KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 20 – 30 DECEMBER 2017

NEWS
1. Demirtas: We must break the isolation on Ocalan
2. “Turkey is not Guantanamo”: Imprisoned politician Demirtas slams new prison uniform policy
3. 267 corpses exhumed: How far can Turkey’s ‘war on terror’ go?
4. People of Tabqa respond to Assad: We are all SDF fighters
5. 1570 youths joined the SDF, YPG and YPJ in one month
6. Are hit squads about to take aim at Turkey’s dissidents abroad?
7. Germany should investigate Turkish plans to attack opposition
8. Kurdish-led Syrian groups plan to attend Sochi talks: officials
9. Turkish police raid pro-Kurdish party’s İstanbul bureau, detain co-chairperson
10. Yüksekdağ: It is very clear that there is a hand applying pressure on my judicial case
11. Turkey’s problem with Syrian Kurds far from over
12. Iraqi Kurdish ministers resign amid violent protests
13. Iraq invites bids to build new Kirkuk pipeline to Turkey


OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. In Turkey, Repression of the Kurdish Language Is Back, With No End in Sight
2. Henry Jackson Society does it again: problems with their latest report on PYD
3. Karayılan: Turkish colonialism failed in its war against the PKK
4. Bayık: A new, democratic gov’t can resolve the issues in Bashur
5. Karayılan: PKK will develop a more effective fight in 2018
6. Saleh Moslem speaks to ANF about Assad’s comments and Sochi
7. INTERVIEW: Ezgi Başaran on ‘frontline Turkey,’ Gülenists and the Kurdish peace process
8. Labour MP sparks anger by echoing the propaganda of an alleged war criminal
9. How ‘Kurdistan’ became illegal in Turkey, again
10. Turkey, Russia and Interesting New Balkan Geopolitics
11. Turkey’s ‘NATO Ex-communication’, Excluded From the Atlantic Alliance? Will Ankara Align With Moscow?
12. One year into crackdown, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition battered but defiant
13. It was as if he had been killed by ISIS all over again
14. Syria’s Arab, Kurdish Women Join Forces to Fight for Future
15. Opinion: Vladimir Putin’s Mideast Victory Lap
16. Kurdish people’s independence fight under attack in Iraq, Syria
17.  New documentary on Hasankeyf trailor
18. Mehmet Aksoy obituary

CAMPAIGNS, ACTION
1. #SOSTurkey campaign – please share widely: http://www.sosturkey.org
2. Conference on Saturday, 13 January: Visions of a Future Kurdistan(s): Gender, Politics, and Society
3. Action for The Silenced of Syria
4. SPOT Conference, 20 January : Turkey under the state of emergency – campaigning to win change

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NEWS
1. Demirtas: We must break the isolation on Ocalan
30 December / ANF
Imprisoned leader of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas urged everyone to step up the struggle to break the isolation on Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.
https://anfenglish.com/news/demirtas-we-must-break-the-isolation-on-ocalan-23851


2. “Turkey is not Guantanamo”: Imprisoned politician Demirtas slams new prison uniform policy
25 December / The Region
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-Chair Selahattin Demirtas sent a letter from prison condemning the latest Decree-Laws which compel prisoners to wear a single-type uniform. Two statutory decrees No. 695 and 696 concerning these changes were prepared under the State of Emergency and were published in the Official Gazette.
http://theregion.org/article/12280-039-turkey-is-not-guantanamo-039-imprisoned-politician-demirtas-slams-new-prison-uniform-policy

3. 267 corpses exhumed: How far can Turkey’s ‘war on terror’ go?
25 December / The Region
Turkey has been accused of exhuming the bodies of 267 people affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Garzan district of Bitlis, Eastern Turkey.
http://theregion.org/article/12281-267-kurdish-corpses-exhumed-how-far-can-turkey-039-s-039-war-on-terror-039-go

4. People of Tabqa respond to Assad: We are all SDF fighters
27 December / ANF
People of Tabqa gathered at al-Xaz Stadium in protest at Syrian regime President Bashar Assad’s comments that “Kurds are betraying their country by their alliance with the US.”
People staged a march before a rally at al-Alam Boulevard, carrying banners of Syrian Democratic Forces, Syrian Democratic Council (MSD), Syrian Women’s Assembly, Syrian Youth Assembly, Democratic Civil Administration of Tabqa, and banners protesting Assad’s comments.
https://anfenglish.com/women/people-of-tabqa-respond-to-assad-we-are-all-sdf-fighters-23875

5. 1570 youths joined the SDF, YPG and YPJ in one month
23 December / ANF
Young people in Northern Syria and Rojava Kurdistan join the SDF, YPG, YPJ and Self Defense Forces every day. Hundreds of young people have joined the defence forces recently to defend their lands and be part of the fight against terrorism. As well as from all ethnic groups joining, Arab youth stands out with their great interest in the defence forces.
https://anfenglish.com/rojava/1570-youths-joined-the-sdf-ypg-and-ypj-in-one-month-23808


