News

STATEMENT ON GRUP YORUM AND THE DEATH OF HELIN BOLEK

Those who seek justice in Turkey must not be left alone. We demand that all those who support democracy in Britain, all those in this country who work for justice, and all who enjoy the right to freedom of expression, use whatever means you have to call on the government and other authorities in Turkey to end the repression of Grup Yorum. Helin Bolek’s death was a sacrifice and tragedy. The tragedy unfolding must be ended – now.

 Peace in Kurdistan

 On 3 April 2020 Helin Bolek died on the 288th of a hunger strike turned death fast. Helin Bolek was a member of the popular Turkish folk band Grup Yorum. She protested the repression of her group and its supporters in Turkey and abroad by the Turkish government, led by President Erdogan. Grup Yorum demanded the right to sing freely, an end to the arrest, imprisonment and torture of Grup Yorum members and supporters, and an end to the ban on Grup Yorum concerts, which have been prohibited for nearly three years. Police attacked mourners at Helin Bolek’s funeral and prevented her from having a proper burial. We are responding to an appeal from parliamentarians and lawyers in Turkey for intervention from abroad to stop further deaths of Grup Yorum members and supporters and to back calls for the authorities in Turkey to stop criminalising dissenting musicians and artists in that country. Continue reading “STATEMENT ON GRUP YORUM AND THE DEATH OF HELIN BOLEK”

KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 25 MARCH – 08 APRIL 2020

For all of the latest Kurdish news, see these sources:

ANF English: https://anfenglishmobile.com/

Hawar News: https://www.hawarnews.com/en/

Rojava Information Center: https://rojavainformationcenter.com

https://twitter.com/RojavaIC

Women Defend Rojava: http://womendefendrojava.net/en/

Rojhelat: http://rojhelat.info/en/

Rojava Centre for Strategic Studies

http://nrlsrojava.com/en/

Komun Academy: 

https://komun-academy.com

NEWS

  1. Syria’s isolated Kurds wait and worry as coronavirus threat grows
  2. Happy Birthday, Abdullah Öcalan!
  3. Riot erupts in southeast penitentiary, after parliamentary committee approves prisoner release bill
  4. Turkish state accused of murder after death of hunger-striking Grup Yorum musician
  5. Turkey imposes curfew on youth, shuts borders of 31 cities: Erdogan
  6. Turkey: Lira at crisis levels as virus hits trade, factories
  7. Turkey could tighten coronavirus controls as strains, criticism grow
  8. Syrian Kurds say no escapees after IS prison revolt
  9. Turkey is continuing its attacks in northeast Syria despite the coronavirus crisis
  10. Turkey opposition calls for ‘stay at home’ order over coronavirus
  11. SDF: ISIS detainees escape prison in northeast Syria
  12. Turkey suspends all international flights, expands restrictions
  13. Turkey Moves Migrants From Greek Border Amid Virus Pandemic
  14. Kurdish journalists demand release of “political hostages”
  15. Turkey Holds First Tender Related to Istanbul Canal Project

  Continue reading “KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 25 MARCH – 08 APRIL 2020”

Open Letter to Dominic Raab: Release Political Prisoners in Turkey.

Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Whitehall
London SW1A 2AH

Dear Foreign Secretary

Ref. Release political prisoners in Turkey

We are deeply concerned about the situation for political prisoners in Turkey. It is of great importance that we don’t allow the accelerating spread of corona virus across the world to provide cover for further violations against those who are in prison, particularly those who are there simply for the expression of peaceful opinions.

We are aware of reports that the Turkish government is engaged in the preparation of a law that will result in the release up to 100,000 prisoners. While this appears to be a progressive step there remains a real danger that political prisoners will not be included in the proposed amnesty. This would be an appalling state of affairs. The spread of corona virus in prisons will result in a deadly outcome for many, especially for older prisoners and those with underlying health conditions. The risks for these prisoners, who have committed no internationally recognised crimes, will be exacerbated by the overcrowding and insanitary conditions in which they are held.  We are concerned that the continuing incarceration in these conditions amounts to a potential death sentence. Continue reading “Open Letter to Dominic Raab: Release Political Prisoners in Turkey.”

