KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 01 – 15 MAY 2018

NEWS
1. Pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party Launches Election Manifesto
2. Human rights abuser Erdoğan is set for a rocky last day of his UK state visit
3. Turkey bans nine books on Kurds, ranging from genocide, Barzani, and Mahabad to Ezidi faith
4. State broadcaster gives AKP’s alliance 37 hrs, pro-Kurdish HDP 0 hrs of coverage
5. Erdogan faces protests in London
6. Reading protest: Kurdish teen ‘hurt in police clash’
7. Campaigners call for UK to act on rights as Turkish president arrives
8. Turkey, UK aim for $20 billion in trade volume, Erdoğan says
9. Joint operation by the SDF and Iraqi army at Iraq-Syria border
10. Body of Ezidi man murdered in Afrin found
11. Turkish invasion forces kidnap 5 more people from Afrin
12. Turkey Using Illegal Cluster bombs
13. EXCLUSIVE: UK has sold $1bn of weapons to Turkey since coup attempt
11 May 2018 / Middle East Eye
14. UK prepares to roll out the red carpet for Erdogan
15. Turkey arrests 150 soldiers in latest crackdown on coup network
16. PKK and Turkish army clash in Sidakan
17. Turkey opposition candidate visits jailed Kurdish leader
18. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit UK next week | The Independent
19. Critics demand Theresa May stand up to Turkish President Erdogan over human rights abuses
20. State of emergency must be lifted for ‘credible elections’ in Turkey, says UN rights chief
21. #Tamam trends in Turkey against President Erdogan
22. Rojava parties urge Kurdish unity in face of threats
23. Erdogan tells Turkish media to gloss over domestic abuse
24. Syria’s Kurds put IS on trial with focus on reconciliation
25. Erdoğan vows fresh military action against Kurdish militants
26. Turkey’s Erdogan vows new military border operations after Syria offensives
27. Turkey: Going for the guns
28. Turkish opposition parties unite against Erdoğan in elections

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Can one man’s thousand kilometers walk end Turkey’s war with Kurds?
2. ‘A federal structure necessary to restore peace in Turkey’ – activist Tuna Bekleviç
3. The Making of a Kurdish Mandela
4.US Troops Set Up New Base in Syria’s Manbij, Despite Turkey Threatening to Attack City
5. In the Middle East right now, all sides in this complex battle are staring at each other with
6. Campaigns woo Kurdish voters as Turkish election nears
7. US to give Turkey first F-35 fighter jet despite opposition
8. US-backed Syrian fighters spotted in MRAPs prior to ISIS assault
9. In Turkey’s Kurdish heartland, a battle for homes and votes
10. Turkey’s Islamist ‘old guard’ joins Erdogan opponents
11. Trump, Syria – and the threat of regional conflagration

DOCUMENTS/REPORTS
1. Weekly Bulletin about Developments in Afrin and Northern Syria
2. Turkey’s 18-month state of emergency has led to profound human rights violations – UN report

EVENTS, CAMPAIGNS, ACTION
1. The Trial of Selahattin Demirtas: Observations on the trial and the future of democracy in Turkey

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NEWS
1. Pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party Launches Election Manifesto
14 May 2018/Morning Star
TURKEY’S People’s Democratic Party (HDP) launches its election manifesto in Ankara tomorrow, promising to rebuild the country’s democracy with “a new social contract” involving all layers of society.
https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/pro-kurdish-peoples-democratic-party-launches-election-manifesto

2. Human rights abuser Erdoğan is set for a rocky last day of his UK state visit
14 May 2018/The Canary
President Erdoğan of Turkey will spend the final of his three days in the UK visiting Queen Elizabeth II and Theresa May. The leader, that has jailed hundreds of journalists and is accused of breaching human rights laws, will face some committed opposition from protesters arriving in their hundreds.
https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2018/05/14/human-rights-abuser-erdogan-is-set-for-a-rocky-last-day-of-his-uk-state-visit/

3. Turkey bans nine books on Kurds, ranging from genocide, Barzani, and Mahabad to Ezidi faith
13 May 2018/Kurdistan 24
Turkish authorities recently banned nine translated books of various scholarly subjects about the Kurds, the owner of an Istanbul-based publishing house that released them told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/c008478c-90c1-46c9-9dc7-9c4c264d3157

