Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 5-11 September 2015
In partnership with Peace in Kurdistan Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com
10 September 2015 / BBC News
A 53-year old mother of seven, Meryem Sune's body rests on a desk, wrapped in white cloth and bed sheets.
What is unusual about the picture taken in Cizre, a predominantly Kurdish town in south-eastern Turkey, are the bottles of ice surrounding her body. Ms Sune was hit by shrapnel and died of her injuries, as she was not allowed into hospital for treatment, local reports say - due to a curfew declared over a week ago. She could not be buried for two days and her body was first kept cold by ice bottles, and then in the freezer of a chicken shop.
11 September 2015 / eKurd
Turkey on Thursday prevented a delegation of deputies from the main pro-Kurdish party from entering the embattled southeastern Kurdish city of Cizre in Turkish Kurdistan, where the army and Kurdish rebels have fought deadly battles in recent days. Pro-Kurdish MPs from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said 21 civilians, including children, had been killed since the military operation in Cizre was launched last week and an army curfew was imposed.
Council of Europe Commissioner urges immediate access to Cizre
11 September 2015 / ANF
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks has released a statement regarding the ongoing state terror in Şırnak's Cizre district. Muiznieks said he has been following with increasing alarm the escalation of violence in Turkey in recent weeks, and voiced concerns about the developments in Cizre, a city of around 100 000 inhabitants. Recalling that a curfew was declared in the town on the 4th of September, reportedly for an unlimited period, in the framework of anti-terror operations, Muiznieks also cited reports that public life, including essential services such as healthcare, and means of communication have been severely disrupted as a result, and that entry and exit from the city have been barred. More disturbingly, -he said- he also received serious allegations of disproportionate use of force by security forces against civilians.
11 September 2015 / ANF
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-Presidency has released a statement calling for total resistance against the increasingly ongoing terror by Turkish state forces in Northern Kurdistan, the Kurdish region in Turkey.
Stressing that the people of Cizre should be supported in the same way the the resistance in Kobanê was supported, KCK called on the people to to act in line with the the Kurdistan People's Initiative's call for a long freedom march to Cizre, highlighting support to this call issued in solidarity with the people of the town under attack by Turkish state forces.
9 September 2015 / Telegraph
Violent mobs have attacked Kurdish and other targets in towns across Turkey as the fighting between the government and PKK guerrillas worsens, prompting fears of renewed civil war. Headquarter offices of the main pro-Kurdish party, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which has 80 seats in parliament, were set on fire in the capital Ankara, the southern city of Alanya and more than 100 towns across the country. There were also attacks on newspaper offices, with the headquarters of Hurriyet, one of the country’s biggest papers, surrounded by a mob chanting slogans in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They accused the paper of misquoting the president in a report on a speech which discussed the crisis.
9 September 2015 / Guardian
Rising violence in south-east Turkey after the collapse of a ceasefire between the government and Kurdish insurgents will make it difficult to hold an election due on 1 November, the head of the pro-Kurdish parliamentary opposition has said. Turkey’s mainly Kurdish south-east has seen almost daily clashes between militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) and security forces since July. The conflict has shattered a peace process started by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in 2012 to end an insurgency that has killed more than 40,000 people over three decades.
10 September 2015 / Hurriyet
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Leyla Zana, a leading figure in the Kurdish political movement, said she will begin a hunger strike over the recent clashes. “I call on all sides which hold arms. I prefer dying rather than watching people die,” said Zana, addressing a rally in the İdil district of southeastern Şırnak. “We have been dying in fights for centuries. We are in self-defense. But that’s enough deaths. I will start a hunger strike if the deaths do not stop,” said Zana.
7 September 2015 / Hurriyet
Turkey’s main social democratic leader has condemned the latest deadly attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while directly pointing his finger at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for focusing on his own political aspirations amid the killing of people. “Dağlıca hurt our hearts deeply. Every day, it’s the same grief. Damn those who make us experience this grief and who are nourished by blood and tears,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in the early morning of Sept. 7, after the PKK attacked an armed convoy the day before in the Dağlıca area of Hakkari province, near the Iraqi border, in what
11 September 2015 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
We welcome this action by ELDH European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, in response to a call from the Diyarbakir Bar Association regarding the urgent situation in Cizre, where a curfew has been in place since 4th September. Italian-based lawyer Ms Barbara Spinelli, will go to Turkey support the democratic forces in Turkey by attending a peaceful march to Cizre. She will monitor the situation there in order to produce a report addressed to European institutions and civil society, as well as to the organs of United Nations, especially those competent for protection of women’s rights. She will arrive tonight. She has been working for months on the situation of women in Rojava where she led a fact finding mission in March this year. Her report has been presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
11 September 2015 / Bianet
300 lawyers from different provinces of Turkey hit the road to go Cizre district of Şırnak province in southeastern Turkey. Lawyers from Bar Associations of Diyarbakır, Adana, Mersin, Antep, Van, Bitlis provinces will meet in Midyat district of Mardin province in order to go Cizre district. Diyarbakır Bar President, Tahir Elçi, told bianet that the constitutional rights were suspended illegally. Elçi stated Governors had no rights to declare curfews unless there are decisions made by the constitutional procedures and added the lawyers marching towards Cizre were trying to record the unlawfulness in Cizre district. Elçi “As lawyers we hope that our freedom of travel and constitutional rights won’t be violated today.”
