KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 8 – 15 DECEMBER 2017

NEWS
1. MP says trip to Turkey reminded him of Belfast during the Troubles [VIDEOS]
2. AKP to ECHR: “We arrested HDP MPs together with CHP”
3. Kurdish MP banished from Turkey Parliament for uttering ‘Kurdistan’
4. EUTCC Conference Final Resolution and Video Links
5. Kurds ask international support for peace
6. “Öcalan’s freedom will contribute to peace in the Middle East”
7. The Trial of HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtas
8. The Trial of Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtas
9. International observers arbitrarily denied access to hearings
10. Swedish parliamentarian says Turkish police threatened him with arrest
11. US Official Accuses Turkey of Pushing Extreme Islamist Ideology
12. TEV-DEM calls upon UN to fulfil its responsibilities over Makhmur
13. City banker turns his back on a fat salary to join the fight against Isis
14. Russia’s President Declares Military Victory in Syria: Shift to Diplomacy
15. Dozens of humanitarian organizations urge Iraqi PM to end flight ban in Kurdistan

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. In Turkey, academics asking for peace are accused of terrorism
2. Erdogan’s purge in Britain? Two minors, two women arrested for selling Kurdish newspaper
3. Syrian Kurds press on with elections despite divisions
4. Syrian Kurds move closer to Russia
5. WE KURDS COULD TAKE CARE OF THE REFUGEES — BUT THE WEST AND BAGHDAD WON’T PAY UP
6. International observers arbitrarily denied access to hearings
7. Video on Rojava and Northern Syria

CAMPAIGNS, ACTION
1. #SOSTurkey campaign
2. Brighton Kurdish Solidarity event on Co-ops in Rojava
on 19 December
3. New documentary on Hasankeyf trailer:
4. SPOT Conference: Turkey under the state of emergency – campaigning to win change

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NEWS
1. MP says trip to Turkey reminded him of Belfast during the Troubles [VIDEOS]
14 December/The Canary
The time for British subtlety is over, according to a Belfast MP who recently travelled to Turkey as an international observer. He told The Canary that his time in the country reminded him of the scenes that Northern Ireland experienced in the past. And he urged the UK government to step up its actions in response to Turkey’s ongoing crackdown on democracy.
https://www.thecanary.co/global/2017/12/14/the-time-for-subtlety-is-over-britain-needs-to-put-its-foot-down-on-turkey-says-belfast-mp-videos/

2. AKP to ECHR: “We arrested HDP MPs together with CHP”
14 December/ANF News
The Turkish government has sent a defense to the ECHR and claimed that the HDP MPs had been arrested for peace and democracy with support from the CHP.
https://anfenglish.com/news/akp-to-echr-we-arrested-hdp-mps-together-with-chp-23645

3. Kurdish MP banished from Turkey Parliament for uttering ‘Kurdistan’
13 December/Kurdistan 24
As leaders from around Muslim-majority countries convened Wednesday in Istanbul in solidarity with Palestinians against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Ankara, the Turkish Parliament evicted a Kurdish lawmaker for using the word “Kurdistan” in his speech.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/9c7f453a-2dae-4f85-aa63-ef321a251ea2

4. EUTCC Conference Final Resolution and Video Links
13 December/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
The Annual International Conference on the EU, Turkey and the Kurds was hosted by the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) in cooperation with the GUE/NGL Group, the Greens-European Free Alliance and the Groups of the Free Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. The conference was successfully held on 6 and 7 December 2017 in the European Parliament in Brussels.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/12/13/the-final-resolution-of-the-14th-annual-eutcc-conference-2017/
http://web.guengl.streamovations.be/index.php/listpage

5. Kurds ask international support for peace
10 December/Middle East Diplomatic
Following two days conference in the European Parliament (EP), the final resolution of 14th international conference on the European Union, Turkey, the Middle East and the Kurds call EU, UN, US and His Holiness Pope Francis to support the peaceful solution of the Kurdish question in the Middle East.
http://www.med-diplomatic.com/

6. “Öcalan’s freedom will contribute to peace in the Middle East”
13 December/ANF News
Uruguayan researcher, professor, journalist and author of several books on the Latin American social movements Raúl Zibechi has also joined the campaign for the freedom of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan. Zibechi spoke to Yeni Özgür Politika reporter Rewşan Deniz and said, “Öcalan’s freedom will also contribute to peace in the Middle East.”
https://anfenglish.com/news/Oecalan-s-freedom-will-contribute-to-peace-in-the-middle-east-23625