4. State broadcaster gives AKP’s alliance 37 hrs, pro-Kurdish HDP 0 hrs of coverage
13 May 2018/Ahval News
Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT provided a total of 37 hours of coverage for the leading Justice and Development Party – Nationalist Movement Party alliance, 9.5 hours to the newly formed nationalist Good (İYİ) Party and no coverage at all to the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party between 17 April-6 May.
https://ahvalnews.com/elections/state-broadcaster-gives-akps-alliance-37-pro-kurdish-hdp-0-hrs-coverage

5. Erdogan faces protests in London
13 May 2018/ANF News
The Kurdish community, British trade unions together with many organisations and groups are organising a protest against the Turkish President. The protest is called by British unions together with the Democratic Power Union, which brings together some 30 mass organisations working in London.
https://anfenglish.com/rojava/erdogan-faces-protests-in-london-26656

6. Reading protest: Kurdish teen ‘hurt in police clash’
13 May 2018/ BBC News
17 year old boy was “rugby tackled” by officers outside Wokefield Estate near Reading, the Kurdistan Students Union said. Thames Valley Police said a protester was taken to hospital but it had no details of injuries. Protesters say they were trying to block a convoy taking President Erdogan to a business event.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-44102499?intlink_from_url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cdl8n2edeplt/recep-tayyip-erdogan&link_location=live-reporting-story

7. Campaigners call for UK to act on rights as Turkish president arrives
13 May 2018/ The Guardian
Theresa May is accused of ignoring ‘alarming oppression’ in order to win post-Brexit trade deal with Erdoğan. The UK is especially eager to make progress on a BAE Systems deal to provide technology for the first phase of development of a Turkish-made fighter jet. Many senior Turkish politicians, by contrast, have been banned from campaigning in other European countries.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/may/13/theresa-may-under-fire-human-rights-as-turkish-president-lands-in-uk

8. Turkey, UK aim for $20 billion in trade volume, Erdoğan says
13 May 2018 / Daily Sabah
“Trade has always been a locomotive in our bilateral relations, in the last 15 years the U.K. has invested over $15 billion in Turkey, that is a sign of trust,” Erdoğan said, with a joint goal of increasing trade volume from $16 billion to $20 billion and a potential free trade agreement in the works. He cited British-Turkish cooperation in defence industries as an example for more new ventures.
https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/05/13/turkey-uk-aim-for-20-billion-in-trade-volume-erdogan-says

9.
Joint operation by the SDF and Iraqi army at Iraq-Syria border
13 May 2018 / ANF News
Operation Jazeera Storm launched by the SDF against ISIS continues. The last phase is being conducted near the Iraqi-Syrian border in coordination with the Iraqi army with the support of the international coalition.
https://anfenglish.com/news/joint-operation-by-the-sdf-and-iraqi-army-at-iraq-syria-border-26653

10. Body of Ezidi man murdered in Afrin found
13 May 2018 / ANF News
The corpse of an Ezidi resident of Afrin, Umer Memo, who had been missing for three days, was found. The man had gunshot wounds on his body. Residents of the village told the ANHA news agency that they had been threatened for protesting against the plundering and threats of the Turkish military.
https://anfenglish.com/rojava/body-of-ezidi-man-murdered-in-afrin-found-26647

11. Turkish invasion forces kidnap 5 more people from Afrin
12 May 2018 / ANF News
Turkish invasion forces have kidnapped 5 more people from Afrin and taken them to an unknown location. According to information provided by a source from within the city, women and children are among those abducted.
https://anfenglish.com/rojava/turkish-invasion-forces-kidnap-5-more-people-from-afrin-26639

12. Turkey Using Illegal Cluster bombs
12 May 2018/Morning Star
Kurdish forces released video footage of recent bombing raids today allegedly showing the use of illegal cluster munitions on Shushane village. The Turkish air force has been bombing villages in the Kurdish region of Iraq over the past few months.
https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/turkey-using-illegal-cluster-bombs-against-kurds

13. EXCLUSIVE: UK has sold $1bn of weapons to Turkey since coup attempt
11 May 2018 / Middle East Eye
May is set to roll out the red carpet for Turkish President Erdogan this weekend, as new figures reveal that Britain has sold more than $1bn of weapons to Ankara since the failed coup and subsequent crackdown under emergency powers.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/revealed-boom-uk-arms-exports-turkey-eve-erdogans-london-visit-1561968969

