KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 18 – 25 SEPTEMBER 2017

NEWS
1. Öcalan’s lawyer: “We can only assume he is alive”
2. Demonstrations for Öcalan in Russia, Germany and France
3. Municipality of Pinerolo awards Öcalan with Honorary Citizenship
4. “History and memory detonated in Hasankeyf”
5. Co–chairs elected, 15 committees formed by Deir-ez-Zor Civil Council Election enthusiasm in Shehba
6. We condemn the Turkish state’s attack on Şêladizê in South-Kurdistan (Iraq)
7. Demonstration in 4 Swiss cities for the freedom of Öcalan
8. MİT agent exposed by the ANF on the parliamentary agenda
9. Brussels court rules that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation
10. Turkey: Observers Denied Entry To Opposition MP’s Trial
11. Erdogan’s Regime Puts Democracy On Trial
12. DRAINING THE SWAMP OF TURKISH MONEY AND INFLUENCE
13. MSD Co-chair: People of Deir ez-Zor ready to govern themselves
14. Rojava Revolution motivated by alternative questions and answers
15. Rojda Felat: Raqqa shall be fully liberated in 1.5 months
16. A thousand civilians rescued in Deir ez-Zor operation
17. Whose city is Kirkuk?
18. The evil triangle against the Kurds
19. Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Turkey’s Erdogan Extends Repression to European Critics of his Administration
2. Inside America’s Secret War with ISIS
3. The Real Reason Turkey Doesn’t Want the War in Syria to End
4. The Next Battle: State Department, US Military Divided Over Kurdish Fighters In Syria (And Russia)
5. Flooding Out The Kurds From Their Ancient Home
6. Worldwide actions for Hasankeyf! Stop Ilisu Dam!
7. ‘My revolution across Syria and beyond’
8. Turkey Is on the Brink of a Chaotic Battle for Territory, and ISIS Isn’t the Main Threat This Time
9. Kurdish struggles and the challenge of foreign support: the case of Syrian Kurds
10. The Road to Raqqa. YPG fighters, medics & European volunteers on ISIS frontline

ACTION, CAMPAIGNS
1. LABOUR PARTY 2017 FRINGE MEETING on 26 September
2. Call for 2nd Hasankeyf Global Action Day
3. Reorienting the PKK: Rojava and the Political Thought of Abdullah Öcalan
4. Worldwide actions for Hasankeyf! Stop Ilisu Dam!


NEWS
1. Öcalan’s lawyer: “We can only assume he is alive”
24 September/ANF English
Kurdish People’s Leader Öcalan was last contacted by his brother on September 22, 2016 and hasn’t been heard from since. His lawyer İbrahim Bilmez said, “We can only assume he is alive.”
https://anfenglish.com/human-rights/Oecalan-s-lawyer-we-can-only-assume-he-is-alive-22305

2. Demonstrations for Öcalan in Russia, Germany and France
25 September/ANF News
Kurds living in Russia, Germany and France protested the aggravated isolation imposed on Kurdish Peoples Leader Abdullah Öcalan by the Turkish state.
https://anfenglish.com/news/demonstrations-for-Oecalan-in-russia-germany-and-france-22326

3. Municipality of Pinerolo awards Öcalan with Honorary Citizenship
23 September/ANF News
The Municipality of Pinerolo in Torino, Italy will award Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan with ‘Honorary Citizenship’ on September 29, becoming the 7th municipality to award the Kurdish leader with citizenship.
https://anfenglish.com/news/municipality-of-pinerolo-awards-Oecalan-with-honorary-citizenship-22293

4. “History and memory detonated in Hasankeyf”
24 September/ANF News
Defenders of life gathered for Hasankeyf said, “Hasankeyf is our hope, you can’t detonate our hope”. In the action, defenders pointed out that over 10.000 people will be forcibly displayed with the completion of the dam.
https://anfenglish.com/kurdistan/history-and-memory-detonated-in-hasankeyf-22307

5. Co–chairs elected, 15 committees formed by Deir-ez-Zor Civil Council
24 September/ANHA News
The constituent conference of the Deir-ez-Zor Civil Council has elected two co-chairs of the council. They have also decided to form 15 committees to administrate the liberated areas of Deir-ez-Zor, based on a list of proposals contained in the report of the Preparatory Committee for the conference.
http://en.hawarnews.com/co-chairs-elected-15-committees-formed-by-deir-ez-zor-civil-council/

