KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 14 – 20 MARCH 2017 NEWS

 

  1. YJA Star: We will prevail in 2017 with the spirit of Newroz
  2. PKK: Let’s celebrate Newroz with the spirit of resistance
  3. How Erdoğan’s ruthless drive for more power is shaking a divided Europe
  4. Kurdish voters still undecided on Turkish referendum
  5. Kurdish supporters in Frankfurt protest against Erdogan
  6. Academic Freedom Must Be Defended
  7. PYD’s Muslim at Newroz rally in Frankfurt: Victory will be ours
  8. Turkish police detain 740 Kurds over alleged PKK links: minister
  9. PKK Prisoners Around Turkey Start Hunger Strike to Free Ocalan
  10. Turkey bans Kurdish New Year celebrations in Istanbul, Ankara
  11. Erdogan is ‘stoppable,’ pro-Kurdish lawmakers say
  12. Dozens including 3 journalists, 2 deputies detained in anti-HDP operations
  13. Dozens of pro-Kurdish officials arrested in Turkey crackdown
  14. Syrian Kurdish police fears ISIS attacks during Newroz celebrations
  15. Kurdish YPG leader says attack on Raqqa city to start in April
  16. UN says no ethnic cleansing by Kurds in northern Syria
  17. Syria conflict: Unravelling the puzzle
  18. US-led coalition says no plans to incorporate Rojava Peshmergas in fight against ISIS in Syria
  19. British YPG member says ISIS leadership fleeing Raqqa, Turkey excluded from the operation

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. On Nevrooz and ‘NO!’
2. ‘Turkey seeks to gain upper hand in Syria peace talks’
3. US: Team Up with Kurds Not Turkey to Destroy Islamic State
4. Calculated tension: Turkey talks big to Europe but holds back from economic steps
5. Tillerson to woo Turkey during Ankara visit
6. Congress wants answers from Turkey on shutdown of US aid pipeline to Syria
7. Syria conflict: Unravelling the puzzle
8. The Rojava experiment
9. Bernard-Henri Lévy: Address to the Kurdish nation

STATEMENT
1. Newroz 2017: No to Dictatorship – Yes to Peoples Democracy and Freedom

ACTION, CAMPAIGNS
1. Text of speeches of  Commons Debate: Turkey: Human Rights and the Political Situation
2. Final Report of the Third Imrali Peace Delegation : STATE TERROR, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND AUTHORITARANISM IN TURKEY

——————————————
NEWS
1. YJA Star: We will prevail in 2017 with the spirit of Newroz
19 March/ANF News
PKK Executive Committee issued a written statement on Newroz Holiday. In its statement, the PKK said “We are in a new Newroz; our day of unity, resistance and freedom. As the movement and the people, we celebrate this Newroz with the determination of the motto “We will prevail.” 
http://anfenglish.com/women/yja-star-we-will-prevail-in-2017-with-the-spirit-of-newroz

2. PKK: Let’s celebrate Newroz with the spirit of resistance
19 March/ANF News
PKK Executive Committee issued a written statement on Newroz Holiday. In its statement, the PKK said “We are in a new Newroz; our day of unity, resistance and freedom. As the movement and the people, we celebrate this Newroz with the determination of the motto “We will prevail.” 
http://anfenglish.com/news/pkk-let-s-celebrate-newroz-with-the-spirit-of-resistance

3. How Erdoğan’s ruthless drive for more power is shaking a divided Europe
19 March/The Guardian

The ruthless drive by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s pugnacious president, to expand his already considerable executive powers knows no bounds. Even cows are not safe. At the height of last week’s furious row with the Netherlands, Turkey’s red-meat producers’ association said it was expelling 40 Holstein Friesian cattle. Dutch cows, like Dutch diplomats, were no longer welcome in Turkey.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/19/ruthless-erdogan-leaves-europe-on-shaky-ground-turkey-referendum

4. Kurdish voters still undecided on Turkish referendum
18 March/DW. com

The ruling AKP is focusing on nationalism in its referendum campaign. This is risky, because the voices of the Kurds could be decisive. Will the outcome of the referendum be decided in the southeast of the country?
http://www.dw.com/en/kurdish-voters-still-undecided-on-turkish-referendum/a-38009436

5. Kurdish supporters in Frankfurt protest against Erdogan
18 March/Reuters
Around 30,000 Kurdish supporters demonstrated in the German city of Frankfurt on Saturday against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and an April referendum that would give him sweeping new powers.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-referendum-germany-kurds-idUSKBN16P0HQ

6. Academic Freedom Must Be Defended
18 March/Morning Star
ACADEMIC freedom in Turkey and Britain must be defended at all costs, a peace conference heard yesterday after thousands of Turkish academics have been sacked and hundreds put behind bars.
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-f88f-Academic-freedom-must-be-defended/

7. PYD’s Muslim at Newroz rally in Frankfurt: Victory will be ours
18 March/ANF News
Addressing to thousands joining the Newroz celebration in Frankfurt, PYD Co-President Salih Muslim said: “There is a huge resistance despite all the attacks. Nobody should doubt that the success and victory will be ours.”
http://anfenglish.com/news/pyd-s-muslim-at-newroz-rally-in-frankfurt-victory-will-be-ours

