KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 20 – 30 APRIL 2018

NEWS
1. PYD Co-Chair: We’ll expel the Turkish invaders from Afrin
2. Turkish policy of Turkification and demographic change in Afrin
3. Luxembourg calls on NATO to discuss the Turkish invasion
4. Elderly man witnessed of brutal practice by Turkish gangs in his village
5. Syrian writer: Erdogan devotes dictatorship based on religious ideology
6. War crimes in Afrin: 58 people including 26 Êzidîs abducted
7. Turkey to hold snap elections on 24 June, says Erdoğan
8. Salih Muslim warns of ‘dangerous’ demographic change in Afrin, calls on UN to respond
9. Turkey: Cumhuriyet journalists and executives heavily convicted for changes in “editorial policy”

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Erdogan’s Revenge and the Kurdish Dilemma
2. “A project for all of us”
3. Survivors of the Syrian War by Patrick Coburn
4. TheNewYorkReview A Call to Defend Rojava
5. Turkey is launching the Next Middle East War with Attacks on Kurds in Iraq and Syria
6. Emboldened Turkey Pushes Deeper into Syria, but Risks Abound
7.  Erdogan: Military Campaigns expand in Syria and Iraq
8. Stymied in Syria, Turkey quietly ups actions against PKK in Iraq
9. Deciphering Russia’s delivery of Tell Rifaat to Turkey
10. No Winners in Turkey’s New Offensive
11.  Turkey’s Military Offensive Against Kurdish held Afrin
12. Dialectics of Struggle: Challenges to the Kurdish Women’s Movement

STATEMENTS
May 1st- Democracy worldwide against exploitation and Oppression.

CAMPAIGNS, ACTION
1. Further Updates from the Trials of Selahattin Demirtas, April 22, 2018
2. OPEN LETTER TO PM THERESA MAY: The Ilisu Dam and Turkey’s use of water as a weapon of war

EVENTS
Public forum with the Delegation to Northern Syria.

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NEWS
1. PYD Co-Chair: We’ll expel the Turkish invaders from Afrin
29 April/ANF News
PYD Co-Chairman Shahoz Hesen and Metin Rhawi from the European Assyrian Union spoke to a public meeting organized in Stockholm, Sweden.
https://anfenglish.com/news/pyd-co-chair-we-ll-expel-the-turkish-invaders-from-afrin-26362

2. Turkish policy of Turkification and demographic change in Afrin
28 April/ANF News
Local sources confirmed that the process of demographic change is taking place in Afrin in a clear way. Fifty families were evacuated from the eastern Ghouta to Janderis, west of Afrin.
https://anfenglish.com/news/turkish-policy-of-turkification-and-demographic-change-in-afrin-26339

3. 28 April/ANF News
Turkish invasion forces and their allied gangs have abducted at least 58 people including 26 Êzidîs since April 18. The abductees were tortured and held for ransom, and their homes are confiscated.
https://anfenglish.com/rojava/luxembourg-calls-on-nato-to-discuss-the-turkish-invasion-26336

4. Elderly man witnessed of brutal practice by Turkish gangs in his village
29 April/ANHA News
He was witnessing to theft and looting carried by elements of the Turkish occupation and its gangs within his village, his brother was martyred by Turkey’s gangs and could not bury him, I fled till I reached to the people Protection Units (YPG).
http://www.hawarnews.com/en/haber/elderly-man-witnessed-of-brutal-practice-by-turkish-gangs-in-his-village-h1070.html

5. Syrian writer: Erdogan devotes dictatorship based on religious ideology
28 April/ANHA News
The Syrian writer Mustafa Zein said that the Turkish President Recep Teyyip Erdogan called for early elections to consolidate his power after he allied with the leader of the Chauvinist Nationalist Movement Dewlat Beheshli, and after targeting all those who oppose him politically.
http://www.hawarnews.com/en/haber/syrian-writer-erdogan-devotes-dictatorship-based-on-religious-ideology-h1060.html

6. War crimes in Afrin: 58 people including 26 Êzidîs abducted
28 April/ANHA News
Turkish invasion forces and their allied gangs have abducted at least 58 people including 26 Êzidîs since April 18. The abductees were tortured and held for ransom, and their homes are confiscated.
https://anfenglish.com/news/war-crimes-in-afrin-58-people-including-26-Ezidis-abducted-26336

7. Turkey to hold snap elections on 24 June, says Erdoğan
18 April/The Guardian
Turkey has brought forward elections that could pave the way for a single-party state with few checks on the power of the president to 24 June, a year and a half ahead of schedule.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/18/turkey-to-hold-snap-elections-on-24-june-says-erdogan