6. Election enthusiasm in Shehba
23 September/ANF News
The people of Shehba rushed to the polling stations for the commune co-chairs election in Northern Syria, saying: “We will get our communes working, and improve all aspects of services in terms of labour, water and social supplies.”
https://anfenglish.com/rojava/election-enthusiasm-in-shehba-22287

7. We condemn the Turkish state’s attack on Şêladizê in South-Kurdistan (Iraq)
21 September/KongraKurdistan
The Turkish state, led by Erdogan, added yet another crime to its gruesome record of human rights violation. On 20 September 2017, Turkish warplanes launched an attack on the region of Şêladizê and its surrounding villages, killing a number of civilians (at least 10) and wounding others, excluding the environmental and physical sufferings inflicted on the region. 
http://www.kongrakurdistan.net/en/we-condemn-the-turkish-states-attack-on-seladize-in-south-kurdistan-iraq/

8. Demonstration in 4 Swiss cities for the freedom of Öcalan
21 September/ANF News
Kurdistan people living in Switzerland have taken to the streets in 4 cities and demonstrated for the freedom of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan.
https://anfenglish.com/news/demonstration-in-4-swiss-cities-for-the-freedom-of-Oecalan-22254

9. MİT agent exposed by the ANF on the parliamentary agenda
22 September/ANF News
The Turkish-German MİT agent Chief Inspector Döndü Yazgan exposed by the ANF in August is now on the federal parliament’s agenda. The Merkel government avoids Die Linke’s inquiry, “How many moles like Yazgan are there within the German security units?”
https://anfenglish.com/news/mIt-agent-exposed-by-the-anf-on-the-parliamentary-agenda-22258

10. Brussels court rules that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation
25 September/deredactie.be
The Indictments Chamber in Brussels has exonerated from prosecution all those standing trial in a case sounding the activities of the Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK. The court ruled that the conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurds is “an internal armed conflict” and as such the PKK cannot be considered to be a terrorist organisation.
http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/News/1.3066647#

11. Turkey: Observers Denied Entry To Opposition MP’s Trial
19 September/Morning Star
LEADING Turkish leftwinger Figen Yuksekdag refused to attend a court hearing at an Ankara prison yesterday in protest at the exclusion of international observers and supporters.
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2a52-Turkey-Observers-denied-entry-to-opposition-MPs-trial#.WcELLOk5u-8

12. Erdogan’s Regime Puts Democracy On Trial
18 September/Morning Star
THE long-awaited trial of former People’s Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yuksekdag starts in Ankara today with one key component missing — the defendant herself.
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-a8c9-Erdogans-regime-puts-democracy-on-trial#.Wb-4_Ok5u-8

13. DRAINING THE SWAMP OF TURKISH MONEY AND INFLUENCE
17 September/Huffington Post
Turkey has mastered the art of buying influence in Washington. It pays expensive consulting contracts to lobbyists for “strategic consulting services in connection with political and public policy issues before the United States Government impacting the Republic of Turkey’s interests.” Turkey also makes major gifts to think-tanks, which act like lobbyists, circumventing the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59bf17dbe4b0390a1564def5

14. MSD Co-chair: People of Deir ez-Zor ready to govern themselves
24 September/ANF News
Deir ez-Zor Civilian Council Constituent Congress began with the participation of opinion leaders of the region, civilian councils of Tabqa and Raqqa and representatives of Manbij Executive Council.
https://anfenglish.com/news/msd-co-chair-people-of-deir-ez-zor-ready-to-govern-themselves-22323

15. Rojava Revolution motivated by alternative questions and answers
23 September/ANF News
American YPG fighter Rodî Xwendekar, who was a philosophy student in his homeland before coming to Rojava, stated that the Rojava Revolution is asking some important questions and is offering more compelling answers than the rest of the world.
https://anfenglish.com/news/rojava-revolution-motivated-by-alternative-questions-and-answers-22295

16. Rojda Felat: Raqqa shall be fully liberated in 1.5 months
22 September/ANF News
As the military campaign to liberate Raqqa from ISIS continues at full force since June 6, Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander Rojda Felat spoke to ANF about the latest situation in the ‘Great Battle’ to clear Raqqa of ISIS.
https://anfenglish.com/news/rojda-felat-raqqa-shall-be-fully-liberated-in-1-5-months-22269

