KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 11 – 18 APRIL 2017

 

NEWS
1. Statement by President Juncker, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn on the referendum in Turkey
2. Yes Vote in Turkey’s Referendum to Give President Unchecked Powers, Increase Rights Violations: UN Experts
3. HRW: Turkey Must Stop Persecution of Kurds, Unfair Trials, Crackdown on Media
4. Erdogan benefits from split in Turkish nationalist opposition
5. Karayılan calls on Kurds to support hunger strikes and vote ‘No’
6. Referendum violations across Turkey and North Kurdistan
7. “Yes” marked stamp given to voters in Ankara
8. Soldiers and village guards threaten the people during voting
9. AKP supporters kill a father and son in a village of Amed
10. Scandal in Muş: Village headman enters the booth with the voters
11. HDP to object to the ballots
12. AKP’s referendum violations and pressures continue
13. Turkey: Videos Show Electoral Fraud and Ballot Stuffing

OPINION, COMMENT, ANALYSIS
1. Erdogan’s referendum win no clean sweep
2.Turkey vote curtailed fundamental freedoms, say European observers
3. Turkey could be about to leap from division to despotism by Elif Shafak
4. Turkish referendum that is not
5. What will Turkey’s constitutional referendum mean for Kurds?
6. Intervention – “‘Democratic Confederalism is for Everyone’: Ethnographic Reflections on The Long March for Kurdistan and Öcalan”
7. The Real News: Trump Attack on Syria a Deadly Political Game
8. Interview Kurd Leader to Haaretz: Erdogan and Allies Seek Dictatorship via Turkish Referendum
9. Turkey – 2017 Referendum

BOOK REVIEW
Turkey and the Kurds: A Chance for Peace?

EVENTS, CONFERENCES
1. Book launch: ‘The Political Thought of Abdullah Öcalan – Kurdistan, Women’s Revolution And Democratic Confederalism’
2. Marx’s Capital after 150 Years: Critique and Alternative to Capitalism
International Conference May 24-26, 2017 Toronto

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NEWS
1. Statement by President Juncker, High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn on the referendum in Turkey
16 April/European Commission
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn issued the following statement today: “We take note of the reported results of the referendum in Turkey on the amendments to the Constitution, adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 21 January 2017.
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-17-981_en.htm

2. Yes Vote in Turkey’s Referendum to Give President Unchecked Powers, Increase Rights Violations: UN Experts
15April/NSNBC International
Four UN special rapporteurs were citing a cohort of serious of concerns of mass rights violations under Turkey’s post-coup state of emergency and warned that a ‘Yes’ vote in Sunday’s referendum on constitutional change would give the president unchecked power to impose disturbing measures on the country.
https://nsnbc.me/2017/04/15/yes-vote-in-turkeys-referendum-to-give-president-unchecked-powers-increase-rights-violations-un-experts/

3HRW: Turkey Must Stop Persecution of Kurds, Unfair Trials, Crackdown on media
17 April/Sputnik News
“In the days ahead the president and government should end the state of emergency and commit to upholding the human rights of all in Turkey regardless of political outlook,” Human Rights Watch stated. “Arbitrary detentions and prosecutions, unfair trials, the crackdown on media and the pro-Kurdish political opposition need to end.”
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201704171052712176-hrw-turkey-referendum-kurds-media/

4. Erdogan benefits from split in Turkish nationalist opposition
14 April/Reuters
A decision by the veteran leader of Turkey’s nationalists to back President Tayyip Erdogan’s bid for more powers has cost his opposition party so much support that it could be wiped out of parliament, offering Erdogan another potential win.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-turkey-referendum-nationalists-idUKKBN17G14Q

5. Karayılan calls on Kurds to support hunger strikes and vote ‘No’
14 April/ANF News
PKK’s Karayılan said: “The AKP-MHP alliance is putting Turkey in jeopardy by leading it to a dictatorial regime. All those in Turkey and Kurdistan that side with peace and democracy, and want Kurds to exist but not die out, should vote ‘No’.”
https://anfenglish.com/features/karayilan-calls-on-kurds-to-support-hunger-strikes-and-vote-no-19499

