Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 27-30 July 2015


In partnership with Peace in Kurdistan Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com

photo credit: The Guardian/ Murad Sezer/Reuters

Syrian safe zone: US relents to Turkish demands after border crisis grows

26 July 2015 / Guardian
After several days of prevarication, US officials have confirmed the Obama administration’s agreement to Turkish demands to set up a coalition-protected “safe zone” inside northern Syria in return for permitting US aircraft to use Turkey’s military bases to attack Islamic State. The safe zone will stretch for 68 miles along the Turkey-Syria border, from the town of Jarabulus to Marea, and will be about 40 miles deep, reaching to the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria’s second city. Under a deal agreed last week by Barack Obama and and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, US and coalition air strikes will attempt to clear the area of Isis fighters.

Kurds slam Turkey ‘safe zone’

28 July 2015 / Al Arabiya
A "safe zone" Turkey and the U.S. are creating in Syria is an attempt by Ankara to stop Kurds from forming their own territory, the leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party has told the BBC.Chairman of the People’s Democratic Republic (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas has called on Turkey and the PKK to return to peace negotiations – follow a series of recent clashes between the two sides.The so-called safe zone was announced after ISIS-linked militants carried out attacks on Turkish border towns – including a recent attack on Suruc last week where 32 people were killed – the BBC added.

30 Turkish fighter jets in new strikes against PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan

31 July 2015 / eKUrd
Turkish war planes launching a wave of new assaults on PKK targets after five more people were killed in attacks blamed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants. Ankara says it is fighting a two-pronged “war on terror” against Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria and the PKK in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, after a spate of attacks in the country.

HDP co-chair Demirtaş reveals details of peace process

28 July 2015 / Hurriyet
The resolution process started with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan’s letter that was read out loud during Nevruz in Diyarbakır in 2013, saying, “The era of armed struggle has ended.” This process has now come to a serious standstill. In the last 10 days, the Suruç massacre occurred. Next, the PKK executed policemen in two cities and Turkey organized air operations both against Kandil, the mountainous area across the border where guerilla headquarters are based, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in Syria. There is a serious state of war in the country. Everybody has a chronology and/or a claim about how we arrived at this stage.  

Investigation against HPD Co-Presidents Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ

31 July 2015 / ANF
Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation against HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) Co-President Selahattin Demirtaş on the grounds of “arming and provoking a part of the people against the other part” in line with the Article 214/2 of the Turkish Penal Code.

More remanded in custody in ongoing political operations

31 July 2015 / ANF
More people have been remanded in custody as part of the ongoing political operations in line with the total warfare concept put into effect by the AKP recently. Three youths who had been detained in house raid operations in Antep were referred first to the prosecution office, then to a court last night. All the three were remanded in custody and sent to Antep H Type Closed Prison on charges of “membership to a terrorist organization”. With the arrest of the three youths, the number of those remanded in custody in the most recent operations in Antep rose to 14, including 11 out of 21 people who had been detained on July 28.

1050 Detentions in 4 Days in 34 Cities

28 July 2015 / Bianet
Prime Ministry Coordination Center stated that 1050 people were detained in 34 cities during police operations started on Friday. Judicial process is going on for the detainees. It was claimed that police operations were carried out against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), PKK and Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) but names of illegal organizations to which 1050 people were linked weren’t explained. 

KCK official says PKK not responsible for murders of 2 Turkish policemen

29 July 2015 / Todays Zaman
A senior member of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that includes the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), told the BBC Turkish service on Wednesday that the PKK is not responsible for the execution-style murders of two Turkish police officers who were found shot in the head at their home in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa last week.

Report: ISIS Ousted From Syrian City of Hasakah

30 July 2015 / Newsweek
Kurdish fighters and Syrian regime forces ousted the Islamic State (ISIS) from the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah on Tuesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K. based group that monitors the conflict.
ISIS militants had launched an assault on the city last month, particularly the city's government held southern areas, in a bid to tighten its grip on territory surrounding its de-facto capital, Raqqa.

Crowd-funding campaign initiated to reconstruction of Kobane

30 July 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
We would like to draw your attention to an urgent appeal for funds from a project which was developed by the official Kobanê Reconstruction Board. Obviously, this is deserving cause. But it urgently needs your support to continue and expand its vital work to help the people of Kobane to rebuild their community. Every little helps. Please respond to the appeal, which states:
“Our infrastructure is secure and tested. We are capable of crowdfunding Kobanê. But we are still in beta, and we have much to do before we can offer this tool for movements around the world. Under normal circumstances, we would have waited on the final version.”