14. UK prepares to roll out the red carpet for Erdogan
11 May 2018
/ Financial Times
Trade between Turkey and Britain has been thriving for several years reaching a ten year high of $16bn. Business executives say that the economic uncertainties of Brexit have led to a new push. Last year, the UK doubled its export finance programme for Turkey to £3.5bn. Mr Erdogan’s three-day visit to Britain comes in the midst of a Turkish parliamentary and presidential election campaign that will be conducted under a state of emergency and with a key presidential candidate in jail.
https://www.ft.com/content/29f6cd3a-5449-11e8-b3ee-41e0209208ec

15. Turkey arrests 150 soldiers in latest crackdown on coup network
11 May 2018 / Middle East Eye
80 air force staff have been charged with supporting the Fethullah Gulen network and 150 soldiers over alleged links to a US-based preacher, Ankara says orchestrated the failed coup in 2016. State-run Anadolu news agency said on Friday that those arrested were among 300 military personnel, including 211 serving officers, facing investigation by Istanbul prosecutors.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/turkey-arrests-150-soldiers-latest-crackdown-coup-network-1725756626

16. PKK and Turkish army clash in Sidakan
10 May 2018/Rudaw
Guerrilla fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party have clashed with Turkish forces in the Sidakan sub district. Footage has emerged showing huge clouds of smoke rising over the mountainous area.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/100520183

17. Turkey opposition candidate visits jailed Kurdish leader
09 May 2018/Daily Star
The candidate of Turkey’s main opposition in presidential, Republican People’s Party Muharrem Ince, visited the jailed ex-leader of the pro-Kurdish HDP, charismatic former leader Selahattin Demirtas – who is also standing for the presidency- in a symbolic move aimed at warming ties between rivals of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2018/May-09/448726-turkey-opposition-candidate-visits-jailed-kurdish-leader.ashx

18. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit UK next week | The Independent
09 May 2018/The Independent
May met the Turkish premier in Ankara in January last year, when they agreed a £100m defence deal to help develop fighter jets for the Turkish air force. Erdogan is accused of waging a brutal campaign of repression against perceived opponents in the press, academia and judiciary following the failed coup in 2016.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/turkey-president-erdogan-uk-visit-recep-tayyip-next-week-theresa-may-latest-a8343401.html

19. Critics demand Theresa May stand up to Turkish President Erdogan over human rights abuses as activists promise ‘huge’ protest ahead of Downing Street visit
09 May 2018
/ Evening Standard
Mr Erdogan has been widely accused of a campaign of repression against perceived opponents in the press, academia and judiciary following an unsuccessful coup in 2016. Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas MP, a supporter of the Best for Britain campaign against a hard Brexit, said: “As we hurtle towards Brexit it’s clear that the Government is increasingly willing to cosy up to repressive leaders from across the world”.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/critics-demand-theresa-may-stand-up-to-turkish-president-tayyip-erdogan-over-human-rights-abuses-as-a3834856.html

20. State of emergency must be lifted for ‘credible elections’ in Turkey, says UN rights chief
09 May 2018
/UN News
Long-term restrictions on “freedoms of expression, assembly and association” are incompatible with the holding of “credible elections” in Turkey, said the United Nations human rights chief. “Over the past two years, through successive states of emergency, the space for dissent in Turkey has shrunk <http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23052&LangID=E> considerably, with at least 29 more journalists jailed on terrorism offences in just the last week of April alone,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. During the 18-month period of emergency rule, nearly 160,000 people have been arrested; 152,000 civil servants dismissed, many arbitrarily; and teachers, judges and lawyers dismissed or prosecuted.
https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/05/1009232

21. #Tamam trends in Turkey against President Erdogan
08 May 2018/Middle East Eye
More than a million Turks took to social media to call out President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, making the word “Tamam” meaning “enough” a trending topic worldwide after he promised to step down if the people wanted it.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/turkish-twitter-trends-tamam-opposition-erdogan-1205700857

22. Rojava parties urge Kurdish unity in face of threats
08 May 2018/Rudaw
Parties in Rojava have called for unity as the Kurdish self-autonomous region of northern Syria faces threats to its existence.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/08052018

