KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 1 – 8 JUNE 2017

NEWS
1. YPJ will be the leading force in the liberation of Raqqa
2. Raqa campaign cements rising profile of Syria’s Kurds
3. OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation visits HDP in Ankara
4. SDF’s Sılo: We are aiming to liberate Raqqa in a short while
5. UN: Turkey hinders our investigations in the South East
6. “We are deprived of our citizenship for exposing the atrocities”
7. Hunko: Is information received from İncirlik given to ISIS?
8. At least 111 Kurdish YPG fighters killed in recent attacks by Turkey, Islamists
9. Kurdish Death Row Prisoners in Letter Explain Unfair Trial, Detention in Iran

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Turkey scrambles for regional footing as Qatar debacle expands
2. German troops poised to leave Turkey for Jordan
3. Why ISIS hates the Kurds
4. Rojavan pedagogy: Where students are also teachers
5. Turkey’s united front against Kurds and democracy
6. The word ‘Kurdistan’ is forbidden: a look at a new version of Yilmaz Guney’s film ‘Yol’
7. Kurdish cantons in northern Syria already linked
8. British-born man escapes IS in Syria, seeks refuge with Kurdish forces
9. The Only Way to Defeat ISIS Is by Arming Kurds
10. World Heritage Watch report on the destruction of Sur
11. Unity is only solution to Kurdish question, says Ahmet Turk
12. Kurdish–Turkish conflict (2015–present)

EVENTS
1. Left Forum 2017: Rojava
2. ‘Accidental Anarchist’ screening and Q&A with Carne Ross, chaired by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
3. Sheffield Doc Fest: UK Premiere of The Accidental Anarchist
4. Kurdish Cultural Festival, 30 July 2017 in Quorn

—————-

NEWS
1. YPJ will be the leading force in the liberation of Raqqa
8 June/ANF News
YPJ Commander Zozan Kobanê stated that they will play a leading role in the liberation of Raqqa and dedicate the Raqqa victory to all women and peoples, and their comrades that fell as martyrs. Zozan Kobanê, a commander for YPJ and member of the military coordination desk in the Operation Wrath of Euphrates and member of the military coordination desk spoke to ANF.
https://anfenglish.com/news/ypj-will-be-the-leading-force-in-the-liberation-of-raqqa-20369

2. Raqa campaign cements rising profile of Syria’s Kurds
7 June/Daily Mail
Syria’s Kurds were once a marginalised minority, but now they are leading the charge for the Islamic State group’s Raqa bastion and hoping to cement their gains in the war.

The surprise turnaround in their fortunes is the result of several factors, including the Syrian regime’s decision to focus attention elsewhere and a key alliance with Washington against IS.

They are now receiving direct US military support, and hold large swathes of the Kurdish-majority parts of Syria they call “Rojava”.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4579318/Raqa-campaign-cements-rising-profile-Syrias-Kurds.html

3. OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation visits HDP in Ankara
8 June/ANF News
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly Vice-President George Tsereteli and an accompanying delegation has met with leaders of the political parties in the Turkish parliament.
The delegation visited Republican People’s Party (CHP) Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in his office in the parliament and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) group in the assembly hall. The OSCE delegation was received by HDP Co-chair Serpil Kemalbay, Mardin MP Mithat Sancar and Van MP Bedia Özgökçe Ertan.
https://anfenglish.com/news/osce-parliamentary-assembly-delegation-visits-hdp-in-ankara-20370

4. SDF’s Sılo: We are aiming to liberate Raqqa in a short while
8 June/ANF News
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Spokesperson Talal Sılo spoke to the ANF on the operation to liberate Raqqa. Sılo said they are aware that they started a great war, and that their goal is to liberate Raqqa as soon as possible but the war to come will determine this.
https://anfenglish.com/news/silo-we-are-aiming-to-liberate-raqqa-in-a-short-while-20362

5. UN: Turkey hinders our investigations in the South East
6 June/ANF News
UN Human Rights High Commissioner Al Hussein said: “Our attempts at investigating the severe human rights violations in South Eastern Turkey are constantly rejected.”
https://anfenglish.com/human-rights/un-turkey-hinders-our-investigations-in-the-south-east-20335

6. “We are deprived of our citizenship for exposing the atrocities”
5 June/ANF News
The discussions in the parliament regarding the denaturalization of opposition members outside Turkey have continued for a while, and have now reached an end. A notice published in the Official Gazzette today announces that 130 people including HDP MPs Faysal Sarıyıldız and Tuğba Hezer and former HDP MP Özdal Üçer will be denaturalized if they don’t return to Turkey in 3 months.
https://anfenglish.com/news/we-are-deprived-of-our-citizenship-for-exposing-the-atrocities-20323