6. Are hit squads about to take aim at Turkey’s dissidents abroad?
20 December / Al-Monitor
Shadowy Turkish operatives are plotting the murders of high-profile Turkish dissidents and religious minority leaders living in exile in a bid to sow further chaos and instability, a prominent Turkish lawmaker warned today.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/12/dissidents-minorities-assassinations-abroad.html#ixzz52hMWmqcJ

7. Germany should investigate Turkish plans to attack opposition
23 December / ANF
Speaking to Yeni Ozgur Politika daily newspaper, Göksungur responded to the comments of Garo Paylan, a People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP. Paylan announced that he had received information from various sources that are pointing to Turkish plans to attack on Armenian or Alevi opposition and exiled intellectuals in Europe, especially in Germany.
“Garo Paylan’s statements must step federal government into action. The issue should be taken very seriously. The activities of MIT must be stopped and condemned. There must not be a second Paris.”
https://anfenglish.com/news/germany-should-investigate-turkish-plans-to-attack-opposition-in-23807

8. Kurdish-led Syrian groups plan to attend Sochi talks: officials
21 December / Reuters
Kurdish-led Syrian groups plan to attend Russia’s proposed Syria peace talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Kurdish officials have said.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds/kurdish-led-syrian-groups-plan-to-attend-sochi-talks-officials-idUSKBN1EF1AK

9. Turkish police raid pro-Kurdish party’s İstanbul bureau, detain co-chairperson
19 December / Turkish Purge
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) local office in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district was raided by the police early Tuesday, according to several media outlets.
Following a four-hour search of the premises for prohibited publications and photos, police detained Gül Demir, co-chair of HDP district bureau. A detention warrant was issued for Ercan Demir, the other co-chair of the bureau.
https://turkeypurge.com/police-raid-pro-kurdish-hdps-kadikoy-office

10. Yüksekdağ: It is very clear that there is a hand applying pressure on my judicial case
6 December / HDP
A brief of Yüksekdağ’s speech at the third hearing of the main case that took place today in Ankara:
The judiciary in Turkey has never been fully independent, but then again it has never been as dependent as now, never under so much pressure. It is very clear that there is a hand applying pressure on this case.
http://www.hdp.org.tr/en/news/news-from-hdp/yuksekdag-it-is-very-clear-that-there-is-a-hand-applying-pressure-on-my-judicial-case/11298

11. Turkey’s problem with Syrian Kurds far from over
19 December  / Al-Monitor
One concrete result from the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara on Dec. 11 seems to be Turkey’s acceptance of Kurdish participation in the Russian-sponsored Syrian National Dialogue Congress planned for early 2018.
But Turkey’s precondition remains the same — namely that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are excluded from this congress. Ankara says these are terrorist groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and refuses to participate in any effort to bring peace to Syria that includes them.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/12/turkey-syria-kurds-problem-seems-far-from-over.html#ixzz52hh03YTJ

12. Iraqi Kurdish ministers resign amid violent protests
21 December / The News & Observer
Two political parties have withdrawn from Iraq’s Kurdish regional government amid street protests over delayed salaries, poor services and rampant corruption, a Kurdish lawmaker said Thursday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article190961409.html

13. Iraq invites bids to build new Kirkuk pipeline to Turkey
30 December / The Japan News
Iraq on Sunday invited companies to submit statements of interest in building a new pipeline from the northern city of Kirkuk to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004147295

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. In Turkey, Repression of the Kurdish Language Is Back, With No End in Sight
21 December / The Nation
The space in the office is cramped. The walls are adorned with posters of sports cars and advertisements for insurance companies. Books cover the tables. Sami Tan, a linguist and a lecturer of Kurdish, apologizes for the improvised setting and the lack of more comfortable chairs. After the Turkish government shuttered the Kurdish Institute in Istanbul—an association that has taught and promoted Kurdish-language study for nearly 25 years—he and the other staff have moved into the available offices of a driving school in the same building.
https://www.thenation.com/article/in-turkey-repression-of-the-kurdish-language-is-back-with-no-end-in-sight/   

2. Henry Jackson Society does it again: problems with their latest report on PYD
24 December / The Nation
The latest Henry Jackson Society report on Northern Syria is riddled with inaccuracies and lacks the context needed to report on the movements and conflicts that define the political situation there today.
http://theregion.org/article/12276-henry-jackson-society-does-it-again-problems-with-their-latest-report-on-the-pyd