6. Referendum violations across Turkey and North Kurdistan
16 April/ANF News
More reports of violations during the referendum voting are coming through as AKP supporters continue voting in the open, battery and detentions and security forces intervene the voting in North Kurdistan.
https://anfenglish.com/news/referendum-violations-across-turkey-and-north-kurdistan-19535

7. “Yes” marked stamp given to voters in Ankara
16 April/ANF News
Reports of violations and irregularity are coming through from Turkish capital Ankara too as voting in the referendum for constitutional amendments continues in Turkey.
https://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/yes-marked-stamp-given-to-voters-in-ankara-19539

8. Soldiers and village guards threaten the people during voting
16 April/ANF News
Reports of threats and violations began coming from North Kurdistan where voting has started at 07:00 am for constitutional referendum. Schools in neighborhoods serve as polling stations.
https://anfenglish.com/features/soldiers-and-village-guards-threaten-the-people-during-voting-19529

9. AKP supporters kill a father and son in a village of Amed
16 April/ANF News
Quarrel erupted between relatives voting for the referendum in Yabanardı village in Çermik district of Amed. AKP supporters wanted to cast votes in place of voters not present in the village, upon which a quarrel erupted between two brothers.
https://anfenglish.com/news/akp-supporters-kill-a-father-and-son-in-a-village-of-amed-19531

10. Scandal in Muş: Village headman enters the booth with the voters
18 April/ANF News
Voters in Çatbaşı (Mixakom) village in Muş are accompanied by known AKP supporter village headman Mehmet Koçlardan. Koçlardan enters the voting booth with the voters.
https://anfenglish.com/news/scandal-in-mus-village-headman-enters-the-booth-with-the-voters-19536

11. HDP to object to the ballots
16 April/ANF News
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Headquarters announced on its Twitter account that there was 3-4 % manipulation in the announced results, and that they will object to two third of the ballots regardless of the result.
https://anfenglish.com/news/hdp-to-object-to-the-ballots-19550

12. AKP’s referendum violations and pressures continue
16 April/ANF News
Village headman A.İ. is reported to have collected the IDs of his relatives and many other civilians and voted on their behalf in Alakamış village in Şırnak’s İdil district. A woman living in the village and refusing to give her name due to security concerns stated that the village headman and village guards threaten many families at the polls so that they vote ‘Yes.’
https://anfenglish.com/news/akp-s-referendum-violations-and-pressures-continue-19546

13. Turkey: Videos Show Electoral Fraud and Ballot Stuffing
18 April/France 24

Turkish people went to the polls on Sunday, April 16 to vote in a referendum on changes to their constitution that would hand increased powers to current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The “Yes” camp won by a slim majority. However, the “No” camp has cried foul, claiming that the elections were rigged, and pointing to numerous videos,  widely shared on social media, that appear to show voter fraud and ballot-box stuffing.
http://observers.france24.com/en/20170418-turkey-videos-show-electoral-fraud-ballot-stuffing

OPINION, COMMENT, ANALYSIS
1. Erdogan’s referendum win no clean sweep
17 April/Al Monitor
Turkey’s April 16 popular referendum amending the constitution to establish an executive presidency passed 51.41% to 48.59%. The results were virtually identical to the estimates of Turkey’s two leading polling firms, Gezici and Konda.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/turkey-referendum-passes.html?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=manual&utm_campaign=20170417&bt_ee=dsU5hc9sgJ3GoAyoswxm2AlcfNA7nX2l7SKhA5JqjodTw/9/MUvff5tNAIR0LiVR&bt_ts=1492450745309

2. Turkey vote curtailed fundamental freedoms, say European observers
17 April/The Guardian
The Turkish referendum on presidential powers took place on an “unlevel playing field” and in a political environment where fundamental freedoms were curtailed, European observers have said.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/17/turkey-vote-referendum-curtailed-fundamental-freedoms-european-observers?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

3. Turkey could be about to leap from division to despotism by Elif Shafak
14 April/The Guardian

No referendum is ever run of the mill. But the one Turkey is holding on Sunday, on changes to the constitution, could alter the country’s destiny for generations to come. After the vote, Turkey will either start healing its badly bruised parliamentary democracy, or it will adopt a new system that will allow one man – the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – to have a virtual monopoly on power in the country. One of the proposed changes is the abolition of the office of prime minister, with those responsibilities going to the president.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/14/turkey-constitution-referendum-despotism-erdogan-crush-opposition

