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AK Party-CHP meeting on Kurdish issue ‘positive’, MHP backing sought

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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met with accompanying delegations in a meeting on how to address the Kurdish issue at Erdoğan’s office on June 6, 2012. (Photo: Cihan)
 
 
 
 
6 June 2012 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,
Key meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on the perennial Kurdish issue took place in a mainly “positive atmosphere,” but the main opposition party must seek consensus among other opposition parties for a successful outcome, officials from both parties said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, CHP Deputy Chairmen Faruk Loğoğlu said the meeting was “positive” and “productive,” adding that officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) underlined during a one-hour meeting that the contribution of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is key to moving forward with establishing a commission composed of all four parties in Parliament.

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, AK Party parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Mahir Ünal and AK Party Deputy Chairman Ömer Çelik accompanied Erdoğan during the meeting, while Loğoğlu and deputy CHP leader Sezgin Tanrıkulu and CHP parliamentary group Deputy Chairman Akif Hamzaçebi accompanied Kılıçdaroğlu.

Loğoğlu said his party is ready to do what is required as part of the initiative, which he said is solely aimed at the solution of the problem. Loğoğlu noted that their interlocutors said the proposal will collapse if the MHP does not contribute to and participate in the process. He added that the points in the proposal are not immutable and could be subject to change if needed, stressing that the atmosphere of the gathering was positive

The meeting, which took place at 3:30 p.m. at the AK Party’s headquarters in Ankara, was initiated by Kılıçdaroğlu, who recently requested a meeting with the prime minister to submit his party’s suggestions for a solution to the Kurdish impasse. Reports said the CHP presented a 10-item plan to the governing party.

Loğoğlu told reporters that the most important next step is to form a four-party commission and then proceed to establish a Wise Men group. The group will be composed of people that have no official occupation and will largely deal with sensitive issues, mediation or talks.

The CHP official added that leaders could also consider consulting with President Abdullah Gül as part of the process. He added that Kılıçdaroğlu invited Erdoğan to visit Uludere, a village where 34 civilians, mistaken for Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, were killed by Turkish warplanes, causing widespread outrage.

Speaking right after Loğoğlu, Çelik said in a news briefing that Erdoğan didn’t make comments on the Uludere visit because “this is not on our agenda.” He recalled that the spouse of Erdoğan, Emine Erdoğan, had earlier visited the village to offer condolences.

The CHP official avoided giving a period in which the MHP should participate in the commission, saying, “We are talking about days and weeks, not months.” Çelik told reporters that Erdoğan and the AK Party delegation welcomed the CHP’s proposal, which he said includes description of the problem. He added that his party welcomes the CHP’s efforts to contribute to the solution of the problem and that the government attaches importance to contributions from all sides.

Çelik described the meeting as positive, but said the biggest hurdle they face is the MHP’s possible opposition to the proposal. Çelik noted that the AK Party is not against, in principle, the participation of all parties in the commission which would be tasked with finding ways to solve the Kurdish issue.

He added that a Wise Men delegation could be formed only after the commission is successfully established. According to Çelik, it is up to the CHP to urge the MHP and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to participate in the parliamentary commission.

Çelik speculated about another plan, refusing to describe it as Plan B, to be considered if there is no consensus among parties to establish the commission. He said Erdoğan suggested during the meeting that if the MHP or BDP refuse to participate in the commission, AK Party and CHP officials could continue hold consultative talks. Çelik said Kılıçdaroğlu considered the suggestion positive.

MHP rejects participatig in parliamentary commission

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said in a written statement following the talks that his party won’t meet with the CHP with respect to the “so-called Kurdish problem,” harshly criticizing Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu’s meeting.

Bahçeli accused the CHP of being the mouthpiece of Öcalan and said CHP’s position carries the risk of making Öcalan and the PKK’s demands legitimate.

Underlining that Turkey absolutely does not have a Kurdish problem, Bahçeli said “Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent are honorable and proud nationals of the nation.”

Speaking to NTV TV, MHP Ankara deputy Özcan Yeniçeri categorically rejected the proposal. He said Kılıçdaroğlu failed to consult their party and all sides before drafting the proposal and that his party will not participate in the commission, which he said “will discuss ways [jailed leader of the PKK Abdullah] Öcalan earlier suggested.”