23. Erdogan tells Turkish media to gloss over domestic abuse
7 March 2018/Middle East Eye
On the eve of international women’s day, Turkey’s president blamed the media for a rise in cases of domestic violence against women and child abuse, and told journalists to steer clear of reporting them.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/out-sight-out-mind-erdogan-asks-media-ignore-domestic-abuse-499406044

24. Syria’s Kurds put IS on trial with focus on reconciliation
07 May 2018/Associated Press
After defeating IS in battle, Syria’s Kurds are now eager to show they can bring justice against the group’s members. The emphasis is on leniency and reconciliation — in marked contrast to Iraq, where harsh and swift verdicts on IS suspects seem geared to vengeance.
https://apnews.com/d672105754434b738c8e5823233572c9

25. Erdoğan vows fresh military action against Kurdish militants
06 May 2018/ The Guardian
Operations in Syria and Iraq will continue, Turkish president says at election manifesto launch. Speaking in front of thousands of supporters, Erdoğan described next month’s snap presidential and parliamentary polls as a “milestone” for a Turkey that would “take the stage as a global power”, he vowed.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/06/turkey-fresh-military-actions-kurdish-militants-erdogan-syria-iraq

26. Turkey’s Erdogan vows new military border operations after Syria offensives
06 May 2018/Middle East Eye
Speaking to thousands of supporters in Istanbul, Erdogan said Turkey’s operations along its southern border would continue “until not a single terrorist is left”. The Afrin campaign is Turkey’s second cross-border operation into Syria during the seven-year-old civil war. http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/turkeys-erdogan-vows-new-military-border-operations-after-syria-offensives-2104500169

27. Turkey: Going for the guns
04 May 2018/ Deutsche Welle
Every year, some 4500 people are shot to death in Turkey – the majority of them women and children. There are an estimated 25 million pistols and privately owned firearms in the country. Yet Turks continue to buy guns.
http://www.dw.com/en/turkey-going-for-the-guns/av-42064227

28. Turkish opposition parties unite against Erdoğan in elections
02 May 2018/The Guardian
Republican People’s party and three others team up to take on president’s ruling alliance, allowing them to potentially dilute the AKP’s parliamentary majority. The alliance does not include the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP), which has suffered amid a wide-ranging government crackdown on dissent.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/02/turkish-opposition-parties-unite-against-erdogan-elections

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS
1. Can one man’s thousand kilometers walk end Turkey’s war with Kurds?
12 May 2018/Kurdistan 24
Twenty-seven days ago, a self-styled lone Turkish politician embarked on a 1,058 kilometers long journey on foot from Turkey’s capital Ankara to the largest Kurdish city, Diyarbakir. On Saturday, Tuna Beklevic finally made it.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/e66d6035-01d9-447d-9427-e677fef8d9f2

2. ‘A federal structure necessary to restore peace in Turkey’ – activist Tuna Bekleviç
12 May 2012/Ahval News
On Saturday, Turkish politician and activist Tuna Bekleviç ended his 1000-kilometer Brotherhood March from Turkey’s capital Ankara to Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakir in Turkey’s southeast.
https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-kurds/federal-structure-necessary-restore-peace-turkey-activist-tuna-beklevic

3. The Making of a Kurdish Mandela
10 May 2018/Ahval News
By keeping a key challenger in jail, Turkey’s government risks making Selahattin Demirtas an even more popular and formidable opponent.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/10/the-making-of-a-kurdish-mandela/

4.US Troops Set Up New Base in Syria’s Manbij, Despite Turkey Threatening to Attack City
09 May 2018/Antiwar.Com

According to Kurdish officials, US troops in the Syrian city of Manbij are setting up a new military base inside the city. The base is intended to house US and French troops that are presently in the city. Turkey has repeatedly threatened to attack the city and has suggested they would target US and French troops if they help the Kurds defend the city.
https://news.antiwar.com/2018/05/09/us-troops-set-up-new-base-in-syrias-manbij-despite-turkey-threatening-to-attack-city/

