KURDISH WEEKLY NEWS BRIEFING, 10 – 19 JANUARY 2018

NEWS
1. YPJ Afrin Commander: The Turkish state is digging its own grave
2. People of Afrin respond to the Turkish state
3. Syria Kurds say will defend enclave from Turkish ‘scourges’
4. Syria ‘ready to down Turkish jets attacking Kurds Afrin’
5. Damascus warns it may shoot down Turkish planes attacking Kurds within Syrian
6. U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds appeal to UNSC for quick action as Turkey readies attack
7. U.S. Border Plan in Syria Fuels Tensions With Turkey
8. “The Rojava revolution is the beginning of humanity’s revolution”
9. Jailed head of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party acquitted of insulting minister

STATEMENTS
1. Turkish attack on Afrîn and our call on the international community to take
2. Turkey must not be allowed to attack Afrin

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Hosting Syria talks in Sochi presents challenges for Russia
2. Experts examine Erdogan’s continuing escalation in Syria
3. Erdoğan attack sparks fears over future of Turkish universities
4. Paul Maskey MP: The threat to Turkish democracy
5. Julie Ward MEP 10 Jan 2018 PYD 9th Conference – Message of solidarity
6. Feminism, Syria-style: conservative tribesmen freed from Islamic State emerge into a world where women have rights
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NEWS
1. YPJ Afrin Commander: The Turkish state is digging its own grave
19 January/ANF News
YPJ Commander Sosin Birhat called threats of invasion by the Turkish army and their gangs “suicide” and said, “The Turkish state is digging its own grave.”
https://anfenglish.com/rojava/ypj-afrin-commander-the-turkish-state-is-digging-its-own-grave-24251

2. People of Afrin respond to the Turkish state
18 January/ANF News
Tens of thousands of people joined a march on Thursday in protest at the Turkish state’s threats and attempts of invasion. Demonstrators held images of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan, flags of People’s/Women’s Defense Units (YPG/YPJ), and banners that read “Freedom of Öcalan is freedom of Kurdistan”, “Defense Forces don’t accept fascist Erdogan’s intervention”, “Afrin will never bow the head”, “Freedom for Öcalan, Status for Kurdistan” and “We will not abandon Afrin
https://anfenglish.com/news/people-of-afrin-respond-to-the-turkish-state-24249

3. Syria Kurds say will defend enclave from Turkish ‘scourges’
16 January/Yahoo
The head of a powerful Kurdish militia hit back on Tuesday at Turkish threats to attack its forces in northern Syria, pledging to “cleanse” the area of Ankara’s “scourges”.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/syria-kurds-defend-enclave-turkish-scourges-205919381.html

4. Syria ‘ready to down Turkish jets attacking Kurds Afrin’
18 January/BBC News
Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said any incursion into Afrin would be considered an act of aggression. It came as Turkey sought clearance for an air campaign from the Syrian government’s allies, Russia and Iran. Tanks are already massed on the border near Afrin, which is held by Kurdish fighters Turkey considers terrorists.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42731227

5. Damascus warns it may shoot down Turkish planes attacking Kurds within Syrian borders
18 January/Russia Today
The Syrian government warned Turkey against launching a bombing campaign in the Syrian province of Afrin, saying its air defenses may be used. Ankara had threatened airstrikes against Afrin-based Kurdish militias.
https://www.rt.com/news/416278-syria-turkey-planes-threat/

6. U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds appeal to UNSC for quick action as Turkey readies attack
The Japan Times/18 January
Syria’s dominant Kurdish party on Wednesday called on the U.N. Security Council to act quickly to ensure the safety of Kurdish-controlled territories in the country’s north, including an enclave that Turkey has threatened to attack.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/18/world/u-s-backed-syrian-kurds-appeal-unsc-quick-action-turkey-readies-attack/#.Wl_nculyG-9

7. U.S. Border Plan in Syria Fuels Tensions With Turkey
17 January/The Wall Street Journal
Syria’s dominant Kurdish party on Wednesday called on the U.N. Security Council to act quickly to ensure the safety of Kurdish-controlled territories in the country’s north, including an enclave that Turkey has threatened to attack.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/turkey-threatens-to-attack-kurdish-allies-of-u-s-in-syria-1516211606

8. “The Rojava revolution is the beginning of humanity’s revolution”
14 January/ANF News
The 9th Congress of the PYD European organization continues in the Netherlands. The speeches in the congress expressed that “The Rojava revolution is the beginning of the revolution of humanity.”
https://anfenglish.com/news/the-rojava-revolution-is-the-beginning-of-humanity-s-revolution-24173

9. Jailed head of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party acquitted of insulting minister
17 January/Reuters
A Turkish court acquitted the jailed head of a pro-Kurdish opposition party on Wednesday of insulting the interior minister, a small victory for a man already jailed for 14 months and facing more than 142 years in prison on terrorism charges
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-court-kurds/jailed-head-of-turkeys-pro-kurdish-party-acquitted-of-insulting-minister-idUSKBN1F6296?il=0