تجمع شباب الكورد – سوريا : الأمن السوري يفرج عن المعتقلين الكورديين دجوار محمد خلف وبنكين محمود خلف بعد اعتقالهما لـ 40 يوماً

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أفرجت اليوم السلطات الامنية من محكمة الحسكة عن المعتقلين الكورديين الشابين دجوار محمد خلف وبنكين محمود خلف بعد اعتقالهما لـ 40 يوماً في إحدى الفروع الأمنية بالمدينة ، والمعتقلين المفرج عنهما من سكان مدينة سري كانيه ( رأس العين ) في محافظة الحسكة .

المكتب الإعلامي لتجمع شباب الكورد – سوريا ينهئ الشابين الكورديين وعائلتهما .. وفي الوقت نفسه نطالب الجهات الأمنية والنظام الاستبدادي بالإفراج الفوري عن كافة المعتقلين الكورد والسوريين وفي مقدمتهم الناشط شبال إبراهيم والكاتب حسين عيسو .

الحرية للمعتقلين السوريين في سجون الإستبداد

وتحية لأرواح شهداء الثورة السورية ..

المكتب الإعلامي لتجمع شباب الكورد – سوريا

7-5-2012

Turkey’s Kurds could shun the PKK and rise up similar to Arab Spring, brother of jailed PKK leader says

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Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has granted some cultural and language rights to the country’s Kurds, who make up as much as 20 percent of the population, to try to stem support for the insurgency and end the almost daily clashes. (File photo)

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has granted some cultural and language rights to the country’s Kurds, who make up as much as 20 percent of the population, to try to stem support for the insurgency and end the almost daily clashes. (File photo)
By Jon Hemming Reuters KOY SANJAQ IraqThe failure of Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to find a peaceful end to their 27-year-old conflict could lead to an uprising by Kurdish youths fed up with both sides, similar to the Arab Spring, the brother of the PKK’s jailed leader said.
The festering war in Turkey’s southeast has killed about 40,000 people, displaced many more and tarnished the image of Turkey as it seeks to present itself as a champion of democracy and stability in the Middle East, and join the European Union.
Since Turkey captured PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999, the PKK has declared repeated unilateral ceasefires, but all have been ignored by Ankara which, along with the United States and the EU, classifies the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has granted some cultural and language rights to the country’s Kurds, who make up as much as 20 percent of the population, to try to stem support for the insurgency and end the almost daily clashes.
In Turkey’s parliamentary election in June last year, both Erdogan’s AK Party and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) won strong support in the mainly Kurdish southeast.
“The AKP government under the leadership of Erdogan created hope in Kurdish circles,” Osman Ocalan, Abdullah Ocalan’s younger brother, told Reuters in the small town of Koy Sanjaq in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.
“Kurds supported Erdogan’s party thinking it would bring a peaceful solution … The people also gave serious support to the party backed by the PKK, that is the BDP. The message of the people was ‘solve the problem’,” said Ocalan, who left the PKK in 2004, dissatisfied with its undemocratic nature.
“Neither the PKK nor the AKP government read this message correctly,” he said in an interview late on Tuesday. “The AKP misused the support of the people to suppress the guerrilla movement and the PKK thought the people back them so they could continue the violence.”
“Both sides are abusing the support of the people,” he said.

Uprising

Between them, the state and the PKK have eliminated almost all the moderate Kurdish political voices in Turkey, leaving a huge gulf to be bridge if there is ever going to be peace.
Leaks to the media in September last year of recordings of secret peace talks hosted in Norway between Turkish intelligence agents and PKK leaders appear to have signalled the end of behind-the-scenes efforts to end the conflict.
Instead the fighting has reignited. The PKK killed 24 Turkish soldiers in an attack in October, and the army went on to kill 49 PKK militants in a large operation.
“Now the people have understood that both sides have failed this test,” said Ocalan, sitting below a brightly colored picture of his smiling elder brother, currently jailed in Turkey, emerging from clouds, arms outstretched toward a child dressed in traditional Kurdish clothes.
“What will be the stance of the Kurdish people? Kurds will increasingly behave more independently of the PKK … But that doesn’t mean they will support the governing party,” he said.
While large demonstrations in Turkey’s southeast last year heralded talk of a Kurdish Spring in the wake of uprisings in the Arab world, widespread protests fizzled out.
Ocalan said that was partly because the PKK feared being sidelined by a genuinely popular protest movement.
But incidents such as a Turkish air strike last month that killed 35 civilian smugglers on the border with Iraq could still enflame the streets. While acknowledging the bombing was a mistake, no Turkish leader has yet apologised. “Just as the people of the Middle East rose up and overthrew dictatorial regimes, the Kurds of course will not leave this oppression unanswered,” he said.
“The Kurdish people will begin an uprising just like in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. Whether that will that happen in six months or in a year it is impossible to say.”