Report of 2020 International Peace Delegation to İmrali

 

 

Opening Press Conference at HDP Headquarters Ankara with Pervin Buldan, Julie Ward, Hişyar Özsoy, Melanie Gingell, Ögmundur Jónasson, Shavanah Taj and Felix Padel.
Introduction
The İmralı Peace Delegation visited Turkey between 11th and 16th February 2020, witnessing and gathering evidence about the state of civil society and human rights in the country. The  delegation sought to visit the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish freedom movement Abdullah Öcalan in order to assess his situation and conditions of detention. The annual delegation reports have provided a base measure of human rights in Turkey over the last decade and enabled a diverse group of academics, politicians, lawyers, faith leaders, journalists and trade unionists to visit various locations and assess the situation for themselves. The International Initiative organises the delegations with the primary purpose of keeping the cruel situation of Öcalan’s detention in the public eye, and as part of a wider campaign to highlight the need to reinstitute a peace process in Turkey.
The delegation this year consisted of Ögmundur Jónasson, former Justice Minister of Iceland and Honorary Associate of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Julie Ward, UK MEP until January 2020, Shavanah Taj, Leader of the Trade Union Congress in Wales, Felix Padel, sociologist and anthropologist, affiliate of Oxford University, and Melanie Gingell, Barrister, Associate Tenant Doughty Street Chambers, London. It held a series of meetings in Ankara with Ms Pervin Buldan Co-Chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and Hişyar Özsoy Deputy Co-Chair of HDP, Leaders of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, Liberationist Lawyers Association, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and the Confederal Trade Union of Public Workers. In İstanbul they met with lawyers from Asrın Law Office on 15th February, the 21st Anniversary of the kidnapping of Mr Öcalan in Kenya. They then met Eren Keskin, leading Human Rights Lawyer with representatives of the Saturday Mothers. Continue reading “Report of 2020 International Peace Delegation to İmrali”

KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 10 MARCH – 24 MARCH 2020

For all of the latest Kurdish news, see these sources:

 

ANF English: https://anfenglishmobile.com/

Hawar News: https://www.hawarnews.com/en/

Rojava Information Center: https://rojavainformationcenter.com

https://twitter.com/RojavaIC

Women Defend Rojava: http://womendefendrojava.net/en/

Rojhelat: http://rojhelat.info/en/

Rojava Centre for Strategic Studies

http://nrlsrojava.com/en/

Komun Academy: 

https://komun-academy.com

 

NEWS

 

