KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 17 – 23 JUNE 2017

NEWS
1. Demonstrations for the freedom of Öcalan grow in Europe
2. Turkey and Syria prepare for an embargo and attack on Rojava
3. EP Foreign Affairs Committee adopts annual report on Turkey
4. Kurds prepare for G20 Summit protests in Hamburg
5. ‘Who can do that?’ Kurds forced out as Turkish city bulldozed 
6. Turkish intelligence MİT’s man in Germany spills
7. Turkey sends military reinforcements into Syria amidst intensifying clashes with Kurdish YPG
8. Turkey-backed Syrian rebels attack Kobane
9. A commander in SDF: our aim is liberating al-Raqqa
10. SDF vows to resist Syrian government attacks near Raqqa
11. Ilham Ahmad: Turkey is Qatar’s partner in supporting terror

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. The geopolitics behind race for eastern Syria
2. Kurds no safer after US shoots down Syrian jet
3. Turkey’s opposition head leads march for justice

4. Turkey: first criminal trial against journalists over attempted coup
5. Turkey: ARTICLE 19 submits expert opinion in the case of brothers, Ahmet and Mehmet Altan

CAMPAIGNS
1.Freedom for Ocalan Campaign Book launch on 19 June report
2. Centre for Kurdish Progress: sounds recordings and photos

EVENTS
1. Solidarity with Kurds: Stop the abuses in Turkey Fringe meeting at UNISON National Delegate Conference on 21 June
2. ‘Accidental Anarchist’ screening and Q&A with Carne Ross, chaired by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown/25 June
3. 1st INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ABOUT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND AGAINST CENSORSHIP IN TURKEY AND INTERNATIONALLY on 29 June 
4. Who is Beating Back ISIS in Syria? 
5. Kurdish Cultural Festival, 30 July 2017 in Quorn

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NEWS
1. Demonstrations for the freedom of Öcalan grow in Europe
22 June/ANF News
The demonstrations and activities launched in Europe for the freedom of Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan continue.
The “Freedom for Öcalan” vigil in France’s city of Strasbourg has been taken over by members of the European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E) and Ciwanen Azad (Free Youth). Also singer Eylem Aktas and many young people participated in the vigil which has already entered its fifth year. The activists will also take part in the rally on the 26th of July.
https://anfenglish.com/news/demonstrations-for-the-freedom-of-Oecalan-grow-in-europe-20594

2. Turkey and Syria prepare for an embargo and attack on Rojava
22 June/ANF News
The Baath regime instated an embargo by closing off the Aleppo road, while the Turkish state started dispatching heavy weapons like tanks, artilleries and Howitzers and infatry units to the area. Turkey’s plans failed in Raqqa, and now they are preparing for a joint attack on Efrîn and Shehba with the Syrian Baath regime.
https://anfenglish.com/news/turkey-and-syria-prepare-for-an-embargo-and-attack-on-rojava-20600

3. EP Foreign Affairs Committee adopts annual report on Turkey
20 June/ANF News
The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs has today approved the 2016 assessment report on Turkey prepared by Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri. S&D MEP Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on Turkey, said: “Despite all internal differences, the European Parliament speaks with one voice when it comes to condemning human rights abuses in Turkey. The continuation of the state of emergency has disproportionately negative effects on Turkish society and the arbitrary arrest of thousands of citizens, including parliamentarians and mayors, is of utmost concern.
https://anfenglish.com/news/ep-foreign-affairs-committee-adopts-annual-report-on-turkey-20576

4. Kurds prepare for G20 Summit protests in Hamburg
20 June/ANF News
Kurdish institutions are preparing to protest the G20 Summit to be held in Hamburg. Kurdish institutions issued a joint statement and called on all to come together in the “Berxwedan Jiyanê” cortege in the central march that will start from Deichtorhallen Square on July 8 at 11.00.
https://anfenglish.com/news/kurds-prepare-for-g20-summit-protests-in-hamburg-20571

5. ‘Who can do that?’ Kurds forced out as Turkish city bulldozed 
20 June/Middle East Eye
Kurdish displacement from Sur, Diyarbakir, continues as residential districts are demolished to remove militant ‘hiding places’. Walking through the narrow, winding streets of the Alipasa neighbourhood in Sur, the cobblestone pathways feel eerily empty. Most residents are still scared to leave their houses after a devastating conflict between Turkish security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), waged primarily in the months of December 2015 to March 2016.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/kurds-displaced-historic-quarter-southeast-turkey-amid-reconstruction-plan-702192398#sthash.rINBuckV.dpuf