17. A thousand civilians rescued in Deir ez-Zor operation
21 September/ANF News
Fighters of the Deir ez-Zor Military Council under SDF umbrella have rescued a thousand civilians and transferred them to safe areas.
https://anfenglish.com/news/a-thousand-civilians-rescued-in-deir-ez-zor-operation-22246

18. Whose city is Kirkuk?
21 September/ANF News
After Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) decided to hold a referendum on south Kurdistan’s independence, Kirkuk is once again under international and regionals power’s attention.
https://anfenglish.com/news/whose-city-is-kirkuk-22240

19. The evil triangle against the Kurds
22 September/ANF News
While KDP asserts to be an ally of Turkey, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran and Iraq held a meeting in the United States and issued a joint declaration against the Southern Kurdistan independence referendum scheduled for September 25.
https://anfenglish.com/news/the-evil-triangle-against-the-kurds-22268

20. Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
22 September/Red Pepper
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write 
Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
http://www.redpepper.org.uk/flooding-the-cradle-of-civilisation-a-12000-year-old-town-in-kurdistan-battles-for-survival/

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Turkey’s Erdogan Extends Repression to European Critics of his Administration
21 September/The Real News
SHARMINI PERIES: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. Both France and Germany are concerned about journalists of French and German citizenship arrested in Turkey after the referendum that expanded and consolidated power for the President’s office in Turkey, which took place in April.
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19900:Turkey%27s-Erdogan-Extends-Repression-to-European-Critics-of-his-Administration

2. Inside America’s Secret War with ISIS
6 September/Rolling Stone
An hour before dawn on a rooftop in Raqqa, you can see the Milky Way. The Islamic State’s embattled capital in Syria, once home to hundreds of thousands of people, has been bombed back into darkness, but from the city center comes the trancelike recitation of the call to prayer. A sudden flash of red light illuminates the skyline, and a rumbling like distant thunder rolls over the rooftops. As soon as it subsides, the reading of scripture resumes, until it is again silenced by the flash and thud of an American bomb.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-americas-secret-war-with-isis-w501346

3. The Real Reason Turkey Doesn’t Want the War in Syria to End
10 September/National Interest
The United States has not been clear about its exit plan in Syria, and will still need boots on the ground after ISIS has morphed into a nonstate actor. Gen. Raymond Thomas, commander of United States Special Operations Command, said that it would be advantageous for the coalition to stay in Syria and support the Syrian Democratic Forces as long as there “is a CT [counter-terrorism] threat to deal with”—suggesting that the United States will remain there for some time to come.
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-real-reason-turkey-doesnt-want-the-war-syria-end-22239

4. The Next Battle: State Department, US Military Divided Over Kurdish Fighters In Syria (And Russia)
11 July/Defense One
The end game has arrived. In Syria, the U.S.-backed campaign to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State is nearing its final chapter. And yet the rifts inside the United States government about what to do next, as ISIS falls, are as evident in President Donald Trump’s administration as they were many months ago in Obama’s. The questions about the long-term have yet to be answered.
http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2017/07/next-battle-state-department-us-military-divides-over-kurdish-fighters-syria-and-russia/139358/

5. Flooding Out The Kurds From Their Ancient Home
16 September/Morning Star
SITUATED on the banks of the Tigris River, Hasankeyf is a 12,000-year old largely Kurdish city in Turkey’s Mardin province. It is an important centre of Kurdish cultural and archaeological heritage which at its height attracted around half a million visitors a year.
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-e613-Flooding-out-the-Kurds-from-their-ancient-home#.Wb0eXOk5u-9

6. Worldwide actions for Hasankeyf! Stop Ilisu Dam!
23 September/Hasankeyf Girisimi
Today in more than 15 cities actions have been organized against the Ilisu Dam at the Tigris River, one of the most worldwide controversial dams. If completed the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project with its expected grave social, ecological, cultural and downstream impacts would become a large scale disaster.
http://www.hasankeyfgirisimi.net/?p=541