  1. Co-chair of the PYD: SDF could join government forces in Idlib after an agreement on role in Syrian Armed Forces
  2. The relationship between ecology and the system is unsustainable
  3. Turkey must release political prisoners: Human Rights Watch
  4. Kurdish-led SDF calls for truce in Syria amid coronavirus pandemic
  5. Russia sends ship with military ambulances towards Syria after virus outbreak
  6. UN calls for total ceasefire in Syria to focus on coronavirus
  7. Iran-backed militias beef up presence in Syria’s Idlib, Aleppo: monitor
  8. Turkey using drug from China for coronavirus
  9. Turkey tightens restrictions to curb coronavirus outbreak
  10. Turkey dismisses eight pro-Kurdish party mayors in east
  11. EU leaders to review 2016 deal with Turkey on migrants
  12. UN expert raises alarm over migrant, asylum seeker ‘pushbacks’ at Turkey-Greece border
  13. Fears mount as Syria reports first coronavirus case
  14. Kurdish-led northeast under lockdown as Syria announces first coronavirus case
  15. Turkish-backed group’s disruption of water puts 460,000 people at risk, UNICEF warns
  16. Iraq, Kurdistan crack down on coronavirus curfew violators as infections rise
  17. Turkey’s Coronavirus Death Toll Up Nine to 30 as 289 New Cases Diagnosed-Health Minister
  18. Turkish-backed group, again, cuts water supply to 460,000 people in northeastern Syria
  19. Syrian President Issues Amnesty, Reduces Sentences
  20. Syria Confirms First Coronavirus Case as Fears Grow It Could Spread
  21. Iraqi forces take over US base along Syrian border
  22. High-risk Syria ups measures against coronavirus
  23. Russia Satisfied with Turkey’s Military Patrols Along Syria’s M4 Highway
  24. Turkey Imposing Curfew for People Over Age 65
  25. War-ravaged Syria takes steps against coronavirus
  26. War-Ravaged Syria Takes New Steps Against Coronavirus, Says No Recorded Cases Yet
  27. Syrian Kurdish authorities ease military draft demands for Kurds abroad
  28. Greece: 11 Arrests, Arms Seized in Turkey-Linked Terror Raid
  29. Turkey denies reports of troop pullback in Syria
  30. Turkey to suspend all scientific and culture events in latest coronavirus measure
  31. PKK: Let’s celebrate Newroz!
  32. Doctors in northwest Syria brace for ‘devastating’ coronavirus
  33. Turkey says it sent 500,000 coronavirus test kits to United States
  34. Turkey-backed rebels violate ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib
  35. Students under investigation for refusing to sing Turkish national anthem
  36. US slaps sanctions on Syria defence minister for Idlib assault
  37. Turkey Confirms First Coronavirus Death, More Than Doubles Cases to 98
  38. Coronavirus in Syria: WHO to test for coronavirus
  39. France Unlocks Extra 50 Mln for Humanitarian Aid to Syria
  40. Gulf Keystone Petroleum suspends drilling activities at well in Iraqi Kurdistan
  41. Journalists start Twitter campaign in Turkey
  42. Top Kurdistan Region officials commemorate 32nd anniversary of Halabja genocide
  43. Greece hopes EU-Turkey talks will ease tension over refugee crisis
  44. Government scrambles to contain coronavirus as Turkish cases triple
  45. Russia, Turkey curtail first joint military patrol in Syria’s Idlib
  46. Syria elections postponed over coronavirus
  47. UN says concerned about recent escalation in Iraq
  48. More than 4.8 million children born into war in Syria: UN
  49. Coronavirus: Turkey quarantines thousands of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia
  50. Turkey-Russia Patrols Start Amid Protests on Syrian Highway
  51. Syria, insisting it is coronavirus-free, takes broad steps to prevent spread
  52. KRG imposes curfews, orders quarantine of those returning from abroad as infections continue
  53. Russia, Turkey set joint patrols
  54. New law abolishes honor killings’ mitigating excuse in Syria
  55. Kurdish-led northern Syria says no coronavirus cases, implements countermeasures
  56. Egypt helping Kurdish-led troops in Syria fighting Turkish forces
  57. Turkey detains Kurdish human rights lawyers on terror claims
  58. Turkish police detain HDP co-mayor of Kurdish city
  59. Turkey Blames Kurdish Fighters for Syria Blast That Killed 4
  60. US prepares biting Syria sanctions as Assad pummels Idlib
  61. Turkey-based Kurdish publisher shortlisted for international ‘courage’ award
  62. American, British soldiers killed in fresh rocket attack on Iraqi base
  63. Babacan’s new party vows Turks can tweet without fear of arrest
  64. Report: Greece secretly detains, abuses refugees 
  65. Turkey threatens ‘heavy’ retaliation if Idlib ceasefire is broken
  66. Turkey jails Kurdish ex-mayor for nine years for ‘terrorism’ links
  67. Turkey says U.S. offering Patriot missiles if S-400 not operated
  68. Turkey hopes for new refugee deal with EU before March 26

Continue reading “KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 10 MARCH – 24 MARCH 2020”

OPEN LETTER TO DOMINIC RAAB – DEATH FAST OF GRUP YORUM

Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street

Whitehall

London SW1A 2AH

Dear Foreign Secretary

 

Ref. Justice for the Turkish music group “Grup Yorum”

 

We write to express our concerns at the threat to the lives of the members of the popular Turkish folk band, Grup Yorum, who have been on hunger strike in protest at Turkey’s persecution of the band including a ban on its performances first imposed in 2016.

The musicians allege that they are being unfairly singled out because of their outspoken political stand against social injustices in their country.

The Turkish government claims that Grup Yorum is linked to the banned Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Continue reading “OPEN LETTER TO DOMINIC RAAB – DEATH FAST OF GRUP YORUM”