STATEMENTS
1. Turkish attack on Afrîn and our call on the international community to take urgent action
19 December/Peace in Kurdistan
Once again, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is beating the war drum. At each and every single opportunity he is baring his teeth, yelling for war. This time he is taking aim at Efrîn. Erdogan and his regime have not kept their plan a secret, overtly stating that they want to destroy the will of the Kurdish people.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/01/19/turkish-attack-on-afrin-and-our-call-on-the-international-community-to-take-urgent-action/

2. Turkey must not be allowed to attack Afrin
19 January/Peace in Kurdistan
A major military operation by the armed forces of Turkey on the Kurds in Syria looks imminent.
Reports of the build up of Turkish forces to intervene in Kurdish run Afrin Canton come at a time amid renewed tensions across Syria.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/01/19/turkey-must-not-be-allowed-to-attack-afrin/

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Hosting Syria talks in Sochi presents challenges for Russia
17 January/Al Monitor
As Moscow prepares for its Syrian National Dialogue Congress this month, the guest list might still be in flux. Russia hopes to broker peace between the Syrian regime and its opposition while appeasing major stakeholders — who at the moment aren’t playing nicely. On Jan. 11, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Syrian situation . This was two days after Turkey had summoned  the Russian and Iranian ambassadors over cease-fire violations in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Under the preliminary peace agreements reached in Astana, Kazakhstan, the three guarantor countries for the four Syrian de-escalation zones are Turkey, Russia and Iran.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/01/russia-challenge-national-dialogue-syria-iran-turkey.html#ixzz54aFnJw00

2. Experts examine Erdogan’s continuing escalation in Syria
18 January/Al Monitor
Just as many parties seemed ready to bury the hatchet on the Syrian civil war  , Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently blasted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“It is not possible to continue with Assad in Syria,” Erdogan said at a Dec. 27 press conference with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis. “How can we embrace the future of Syria with a president who has murdered almost 1 million of his own citizens?”
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/01/turkey-syria-erdogan-declare-assad-terrorist-again.html

3. Erdoğan attack sparks fears over future of Turkish universities
18 January/Times Higher Education
Experts fear that the crackdown on academic freedom in Turkey will be followed by a drive towards the Islamisation of campuses, after the country’s president accused one of its top universities of failing to “lean on national values”.
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/erdogan-attack-sparks-fears-over-future-turkish-universities

4. Paul Maskey MP: The threat to Turkish democracy
19 January/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
On early December 2017 I joined an international delegation to observe trials the Turkish government had brought against leaders of the HDP (Peoples Democratic Party). The party’s co-chairs Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ and Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş were tried on 6th and 7th December respectively. Throughout the delegation, which consisted of representatives from over a dozen countries, our contact with leading HDP officials was frequent. Deputy Chair, Mr. Hişyar Özsoy MP, was responsible for the general coordination of the international delegation.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/01/19/the-threat-to-turkish-democracy-paul-maskey-mp/

5. Julie Ward MEP 10 Jan 2018 PYD 9th Conference – Message of solidarity
17 January/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
I apologise for not being able to be with you today. As a politician who previously worked in the arts I will be involved in a prior arranged day of cultural activism in the U.K. I nevertheless wish to express through this letter my profound solidarity with the Kurdish people.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/01/17/julie-ward-mep-10-jan-2018-pyd-9th-conference-message-of-solidarity/

6. Feminism, Syria-style: conservative tribesmen freed from Islamic State emerge into a world where women have rights
8 January/Los Angeles Times
I apologise for not being able to be with you today. As a politician who previously worked in the arts I will be involved in a prior arranged day of cultural activism in the U.K. I nevertheless wish to express through this letter my profound solidarity with the Kurdish people.
http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-culture-clash-20170108-story.html

ACTION, EVENTS
1. Calendar of demonstrations for Afrin abroad
19 January/ANF News
European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E) has announced a calendar of protests for Afrin in the face of the Turkish state’s invasion threats and attempts.https://anfenglish.com/news/calendar-of-demonstrations-for-afrin-abroad-24259
2. SPOT Conference: Turkey under the state of emergency – campaigning to win change
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

3. Ecological and gender dimensions of the democratic confederalist approach in Northern Syria : an inter-cultural dialogue <https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/01/09/ecological-and-gender-dimensions-of-the-democratic-confederalist-approach-in-northern-syria-an-inter-cultural-dialogue/>
Saturday 3 February at 14:00–18:00Location: DLT Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London, WC1H 0XG
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/01/09/ecological-and-gender-dimensions-of-the-democratic-confederalist-approach-in-northern-syria-an-inter-cultural-dialogue/

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, Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, 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, Steve Sweeney, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward MEP, Hywel Williams MP.

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