Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 29 August - 4 September 2015


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

photo credit: Bianet.org

Drowned Syrian Toddler Is Buried in Kobane

4 September 2015 / Vice News
The body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi has been laid to rest in the Syrian town of Kobane on Friday, alongside his brother and mother, who also died trying to reach Greece. The shocking photographs of the drowned Syrian child, washed up on a beach near Bodrum, Turkey, have sparked international outcry this week. The images have reignited the debate as to how to help those fleeing from war and how to solve the European refugee crisis, where thousands have died trying to reach Europe by sea.

Alan Kurdi death: A Syrian Kurdish family forced to flee

4 September 2015 / BBC News
The drowned boy who washed up on a Turkish beach on Wednesday, whose picture cut through the refugee debate in an instant, was three-year-old Alan Kurdi from Kobane in Syria. Alan set out before dawn that morning in Turkey for the Greek island of Kos with his father Abdullah, mother Rehanna, and five-year-old brother Ghalib. The Kurdis wanted to reach Canada to reunite with Abdullah's sister Tima, a hairdresser in Vancouver.

Turkey extends mandate to send troops to Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria if needed

4 September 2015 / eKurd
Turkey’s parliament voted late on Thursday to extend by a year a mandate authorizing the deployment of troops to Syria and Iraq, weeks after it stepped up its role in the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State. The NATO member opened its air bases to coalition fighter jets in July and has since taken part in joint strikes for the first time on the radical Sunni militant group in northern Syria, ending years of reluctance to take a front-line role.

Peace Mothers call on diplomats to stop war in Turkey

3 September 2015 / Jihna News
A delegation of Peace Mothers activists has met with UN and UK ambassadors to ask them to mediate to end Turkey's war in Kurdistan. The Peace Mothers Assembly is an organization of women from Northern Kurdistan in Turkey who work against war in the region. The women traveled to Ankara yesterday to meet with diplomatic representatives in Turkey. The women requested to meet with representatives from the U.S., Germany and Iran, but received no response. However, the women were able to meet with British and UN diplomats in the Turkish capital.

HDP submits bill offering 'Negotiation for Building of Social Peace'

3 September 2015 / ANF
HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) Group Deputy Chairs Pervin Buldan and İdris Baluken have submitted to parliament a draft law offering 'Negotiation for Building of Social Peace'. The draft law put emphasis on the need for a peace process in order for the ending of violence and war, and recommencement of negotiations through mediators.

Imprisoned for singing in Kurdish: support Nûdem Durak

27 August 2015 / Corporate Watch
This year, Kurdish singer Nûdem Durak was sentenced to ten and a half years in prison. She was arrested and imprisoned on 22nd April 2015. Her family say she was falsely convicted of being a member of the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (Koma Civakên Kurdistan or KCK).  She was also accused of helping people to join the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and helping to organise demonstrations in 2009 against Turkish military repression of Kurdish people in her hometown of Cizre, North Kurdistan (the part of Kurdistan within Turkey's borders).

Istanbul: proletarian districts declare 'autonomy'

25 August 2015 / WW4 Report
Working-class districts of Istanbul, following the lead of rebel Kurds in Turkey's east, are declaring their own "autonomy" from the state—amid ongoing street clashes with security forces. The center of the urban rebellion is the Gazi neighborhood, where the Gazi People's Initiative has proclaimed self-government, pledging to resist all police operations in the district. Upon the declaration Aug. 15, residents marched through the district with a banner calling for freedom for imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Arrested Vice News journalists to be deported from Turkey

3 September 2015 / Guardian
Two Vice News journalists arrested by Turkish authorities and charged with terror offences are set to be deported from the country, but their local fixer remains in custody. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office released a statement on Thursday afternoon saying the two British journalists had been transferred to a deportation centre. It read: “Two British journalists arrested in Diyarbakır on 27 August have now been transferred to a Migration Department Deportation Centre in Adana. Our consular officials in Turkey are liaising with the Turkish authorities and in contact with the journalists and their lawyer.”

Global Rights Groups Call for Turkey to Release Detained VICE News Journalists
30 August 2015 / Vice
Global rights groups have issued calls seeking the immediate release of four journalists working for VICE News who have been detained in Turkey since Thursday without being charged. Turkish authorities took British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury into custody while they were reporting with two other colleagues — a fixer and a driver — in the city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey.

Escalating Violence in Turkey: Human Rights Dealt Another Major Blow

3 August 2015 / IHD
In the wake of the alleged ISIL bomb attack on 20 July, killing 32 people and leaving over 100 young people injured in Suruç, Şanlıurfa a city with Kobane border as well as 2 police officers by Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) murdered while they were home asleep on 22 July, EuroMed Rights expresses its deep concern about ongoing massive arrest operations and human rights violations in Turkey. As a response to the attack, the Turkish Government announced that it would fight against the perpetrators and launched an air attack on ISIS, with several ISIS activists being arrested in Turkey.

