KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 27 MAY 2019 – 17 JUNE 2019

NEWS

  1. Northern and Eastern Syrian women’s assembly to be founded
  2. HDP’s Buldan: Mr. Öcalan is the key to peace
  3. US: Kurds should be represented in political talks on Syria
  4. Turkish novelist details online abuse as authorities crackdown on ‘obscenity’
  5. US official holds counterterror talks with Syria Kurds
  6. Turkey continues to arrest Dutch citizens on suspicion of PKK support
  7. Sinn Fein demand release of Ocalan and return to peace talks
  8. Rail workers vote overwhelmingly to support jailed journalists in Turkey
  9. British Unions continue to work for freedom for Öcalan
  10. Leyla Güven discharged from hospital: I will return stronger
  11. KNK celebrated its 20th anniversary
  12. “Kurdish Struggle” panel discussion at British Parliament

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS

  1. Will the AKP reinstate Kurdish peace talks to win Istanbul elections?
  2. The US should demand Turkey cease attacking Afrin’s Kurds
  3. Police accused of ‘disproportionate and aggressive response’ to protest at Turkish embassy in London
  4. Turkey is about to wipe hundreds of historic Kurdish villages off the map
  5. What can Turkey’s left learn from Europe?
  6. Quo Vadis? What Is Next in the US Iran Containment Strategy?
  7. New government powers are ‘a serious abuse of civil liberties’, according to rights groups
  8. Kurdistan: A State or a State of Mind?

STATEMENTS

  1. Newsletter #12

ACTION, CAMPAIGNS

  1. PETITION: Save 12,000 Year old Hasankeyf! Hasankeyf İçin Geç Değil!

EVENTS

  1. Public Forum: Time to De-list the PKK: Respect International Law!
  2. ‘How Turkey views Brexit Britain?’

 

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NEWS

  1. Northern and Eastern Syrian women’s assembly to be founded

14 June 2019|ANF English

The Northern and Eastern Syrian women’s assembly held its founding congress in Amude. The congress is held in a hall in the Amude district of the Qamishlo Canton under the motto “The union of free women is the guarantee of democratic Syria”. It includes women’s representatives from all peoples of the region. Arab, Kurdish, Syriac, Armenian, Chaldean, Chechen and Circassian women are attending the congress in their traditional clothes.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/northern-and-eastern-syrian-women-s-assembly-to-be-founded-35611

 

  1. HDP’s Buldan: Mr. Öcalan is the key to peace

13 June 2019|ANF English

HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan recently met with the Eastern and Southeastern Associations Platform. She said: “We are ready to do our mediation once again, just like we did in the years 2011-2015. Because we know that the problem of democracy in this country will not be solved until the Kurdish problem is solved.”

https://anfenglish.com/news/hdp-buldan-mr-Oecalan-is-the-key-to-peace-35579

 

  1. US: Kurds should be represented in political talks on Syria

13 June 2019|Kurdistan 24

In October, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hailed Syria’s Kurds as “great partners” and pledged to help ensure that “they have a seat at the [negotiating] table.” Mike Pompeo: Syrian Kurds are ‘great partners;’ We’ll ensure them a ‘seat at the table’. Asked by Kurdistan 24 if Pompeo’s position remained US policy, State Department Spokesperson Ortagus replied “Yes.”

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/40e6a531-5afc-4622-875c-fb487bf05789

 

  1. Turkish novelist details online abuse as authorities crackdown on ‘obscenity’

13 June 2019|Ahval

As Turkish novelist Elif Shafak rode a train to a literary festival last month to deliver a speech on staying sane in the age of populism. In one of the most prominent results of a broad backlash against free expression in Turkish literature, authorities took Shafak’s books to read them and determine whether she had committed a “crime of obscenity” by writing about problematic issues.