5. In the Middle East right now, all sides in this complex battle are staring at each other with increasing concern
10 May 2018/The Independent
Robert Fisk reports on the lack of coverage of apparent mass graves discovered in ISIS’ former de facto capital of Raqqa, and under the Syrian town of Douma, until recently under control of  Jaish al-Islam before it was re-captured by the Syrian government. 112 bodies, 30 of them Syrian soldiers, the rest probably civilians, were found in underground streets wide enough for trucks.
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/israel-iran-golan-heights-war-lebanon-middle-east-a8344586.html

6. Campaigns woo Kurdish voters as Turkish election nears
09 May 2018/Turkey Pulse
In an interview with Al-Monitor, veteran Kurdish politician Zubeyir Aydar spoke about the fight for the Kurdish vote ahead of Turkey’s snap elections.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/interview-turkey-kurdish-politician-zubeyir-aydar.html#ixzz5FTlRToQv

7. US to give Turkey first F-35 fighter jet despite opposition
09 May 2018/Rudaw
Ankara will receive its first F-35 fighter jet from the US in June, despite recent attempts by US lawmakers to halt weapons sales to Turkey. Turkey is expected to purchase more than 100 F35s. Ankara currently operates a large fleet of F-16s, which it is using in operations against Kurds in Afrin and Turkey.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/turkey/09052018

8. US-backed Syrian fighters spotted in MRAPs prior to ISIS assault
09 May 2018/Military Times
The YPG make up a significant portion of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which U.S. officials have been working to coax back to fighting ISIS holdouts after they largely headed north to fend off a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters in Afrin, Syria.
https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2018/05/08/us-backed-syrian-fighters-spotted-in-mraps-prior-to-isis-assault/

9. In Turkey’s Kurdish heartland, a battle for homes and votes
07 May 2018/(UK) Business Insider
Kurdish electrician Sukru Gunduz was out on a job when a friend came running to tell him his house was being knocked down, with five members of his family inside. By the time he got there, a digger had smashed a hole in the small house in the historic Sur district of Diyarbakir, the biggest city in predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkey.
http://uk.businessinsider.com/r-in-turkeys-kurdish-heartland-a-battle-for-homes-and-votes-2018-5

10. Turkey’s Islamist ‘old guard’ joins Erdogan opponents
07 May 2018/ Al Monitor (Turkey Pulse)
The National View, the pioneer movement of political Islam in Turkey, has joined the opposition in its efforts to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in next month’s elections.
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/turkey-islamists-join-erdogan-opponents-for-elections.html

11. Trump, Syria – and the threat of regional conflagration
The withdrawal of the United States from Syria could spark a region-wide war. There are legitimate concerns that Israel might use the resulting vacuum as a pretext to intensify its attacks on Iran and Hezbollah in Syria.
https://en.qantara.de/content/us-politics-in-syria-trump-syria-and-the-threat-of-regional-conflagration

REPORTS
1. Weekly Bulletin about Developments in Afrin and Northern Syria
11 May 2018/Information Centre of Afrin Resistance
The Developments in Afrin and Northern Syria 4th May – 10th May, 2018
https://icafrinresist.com/category/bulletin/

2. Turkey’s 18-month state of emergency has led to profound human rights violations – UN report
20 March 2018/The United Nations
The UN on Tuesday called on Turkey to end its 18-month-old state of emergency, saying that the routine extension of emergency powers has resulted in “profound” human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people and may have lasting impact on the country’s socio-economic fabric. “One of the most alarming findings of the report […] is how Turkish authorities reportedly detained some 100 women who were pregnant or had just given birth, mostly on the grounds that they were ‘associates’ of their husbands, who are suspected of being connected to terrorist organizations”. “Some were detained with their children and others violently separated from them. This is simply outrageous, utterly cruel, and surely cannot have anything whatsoever to do with making the country safer,” he added.
https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/03/1005442

EVENTS
1. The Trial of Selahattin Demirtas: Observations on the trial and the future of democracy in Turkey
17 May 2018 – 18:00 – 20:00 BST, Thursday, London, WC1H 0XG, UK
Public meeting organised by Peace in Kurdistan and Kurdish People’s Assembly SOAS (University of London). Room B111 (Brunei Gallery) Thornhaugh Street.
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-trial-of-selahattin-demirtas-observations-on-the-trial-and-the-future-of-democracy-in-turkey-tickets-45971173016?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
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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