Israeli Eitan (Heron) drones aiding Kurdish PKK activities in Turkey

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Israeli Eitan (Heron) drone

January 18, 2012

ANKARA, — Heron UAVs helped PKK set up bases in Hatay province, Turkish intelligence report says according to ‘Today’s Zaman’

Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles seen hovering over parts Turkey have gathered intelligence for the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), Turkey’s Today’s Zaman reported Tuesday according to Turkish intelligence agencies.

The report claimed that Israeli Heron drones helped the PKK gather information on the Hatay province, bordering Syria, to determine the locations for establishing training bases.

Turkish military sources reported sighting an Israeli Eitan (Heron) drone in the sky on January 4, 2011 above the Turkish Hawk Brigade 14 stationed on the northern Syrian border at Kirikhan in the Hatay district of southern Turkey. The Israeli drone was said to have hovered over the encampment for four hours.

Today’s Zaman failed to say whether the Turkish report implicated Israel in aiding the PKK in any specific attack, many of which result in the deaths of Turkish soldiers.

It claimed, however, that Kenan Yıldızbakan, a PKK member that organized an assault on a naval base in 2010, had visited Israel a number of times, lending to suspicions of collusion.

The decades-long conflict between Turkey and Kurdish separatists located largely along the Turkish border with Iraq and Syria has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Kurds,www.ekurd.net and over 10,000 Turkish soldiers and police.

The Turkish intelligence report underlines the low in diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey, which nosedived when Israel announced it would not apologize officially for the deaths of nine Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Turkey downgraded military, political and economic ties with the Jewish state in the wake of the diplomatic row.

Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey’s Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK’s demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as ‘terrorist’ organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union’s terror list.

Sources: jpost.com | ekurd.net | debka.com | Agencies

١١٢ دولة في الامم المتحدة ومجلس الامن مستعدة لإعلان دولة كوردستان

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جعجع يزور ضريح الملا مصطفى بارزاني.
كشف مصدر كوردي في اقليم كوردستان، الاحد، عن أن أكثر من 100 دولة في الامم المتحدة إضافة إلى دولتين في مجلس الامن على استعداد للتصويت على اعلان دولة كوردية مستقلة، لافتا إلى أن أبرز هذه الدول بريطانيا ودول اقليمية ومجاورة للعراق. ويتزايد تواجد

الكورد وفق الرقعة الجغرافية في العراق وسوريا وتركيا وإيران، إلا تلك الدول تعارض أي خطوة للانفصال.

وقال مدير مركز اسرائيل- كورد، داود الباغستاني، في حديث لـ شفق نيوز، إن “هناك 110 دول في الامم المتحدة جاهزة للاعتراف بالدولة الكوردية في حال اعلانها، إضافة إلى دولتين من اعضاء مجلس الامن، مستعدتين لذلك، كما ان هناك دولتين أخريين اعضاء في مجلس الامن لا يحق لهما التصويت جاهزتان ايضا للاعتراف بالدولة الكوردية، فضلا عن طرف واحد محايد”.

وتحفظ الباغستاني على ذكر الدول التي قال انها ستعلن اعترافها بالدولة الكوردية المستقلة، مبينا “نتأمل ان الازمة العراقية تحل كليا وكي لا يكون الاعلان عن تلك الدول عاملا لارباك الوضع، لذا نتمنى من الجميع ان نبقي على عراق اختياري فدرالي”.

يشار الى ان رئيس إقليم كوردستان العراق، مسعود البارزاني، قال في كلمته أمام مؤتمر الحزب الديمقراطي الكوردستاني الذي عقد  في11 كانون الأول 2010، إن موضوع حق تقرير المصير بالنسبة للشعب الكوردي سيتم طرحه في المؤتمر، ما أثار ردود أفعال ايجابية داخل الإقليم ومتباينة خارجه.