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-literature/turkish-novelist-details-online-abuse-authorities-crackdown-obscenity

 

  1. US official holds counterterror talks with Syria Kurds

13 June 2019|Rudaw

William Roebuck, the US deputy special envoy for the anti-Islamic State (ISIS) coalition, with officials of the Autonomous Administration in Northern Syria. “The key is to help the Syrian Democratic Forces [and] the Syrian Democratic Council with the issue of security, particularly as they transition from a focus on military operations to a focus on counterterrorism against ISIS,” Ambassador Roebuck told reporters following his meeting.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/13062019

 

  1. Turkey continues to arrest Dutch citizens on suspicion of PKK support

12 June 2019|Kurdistan 24

Murat Memis, the faction leader of the Socialist Party in the Eindhoven city council, was arrested one month ago in Turkey. Memis was released after four days but is unable to leave the country pending a trial that will take place on 1 July. Ankara has charged Memis with being a member and making propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a group outlawed in Turkey. However, there is no proof he has been involved in such activities, the Dutch state broadcaster NOS reported. On Twitter, Memis supported and retweeted accounts that back the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey accuses of being linked to the PKK.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/4e23289c-4355-4a18-b4ea-8f9ded1697c8

 

  1. Sinn Fein demand release of Ocalan and return to peace talks

12 June 2019|Morning Star

Sinn Fein reiterated its demand yesterday that the Turkish state release jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and urged the international community to step up pressure for a resumption of peace talks. The party’s MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey welcomed the recent visits by Mr Ocalan’s lawyers – the first in almost eight years – but said his solitary confinement “must end completely”. Hunger strikes by as many as 70,000 mainly Kurdish political prisoners ended following a message from Mr Ocalan on May 26. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader has insisted that peaceful dialogue is the only way to resolved Turkey’s so-called Kurdish question.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/sinn-fein-demand-release-ocalan-and-return-peace-talks

 

  1. Rail workers vote overwhelmingly to support jailed journalists in Turkey

10 June 2019|Morning Star

Rail workers overwhelmingly voted to support jailed Turkish journalists today, warning that the country’s government was “placing its strategic interests above human rights and democracy.” Transport union TSSA will now affiliate to the Journalists for Democracy in Turkey and Kurdistan campaign, which was set up at the initiative of the Morning Star’s National Union of Journalists chapel. Euston delegate Sarah-Jane McDonagh said the work of the Morning Star and the campaign had been crucial in bringing to attention the persecution of journalists in Turkey.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/rail-workers-vote-overwhelmingly-to-support-jailed-journalists-in-turkey

 

  1. British Unions continue to work for freedom for Öcalan

10 June 2019|ANF English

The activities of the British trade unions actively working for the freedom of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan continue. The 800,000-member strong General Workers’ Union annual conference was held in Brighton. One session of the conference was devoted to the Freedom Campaign for of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan. The conference was chaired by Unmesh Desai, member of the London Metropolitan Municipality Council, and was joined by Simon Dubbins, co-chair of the Freedom for Öcalan Campaign and Jannette Arnold, London Metropolitan Municipality Council Member.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/british-unions-continue-to-work-for-freedom-for-Oecalan-35515

 

  1. Leyla Güven discharged from hospital: I will return stronger

9 June 2019| ANF English

Democratic Society Congress Co-chair and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Hakkari, Leyla Güven ended her indefinite hunger strike, alongside thousands of activists, to break the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan on its 200th day following a call from the Kurdish leader. Güven was taken under treatment on May 26 when she called off her action, in a private hospital in Amed (Diyarbakır) and she has been discharged on Sunday.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/leyla-gueven-discharged-from-hospital-i-will-return-stronger-35507

 

  1. KNK celebrated its 20th anniversary

7 June 2019|ANF English

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) held a party to mark its’s 20th anniversary. Founded in 1999, the KNK had as its main task the achievement of inter-Kurdish unity. The party was held in its building in Brussels. KNK members, executives and friends in Belgium were invited to the reception. KNK co-chair Nilüfer Koç celebrated the 20th anniversary of the KNK in a short welcoming speech addressed to the guests. He said, “In our 21st year we hope to be able to gather all our components and all the representatives of Kurdistan under this roof. This is our hope. This is what we need. This period demands this from us”.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/knk-celebrated-its-20th-anniversary-35456

 