8. Salih Muslim warns of ‘dangerous’ demographic change in Afrin, calls on UN to respond
28 April/Kurdistan 24
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim has called on the United Nations to respond to the situation in Afrin and provide further protection to the residents who want to return home following Turkey’s military operation in the region.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/f60e2118-b943-4dbe-aed6-7469afe803db

9. Turkey: Cumhuriyet journalists and executives heavily convicted for changes in “editorial policy”
26 April/European Journalists .org
On Wednesday (25/05/2018), the court in Silivri (Turkey) severely convicted 13 journalists and executives from the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet to jail sentences between two to eight years. The court is convinced that editorial policy changes adopted by the newspaper were aimed at helping multiple illegal terrorist organisations in Turkey. All the defendants have been released pending the confirmation of the jail sentences by the upper court. The judge also ordered the release of Cumhuriyet chairman Akin Atalay who had been in jail for 532 days until yesterday. “As we always say they cannot intimidate Cumhuriyet newspaper which will continue to tell the truth to its readers,” he said after being released.
https://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2018/04/26/turkey-cumhuriyet-journalists-and-executives-heavily-convicted-for-changes-in-editorial-policy/

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Erdogan’s Revenge and the Kurdish Dilemma
After 4,000 years of continuous habitation, there is no Kurdish presence left in Afrin.
By Maurice Glasman
Arriving in Baghdad, it is clear who has won the Iraq War. The Shia are in charge. Tower-sized, luminous green posters of Husseyn and Ali define the landscape, draped from Brezhnevite tower blocks, augmented by portraits of martyred fighters in identical uniforms, with a prominent place for Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, the Shia cleric executed by the Saudis.
https://www.thenation.com/article/erdogans-revenge-and-the-kurdish-dilemma/

2. “A project for all of us”
Unite visits Rojava, Syria and reaffirms solidarity pledge
27 April/UNITE live.
These days Syria is a byword for destruction, danger and chaos, which was why the decision to send a Unite delegation to the troubled nation was not taken lightly. But although much of the country lies in ruins and is subject to the continuing violence of a war that is now in its seventh year and increasingly dominated by foreign powers, one part of the country exists in relative peace and is free from the oppression that typifies politics in much of the surrounding region.
http://unitelive.org/unite-rojava-syria-solidarity/

3. Survivors of the Syrian War by Patrick Coburn
30 April/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
When I first visited Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria, early in 2015, it was rapidly expanding. With the help of massive US air-power, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had just retaken the city of Kobani from Islamic State. YPG fighters were linking together the Kurdish population centres south of the Syrian-Turkish frontier to create a de facto Kurdish state – they called it Rojava. I met a squad of YPG fighters mopping up after a battle with IS for control of a range of forested hills called Mount Abdulaziz, west of the Kurdish-Arab city of Hasaka
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/04/30/survivors-of-the-syrian-wars/

4. TheNewYorkReview A Call to Defend Rojava
An Open Letter
23 April/New York Review of Books
When Raqqa fell in 2017, after a long siege by the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), it was generally thought that ISIS was defeated, save for some mopping up. But in January of this year, Turkey invaded Afrin—one of three cantons in Rojava, also called the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.
http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/04/23/a-call-to-defend-rojava/

5. Turkey is launching the Next Middle East War with Attacks on Kurds in Iraq and Syria
21 March/Newsweek
The U.S. and Turkey have offered conflicting statements as to whether Washington had agreed to allow Ankara to expand its war against Kurdish fighters operating alongside U.S. Special Forces in Syria. Meanwhile, new Turkish airstrikes targeted other Kurdish fighters in Iraq on Wednesday, signaling a new phase of conflict in two nations still reeling from being partially overtaken by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).
http://www.newsweek.com/turkey-launching-next-middle-east-war-attacks-kurds-iraq-syria-855945

6. Emboldened Turkey Pushes Deeper into Syria, but Risks Abound
22 March/New York Times
The deepening inroads of Turkey and its allies have been tolerated so far by the two powers that control Syria’s airspace, Russia and the United States. But Turkey may yet meet resistance if it pushes much further.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/22/world/middleeast/turkey-syria-afrin.html

7.  Erdogan: Military Campaigns expand in Syria and Iraq
25 March/Al Araby
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday that the Syrian-Kurdish held town of Tel Rifaat will “shortly” be under Turkish control, as part of the ongoing Olive Branch military operation to eradicate the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia from northern Syria.
https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/3/25/erdogan-military-campaigns-expanded-in-syria-and-iraq