وأكد على أن الشعب الكوردي كغيره من الأمم والشعوب “يملك حق تقرير مصيره”، مشيرا إلى أن حزبه يرى المطالبة بحق تقرير المصير والكفاح لبلوغ هذا الهدف.

إلا أن مدير مؤسسة اسرائيل- كورد استدرك كلامه “لدينا بريطانيا ابرز الدول المستعدة للاعتراف بالدولة الكوردية، كما ان دولا مجاورة واقليمة بدورها ستتخذ الموقف ذاته”.

وأضاف أن “لدى الشعب الكوردي في العراق خيارات مهمة جدا فيما اذا تواصلت ادارة البلاد بالطريقة التي تدار بها الآن”، ملمحا الى ان “الاستقلال هو احد خيارات الكورد في العراق، لاسيما بوجود عشرات الدول على استعداد للاعتراف بدولة كوردية مستقلة”.

وأكد الباغستاني “اود ان اقول بمنتهى الصراحة ان الشعب العراقي عموما، والشعب الكوردي خصوصا، ليسوا مع الانفصال، ويريد الشعب الكوردي ان يكون جزءا من العراق المتحد، ولكن اذا استمر العراق يدار بهذه الطريقة، وتواصل عملية خلق المشكلات، فانا اعتقد ان الشعب الكوردي ستكون لديه خيارات مهمة جدا”.

وقال “اعتقد انه اذا تواصل حكم العراق بطريقة الحكم المركزي ذاتها في التعامل مع الشعب الكوردي، فسيفقدون اشياء كثيرة، ونحن ككورد لا نريد ايضا ان نفقدها”، مضيفا ً “الآن القضية الكوردية وصلت الى مرحلة خاصة وانها لم تعد قضية محلية عراقية بل هي قضية شرق اوسطية، بل اصبحت قضية دولية”.

ويؤكد المراقبون على ان خيار الشعب الكوردي الآن هو عراق اتحادي غير انهم يرون ان اخفاق الحكومة المركزية في ادارة شؤون البلاد السياسية والامنية وفي مجال الخدمات وتهميش المحافظات يشجع المطالب بإقامة الأقاليم وقد تكون لكوردستان الكلمة الفصل في هذا المجال.

يشار إلى أن الكورد اقدموا عام 1946 على تأسيس جمهورية مهاباد شمال غرب إيران، إلا أنها كانت دويلة قصيرة العمر غير معترف بها دولياً مدعومة سوفييتياً كجمهورية كوردية.

وساهم بقيامها تحالف القاضي محمد مع الملا مصطفى بارزاني، لكن الضغط الذي مارسه شاه ايران على الولايات المتحدة التي ضغطت بدورها على الاتحاد السوفيتي كان كفيلاً بانسحاب القوات السوفيتية من الأراضي الإيرانية وقامت الحكومة الإيرانية بإسقاط جمهورية مهاباد بعد 11 شهرا من إعلانها.

وتم على اثر ذلك إعدام القاضي محمد في آذار 1947 في مدينة مهاباد، وخروج الملا مصطفى بارزاني مع مجموعة من مقاتليه من المنطقة.

سمير جعجع يزور ضريح الملا مصطفى بارزاني
في إطار زيارته إلى إقليم كردستان توجه رئيس حزب القوات اللبنانية سمير جعجع والوفد المرافق له إلى بلدة بارزان الواقعة الى الشمال الشرقي من عاصمة الاقليم اربيل. وزار جعجع ضريح الملا مصطفى بارزاني أحد أكبر رموز الثورة الكردية في القرن العشرين.

وقال جعجع إن “المنطقة التي مررنا بها معبّرة جداً لأنها تحمل تاريخاً طويلاً من المعاناة والنضال. وأمام ضريح مناضل وشيخ جليل مثل الملا مصطفى بارزاني”. واضاف “لا نستطيع الا ان نقف بكل احترام ونقدر تضحيات هذا الرجل لأن حياته كانت مثالاً سواء كنا مؤيدين لآرائه أم لا”.

