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

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The Ilisu Dam: a critical juncture: Open Letter to Jeremy Hunt MP

Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP
Foreign Secretary
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Whitehall
London SW1A 2AH

10 June 2019
Dear Foreign Secretary,

 The Ilisu Dam: a critical juncture

Over the past two decades, we have written to your predecessors on numerous occasions to express our grave concerns over the adverse environmental, social and geopolitical impacts of the Ilisu Dam on the River Tigris in Turkey, which is now nearing completion. The Turkish Government has now announced its intention to start filling the reservoir on or after 10 June 2019.

You will recall that in 2001 the UK construction company Balfour Beatty, which had been seeking UK  export credit support for the project, withdrew from the project after parliamentarians, experts and non-governmental organisations had expressed their opposition.  Since then, other EU companies have also withdrawn due to environmental, human rights, cultural heritage and other concerns.

The dam was planned without consultation with downstream states, in contravention with international customary law.  Even today, decades after construction began, there is no agreement between Turkey, Syria and Iraq on downstream flows; this despite expert reports suggesting that operation of the dam, in conjunction with a further planned project at Cizre, could reduce the flow of the Tigris during dry years to a trickle. There is a very real fear that the project could seriously jeopardizing the water supply of major Iraqi towns, and put agriculture downstream at risk. The UNESCO site of Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq would be threatened with drying out due to reduced downstream flows. The potential for the dam to exacerbate existing regional conflicts, not least over water, is thus severe, a threat recognised by the FCO under previous administrations.

The dam is opposed internationally. Indeed, the announcement of the proposed filling of the reservoir caused protests in Turkey, Iraq, continental Europe and the UK. A particular focus of concern is the loss of the ancient city of Hasankeyf, a site of international historical and cultural importance whose flooding (should the reservoir be filled) would be a loss not just to the region but to humanity as a whole. The threat posed by the Ilisu Dam project prompted the World Monuments Fund to list the city on its 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. Continue reading

Julie Ward MEP vists Leyla Guven and Sabiha Temikzan in Diyarbakir.

Solidarity, resistance and strength: Peoples Democratic Party MP, Leyla Güven ended her 200-day hunger strike on May 26. Güven had been consuming only sugar and salt solutions and vitamins. Her core demand that the Turkish authorities lift the aggravated isolation of Abdullah Ocalan was achieved. Ocalan has now had three visits from his legal team, the first for eight years.

Decisions of the Court of Appeal (Indictment Chambers) of Brussels (Belgium) 14 September 2017 and 8 March 2019 in the case against alleged PKK leaders and members.

Please see here a summary of the decision. It is followed by a rough translation of the full Judgement.

On 8 March 2019, the Indictment Chambers of the Court of Appeal of Brussels Belgium took a decision dismissing the case and ending all further prosecution against 40 persons and 2 companies for being agents of PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party.

The decision comes to the same conclusion as the earlier decision of the same court pronounced on 14 September 2017, subsequently quashed on some deficiencies in the statement of reasons by the Court of Cassation on 13 February 2018, namely that the conflict between PKK and the Turkish state is an non-international armed conflict as defined by international law and ruled by the laws of war (international humanitarian law), not by anti-terrorism laws. [1] Continue reading

Julie Ward MEP Sends an Open Letter to Turkish Prime Minister about the Ilisu Dam

The following letter was sent to the Turkish Prime Minister by UK Member of the European Parliament Julie Ward:

“President Erdoğan,

I am writing to express my utmost concern regarding the announcement of the filling of the Ilisu Dam on June 10th, 2019.

As you know, filling this dam will have disastrous consequences for the downstream areas of the Tigris river, and in particular for Hasankeyf. The cultural heritage of this city is unmatched, spanning nine civilisations. For 12,000 years, it has been a site of uninterrupted human settlement. Dozens of cultures have left their mark on Hasankeyf.

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Looking back at the hunger strike by Hilal Seven : Kurds are dying on Hunger strike for democracy.

As we move onto a new post-hunger strike phase , we look back at the words of Hilal Seven, written on 16 May when Leyla Guven was on day 190 of her hunger strike.

Hilal Seven

London/ 16 May

 According to the Human Rights Association 2983 prisoners are on hunger strike in 90 prisons in Turkey since first of March 2019. Most of the hunger strikers are Kurdish and they are political prisoners.

It was then-imprisoned Leyla Güven, a HDP MP, who first started the hunger strike on November 8 in 2018. Inspired by Leyla Güven, the action spread to other prisons and people from all over the world joined it. İmam Şiş, a 32-year-old Kurdish man from Newport began is hunger strike on December 16. Three more people from London are also on hunger strike since March 14: Nahide Zengin, Mehmet Sait Yılmaz, Ali Poyraz. Continue reading

What next for Turkey and the Kurdish resistance after the local elections? – VIDEO

A public forum called by Peace in Kurdistan, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), London Kurdish Solidarity (LKS) and Democratic Kurdish Peoples Assembly UK.

Date: Monday, 29 April 6pm. Venue: Unite House, 128 Theobald Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8TN

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Thomas Jeffrey Miley and included contributions from members of the UK delegation who observed the elections in the Kurdish regions of Turkey. The delegation consisted of journalists and academics – one of whom was deported and banned from Turkey and another threatened with deportation. Continue reading

NEWS BRIEFING May 2019

WOMEN’S ALLIANCE

FOR KURDISTAN, IRAQ AND SYRIA

https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/activities/womens-alliance-for-kurdistan-iraq-and-syria/

  1. Kurdish women prepare to protect their gains in Syria
  2. Painting with honey, fruits and blood
  3. Today a NATO country sentenced this woman to nearly two years in jail for journalism
  4. Turkey: Riot police fire tear gas at banned women’s day rally
  5. Women in Berlin: Be the voice of hunger strikers’ mothers!
  6. Women wearing white head scarves rallied in Cologne
  7. Kurdish politicians urge protesters to spare own lives in Turkey
  8. Faster Aydın: Let’s spread the resistance everywhere!
  9. Investigation into Turkish MIT’s role in Paris killings UPDATED
  10. After surviving ISIS and a civil war, these Syrian women built a female-only village
  11. Kurdish women scarred by state violence in Turkey’s southeast report
    12. Kurdish women’s experience of state violence in Turkey
  12. Yazidi spiritual council would welcome children of ISIS rape victims, revokes earlier statement

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  13. Kurdish women prepare to protect their gains in Syria

Continue reading

UK to raise issue of Kurdish hunger strikers with Turkey

9 May 2019| Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Kurdistan 24

Plaid Westminster Leader, Liz Saville Roberts, urged the UK government to listen to Kurdish hunger strikers.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, confirmed on Wednesday that her government would encourage Turkey to uphold the human rights of hunger strike detainees, including access to medical treatment.

May made the comments in response to a question from Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts on whether the prime minister would take urgent action given the critical condition of Kurdish hunger strikers.

Hundreds of politically-jailed Kurds in Turkey are on a hunger strike to break a policy of isolation on the imprisoned founder and leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan.

The hunger strikes have spread to places around the world, including in the UK. Among those on strike in Britain is 32-year old Imam Sis, who is currently on day 143 of his indefinite hunger strike and “is close to death,” according to Roberts.

Read the full article here: http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/ff4f6ae4-6480-41fa-a058-4c99362ab956