  1. “Kurdish Struggle” panel discussion at British Parliament

6 June 2019|ANF English

Participants of the panel discussion titled “The Kurdish People’s Struggle for Democracy in Turkey” held at the British Parliament discussed the hunger strikes and death fasts against the isolation imposed upon Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Ocalan which resulted in a victory, and political developments in general. The panel discussion was organized by the All Parties Parliamentarians Group for Kurds and the Kurdish Popular Assembly, and among the speakers were Labour MPs Lloyd Russel Moyle and Bambos Charalambous, HDP Honorary Chairperson Ertugrul Kurkcu, Journalist-artist Zehra Dogan, hunger striker Haci Ozkan Ozdemir.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/kurdish-struggle-panel-discussion-at-british-parliament-35444

 

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS

  1. Will the AKP reinstate Kurdish peace talks to win Istanbul elections?

13 June 2019| Al-Monitor

Ruling party officials have adopted the Kurdish issue as a campaign strategy in the upcoming Istanbul elections. The AKP has adopted a new strategy for the election rerun that has three important pillars.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/06/turkey-is-akp-planning-to-reinstate-peace-talks-with-pkk.html#ixzz5qqBRguMr

 

  1. The US should demand Turkey cease attacking Afrin’s Kurds

13 June 2019|Israel Hayom

Turkey’s human rights abuses threaten not only America’s Kurdish allies but the US, itself. The Trump administration should use every means at its disposal to support the Kurds rather than withdrawing from the region.

https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/the-us-should-demand-turkey-cease-attacking-afrins-kurds/

 

  1. Police accused of ‘disproportionate and aggressive response’ to protest at Turkish embassy in London

7 June 2019|The Canary

Police reportedly threatened protesters with CS gas outside the Turkish embassy in London on 7 June. They arrested one person, while another had to be taken to hospital. Around 50 people joined a protest to call on Turkey not to destroy hundreds of majority-Kurdish villages within its borders. The government plans to fill a controversial dam on 10 June, displacing around 78,000 people. The Ilısu dam will flood the ancient town of Hasankeyf. At 12,000 years old, this area of historical Mesopotamia is known as ‘the cradle of civilisation’.

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/news/2019/06/07/police-accused-of-disproportionate-and-aggressive-response-to-protest-at-turkish-embassy-in-london/

 

  1. Turkey is about to wipe hundreds of historic Kurdish villages off the map

6 June 2019|The Canary

The Turkish state has long been unrelenting in its plans to wipe out Kurdish culture. And in its latest move, it has vowed to begin filling a controversial dam within its borders on 10 June. This will see hundreds of majority-Kurdish villages submerged under water, literally wiping them from the map. The dam will displace roughly 78,000 people, as well as thousands of nomadic people.

https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-analysis/2019/06/06/turkey-is-about-to-wipe-hundreds-of-historic-kurdish-villages-off-the-map/

 

  1. What can Turkey’s left learn from Europe?

6 June 2019|Middle East Institute

The center-left Peoples Republican Party has been in an uphill battle against Turkey’s right-wing populist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Like his European counterparts, Erdogan has blended economic and cultural resentment to expand his power. His Justice and Development Party (AKP) swept to power with 34 percent of the vote in 2002 shortly after a devastating financial crisis.  The newly established AKP was a breath of fresh air to Turkish voters who had had enough of the fighting among the country’s old political elite. The anti-elite sentiment which is central to populist parties across Europe was loud and clear in Turkey’s 2002 parliamentary elections. All other center-left and center-right parties, except for the CHP, were left out of the new parliament.

https://www.mei.edu/publications/what-can-turkeys-left-learn-europe

 

  1. Quo Vadis? What Is Next in the US Iran Containment Strategy?

4 June 2019|Valdai Discussion Club

The US administration is sending mixed messages to friends and foes in the Middle East, particularly with regard to Iran. In early May, Washington decided to send a naval strike group to the region. This was followed by hawkish talk by the US National Security Adviser John Bolton who had consistently advocated a policy of regime change in Iran. President Donald Trump, however, later undercut him by making clear that he was not seeking regime change in Iran. President Trump also reiterated that he is ready to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran.