Communal Economy Grows In Rojava Despite War

31 July 2015 / Rojava Report
Rojava is quickly becoming a center of trade and production despite the shortages and sufferings caused by the ongoing war, according to an article from ANHA carried by Özgür Gündem. Economic development is occurring along the lines set forth by the leadership of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, and current economic growth is being led by newly found communes, committees, unions and civil organizing as part of the democratic economy model.

Interview with Polat Can, the Representative of the People`s Protection Units to the International Coalition

24 July 2015 / Washington Kurdish Institute
The Washington Kurdish Institute (WKI) met with Mr. Polat Can, the Representative of People’s Protection Units (YPG) to international coalition.  Mr. Can, one of the founding members of the YPG, was previously a YPG spokesperson and headed the Kobani media center.  He has spent many years working in media, helping found a number of radio and TV stations in Rojava (western Kurdistan), and has published numerous articles in Kurdish, Arabic and Turkish.


The West is betraying the Kurds and allowing them to be massacred

28 July 2015 / Telegraph
Stabs in the back don’t get much nastier than this.
For the past year, Western leaders have feted the Kurds of Northern Iraq, praising them as one of the few forces gutsy enough to face down the death cult of Isil. Now, those leaders turn a blind eye, or even worse give an active nod, to attacks on Northern Iraqi Kurds by the Turkish air force. Heroes one minute; fair game for massacre the next. In the long list of Western betrayals of former allies overseas, this one feels especially grotesque. Last Friday, following months of negotiation with Washington, Turkey launched its first-ever air strikes against Isil in Syria.

Fighting Both Sides of the Same War: Is Turkey Using Attacks on ISIL as Cover for Assault on Kurds? Interview with Kani Xulam.

27 July 2015 / Democracy Now
Turkish jets have reportedly launched their heaviest assault on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq since airstrikes began last week, effectively ending a two-year truce. Over the past week, the Turkish military has launched combat operations on two fronts: one against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria and another against Kurds inside Turkey and in northern Iraq, where Kurdish groups have been fighting against the Islamic State. This means Turkey is now essentially bombing both sides of the same war. 

The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey

29 July 2015 / Counterpunch
The Kurdish militias (YPG, PKK) have been Washington’s most effective weapon in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the Obama administration has sold out the Kurds in order to strengthen ties with Turkey and gain access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The agreement to switch sides was made in phone call between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than 48 hours after a terrorist incident in the Turkish town of Suruc killed 32 people and wounded more than 100 others.

Is PKK real target of Turkish strikes?

27 July 2015 / Al Monitor
On July 23, Turkish air force F-16s attacked Islamic State (IS) targets in northern Syria in response to a July 20 suicide bombing in Suruc and an IS attack on an army border patrol that killed one soldier. These events were followed on July 24 by the first Turkish aerial bombing since 2011 of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets, in northern Iraq.

US caught between Turkey, Kurd rivalry in war against 'IS'

28 July 2015 / Deutsche Welle
According to the Turkish government, there's no difference between "Islamic State" and the Kurdish militant group PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). They're both terrorist organizations. "Whichever terrorist organization poses a threat to the borders of the Turkish Republic, measures will be taken without hesitation," said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after Turkey launched operations against both groups. "No-one should have any doubt."

The true danger of Turkey’s double game: it’s all on the map

28 July 2015 / Carol Mann
In just one week, Turkey has demonstrated how skilfully it manipulates NATO’s realpolitik, thereby simultaneously achieving its own ends in terms of home politics, without keeping any of its promises to its partners. And getting praises from world leaders to boot. Ankara’s carefully crafted campaign has gone full circle from the massacre last Monday in Suruç to the bombings of the Kurdish villages of Zor Mixar and Tel Findir in Rojava, with in its centre Kobani which represents everything Erdogan’s ruthlessly autocratic government opposes.

Is Turkey really committed to fighting IS?

28 July 2015 / Al Monitor
In joining the fight against the Islamic State (IS) — following the July 20 attack by the group in the town of Suruc that killed 32 people, most of them Kurdish peace activists, and another near the town of Kilis on July 23 that left a Turkish officer dead — Ankara has clearly moved in the direction long desired by its Western allies. The decision to open the Incirlik Air Base to the US-led coalition for use against IS provides tangible evidence that Turkey has turned a corner in this respect.