8. Turkish police detain 740 Kurds over alleged PKK links: minister
18 March/Turkey Purge
A total of 740 people have been detained as part of operations across Turkey against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Ministry of Interior Affairs announced on Saturday.
http://turkeypurge.com/turkish-police-detain-740-kurds-over-alleged-pkk-links-minister

9. PKK Prisoners Around Turkey Start Hunger Strike to Free Ocalan
15 March/Telesur
Turkey’s political prisoners from the Kurdish Worker’s Party and Kurdistan Women’s Liberation Party started a hunger strike on Wednesday, joining fellow strikers in three other prisons to demand the release of their leader Abdullah Ocalan, who they say is suffering from illegal isolation and torture. 
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/PKK-Prisoners-Around-Turkey-Start-Hunger-Strike-to-Free-Ocalan-20170315-0042.html

10. Turkey bans Kurdish New Year celebrations in Istanbul, Ankara
16 March/Kurdistan 24
The Kurdistan24 bureau in Ankara reported that both cities’ governorates justified the ban on Kurdish New Year celebrations, also known as Newroz, on the grounds that, “persons or groups attending the gathering may cause provocations.”
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/19728929-6de0-49d7-b5ba-6dda9b61b2c7/Turkey-bans-Kurdish-New-Year-celebrations-in-Istanbul–Ankara

11. Erdogan is ‘stoppable,’ pro-Kurdish lawmakers say
15 March/Reuters
Members of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party said on Tuesday they were optimistic that a majority of Turks would vote against expanding the powers of President Tayyip Erdogan in an April 16 referendum.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-politics-kurds-idUSKBN16M32E?il=0

12. Dozens including 3 journalists, 2 deputies detained in anti-HDP operations
16 March/Turkey Purge
Dozens of people including three journalists and two Kurdish deputies were detained on Thursday in operations targeting the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) across several provinces ahead of Nevruz celebrations.
http://turkeypurge.com/dozens-including-3-journalists-2-deputies-detained-in-anti-hdp-operations

13. Dozens of pro-Kurdish officials arrested in Turkey crackdown
17 March/Middle East Eye
Dozens of politicians and activists belonging to the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) and Democratic Regions Party (BDP) have been arrested in Turkey, including two MPs.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/dozens-pro-kurdish-officials-arrested-turkey-crackdown-2147031089

14. Syrian Kurdish police fears ISIS attacks during Newroz celebrations
20 March/ARA News
The General Command of the Kurdish Asayish forces in Syria congratulated the Kurdish people and the rest of the world with the Kurdish New Year ‘Newroz’. However, the Kurdish forces restricted the celebrations for security reasons due to the risk of ISIS attacks.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/syrian-kurdish-police-fears-isis-attacks-during-newroz-celebrations/

15. Kurdish YPG leader says attack on Raqqa city to start in April
18 March/ARA News
The commander of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said on Friday that a US-backed assault to drive ISIS from its de-facto capital Raqqa would begin at the start of April and the YPG would be taking part, despite fierce opposition from neighboring Turkey.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/kurdish-ypg-leader-says-attack-on-raqqa-city-to-start-in-april/

16. UN says no ethnic cleansing by Kurds in northern Syria
15 March/ARA News
The U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic released a new report that refused allegations by Amnesty International and Turkey that the Kurds have been involved in ethnic cleansing in northern Syria.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/un-says-no-ethnic-cleansing-by-kurds-in-northern-syria/

17. Syria conflict: Unravelling the puzzle
16 March/BBC News
With Iraqi forces gradually gaining the upper hand against so-called Islamic State (IS) in Mosul, the focus is shifting to the assault upon the organisation’s de facto capital in Syria – Raqqa.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39284722

18. US-led coalition says no plans to incorporate Rojava Peshmergas in fight against ISIS in Syria
16 March/ARA News
A spokesperson for the US-led coalition against ISIS said on Thursday that the Syrian Kurdish Peshmerga forces, called Rojava Peshmergas, will not be incooperated in anti-ISIS operations in Syria.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/us-led-coalition-says-no-plans-incorporate-rojava-peshmergas-fight-isis-syria/

19. British YPG member says ISIS leadership fleeing Raqqa, Turkey excluded from the operation
16 March/ARA News
A British volunteer with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) told ARA News that the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group is already relocating its leadership away from Raqqa city, in northeastern Syria.
http://aranews.net/2017/03/british-ypg-member-says-isis-leadership-fleeing-raqqa-turkey-excluded-from-the-operation/

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. On Nevrooz and ‘NO!’
19 March/Steal This Hijab
A friend, Cian, and I decide to hold an impromptu breakfast with a few others in the neighbourhood. ‘Is there any coffee in the house?’ I ask.
https://stealthishijab.com/2017/03/19/on-nevrooz-and-no/