3. Karayılan: Turkish colonialism failed in its war against the PKK
25 December / ANF
Speaking about the Turkish states ambitions over Kurdistan and its efforts to destroy the Kurdish freedom movement, member of PKK’s Executive Council Murat Karayılan said: “2017 has been a year when the Kurdistan freedom struggle continued to develop and great resistance was displayed against the developing attacks. This year has been one when Turkish colonialism failed to achieve their aims and was unsuccessful”.
https://anfenglish.com/features/karayilan-turkish-colonialism-failed-in-its-war-against-the-pkk-23852

4. Bayık: A new, democratic gov’t can resolve the issues in Bashur
24 December / ANF
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-chair Cemil Bayık spoke in the Nêrîna Azad (Free Point of View) program on Ronahi TV about the crisis in Southern Kurdistan.
Bayık commented on the “Raperin” that has spread throughout the South and said, “The people now see the politics of the Southern Kurdistan government and they are revolting.”
https://anfenglish.com/features/bayik-a-new-democratic-gov-t-can-resolve-the-issues-in-bashur-23814

5. Karayılan: PKK will develop a more effective fight in 2018
26 December / ANF
A member of Executive Council of the PKK, Murat Karayılan told about possible developments in the upcoming year and how they will develop a more effective fight against the fascist regime in Turkey.
https://anfenglish.com/features/karayilan-pkk-will-develop-a-more-effective-fight-in-2018-23863

6. Saleh Moslem speaks to ANF about Assad’s comments and Sochi
22 December / ANF
TEV-DEM Diplomacy Committee Member Saleh Moslem pointed out that Syrian regime President Bashar Assad’s comments accusing Kurds of treason are a result of the anti-Kurdish policies that have been revived among Iran, Turkey and Syria. Moslem said the true goal of the “secret alliance to accuse Kurds of treason and terrorism” is to isolate Kurds in the political and diplomatic arenas.
https://anfenglish.com/features/saleh-moslem-speaks-to-anf-about-assad-s-comments-and-sochi-23792


7. INTERVIEW: Ezgi Başaran on ‘frontline Turkey,’ Gülenists and the Kurdish peace process
23 December / Hurriyet
“Frontline Turkey: The Conflict at the Heart of the Middle East” by Ezgi Başaran is a breezy 200-page account addressing the peace process and its collapse, the rise and fall of the Gülenist network, and the broader question of accelerating authoritarianism in today’s Turkey. Başaran is among the most qualified writers for such a project, with over 10 years’ experience in the Turkish media, including a stint as editor-in-chief of the late daily Radikal. She is currently based at Oxford University’s St Anthony’s College, where she’s coordinates its Programme on Contemporary Turkey.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/interview-ezgi-basaran-on-frontline-turkey-gulenists-and-the-kurdish-peace-process-124496

8. Labour MP sparks anger by echoing the propaganda of an alleged war criminal
22 December / The Canary
Labour Co-operative MP John Woodcock is on the right of the Labour Party. He has been linked to arms giant BAE systems, has voted in favour of military interventions abroad, and has essentially voted against holding Saudi Arabia to account for alleged abuses in Yemen. While initially hostile to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, he apologised for his previous lack of faith after the 2017 general election.
https://www.thecanary.co/global/2017/12/22/labour-mp-sparks-anger-echoing-propaganda-alleged-war-criminal/

9. How ‘Kurdistan’ became illegal in Turkey, again
21 December / Al-Monitor
An interesting episode unfolded Dec. 13 in the Turkish parliament as Osman Baydemir, a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) representing the province of Sanliurfa, took the rostrum and began talking about his and his party’s “mission.”
“I, as a Kurd, as a representative of Kurdistan,” he said at one point, “I believe I have a role, a mission to make this roof the common roof of the Turk and Kurd.” Baydemir could not continue much beyond that, as Deputy Speaker Aysenur Bahcekapili from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) asked Baydemir to stop talking, muted his microphone, and then asked him, “Where is Kurdistan? There is no such region in Turkey.” Baydemir responded, “It is right here,” thumping the left side of his chest, over his heart.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/12/turkey-kurds-how-kurdistan-became-illegal-again.html#ixzz52hq9gfBK

10. Turkey, Russia and Interesting New Balkan Geopolitics
31 July / New Eastern Outlook
There’s a major tectonic shift underway not only in Hungary but also across the entire Balkans. The shift involves Erdogan’s Turkey and also Putin’s Russia. The outlines of a new Balkans geopolitics are emerging and it’s opening huge fault-lines within the EU between die-hard NATO Atlanticists and pragmatic EU states more keen on economic development and the health and safety of their countries than in defending a bankrupt declining USA Superpower.
https://journal-neo.org/2017/07/31/turkey-russia-and-interesting-new-balkan-geopolitics/