7. The Trial of HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtas
11 December/International Criminal Law Bureau
Another icy grey morning in Ankara, and we international observers again pile into two coaches, and then into the crowded buses for the drive to Sincan Prison Complex.
http://www.internationallawbureau.com/index.php/the-trial-of-co-chair-hdp-senihatten-demirtas/

8. The Trial of Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtas
7 December/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Ms Figen Yüksekdağ is charged, under the Anti Terror Law, with inciting violence, making propaganda for a terrorist organisation ( PKK)  and establishing and managing a terrorist organisation. These accusations were made on the basis of speeches she had made, as an elected MP, both inside and outside parliament between 2011 and 2015. Figen, as an elected member of parliament, and co chair of a legal political party, was simply doing her job. It was absurd to allege that her speeches were promoting terrorism. There is no evidence that she organised or is a member of a terror group.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2017/12/08/the-trial-of-figen-yuksekdag-and-selahattin-demirtas/

9. International observers arbitrarily denied access to hearings
8 December/ANF News
The international observers delegation that was denied permission to attend the hearings in Ankara of HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ on 6th and 7th December, released the following statement regarding their denial of the right to watch the hearings that have taken place over the past two days:
https://anfenglish.com/news/international-observers-arbitrarily-denied-access-to-hearings-23548

10. Swedish parliamentarian says Turkish police threatened him with arrest
9 December/Turkey Purge
Swedish parliamentarian Jonas Sjöstedt said that Turkish police threatened him with arrest in Ankara, where he attempted to monitor the trial of jailed pro-Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas on Thursday.
https://turkeypurge.com/swedish-parliamentarian-says-turkish-police-threatened-arrest

11. US Official Accuses Turkey of Pushing Extreme Islamist Ideology
13 December/VOA
An already tense relationship between the United States and Turkey appears to be under more strain after a top Trump administration official accused Turkey of spreading what he called extreme Islamist ideology around the world.
https://www.voanews.com/a/united-states-official-accuses-turkey-pushing-extreme-islamist-ideology/4162558.html

12. TEV-DEM calls upon UN to fulfil its responsibilities over Makhmur
9 December/ANHA
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Loudrian said that Syrian Democratic Forces had defeated 40 percent of Syria and said there were about 500 French mercenaries in Iraq and Syria. Loudrian told French news channel that Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the International Coalition defeated mercenaries and liberated “40% of Syria” from IS and controlled “60% of the country’s oil resources” especially in areas close to al-Raqqa.
http://en.hawarnews.com/french-foreign-minister-sfd-liberated-40-of-syria-from-is/

13. City banker turns his back on a fat salary to join the fight against Isis
7 December/The Independent
“Reading about 20,000 Yazidis being chased up Sinjar mountain was the moment that did it for me.” Shocked at the government’s inaction at the genocide “emerging in front of our very eyes”, Gifford quit his job, pulled out of an imminent house purchase, broke up with his partner and joined the YPG (People’s Protection Unit) in Syria.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/macer-gifford-kurds-turkey-assad-peace-talks-geneva-sochi-pyd-erdogan-a8089566.html

14. Russia’s President Declares Military Victory in Syria: Shift to Diplomacy
12 December/Strategic Culture
With a complete victory achieved over the Islamic State group in Syria, Russia’s military operation in the country is finished, and the focus would switch to a political process. “I have taken a decision: a significant part of the Russian troop contingent located in Syria is returning home to Russia,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Dec. 11 during his surprise visit <http://www.en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/56351>  to Russia’s Khmeimim Air base, near Syria’s Latakia province, on the Mediterranean coast. He also warned that should the terrorists try to “rear their heads” in Syria again, Russia will strike them as “they have never seen before.”
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/12/12/russia-president-declares-military-victory-syria-shift-diplomacy.html

15. Dozens of humanitarian organizations urge Iraqi PM to end flight ban in Kurdistan
13 December/Kurdistan 24
Dozens of humanitarian organizations on Wednesday sent a request to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to lift the international flight ban on airports in the Kurdistan Region. Seventy-seven aid organizations signed a statement addressed to the Government of Iraq, and to Prime Minister Abadi.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/51db211e-020a-49b0-a517-e3292c84d609