http://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/what-is-next-in-the-us-iran-containment/

 

  1. New government powers are ‘a serious abuse of civil liberties’, according to rights groups

3 June 2019|The Canary

A frightening new law is now in force in the UK. It literally criminalises people simply for travelling to a specific area on the planet. And rights groups have called it “a serious abuse of civil liberties”. The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 (CTS) passed in February. It gives the Home Office the power to create ‘designated zones’. The opposition Labour Party, meanwhile, put out minimal opposition to it. And most Labour MPs who voted, voted in its favour. Among those at risk of criminalisation include humanitarian workers, people visiting family, and anti-ISIS fighters.

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2019/06/03/new-government-powers-are-a-serious-abuse-of-civil-liberties-according-to-rights-groups/

 

  1. Kurdistan: A State or a State of Mind?

SPRING 2019|The Cairo Review of Global Affairs

Can the Kurds, the largest ethnicity in the Middle East without their own nation, overcome their internal disunity and find ways to exist as an independent state or as autonomous regions?

https://www.thecairoreview.com/essays/kurdistan-a-state-or-a-state-of-mind/

 

STATEMENTS

  1. Newsletter #12

9 June 2019| Internationalist Commune of Rojava

and the campaign Make Rojava Green Again

May was overshadowed by the increasing critical situation of the hunger strikers for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan. Until then, on May 26th a direct message came from Öcalan to the hunger strikers with the call to end the hunger strike. With the breaking up of the total isolation of Öcalan, the hunger strike reached one of the important goals and thus makes possible an important step towards a political solution for the problems in Syria and Turkey. This step was hard fought for by the thousands of hunger strikers, some of whom went on strike for up to 200 days. As the Internationalist Commune we sent our warm and revolutionary greetings to all those who have participated in this historical resistance, that emerged under the leadership of Leyla Güven and the womans movement.

https://internationalistcommune.com/newsletter-12-english/

 

ACTION, CAMPAIGNS

  1. PETITION: Save 12,000 Year old Hasankeyf! Hasankeyf İçin Geç Değil!

ON 11 June 11 we started a petition in English against the Ilisu Dam, aimed at the Turkish government. The text is based on our call from 15 May 2019, which was signed by 121 organizations so far. Sign and spread it!

https://www.change.org/p/no-filling-of-ilisu-dam-save-12-000-year-old-hasankeyf?recruiter=968945048&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=3fa0be7856e94e22912cacb4202c8629

 

See pictures and videos of actions related to this campaign: http://www.hasankeyfgirisimi.net/?p=880

 

Also see the open letter to UK Foreign Secretary John Hunt MP: The Ilisu Dam: a critical juncture from 10 June 2019: http://www.hasankeyfgirisimi.net/?p=933

 

EVENTS

  1. Public Forum: Time to De-list the PKK: Respect International Law!

DATE: Thursday, 20 June 2019

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is not a terrorist organisation, according to the March 2019 decision by Belgium’s Court of Appeal.  How can we use this decision to strengthen the legal and political means of the international campaign to de-list the PKK?

TIME: 6 – 8pm

LOCATION: Diskus Room, UNITE Head office, 128 Theobald Road, WC1X 8TN (5 min from Holborn station)

The event is hosted by Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Peace in Kurdistan, London Kurdish Solidarity (LKS), Democratic Kurdish Peoples Assembly UK

REMARKS: Please arrive on time as the building closes at 8pm.

WEBLINK: https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2019/06/15/public-forum-time-to-de-list-the-pkk-respect-international-law/#more-9710

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/1181784988650118/

 

  1. ‘How Turkey views Brexit Britain?’

DATE: 14 May 2019

LOCATION: House of Commons

With  Sir David Logan, British Ambassador to Turkey from 1997-2001,

Baroness Sarah Ludford, the Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Exiting the

European Union.; Dr Yaprak Gürsoy, a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Aston

University

Catherine West MP, a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, the UK Parliament

https://fpc.org.uk/events/how-turkey-views-brexit-britain-the-past-and-future-of-bilateral-relations/

 

Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

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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