6. Turkish intelligence MİT’s man in Germany spills
22 June/ANF News
The MİT member arrested in Germany last December Mehmet Fatih Sayan admitted that he is a spy working for Turkish intelligence service. The Turkish intelligence service MİT agent sent to Germany to assassinate Kurdish politicians, Mehmet Fatih Sayan’s case officially begins. The federal prosecutor announced that Sayan received 30 thousand Euros in return for espionage.
https://anfenglish.com/news/turkish-intelligence-mIt-s-man-in-germany-spills-20597

7. Turkey sends military reinforcements into Syria amidst intensifying clashes with Kurdish YPG
22 June/ARA News
The Turkish authorities on Wednesday sent new military reinforcements into northern Syria, including troops, vehicles and equipment, local sources reported. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Turkish forces had crossed the border in the last 24 hours and headed towards areas south of Azaz town, which is held by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels. This comes as the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) continues to fight against Turkey-backed groups south of Azaz and in the Kurdish Afrin district in Aleppo province.
http://aranews.net/2017/06/turkey-sends-military-reinforcements-into-syria-amidst-intensifying-clashes-with-kurdish-ypg/

8. Turkey-backed Syrian rebels attack Kobane
21 June/ARA News
Turkey-backed rebel groups in Syria launched on Tuesday an offensive on a Kurdish village in Kobane district, in northern Syria. The Islamist rebels based in northern Aleppo shelled the Shuyukh village in Kobane with mortar fire. “The village was hit by dozens of mortar shells, fired by Turkey-backed Islamists that are based in the vicinity of Jarablus city,” a local media activist told ARA News in Kobane.
http://aranews.net/2017/06/turkey-backed-syrian-rebels-attack-kobane/

9. A commander in SDF: our aim is liberating al-Raqqa
20 June/Hawar News
A commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stated that teams related to their forces are supervising the civilians’ evacuation from areas of clashes in addition to insuring safety for them. Moreover, the commander called for all media outlets to visit the fronts. The commander in SDF Luqman Khalil stated in a statement was obtained by Hawar news agency that SDF aim to liberate al-Raqqa city and deliver it to its people in order to manage their affairs.
http://en.hawarnews.com/a-commander-in-sdf-our-aim-is-liberating-al-raqqa/

10. SDF vows to resist Syrian government attacks near Raqqa
20 June/ARA News
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) official spokesman Talal Silo said on Monday they will respond to any Syrian government attacks in Raqqa province after the US-led coalition downed a Syrian jet attacking the SDF forces on 18 June.
http://aranews.net/2017/06/sdf-vows-resist-syrian-government-attacks-near-raqqa/

11. Ilham Ahmad: Turkey is Qatar’s partner in supporting terror
19 June/Hawar News
The Co-Chair of the Syrian Democratic Board (MSB) Ilham Ahmad stated that Turkey supports Qatar as Qatar is its partner in supporting terrorism in Syria. Ilham also stated that Turkey is striving for occupying Adlib. Moreover, Ilham Ahmad assured on their adherence to their federal project in Syria.
http://en.hawarnews.com/ilham-ahmad-turkey-is-qatars-partner-in-supporting-terror/

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. The geopolitics behind race for eastern Syria
21 June/Al-Monitor
With the war on the Islamic State (IS) in full swing, the race for eastern Syria is on, with regional and international players jockeying for position in the desert areas stretching from north to south, in the direction of the Iraqi borders. Forces backed regionally and internationally are fighting for the precious span of desert. What are the geopolitical calculations of the various factions in that region?
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/syria-north-east-players-race-army-rebels-us.html?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=manual&utm_campaign=20170622&bt_ee=ZTkgfEOi1XCcHJAY7yv5+qLgHDXZsOu1fX+1SBX/lQxYfvRoNUYElV70rxMLIqxu&bt_ts=1498151608676