11. Turkey’s ‘NATO Ex-communication’, Excluded >From the Atlantic Alliance? Will Ankara Align With Moscow?
15 December / Global Research
While still a NATO member, Turkey has drifted away from the alliance to a great extent, indicating the way conflict in Syria has changed the Middle East’s geo-political landscape, and largely continues to. It is particularly the end-game in Syria that has now greatly crystalized which country stands where in the regional geo-political spectrum, and Turkey is certainly not in the US-led Western camp, which means that Turkey is an ally of Russia and will directly or indirectly counter-act any NATO manoeuver against Russia.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/turkeys-nato-ex-communication-excluded-from-the-atlantic-alliance-will-ankara-align-with-moscow/5622998

12. One year into crackdown, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition battered but defiant
6 November / Al-Monitor
Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is weakened yet resolute a year after the detention of a dozen of its lawmakers and a wider crackdown crippled the Kurdish political cause and damaged the European Union candidate’s democratic credentials.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/11/demirtas-trial-approaches.html#ixzz52hrSoXss


13. It was as if he had been killed by ISIS all over again
23 December / Another Green World
My friend Mehmet Aksoy was killed by Isis in Raqqa, Syria on 26th September this year.  He had been working as a journalist and communications officer for the Peoples Defence Force (YPG).  He was not a fighter but there instead to tell a story about how the Kurds and their allies were working to defeat the so called Islamic State and to promote the alternative of a democratic, diverse society.
http://another-green-world.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/it-was-if-he-had-been-killed-by-isis.html

14. Syria’s Arab, Kurdish Women Join Forces to Fight for Future
21 November / The Kurdish Project
At just 21 years old, Zilan’s burdens are already heavy. She has a pair of violent ex-husbands and a daughter from each. But she said she has left all that behind in her home village near Raqqa, the recently liberated capital of the so-called Islamic State in Syria.
Zilan is among scores of women joining an all-Arab women’s force that was formed earlier this year as part of the Syrian Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), the globally acclaimed women’s militia that has become the bane of jihadis. These fresh recruits are testing the limits of the deep-rooted patriarchy of Arab communities and more critically, the uneasy cohabitation of Arabs and Kurds that is meant to serve as a blueprint for the future of Syria.
https://thekurdishproject.org/stories/syrias-arab-kurdish-women-join-forces-fight-future/

15. Opinion: Vladimir Putin’s Mideast Victory Lap
20 December / Military.com
On Monday, Dec. 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned a previously scheduled trip to Egypt into a whirlwind, one day, three nations, victory lap around the Middle East.
The Russian president made an unscheduled stop at the Russian Air Base at Hmeymim, in Syria, and after his meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President al Sisi stopped for a brief meeting with Turkish President Erdogan on his return trip to Moscow.
https://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/12/20/vladimir-putins-mideast-victory-lap.html

16. Kurdish people’s independence fight under attack in Iraq, Syria
1 January 2018 / The Militant
Washington, Moscow and the Shiite- and Sunni-led capitalist governments in the Middle East have been jockeying for position to defend their national interests as the wars against both the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and Islamic State in Syria and Iraq wind down. A key facet has been the shifting prospects for the Kurds — the world’s largest nationality without their own state. There are more than 30 million Kurds divided among Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
http://www.themilitant.com/2018/8201/820105.html

17.  New documentary on Hasankeyf  trailer
https://vimeo.com/245478162

The director Ali Argül has shot a new documentary on the Ilisu Dam Project and the 12.000 years old settlement site Hasankeyf. The 20 minutes film has english subititles, Arabic, Spanish and German will be ready very soon. If you are interested to screen the documentary publicly, please write us: hasankeyfgirisimi@gmail.com
For info: http://www.hasankeyfgirisimi.net/

18. Mehmet Aksoy obituary
28 November / The Guardian
My friend Mehmet Aksoy, who has died aged 32, was a film-maker, journalist and prominent figure in the Kurdish community in the UK. He was killed in an Isis ambush while documenting the fight between Kurdish forces and Isis in Raqqa in northern Syria.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/28/mehmet-aksoy-obituary

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. Conference on Saturday, 13 January: Visions of a Future Kurdistan(s): Gender, Politics, and Society
Join us for a day of presentations and discussion with activists, politicians and academics from different parts of the Kurdistan region and the UK. The day will end with a film screening of ‘Syria: the jail of ISIS’ (arte documentary) and a Q&A with the filmmakers Mehdi Medded and Stéphane Kenech, who recently returned from Northern Syria.
Reserve a place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/visions-of-a-future-kurdistans-gender-politics-and-society-tickets-41462450305?utm

3. Action for The Silenced of Syria
Agit Lit Night Monday 8th January 2018 at 7.30 pm
Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX
Those who struggle to speak out for human rights whose voices are stifled: the human rights activists, the bloggers, the writers, the poets, the journalists, the people…
For more info see: http://www.exiledwriters.co.uk/exiled-cafe/

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

Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk  http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890

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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