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. In Turkey, academics asking for peace are accused of terrorism
11 December/The Guardian
Last week the trials began in Istanbul of those who signed the Academics for Peace petition in January 2016. A total of 148 trials are scheduled through to May 2018, with new trials expected to be announced in the near future. Each focuses on a single individual, but the indictment is the same for all of them. If they are found guilty, each signatory faces a prison sentence of up to seven-and-a-half years.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/11/erdogan-turkey-academics-terrorism-violence-kurdish-people

2. Erdogan’s purge in Britain? Two minors, two women arrested for selling Kurdish newspaper
14 December/The Region
On the 7th of December, British armed police knocked on door to door in Harringey to arrest individuals selling and distributing the news daily, Yeni Ozgur Politika, which translates to “New Free Politics.”
http://theregion.org/article/12201-erdogan-039-s-purge-in-britain-two-minors-two-women-arrested-for-selling-kurdish-newspaper

3. Syrian Kurds press on with elections despite divisions
13 December/Al Monitor
Kurds in northern Syria are proceeding with elections as they aim for a federal system of government in Syria, despite the Syrian regime’s disapproval and Turkey’s anger. The third and last phase of voting in the election will take place in January, when voters choose members of the Democratic People’s Council of North Syria.
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/12/syria-north-kurdish-federal-elections-rule.html

4. Syrian Kurds move closer to Russia
7 December/Al Monitor
For the past several years, Turkey has feared and sought to prevent two things in Syria: the United States’ partnership with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria and a role for the Kurds in the settlement process that would eventually make their de facto autonomy permanent.
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/12/turkey-syria-kurds-move-closer-russia.html

5. WE KURDS COULD TAKE CARE OF THE REFUGEES — BUT THE WEST AND BAGHDAD WON’T PAY UP
12 December/Newsweek
Even as the battle to destroy the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) draws to a close, Iraq enters a new chapter of vicious turmoil. While the coalition’s military operations were meticulously planned, a long-term approach for the refugee fallout never materialized, and the international community lacks a political strategy for the day after ISIS.
http://www.newsweek.com/kurds-will-take-care-refugees-we-need-money-do-it-746623

6. International observers arbitrarily denied access to hearings
8 December/ANF News
The international observers delegation that was denied permission to attend the hearings in Ankara of HDP Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ released a statement.
https://anfenglish.com/news/international-observers-arbitrarily-denied-access-to-hearings-23548

7. Video on Rojava and Northern Syria
8 June2016
https://youtu.be/J2DOH7qYQ5o

CAMPAIGNS, ACTION
1. #SOSTurkey campaign :
We, the signatories, want to express our concern about the repression in Turkey. After the failed coup attempt of the 15th of July 2016 the clampdown on (real or perceived) critics of the Turkish regime quickly spread to all parts of society. More than a hundred thousand people have been fired, an equal number has been prosecuted and/or imprisoned, while a great many of these have seen their properties confiscated. Meanwhile the constitutional changes that will turn Turkey into a presidential system will give ever increasing powers to one single person, the Turkish president.
http://www.sosturkey.org

2. Brighton Kurdish Solidarity event on Co-ops in Rojava on 19 December  at 6pm at Cowley Club 12 London Road, Brighton:
https://cooperativeeconomy.info/the-greenhouse-project/

3. New documentary on Hasankeyf trailer:
Water’s Date of Death
https://vimeo.com/245478162
For more information contact: Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive
http://www.hasankeyfgirisimi.net

4. SPOT Conference: Turkey under the state of emergency – campaigning to win change
20 January 2018
We are pleased to invite you to the SPOT conference “Turkey under the state of emergency” on 20 January 2018 at 10:00 – 16:00. Our conference is supported by the National Union of Teachers, who will be hosting us at the NUT Headquarters, Hamilton House, Mabledon Pl, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9BD
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/turkey-under-the-state-of-emergency-campaining-to-win-change-tickets-41226776398?ref=eios&aff=eios

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
44 Ainger Road, London NW3 3AT
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, Rahila Gupta, 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, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, International Coordinator, Green Party of England and Wales;; 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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