وتابع جعجع قائلا إن “حياته كانت مثالاً لكلّ إنسان يحب عيش حياة ملتزمة لها معنى فداءً عن شعبه وفداءً عن قضية يؤمن بها. وهو يذكرني كثيراً بما عشناه وما زلنا نعيشهُ في لبنان”. وقد كان في استقباله الممثل الشخصي لرئيس إقليم كردستان مسعود بارزاني  ملا عبدالله بارزاني وجمع من وجهاء البلدة.

كما زار جعجع والوفد المرافق كهف شاندار الذي اكتُشف فيه عام 1953 والذي  يحتوي على آثار لإنسان تعود لأكثر من 50 ألف سنة.

شفق نيوز ، اكانيوز

Iraqi Kurds struggle with democracy

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By Gabriel Gatehouse BBC News, Iraqi Kurdistan

 

Inspired by events elsewhere in the Middle East, they thought that people power could help end what they saw as decades of corruption by a small, powerful elite.

But, unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, the protesters in democratic Kurdistan proved no match for the authorities. After two months, the demonstration was quashed in a brutal fashion. read the full article

Attacks against Kurdish sect, Iraq workers, kill 12

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Baghdad: Separate car
bombs against displaced members of a tiny Kurdish sect and industrial workers
left 12 people dead in Iraq on Monday, the latest in a spate of violence since
US troops left last month.

The attacks, hot on the heels of the storming
of a police compound in west Iraq and a suicide attack on Shiite pilgrims in the
south, come with the country locked in a festering political row pitting the
Shiite-led government against the main Sunni-backed bloc.

Monday’s
deadliest violence saw a car bomb detonate in the town of Bartala, in Nineveh
province north of Baghdad, inside the Al-Ghadir camp housing displaced members
of the Shabak community, an army official and Behnam Khales, a doctor at nearby
Mosul General Hospital said.

Eight people were killed, including an
unspecified number of women and children, and four were wounded in the 8:00 am
(0500 GMT) blast, Khales said.

He said some of the casualties had been
transferred to hospital in the nearby Kurdish regional capital Arbil, but did
not give further details.

The Shabak community numbers about 30,000
people living in 35 villages in Nineveh, and many want to become part of the
autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

They speak a distinct
language and largely follow a faith that is a blend of Shiite Islam and local
beliefs.

The community was persecuted under ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam
Hussein, and after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq they were targeted several
times by Al-Qaeda.

Levels of violence have declined dramatically in Mosul
and nearby towns and villages, but the city was once an al-Qaeda stronghold and
it is widely cited as one of the places where the network’s Iraqi front still
holds sway.

Another car bomb on the southern outskirts of Hilla, 95
kilometres (60 miles) south of Baghdad, killed four people and wounded 13
others, according to Adil al-Shammari, a doctor at the central Iraqi city’s
hospital.

A police major in Hilla said the attack took place in an
industrial area at around 12:15 pm (0915 GMT).

Monday’s violence came a
day after insurgents mounted a wave of attacks in the western city of Ramadi
before laying siege to a police compound, raising doubts about security forces’
capabilities after US forces completed their withdrawal last month.

The
assault left seven policemen dead and 16 wounded, the latest in violence that
has killed more than 200 people in less than a month.

US troops completed
their withdrawal from Iraq on December 18, leaving behind an Iraqi security
force that officials said could maintain internal security but not protect the
country’s borders, air space or maritime territory.

Insurgents have since
carried out multiple mass-casualty attacks.

On December 22, a wave of
violence across Baghdad and restive Diyala province killed 67, while bombings
targeting Shiites in the capital and southern Iraq left 70 dead on January
5.

Saturday’s suicide attack near Basra killed 53.

The unrest also
comes amid a political stand-off in Iraq pitting the Shiite-led government
against the main Sunni-backed political bloc, stoking sectarian
tensions.

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/attacks-against-kurdish-sect-iraq-workers-kill-12-167525&cp

Amnesty International calls on the Turkey to investigate civilian Kurds’ killing

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Turkey must investigate civilian killings.

Amnesty International calls on the Turkish authorities to investigate immediately the death of at least 35 civilians in a military airstrike near the Iraqi border in south-eastern Turkey on the night of 28 December 2011. No military targets were reported to have been hit in the attack.