7. ‘My revolution across Syria and beyond’
18 September/New Internationalist
Graduating from university in Britain during the financial crisis, Macer Gifford found himself, like so many others, restless and adrift. He managed to get himself a job in finance, as a currency trader, but always had one eye focused elsewhere: on the news, on the world outside, on the ‘so-called Arab Spring’.
https://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2017/09/18/macer-gifford

8. Turkey Is on the Brink of a Chaotic Battle for Territory, and ISIS Isn’t the Main Threat This Time
20 September/Alternet
A senior Turkish military officer, sitting near the Turkey-Syria border, tells me that his troops are alert and ready for action. Commando units and heavy artillery have moved to the border in Turkey’s Reyhanli district and they have been conducting military exercises in Turkey’s eastern region area near Sirnak. The target is not ISIS, which has suffered serious defeats in both Iraq and Syria. Other dilemmas lie before Turkey’s leadership.
http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/turkey-brink-chaotic-battle-territory-and-isis-isnt-main-threat-time

9. Kurdish struggles and the challenge of foreign support: the case of Syrian Kurds
19 September/Open Democracy
The situation of the Kurds in a drastically changing Middle East has received little attention in academia and less in the media despite their growing impact on regional and international politics. The biggest stateless people living in the Middle East are on the verge of a new status, not only in Iraqi Kurdistan, where a referendum for independence takes place on September 25, 2017, but also in Syria and Turkey. In Syria, Kurds have fought an organised and effective struggle against the IS. In Turkey, they have suffered a massive destruction of Kurdish cities, displacement of half a million Kurds and eradication of all forms of legal entity by the Turkish state. Then there is Iran. This week’s short series looks at current political struggles of the Kurds in four neighbouring countries. 
https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/behnam-amini/kurdish-struggles-and-challenge-of-foreign-support-case-of-syria

10. The Road to Raqqa. YPG fighters, medics & European volunteers on ISIS frontline
Watch: https://rtd.rt.com/films/road-to-raqqa/

ACTION, CAMPAIGNS
1. LABOUR PARTY 2017 FRINGE MEETING on 26 September
Resisting dictatorship in Turkey and building a democratic alternative in Syria – the critical role of the Kurds in defining a new Middle East.
Tuesday 26 September, 12.30 – 14.00
The Charlotte Room, The Grand Hotel, Brighton
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/09/22/labour-party-2017-fringe-meeting/

2. Call for 2nd Hasankeyf Global Action Day
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
We call activists, social movements, NGO’s and all others in the world to join the second global action day for the defense of Hasankeyf and the Tigris River on 23rd September 2017! It is under threat by the Ilisu Project; lets protest this one of most controversial dams in the world!
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/09/01/call-for-2nd-hasankeyf-global-action-day/

3. Reorienting the PKK: Rojava and the Political Thought of Abdullah Öcalan
12 October/LSE Middle East Centre
In its 1978 manifesto, the PKK declared the establishment of an independent state to be the most important political goal of any national liberation movement. Twenty years on, the party’s leader Abdullah Öcalan changed this when he developed an ideological framework based on the idea of self-governing, stateless societies as the best way of addressing socioeconomic and sociocultural injustices. In this talk, Joost Jongerden explains this paradigm shift, which reoriented the PKK as well as other Kurdish movements in the Middle East.
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reorienting-the-pkk-rojava-and-the-political-thought-of-abdullah-ocalan-tickets-36896992899#listing-organizer

4. Worldwide actions for Hasankeyf! Stop Ilisu Dam!
25 September/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Dear Ambassador,
We write as civil society groups, public intellectuals, parliamentarians and concerned global citizens to express our support for protests today in Turkey and elsewhere around the world against the planned Ilisu Dam in SE Turkey and the wanton destruction of globally important cultural heritage that this will involve.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/09/25/global-hasankeyf-action-day/#more-8678

Today in 16 cities actions have been organized against the Ilisu Dam at the Tigris River, one of the most worldwide controversial dams. If completed the Ilisu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant Project with its expected grave social, ecological, cultural and downstream impacts would become a large scale disaster.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/09/25/worldwide-actions-for-hasankeyf-stop-ilisu-dam/

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 John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans MEP, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Mike Mansfield QC, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Gareth Peirce, Maxine Peake, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Stephen Smellie, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward MEP, Hywel Williams MP.

 

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