Turkey: Erdogan responds to election with war

31 July 2015 / Revolutionary Communist Group
President Erdogan and the Turkish state have responded to the electoral success of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) on 7 June 2015 with war and repression. By achieving 13.1% of the vote and 80 MPs in Turkey’s general election, President Erdogan’s plan to change Turkey’s constitution from a parliamentary into a presidential system was thwarted by the HDP. The HDP combines socialist and democratic forces and is primarily Kurdish-led. Immediately after the election increased Turkish military activity was accompanied by murder and arrests of Kurdish activists and their supporters. The peace process, underway since March 2013, was effectively over and unilaterally ended by the Turkish state with the all-out bombardment of Kurdish areas beginning on 24 July. Trevor Rayne reports.

Turkey's bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq is the last thing we need in the fight against Isis

28 July 2015 / Independent
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayip Erdogan, is playing a dangerous game of divide and conquer, both at home and in the region. Having spent the best part of the conflict in Syria acquiescing to Isis – which has been using Turkish territory as a transit point into Syria, and using it to build a lucrative commercial hub – Turkey has started targeting the jihadis in Syria.

US deal with Turkey over Isis may go beyond simple use of an airbase

24 July 2015 /Guardian
In what may prove a turning point in the fight against Islamic State (Isis), Turkey has struck a military and security cooperation pact with the US that could greatly enhance the effectiveness of coalition air strikes. But what US officials describe as a game-changing deal also comes with a potentially high price tag: the escalating spillover of the Syria-Iraq conflict into neighbouring Middle East countries.

Charlie Rose on ISIS and Turkey

28 July 2015 / Charlie Rose
Discussion on ISIS and Turkey with Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations, Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East program at the Wilson Center, and David L. Philips, author of "The Kurdish Spring."

Rojava Is A Beacon Of Hope For Radical Democracy

28 July 2015 / Left Project Scotland
All too often, reports from Syria describe a civil war where each combating force seems worse than the last; but in that unlikely political maelstrom a new society is being forged that should provide a beacon of hope for progressive people everywhere. That society is the autonomous Kurdish region of Rojava, in northern Syria, which, against all the odds, is developing a new form of bottom-up democracy.

Why are Anarchists and Libertarians divided over Rojava?

29 July 2015 / Lib.com
Like leftists and communists, anarchists and libertarians have been divided over Rojava. Some of them are very supportive and optimistic about the future of this experiment and the others are skeptical and suspicious. There are many factors contributing to this. Some of these factors apply not just to anarchists, libertarians and others, but to the Kurdish people too. So this article may also be the answer to those Kurdish people who frequently ask why they do not receive support from political groups and ordinary people, not just about Rojava, but about any event in any part of Kurdistan.

Syria Safe Zones Will Undermine US Fight Against ISIS

29 July 2015 / Chatham House
In the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, US policy-makers scrambled to persuade Turkey to join the coalition against Saddam Hussein. The backing of Muslim-majority Turkey, in their view, would have pre-empted accusations in the region that the US was waging war against Islam. Ankara eventually rejected the US’s entreaties, and Western troops partnered instead with Iraqi Kurds in the march on Baghdad. Despite Ankara’s protests, US-Kurdish cooperation formed the foundation for a Kurdish statelet in Iraq’s north, today the only part of that country with effective government. 

Suruc And The Rising Movement’s Threat To Erdogan

30 July 2015 / Left Project Scotland
On 20th of July 2015, 32 young people, consisting of activists and volunteers brutally died in Suruç, Turkey.
They were young people from different parts of Turkey and members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) who gathered in Suruç, on the Turkish side of the border with Syria near Kobane. These young people wanted to rebuild war-torn Kobane. They wanted to build libraries, bring books and clothes. During a press conference, these activists faced a barbaric attack from ISIS – a suicide bomb.

U.S. Makes a Deal with the Turkish Devil

31 July 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
There are recent revelations from The Guardian that the U.S. deal with Turkey involves a "no fly zone" (that would only apply to Assad's Syrian Regime, as neither ISIS nor the Kurds have planes) in exchange for a tacit agreement that Turkey can prevent further land acquisitions by the Kurdish PYD in their quest to unify Rojava by connecting the Kobane and Afrin Cantons. Essentially, the U.S. gets use of a closer location at Incirlik Air base to bomb ISIS from, in exchange for selling out the Kurdish PYD (which includes their heroic YPG & YPJ guerrillas), who were the only ground forces effectively defeating ISIS.


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