8. Stymied in Syria, Turkey quietly ups actions against PKK in Iraq
24 April/Al Monitor
With heat from the United States, France and even Russia, Turkey is being discouraged from pursuing further action right now in northern Syria and is instead focusing on Iraq in its fight against Kurdish militants. In addition, with the Kurdish groups pulling out of Iraq’s Sinjar region, Turkey no longer has an excuse to launch a military operation there — so Ankara for now has to be content with conducting low-profile military missions around other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/04/turkey-iraqi-kurdistan-expanding-military-operations.html#ixzz5EA0Dz6H1

9. Deciphering Russia’s delivery of Tell Rifaat to Turkey
29 March/Al Monitor

While speculation was rife this week about whether Turkey’s next move in Syria would be toward Tell Rifaat or Manbij, Russia unexpectedly withdrew its troops March 27 from Tell Rifaat.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/03/turkey-syria-russia-turkish-army-besiege-tell-rifat.html#ixzz5EA0mKWE2

10. No Winners in Turkey’s New Offensive
26 January/International Crisis
No victor is likely in costly new battles between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces in north-western Syria. Difficulties faced by Turkish troops include a hostile population and hilly territory that favours its battle-hardened insurgent foes, and the offensive puts new stress on Turkey’s already strained relationship with its main strategic ally, the U.S.
https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/syria/no-winners-turkeys-new-offensive-syria

11.  Turkey’s Military Offensive Against Kurdish held Afrin
20 February/DW
Why is Turkey attacking the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria? What is Ankara’s larger goal? DW explains Turkey’s motives and the operation’s broader implications on the Syrian war.
http://www.dw.com/en/turkeys-military-offensive-against-kurdish-held-afrin-what-you-need-to-know/a-42287725

12. Dialectics of Struggle: Challenges to the Kurdish Women’s Movement
Najde Al-Ali and Latif Tas
Nadje Al-Ali and Latif Tas critically explore attempts by activists in the Kurdish political movement – in the Middle East and the diaspora – to challenge patriarchal and masculinist ideology and practices. While recognising the recent commitment to gender equality, the authors complicate the often simplistic glorification of women’s roles within the movement associated with the PYD, PKK and the writings of Abdullah Öcalan. Based on two years of fieldwork in Diyarbakir, Istanbul, Berlin and London, this paper sheds light on the dialectic processes through which the movement translates its political principles of democratic confederalism and gender equality.
https://mailchi.mp/lse/alali-1674385?e=1a33cb8a9a

STATEMENTS
May 1st- Democracy worldwide against exploitation and Oppression.
1 May/ Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
May 1st – International Labour Day to the working class – has always been marked by expressions of international solidarity as part of the global struggle for a free, just and equal world. May Day stands for unity in the local struggles against oppression and exploitation on a global scale and for overcoming once and for all those artificially constructed national borders, as well as all the ideological obstacles that exist in our minds. May Day stands for a collective consciousness of the people worldwide against aggressive militarism and the exploitative policies of the world’s rulers, who fear nothing more than the unity of the peoples in struggle.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/may-1st-democracy-worldwide-against-exploitation-and-oppression/

CAMPAIGNS, ACTION
1. Further Updates from the Trials of Selahattin Demirtas, April 22, 2018
23 April/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Monday 16th AprilMorning in Istanbul starts cold and cloudy. The HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) members collect my UK solicitor colleague, Ali Has, and myself at 7 am from our hotel, for the long drive to the Silivri prison complex. On the way we pick up the Assyrian Swedish MP, Yilmaz Kerimo, vice-chair of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, and further along the route we collect one of Demirtas’ top Lawyers, Ramzan Demir.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/04/23/further-updates-from-the-trials-of-selahattin-demirtas/

2. OPEN LETTER TO PM THERESA MAY: The Ilisu Dam and Turkey’s use of water as a weapon of war
30 April/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
We write as civil society organizations to draw your attention to the imminent impoundment by Turkey of the Ilisu Dam on River Tigris in contravention of international customary law relating to shared waterways, which requires negotiation and agreement on downstream flows. The announced impoundment of Ilisu comes at a time when Turkey is recklessly and illegally using water as a weapon of war against Northern Syria, denying those affected of their right to water, threatening to exacerbate the existing conflicts in the region and causing severe suffering to those who have already suffered seven years of brutal civil war. We would urge you to protest Turkey’s intended impoundment of Ilisu and to use all available diplomatic means to mediate a peaceful and fair settlement between Turkey, Syria and Iraq on the use of their shared rivers.
https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2018/04/30/open-letter-to-prime-minister-theresa-may/

EVENTS
The Centre for Kurdish Progress will be holding a public forum with the Delegation to Northern Syria 6:30-8PM on Tuesday, 1st May 2018 in Committee Room 1, House of Commons.
http://www.kurdishprogress.org/

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, 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, Dr Felix Padel, 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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