7. Hunko: Is information received from İncirlik given to ISIS?
1 June/ANF News
Speaking at a seminar on the role of the Kurds in the fight against ISIS, German parliamentarian Andrej Hunko asked “Is the information gathered in İncirlik given to ISIS over Turkey? We have serious doubts on this matter.”
https://anfenglish.com/human-rights/hunko-is-information-received-from-Incirlik-given-to-isis-20261

8. At least 111 Kurdish YPG fighters killed in recent attacks by Turkey, Islamists
5 June/ARA News
Kurdish leadership of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) announced on Sunday the death of 111 of its fighters during offensives by the Turkish Army and Turkey-backed Islamist groups in northern Syria. According to the YPG media office, the Turkish Army and allied Islamist rebels launched more than 80 attacks on Kurdish areas held by the YPG in May.
http://aranews.net/2017/06/at-least-111-kurdish-ypg-fighters-killed-in-recent-attacks-by-turkey-islamists/

9. Kurdish Death Row Prisoners in Letter Explain Unfair Trial, Detention in Iran
31 May/Kurdistan Human Rights Network
Uncertainty has continued looming over the status of the legal case of Kurdish political prisoners Zanyar and Loghman Moradi eight year after their imprisonment. The Iranian judiciary has refused to accept their request to have a fair trial to provide evidence and documents through their lawyer.
http://kurdistanhumanrights.net/en/kurdish-death-row-prisoners-letter-explain-unfair-trial-detention-iran/

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Turkey scrambles for regional footing as Qatar debacle expands
7 June/Al-Monitor
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke his silence over the crisis engulfing his country’s closest Arab ally Qatar today, condemning the actions of the group of Gulf countries that cut off ties with the emirate over its alleged support for extremist groups and Iran. In a related move, Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has decided to fast-track bills to deploy Turkish forces in Qatar and train Qatari troops in its legislative agenda.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/erdogan-rebukes-gulf-states-qatar.html#ixzz4jRj9fL2z

2. German troops poised to leave Turkey for Jordan
7 June/Al-Monitor
Relations between Ankara and Berlin hit a new low today as Germany’s Cabinet approved moving its troops from Turkey’s highly valued and strategic Incirlik Air Base to Jordan. The move, which still needs parliamentary approval, could affect the battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

The widening rift between Turkey and Germany also is likely to have a strong impact on the entire NATO alliance, which perhaps hasn’t witnessed such a dramatic row among its members since France withdrew from the alliance’s military command in 1966.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/turkey-germany-nato-rift-may-bring-overhaul-nato-ranks.html#ixzz4jRiUIYql

3. Why ISIS hates the Kurds
7 June/Arutz Sheva-Israel National News
The Turkish government has repeatedly declared that the Islamic State (DAESH/ISIS/IS) is the same as the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), the PYD (the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party), and the YPG (the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Defense Units). However, ISIS (aka IS or DAESH) sympathizers strongly disagree with this comparison. According to a report by the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), the main agenda of Turkish-speaking ISIS supporters on Twitter is the PKK and YPG, and they refer to these two groups with a very hostile language.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20602

4. Rojavan pedagogy: Where students are also teachers
7 May/Kurdish Question
Impressions on building revolutionary culture and education in northern Syria. Revolutionary culture is often thought of as the forging of something completely new in the process of radically transforming society. The old ideas of the establishment are thrown into the dustbin of history and replaced wholesale with ones that represent the formerly subjugated and downtrodden.
http://kurdishquestion.com/article/3918-rojavan-pedagogy-where-students-are-also-teachers

5. Turkey’s united front against Kurds and democracy
2 June/Kurdish Question
At time of writing, it has only been a month and a half since Turkey’s controversial referendum and the referendum has already fallen off the agenda in Turkey. Indeed, only a couple of days after the referendum, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the second biggest party in Parliament, had instead begun discussing potential candidates for the presidency in the 2019 elections. The CHP, which represents itself as the main opposition party, did object to the election results and submitted an appeal against fraud to the European Court of Human Rights. The party’s leader also stated his disapproval of protests taking place in the streets and called on the crowds denouncing the election results to go back home.
http://kurdishquestion.com/article/3925-turkey-s-united-front-against-kurds-and-democracy

6. The word ‘Kurdistan’ is forbidden: a look at a new version of Yilmaz Guney’s film ‘Yol’
4 June/Kurdish Question
On 25th May, 1982, Yilmaz Guney won the top prize, the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his film, Yol. He shared the prize with Greek director, Costa Gavras, for his film, The Missing. Guney was born to a poor Kurdish family in a small village in North Kurdistan [Southeast Turkey] in 1937, became one of the most popular actors in Turkey during the 1960s, then an acclaimed director in the 1970s. Due to his political views he spent 12 years of his 47 year short life in various prisons in Turkey.
http://kurdishquestion.com/article/3929-the-word-039-kurdistan-039-is-forbidden-a-look-at-a-new-version-of-yilmaz-guney-039-s-film-039-yol-039