In 40 Days, 20 Journalists Dismissed, 21 Journalists Sentenced to 157,5 Years in Prison

2 September 2015 / Bianet
Solidarity Network against Censorship prepared a report named “Reflection of War on Press in 40 Days” and released to the public with Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK). The report includes violations of the law between July 27 and August 28. The report says, 2,544 people were detained, 338 people were arrested, 137 people died, 130 regions of 15 provinces were declared as special areas in 40 days and ‘basic rights were suspended.’

Erdoğan harshly slams West over terror, refugee crisis

3 September 2015 / Hurriyet
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has harshly slammed the West over “insensitivity” amid the growing refugee crisis, while announcing the “joint fight against global terrorism” as a key issue to be discussed during the G-20 Summit in Turkey mid-November. “European countries that turned the Mediterranean Sea, the cradle of the one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, into a grave, are part of the sin of the death of every single refugee,” Erdoğan said Sept. 3, speaking at the opening ceremony of the B20 conference, a part of Turkey’s G-20 term presidency. 

Outrage in Turkey over atrocities against Kurds

2 September 2015 / WW4 Report
Authorities in Turkey's eastern Muş province have launched an investigation into the distribution of photos on social media showing the dead and mutilated body of a woman believed to be a militant of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).  The governor's office confirmed that the woman in the picture was PKK militant Kevser Eltürk AKA Ekin Wan, who was killed in a clash with Turkish security forces on Aug. 10 in Muş' Varto district. The picture shows a naked woman, apparently dead, lying on the ground with bruises and blood visible on her body. 

EU minister makes call to silence arms, resume peace process

31 August 2015 / Hurriyet
European Union Affairs Minister and chief negotiator Ali Haydar Konca has made a call to “silence arms” and said “arms should be buried,” stressing the resolution for the Kurdish peace process should be found through dialogue. “It’s vital to get out of a spiral of violence… immediately. Silencing arms and ending violence is the will of all our people,” the minister said, speaking at his first press conference on Aug. 31. Konca is one of the two ministers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who was named to participate in the interim Turkish government. The minister signaled his priority would be resuming the Kurdish peace process to end three decades of conflict, saying it would also pave the way for Turkey’s membership to the European Union.  

VIDEO: Syrian Kurds And US Forces In Joint Mission Against IS

31 August 2015 / Sky News
American and Syrian Kurdish forces are to work together for the first time in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

Yazidis rescued from Isis need action from Britain, says former Iraqi MP Ameena Saeed Hasan

30 August 2015 / Independent
Ameena Saeed Hasan cannot forget the voices of her former constituents calling to her for help, as Isis jihadists stormed the Sinjar mountain in Iraq.“Their voices stay with me,” the Yazidi activist and former Iraqi MP told The Independent, her eyes filling with tears. After the calls came silence, until earlier this year when Isis was forced out of Sinjar, and a string of pits was discovered. Full of human remains, the mass graves are thought to contain the bodies of Yazidis who didn’t manage to escape.

Interview with Mr. Salih Muslim, Chairman of Democratic Union Party (PYD)

2 September 2015 / Washington Kurdish Institute
The Washington Kurdish Institute (WKI) is honored to conduct an interview with you to discuss currents events in Syria, Rojava, your fight against ISIS, and political issues in the region. What is ISIS in your opinion? And who is behind it?
SM: The global powers are rearranging the Middle East, and this reconstruction must remove the old and build up the new. Some regional powers took advantage of this situation and created destructive tools such as ISIS and its similar terrorist organizations to implement their regional plans.

Canada’s Top Security Advisor Met With Kurdish Leader Amid Clashes With Turkey

2 September 2015 / Vice News
Canada's National Security Advisor held a low-key meeting with a key member of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil last week, as Ottawa navigates its complex relationship with the semi-autonomous regions of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
The meeting comes amid continued fighting with the so-called Islamic State, and renewed hostilities between the Kurds and Turkey.

Kurds flee Iraqi Kurdistan due to politics, not Islamic State

4 September 2015 / eKurd
War and persecution are cited as the main reasons behind the flow of refugees, especially from countries such as Iraq and Syria. However, factors motivating young Kurdish people and families to risk their lives to reach European countries are not wars or persecutions by terrorist organizations. According to analysts, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is facing many challenges. But the threat of the Islamic State, or IS, is a minor one, at least for young people leaving the region for Europe.


Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face
3 September 2015/ Independent
The Kurdish enclave of Kobani in north-east Syria, once the home of Aylan al-Kurdi and his family, is largely in ruins after a four-and-a-half month siege by Isis fighters that ended in January. It was one of the greatest victories in Kurdish history, but a Pyrrhic one that saw 300,000 SyrianKurds flee into Turkey from Kobani, a city just south of the Turkish border, and from the 250 villages surrounding it.

A(y)lan Kurdi And The Kurdish Question

4 September 2015 / Kurdish Question
Sometimes the fate of a child is written a 100 years before they are born. Some will view this as a reductionist approach or fatalistic, but here we are not talking of a divine fate, we are talking of historical forces, politics, power, hegemony, economic exploitation and colonialism. The world looks on aghast at the image of 3 year-old A(y)lan Kurdi, washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean, just miles away from the Ancient Theatre where the greatest Greek tragedies were played out millennia ago. 

Turkey’s lip-reading censors

2 September 2015 / Politico
The detention of three VICE News reporters on charges of terrorist links in eastern Turkey has alarmed the international community, while less widely reported developments — including police raids on domestic media offices, rewards for government informants and the alleged detection of political dissent via lip reading — further reflect an atmosphere of tightening state control in the run-up to November’s snap elections. British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, and their Iraqi fixer Mohamed Ismail Rasool, were detained on August 27 in the eastern city of Diyarbakir while covering the conflict between Turkish troops and the outlawed Kurdish militant group PKK.

Turkey duped the US, and Isis is reaping the rewards

30 August 2015 / Independent
The disastrous miscalculation made by the United States in signing a military agreement with Turkey at the expense of the Kurds becomes daily more apparent. In return for the use of Incirlik Air Base just north of the Syrian border, the US betrayed the Syrian Kurds who have so far been its most effective ally against Islamic State (Isis, also known as Daesh). In return for this deal signed on 22 July, the US got greater military cooperation from Turkey, but it swiftly emerged that Ankara’s real target was the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Action against Isis was almost an afterthought, and it was hit by only three Turkish airstrikes, compared to 300 against the bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Mr. Erdogan’s War Against the Kurds

31 August 2015 / New York Times
It’s not unusual for political leaders in trouble to use diversionary tactics to turn their fortunes around. Hollywood capitalized on this theme in a popular 1997 film called “Wag the Dog” in which, right before an election, a political spin doctor distracts voters from a presidential sex scandal by engaging a film producer to create a fake war with Albania. There are suspicions that a real-time, dangerous version of that scenario is playing out in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in a desperate struggle to stay in power after his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party lost its governing majority in a crucial election in June. 

Days of Infamy in Northern Syria

August 2015 / Robert Graham
Sketchy reports of the renewed Turkish bombing campaign against the Kurds in southern Turkey, northern Syria and Iraq have recently appeared in the North American media, but usually the reports emphasize Turkish and American claims that the Turkish forces are targeting ISIS. Despite the fact that so far the Kurdish forces in Rojava have been the only ones to mount any effective opposition to ISIS, the Americans have now made clear that in exchange for the use of Turkish air bases and for token air strikes by the Turkish airforce against ISIS, with the brunt of the Turkish attacks being concentrated on the Kurds, the U.S. is prepared to abandon the Kurds to a different kind of massacre, that from the air above. 

The HDP's Moment

3 September 2015 / World Policy
The relationship between Turkey’s government and the Kurdish population has been fraught with violence, repression, and mistrust. As the political representative of over 70 percent of Kurds in Turkey, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) juggles dual objectives—presenting a progressive alternative to mainstream political parties and acting as the de facto representative of Kurdish interests on the national stage. In Turkey’s turbulent political climate, the HDP may either find a way to advance its national stature, or allow a hostile central government and violent conflict in the country’s southeastern region to threaten the support of its base, if not the very survival of its party.

Will the United States Sell Out the Kurds Again and Forfeit a Loyal Ally?

26 August 2015 / Kurdistan Tribune
The history of contact between the United States and the Kurds goes way back to President Woodrow Wilson. In January 1918, for the first time the US supported the Kurds’ rights within the Ottoman Empire in the 14 points by President Wilson. But because the US did not have an important role in the area, they did not give any weight to the US declaration in support of the Kurds.

Murray Bookchin and the Kurdish resistance

9 August 2015 / Roar Mag
The introduction to the new book The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy(Verso, 2015), explains how Murray Bookchin – born to Russian Jewish immigrants in New York City in 1921 – was introduced to radical politics at the age of nine when he joined the Young Pioneers, a Communist youth organization. This would be the start of his ‘life on the left’ in which he would turn from Stalinism to Trotskyism in the years running up to World War II before defining himself as an anarchist in the late 1950s and eventually identifying as a ‘communalist’ or ‘libertarian municipalist’ after the introduction of the idea of social ecology.


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