2. Kurds no safer after US shoots down Syrian jet
20 June/Al-Monitor
The United States on Sunday shot down a Syrian fighter jet for the first time since the start of Syria’s chaotic civil war in 2011. The action has intensified speculation about the risks of direct confrontation between the United States and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and more alarmingly, with his chief mentors Russia and Iran. While such fears may prove exaggerated, the move could have momentous and potentially dangerous consequences for Syria’s Kurds.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/us-shoots-down-syrian-fighter-jet-ypg.html#ixzz4kaatAp5r

3. Turkey’s opposition head leads march for justice
20 June/Al-Monitor
In May 2016, Turkey’s parliament passed a constitutional amendment revoking the judicial immunity of current lawmakers. The move was believed to target Kurdish deputies, and indeed many members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including both of its co-chairs, have since landed behind bars on terror-related charges. On June 14, however, an Istanbul court took the unprecedented step of jailing a prominent lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on controversial charges that he had leaked footage of weapons-laden trucks operated by Turkey’s intelligence agency that were allegedly destined for armed groups in Syria.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/turkey-main-opposition-head-leads-march-for-justice.html

4. Turkey: first criminal trial against journalists over attempted coup
20 June/European Federation of Journalists
The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) yesterday sent an observer to Istanbul to monitor the first trial against journalists accused of participating in the 15 failed coup of last July. The trial, which may shed light on how the courts will approach numerous cases concerning the right to freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial under the state of emergency, has amplified international concerns over press freedom in Turkey.
http://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2017/06/20/turkey-first-criminal-trial-against-journalists-over-attempted-coup/

5. Turkey: ARTICLE 19 submits expert opinion in the case of brothers, Ahmet and Mehmet Altan
19 June/Article 19
On Monday 19 June, ARTICLE 19 will submit an expert opinion to Istanbul’s 26th High Criminal Court examining the charges against prominent novelists and political commentators, Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan. The brothers will be tried alongside 15 other defendants, with the first hearing on 19 June. The case is the first trial of journalists accused of taking part in last year’s failed coup attempt.
https://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/38799/en/turkey:-article-19-submits-expert-opinion-in-the-case-of-brothers,-ahmet-and-mehmet-altan?utm_source=ARTICLE+19+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=d4978cea9c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c3bf82663f-d4978cea9c-209352645

CAMPAIGNS
1.Freedom for Ocalan Campaign Book launch on 19 June report
23 June/Peace in Kurdistan
The launch of the English translation of this important work was hosted in London by Unite the Union and supported by Peace in Kurdistan and Centre for Kurdish Progress on 19 June 2017. Approximately 50 people attended.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/06/23/freedom-for-ocalan-campaign-book-launch-abdullah-ocalan-manifesto-for-a-democratic-civilisation-volume-ii-capitalism-the-age-of-unmasked-gods-and-naked-kings/

2. Centre for Kurdish Progress: sounds recordings and photos:

Abdullah Ocalan: Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization, Volume II Capitalism – The Age of Unmasked Gods and Naked Kings

EVENTS
1. Solidarity with Kurds: Stop the abuses in Turkey Fringe meeting at UNISON National Delegate Conference on 21 June
With Simon Dubbins, Dr Salima Tasdemir, Steve Sweeney and Jo Magpie
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/06/23/unison-national-delegate-conference-fringe-meeting-solidarity-with-kurds-stop-the-abuses-in-turkey/

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. 1st INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ABOUT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND AGAINST CENSORSHIP IN TURKEY AND INTERNATIONALLY on 29 June , Brussels
This international conference will focus on freedom of thought and of the press and of people’s right to information in Turkey. Members of the International Federation of Journalists, academics, European, Turkish and Kurdish journalists, policy-makers and activists will speak at the conference.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/06/23/first-international-conference-about-freedom-of-the-press-and-against-censorship-in-turkey-and-internationally/

4. Who is Beating Back ISIS in Syria?
On 12 July, David’s bookshop, Letchword Garden City
Predominantly Kurdish defence forces, led equally by women and men commanders, are in the forefront of the fight against ISIS. Unnoticed by most of the world and its media, in the middle of a war zone, in Rojava Northern Syria, a radical secular experiment in class and race equality and direct democracy with women in the driving seat is taking place. It could provide a model of governance for the rest of Syria but are its ideas too radical for both its allies and its enemies?
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/06/16/whos-beating-back-isis-in-syria/

5. 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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