9 September 2015 / Expatica
A Dutch journalist based in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey is to be deported after being detained last week during clashes between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish security forces, her lawyer said on Wednesday. Frederike Geerdink was detained last weekend while travelling with a delegation from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the Yuksekova district of Turkey's southeastern Hakkari region. "We've been informed of an administrative decision to deport her. We don't have any details on the reasons for the decision," her lawyer, Ramazan Ay, told AFP. "She's now in a detention centre for foreign citizens in Yuksekova. We're going to appeal this decision," he added.
9 September2015 / Reuters
Turkey deported a Dutch journalist on Wednesday after she was detained on suspicion of aiding Kurdish militants while reporting in the country's strife-hit southeast, her lawyer said. Frederike Geerdink, who reports for Dutch radio and newspapers and Britain's Independent, was detained on Saturday as she covered a group of 32 activists protesting renewed violence between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), lawyer Davut Uzunkopru told Reuters.
8 September 2015 / Hurriyet
Daily Hürriyet’s Istanbul headquarters and Ankara offices were pelted with stones by club-swinging protesters on Sept. 8, less than 48 hours after a similar attack by Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters. Around 100 protesters arrived at the outer gate of the building at 8:30 p.m., with four gunshots heard as they approached. Protesters forced their way into the garden despite the presence of a small unit of riot police. Security forces prevented them from entering the building at the last moment, and protesters, who were chanting "God is great," were removed from the garden after more police units came 25 minutes later.
10 September 2015 / IB Times
Twitter has clarified that the service is not blocked in Turkey. If the social network does get blocked in the country, Twitter will let users know via tweet from the company's @policy account.
Original post: Twitter users are reporting that access to the social network has been blocked in Turkey, presumably in an effort by the country's government to curb the spread of images showing Turkish nationalists using violence against Kurdish citizens. Turkey has become increasingly more violent in recent weeks due to a breakdown of a ceasefire between Turkish forces and Kurdish rebels following a suicide bombing in July.
7 September 2015 / English PEN
Hanif Kureishi, Elif Shafak, and Ali Smith are among the writers who have joined English PEN and PEN International in a letter to President Erdoğan calling for the immediate release of VICE News journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool. The letter, signed by more than 70 writers from around the world, expresses ‘extreme concern about the current crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey’ and specifically raises concerns regarding the treatment of the VICE News team who were detained in Turkey on 27 August while reporting in the south-east. Three members of the team were charged with ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organisation’ on 31 August.
10 September 2015 / Hurriyet
European Union Council President Donald Tusk has condemned the deadly attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while also voicing concern over the recent attacks on daily Hürriyet as well as the bureaus of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). “We discussed terrorism, where I reiterated my condemnation of the recent terrorist attacks here in Turkey. And where I assured the PM [Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu], as I did to the President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] yesterday, of Europe’s continued strong commitment to fighting terrorism, from PKK to Daesh [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL],” visiting Tusk said at a joint press conference following his meeting with Davutoğlu in Ankara on Sept. 10.
11 September 2015 / eKurd
Iraq on Thursday condemned Turkey for sending ground troops onto its territory in Kurdistan Region in pursuit of Kurdish rebels, calling it a “clear violation” of its sovereignty. “The foreign ministry expresses its condemnation of the incursion of a number of Turkish military units inside Iraqi territory,” spokesman Ahmed Jamal said in a statement. “It represents a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a clear offence to bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said.
8 September 2015 / Independent
Growing numbers of young Iraqi Kurds are joining the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), despite the breakdown of the rebel group’s ceasefire with the Turkish government, which has unleashed repeated air strikes against its bases in northern Iraq.
