled Turkey on July 15, 2016, marked a double setback for the country’s democracy. As the academic Vahap Coskun succinctly described it, the failed putsch “was an insurrection against the democratic order by a group that had infiltrated the state. Those in the seat of power realized that the most critical organs of the state had been functioning outside their control and that their hold of power had been to a large extent only an appearance.” 
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/turkey-judiciary-sets-example-of-subservience.html#ixzz4aIX0dPiT

5. Turkey defies British anti-terror commander, escalating its assault on Syrian Kurds and their Yazidi allies
3 March/The Canary
The last 36 hours have seen major developments in the Middle East in defiance of British and US-led anti-Daesh (Isis/Isil) forces. First, Turkish militias are attacking anti-Daesh units near the Syrian city of Manbij. And at the same time, Turkish-backed forces have launched an attack on the long-suffering Yazidi community in Iraq.
https://www.thecanary.co/2017/03/03/turkey-defies-british-anti-terror-commander-escalating-assault-syrian-kurds-yazidi-allies/

CAMPAIGNS, ACTION, EVENTS
1. PUBLIC FORUM ‘PEACE DELEGATION CALLS FOR THE RETURN TO THE PEACE PROCESS IN TURKEY’
Event summary with links to photos and a short video
The Centre for Kurdish Progress and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign jointly organised a Public Forum with members of an international delegation organised by the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) who visited Turkey with the aim of promoting the Peace Process and a democratic political solution to the Kurdish question.
http://www.kurdishprogress.org/public_forum_peace_delegation_calls_for_the_return_to_the_peace_process_in_turkey

2. WESTMINSTER DEBATE on 9 March Press release from Joan Ryan
6 March/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Joan Ryan MP has secured a 90 minute debate in Parliament to discuss the human rights and political situation in Turkey. The debate, on Thursday 9th March from 3pm to 4.30pm, will provide an important opportunity for Members of Parliament to consider the aftermath of last year’s attempted coup and the forthcoming national referendum, in April, on the new, draft constitution – the result of which could provide sweeping new powers to the Turkish President.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/03/06/press-release-joan-ryan-mp-secures-parliamentary-debate-on-turkey/

3. FILM SCREENING: Sara – My Whole Life Was A Struggle
10 March/SOAS University
The SOAS Kurdish Society and The Kurdistan Students’ Union UK (YXK UK) invites you to the screening of the documentary about the life of Sakine Cansiz (SARA), founding member of the PKK, who was assassinated with two other women in Paris in 2013.
https://www.facebook.com/events/263661937407678/

4. Book launch and reception for renowned Kurdish novelist Bakhtiyar Ali
12 March/Burgh House
Periscope Books and Kurdish Culture Project are pleased to invite you to an evening honouring Bakhtiyar Ali, the foremost Kurdish novelist whose epic I Stared at the Night of the City was published in the autumn. The first major work of contemporary Kurdish literature to be translated into English, I Stared at the Night of the City is a masterful allegory of modern Iraqi Kurdistan, where everything – even the imagination itself – is bought, sold and controlled by a secretive elite: a state of affairs resisted only by a motley band of friends with uncanny abilities. 
http://kurdishcultureproject.org/2017/02/25/book-launch-and-reception-for-renowned-kurdish-novelist-bakhtiyar-ali/

5. Turkey’s opposition HDP lawmakers join global women’s strike
2 March/Kom News
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentary group deputy co-leader and Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioglu issued a statement on Wednesday declaring that the HDP’s women deputies will participate in the Global Women’s Strike on 8 of March.
https://komnews.com/turkeys-opposition-hdp-lawmakers-join-global-womens-strike/

6. Stop the Cardiff arms fair!
28 March/Cardiff
Campaigners have announced a day of protest against a controversial Cardiff event which they say “totally blurs the boundary between government and the arms trade”.
https://blog.caat.org.uk/2017/02/14/stop-the-cardiff-arms-fair-2/
https://winteroak.org.uk/2017/03/01/the-acorn-32/#2

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

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, 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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