4. Turkish referendum that is not
15 April/Open Democracy
Citizens of Turkey are about to vote in a referendum to decide whether to abandon the country’s parliamentary regime for an exceptionally powerful executive presidency. Constitutional amendments in question would grant the president complete power to rule with impunity over the executive and the budget, and a considerable authority over the judiciary, while relegating the parliament to a shadow of its former self with minimal power of scrutiny.
https://www.opendemocracy.net/halil-gurhanli/turkish-referendum-that-is-not?utm_source=Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=865b2277c3-DAILY_NEWSLETTER_MAILCHIMP&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_717bc5d86d-865b2277c3-407366311

5. What will Turkey’s constitutional referendum mean for Kurds?
13 April/Kurdsih Question
As voters in Turkey prepare to go to the polls on Sunday to decide whether to legally expand Erdogan’s powers, it is still too close to call which way the nation will swing. It is debatable how much Erdogan’s supporters understand about the true nature of what it means to make the proposed constitutional amendments that will change the country from parliamentary democracy to an executive presidency, and indeed whether they care so long as their man stays at the helm. However, there is little doubt that the referendum outcome will have widespread repercussions in the region whichever way it goes. But what will it mean exactly for the Kurds?
http://kurdishquestion.com/article/3890-what-will-turkey-s-constitutional-referendum-mean-for-kurds

6. Intervention – “‘Democratic Confederalism is for Everyone’: Ethnographic Reflections on The Long March for Kurdistan and Öcalan”
16 March/Antipode Foundation. org
Night had fallen by the time I arrived in Wasselonne, a small village in France’s Alsace region bordering Germany. I came to join 80 international solidarity activists engaged in the “Long March for Kurdistan and Öcalan”. The marchers demanded that Turkey free Abdullah Öcalan, a major Kurdish resistance leader, from his now 18-year imprisonment, and they called for a political solution to the ongoing conflict between Turkey and Kurds. 
https://antipodefoundation.org/2017/04/12/democratic-confederalism-is-for-everyone/

7. The Real News: Trump Attack on Syria a Deadly Political Game
8 April/The Real News
Gerald Horne and Paul Jay discuss the cynical politics behind the attack and the decay and dysfunctionality of the American state
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miLyF9C-zEo

8. Interview Kurd Leader to Haaretz: Erdogan and Allies Seek Dictatorship via Turkish Referendum
16 April/Haaretz
It was a calm and quiet dawn on the snowy peaks of Iraq’s Qandil Mountains after several days of heavy airstrikes by Turkish fighter jets − attacks that didn’t even respect the dead. The guesthouse of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s “martyrs’ cemetery” was left a mound of rubble, amid photographs and charred memories after the planes targeted a Kurdish rebel stronghold.
http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/turkey/1.783394

9. Turkey – 2017 Referendum
18 April/Global Security
On Sunday 16 April 2017, Turks voted in a referendum on transforming Turkey from the current parliamentary system into an ‘executive presidency’. National polls showed the “Yes” and “No” votes were nearly tied and as the referendum approached. 
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/tu-politics-2017.htm

BOOK REVIEW
Turkey and the Kurds: A Chance for Peace?
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/04/20/turkey-and-the-kurds-a-chance-for-peace/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NYR%20Kurds%20Podhoretz%20Chaplin%20Iran&utm_content=NYR%20Kurds%20Podhoretz%20Chaplin%20Iran+CID_5128cc5fcdfd8b56622ec58d0102b5f3&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=Turkey%20and%20the%20Kurds%20A%20Chance%20for%20Peace

EVENTS, CONFERENCES
1. Book launch: ‘The Political Thought of Abdullah Öcalan – Kurdistan, Women’s Revolution And Democratic Confederalism’ with Dr Kamran Matin, Dilar Dirik, and Reimer Heider
At Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9DY, UK
http://www.housmans.com/events.php

2. Marx’s Capital after 150 Years: Critique and Alternative to Capitalism
International Conference May 24-26, 2017 Toronto
The Marx Collegium, York University
http://www.marxcollegium.org

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, Julie Ward 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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