The PKK is considered a terrorist group by the US and the EU as well as by Turkey, but young Kurds say they want to join its fighters in the battle against Isis – partly out of frustration at the perceived failings of their own government in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
7 September 2015 / eKurd
The trial against Kurdish woman Shilan Ozcelik, who was arrested in January for allegedly attempting to join a Kurdish YPJ military women’s unit fighting Islamic State group (IS) in Syrian Kurdistan, will appear in court on Monday 7 September, 2pm, for the first day of her trial. The 18 year old was charged with ‘engaging in conduct in preparation to for giving an effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism’ under section 5 (10) (a) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and has been held on remand in Holloway prison since early March. YPJ is affiliated with banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK.
COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
11 September 2015 / Jadaliyya
On 7 June, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) won 13.1 percent of the vote in national parliamentary elections and was widely seen as having denied the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party the parliamentary majority it was seeking. For the first time, a pro-Kurdish party had succeeded in getting past the extraordinary ten-percent threshold in Turkey’s elections. The run-up to the elections had witnessed violence against the HDP, but that was nothing compared to the unprecedented attacks suffered by the HDP in the aftermath of the elections. Many in Turkey initially celebrated the HDP’s election results, particularly because the HDP’s success had also deprived the AKP of the Kurdish support it needed to increase its own vote share.
10 September 2015 / Corporate Watch
Right now in London, tanks, guns, drones and missiles are being transported to the EXCEL Centre in preparation for next week's DSEI Arms Fair - one of the biggest arms fairs in the world. Since Monday, protesters have been successfully blocking the vehicles that are transporting the weapons, and even gatecrashing the set-up inside the EXCEL building.
9 September 2015 / Sydney Morning Herald
Aylan Kurdi was a Kurd. Before his parents took him on a fateful boat journey towards Europe, he grew up in Kobane, the Syrian border city that became famous as the place where Kurds mounted a stand against Islamic State.
Kobane was saved by Kurdish militia, basically civilians with arms, who fought house-to-house against jihadists who wanted to eradicate them even though they are Muslim. The town is now in a Kurdish enclave surrounded by territory controlled by IS or an indifferent Turkey across the border.
‘I was only hoping to provide a better life for my children,’ father of drowned migrant boy says
4 September 2015 / Globe and Mail
Had the rubber dinghy carrying Alan Kurdi and his family made it to their destination – the Greek island of Kos – they would have just been four more faces in the tide of humanity that has crossed the frontiers of Europe and the West this year. Perhaps they would have been interviewed as they staggered ashore, or melted into the streams of migrants arriving by land and sea, fleeing the wars of the Middle East and central Asia. Even if their arrivals had been noted, the names of the Kurdi family would have been forgotten by now.
10 September 2015 / Pasewan
By now almost everybody in the world has heard of the Kurds, especially the onesliving in Northern Iraq. Although a landlocked place, Greater Kurdistan is endowed with rich mineral resources of oil and natural gas. It was only a year ago that the Kurds saw an uninvited neighbor, the so-called ISIS Islamist terrorist on their borders. The Kurds became the only reliable and brave fighting force against the Islamist terrorist thugs. Wherever the Kurdish Peshmerga forces show up, the ISIS terrorists are on the run. The Kurds have been the only formidable force inflecting some defeats on the world’s worst Islamist terrorists.
3 September 2015 / Roar Mag
In this interview the DAF discusses the history of anarchism in Turkey, their initiatives in the anti-capitalist struggle and the Kurdish freedom movement.
In May this year, Corporate Watch researchers traveled to Turkey and Kurdistan to investigate the companies supplying military equipment to the Turkish police and army. We talked to a range of groups from a variety of different movements and campaigns.
9 September 2015 / Morning Star
TO SOME commentators, David Cameron’s decision to announce his new terror Bill in a mosque in July was “brave.” It was certainly canny, but it was anything but brave. Brave would have been an audience of nurses, bus drivers or teachers.
Instead he was speaking to a set of fellow conservatives, religious conservatives, whom he could be sure would join him in discussing the side-show that is British jihadism v British counter-jihadism without ever plainly identifying the cause.
6 September 2015 / Independent
Islamic State (Isis) forces in Syria are threatening to capture a crucial road, the loss of which could touch off a panic and the exodus of several million refugees from government areas, in addition to the four million who have already fled. Isis fighters have advanced recently to within 22 miles of the M5 highway, the only major route connecting government-held territory in Damascus to the north and west of the country. The beginnings of the latest crisis for the government of President Bashar al-Assad came with the capture by Isis on 6 August of the strategically placed, largely Christian town of al-Qaryatain, north-east of Damascus.