7. Kurdish cantons in northern Syria already linked
2 June/Al-Monitor
One of the most heated issues of the Syrian war has been the possibility of Kurdish cantons connecting, overcoming Turkey’s threatening objections. And now, with the Aleppo road open, Kurdish cantons are connected for the first time in four years. “Can the three Kurdish cantons declared by the Democratic Union Party [PYD] in northern Syria be considered de facto united?” is the question of the day in northern Syria. Syrian Kurdish journalist Mustafa Abdi answers: “Yes. It happened.”
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/turkey-syria-kurds-are-cantons-already-linked.html

8. British-born man escapes IS in Syria, seeks refuge with Kurdish forces
4 June/Kurdistan24
US-backed Kurdish forces in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) recently granted a British man refuge after he escaped from the Islamic State (IS). Jack Letts, a 21-year-old British man, was detained by Kurdish fighters and held in a jail controlled by the Kurds. “I want to see my mum and explain to her some things,” he said. Letts, a former student from Oxford, converted to Islam as a teenager and told London-based Al-Araby he had “no idea” what would happen to him in prison.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/6fd77d06-eaa0-43a0-9051-e794472a4874

9. The Only Way to Defeat ISIS Is by Arming Kurds
2 June/Observer
The United States is finally arming the Kurds of Syria in a systematic and official way, and it’s about time. Finally the Kurds are being armed with serious, sophisticated, heavy weapons that will enable them to confront ISIS’ artillery and tanks. Kurds are the only group on the ground with the motivation to confront ISIS. They have battle experience, but the U.S. never armed them with more than light weapons, which was simply foolish. No matter how strong their motivation is to succeed, pistols and machine guns are no match for tanks and heavy artillery.
http://observer.com/2017/06/united-states-finally-arms-kurds-fight-isis/

10. World Heritage Watch report on the destruction of Sur
8 June/ANF News
A new report has been released by the World Heritage Watch on the destruction of large parts of the 7000 years old city (Suriçi) of Amed (Diyarbakir) in North Kurdistan by the Turkish state since the beginning of 2016.
https://anfenglish.com/culture/world-heritage-watch-report-on-the-destruction-of-sur-20373

11. Unity is only solution to Kurdish question, says Ahmet Turk
6 June/Rudaw
With 44 years of experience in politics, including being detained for his activities, prominent Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk, 75, discusses the Turkey-PKK peace process and Kurdish independence aspirations. He said Kurds must resolve issues amongst themselves as a first step to achieving greater rights and freedoms, or independence.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/interview/06062017

12. Kurdish–Turkish conflict (2015–present)
Wikipedia
In late July 2015, the third phase of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict between various Kurdish insurgent groups and the Turkish government erupted following a failed two and a half year-long peace process, aimed at resolving the long-running conflict.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdish–Turkish_conflict_(2015–present)

EVENTS
1. Left Forum 2017: Rojava/3 June
With Debbie Bookchin, Carne Ross, Meredith Tax for the North America Rojava Alliance
The multi-cultural, non-sectarian Kurdish-led region of northern Syria known as Rojava has enthralled the world with photos of its female fighters routing Islamic State militants. But much less media attention has been given to what the Kurdish movement is fighting for: a multi-ethnic, ecological and bottom-up democracy that endows local assemblies with decision-making authority and empowers women to take leadership roles at every level of government and society.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjbFhVqkY7M

2. ‘Accidental Anarchist’ screening and Q&A with Carne Ross, chaired by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown/25 June
The Politics Festival at Kings Place, London.
One man’s remarkable journey: from diplomat to anarchist. British diplomat Carne Ross worked on Iraq and its WMD, and resigned from the government over its lies before the 2003 invasion. His extraordinary personal and political odyssey culminates in a remarkable encounter with new forms of democracy in the midst of war – in Rojava, Syria. A profound examination of the political and economic problems that confront the world. Chaired by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.
http://www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/spoken-word/accidental-anarchist-screening-and-qa-with-carne-ross-chaired-by-yasmin-alibhai

3. Sheffield Doc Fest: UK Premiere of The Accidental Anarchist/13 June
Accidental Anarchist is having its UK premiere at Sheffield doc fest on June 13th at 12pm. After 14 years at the highest levels of the British Foreign Service, Carne Ross resigned over his country’s lies about the Iraq war. He embarked on an extraordinary search for new forms of social and political organisation in America, Europe and, most remarkably, Syria. An inspiring journey into the possibilities of a better society.
http://www.hopscotchfilms.co.uk/news/2017/5/4/uk-premiere-accidental-anarchist-at-sheffield

4. Kurdish Cultural Festival, 30 July 2017 in Quorn
A great FREE event for all the family, with children’s activities, organised by the General Federation of Trade Unions, Freedom for Ocalan Campaign, Peace in Kurdistan, Kurdish People’s Assembly UK, Kurdish Youth Movement and KNK (Kurdish National Congress) UK
https://www.evensi.uk/kurdish-cultural-festival-quorn-grange-hotel/210585748

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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