2. ‘Turkey seeks to gain upper hand in Syria peace talks’
15 March/Press TV
A third round of talks aimed at finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria is underway in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. The armed opposition in Syria initially announced that it would not be participating in the talks over alleged violations of the ceasefire by Russia and the Syrian army.
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/03/15/514402/Syria-peace-talks-Astana-opposition-Daesh-Turkey-Russia

3. US: Team Up with Kurds Not Turkey to Destroy Islamic State
18 March/LobeLog
The problem with letting the Turks hold Raqqa and presumably the entire Euphrates Valley that is now held by ISIS is that the Turks are endeavoring to hem in the Kurds. To do this, Turkey hopes to establish its Arab proxies in a new “Euphrates state” in eastern Syria. This would partition Syria into three states: a western Asad-ruled state; an eastern Turkish and Sunni Arab rebel-ruled state, and a northern Kurdish state.
http://lobelog.com/us-team-up-with-kurds-not-turkey-to-destroy-islamic-state/

4. Calculated tension: Turkey talks big to Europe but holds back from economic steps
16 March/Al Monitor
In 2012, Turkey and the Netherlands marked the 400th anniversary of their diplomatic ties. In April that year, Turkey’s then-President Abdullah Gul paid a high-profile visit to the Netherlands, where Queen Beatrix hosted a dinner to honor him in the royal palace. Speaking at the dinner, Gul praised the level of bilateral ties, stressing their multifaceted dimensions in the political, economic and cultural fields.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/turkey-european-union-rally-ban-crisis-calculated-tension.html#ixzz4bcfSAmDb

5. Tillerson to woo Turkey during Ankara visit
16 March/Al Monitor
Al-Monitor has learned that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to travel to Turkey March 30. He will be the most senior US official to formally visit Turkey since the Donald Trump administration took office in January.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/turkey-tillerson-raqqa-afrin-russia-isis-sdf-ypg-pkk.html?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=manual&utm_campaign=20170316&bt_ee=MBxvAOhl4fb+AglacEsGyD4sUhFyDAAcC4oLxsQ2LrmS7lQXGc5/GxDhv5T+zm91&bt_ts=1489687161927

6. Congress wants answers from Turkey on shutdown of US aid pipeline to Syria
15 March/Al Monitor
Senate Democrats on March 15 vowed to get answers from Turkey one week after Ankara moved to shut down one of the US government’s largest partners for aid to Syria
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/congress-mercy-corps-funding-turkey-syria.html

7. Syria conflict: Unravelling the puzzle
17 March/BBC
With Iraqi forces gradually gaining the upper hand against so-called Islamic State (IS) in Mosul, the focus is shifting to the assault upon the organisation’s de facto capital in Syria – Raqqa.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39284722

8. The Rojava experiment
13 March/The New Humanist
With Iraqi forces gradually gaining the upper hand against so-called Islamic State (IS) in Mosul, the focus is shifting to the assault upon the organisation’s de facto capital in Syria – Raqqa.
https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/5160/the-rojava-experiment

9. Bernard-Henri Lévy: Address to the Kurdish nation
15 March/Kyiv Post
By history and by language I am a member of a very old nation, one of the oldest in the world: France. And in spirit I am a member of a very old people, the Jewish people, one of the oldest on the planet: a people that founded one of the youngest states, Israel—an experience that you Kurds are now preparing to replicate. You have lived through countless trials, endured innumerable twists of fate, suffered domination again and again. But empires have crumbled; tyrants have passed away; and your executioners have fallen into the dustbins of history. All the while, you have held fast. You have resisted the forces that wanted you to disappear. And here you stand on the eve of a momentous event announced just days ago by your president: a referendum in which the Kurdish people will express themselves on the formation of a free state in which all citizens would be able to live freely, their heads held high.
https://www.kyivpost.com/article/opinion/op-ed/bernard-henri-levy-address-kurdish-nation.html

STATEMENT
1. Newroz 2017: No to Dictatorship – Yes to Peoples Democracy and Freedom
20 March/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
It is at a most inauspicious time that the Kurdish people everywhere are now celebrating Newroz. Embattled in Turkey and Syria in particular, the Kurds once again renew their determination during the celebrations to mark this unique occasion when they give collective public expression to their heritage and culture.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/03/20/newroz-2017-no-to-dictatorship-yes-to-peoples-democracy-and-freedom/

ACTION, CAMPAIGNS
1. Text of speeches of Commons Debate: Turkey: Human Rights and the Political Situation —in Westminster Hall at 2:54 pm on 9th March 2017.
Link to speeches: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2017-03-09b.402.1

2. Final Report of the Third Imrali Peace Delegation : STATE TERROR, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND AUTHORITARANISM IN TURKEY
20 March/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
The events of the past year-and-a-half demonstrate very clearly that there can be no democracy in Turkey without a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question. The political situation in the country has deteriorated dramatically over the past year-and-a-half, since the breakdown of the peace process in mid-June 2015, and especially since the failed coup in mid-July 2016.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/03/20/state-terror-human-rights-violations-and-authoritarianism-in-turkey/

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk <mailto: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, 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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