“The circumstances of the military operation that caused the death of so many civilians, some of whom were children, must be urgently investigated in a full, independent and transparent manner,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.

“The government statements of regret are welcome but are woefully insufficient in the face of what appears to have been a complete failure to distinguish between a military target and civilians.”

Early reports indicated that drones operating in the area had alerted the Turkish airforce to the movement of a large group of people across the Iraqi Kurdistan border,www.ekurd.net believed to have been members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

As a result, some 35 Kurdish civilians were killed near the Uludere village in the city of Sirnak. At least 18 of those killed were children, the youngest was said to have been 12 years old. Twenty-nine of them are believed to belong to the same family.

“The Turkish authorities must take measures to prevent further such attacks and to provide compensation for the families of those killed,” said Nicola Duckworth.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey’s Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK’s demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as ‘terrorist’ organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union’s terror list.

Kurds protest against Turkey’s detentions of 33 suspects in probing of KCK

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ISTANBUL, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) — More than 300 Kurds protested Saturday over the detention of 33 suspects in massive operations targeting the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul and other cities.

Despite rain and snow, protesters gathered in Taksim Square, the center of Istanbul, shouting anti-government slogans in Kurdish and Turkish.

Angry Kurds, some from the KCK and some from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), stopped shouting illegal slogans as the police threatened to use tear gas and water canon.

On Friday, the police found 6.9 kg of C-4 explosives in Istanbul’s Basaksehir district during the probing of KCK, a political umbrella organization that includes the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

Meanwhile, Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Fikret Sesen issued a statement on Friday over the operations against the KCK in several provinces, saying 123 premises were searched in 17 provinces and 33 of the 49 suspects were detained.

Among the raided premises were offices of the BDP, and the office of a member of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions in the capital city of Ankara.

Initial reports listed the detainees including former BDP deputy Fatma Kurtulan, leader of the now defunct pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party Tuncer Bakirhan and Dicle News Agency reporter Murat Ciftvi.

Kurdish Feminists, Terrorists, or Freedom Fighters?

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By Reina Saiki – rudaw

Two women PKK women guerrillas in the Qandil Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan/Turkey border. Photo by Keca Ezidi Kurd/flickr
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January 13, 2012

The women sit with their backs straight, clad in green uniforms – the attire shared by all members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). To their side they place their small backpacks against the wall, and behind the bags, the end of a Kalashnikov sticks out. Despite the bitter cold of the mountains, they display no hint of discomfort. Calm, ready, with a determined look on their faces. These are the women of the PKK.

Murat Karayilan, leader of the PKK, discussed the movement’s struggle for women’s rights in an exclusive interview with Rudaw.

“To have real love and passion, women should be free before anything. If women are not free, neither are men, and society will also not be free.” Karayilan said.

Islamists say the PKK is an atheist organization. Communists say they are fascists. Westerners say they are a communist party, or some combination of Maoist, Marxist, and Leninist. But their members proudly call the PKK a “social movement.”

“As a woman, there are two reasons for my participation in the movement. One is for the struggle for freedom for the Kurdish people. The second is that this same movement is fighting for freedom for women as well,” said Surbuz Peri, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (KCK), an umbrella group of insurgent Kurdish groups, including the PKK.

Peri is from northern Kurdistan (Turkey). She joined the PKK in 1993, when she was a teenager.

“The PKK movement is a movement of freedoms, but we do not understand these freedoms as simply freeing a land or establishing a state. The freedoms we fight for have something to do with the enlightenment of the society,” she said.

“There is a saying that those in the PKK, and Abdullah Ocalan, often say. How much women become free within the society – that is the measure of freedom in the society.” Peri said.

The PKK has been designated a terrorist organization by much of the world, including the U.S., the U.K., Iraq, Turkey, and NATO. For decades, it has fought against Turkey for Kurdish rights and the freedom to establish a Kurdish state. Sources say that among the 25,000 PKK members that were killed in the mountains since 1984, approximately 5,000 were women.

Zaxo Zagros, originally from western Kurdistan (Syria), joined the PKK in 1991. She has since worked in the PKK’s guerilla movement, as well as in political and social areas of the organization.

“The Women’s Freedom Movement within the PKK operates on a variety of levels. For example, we have a guerilla organization made entirely of women. We also have various organizations within Kurdish society – not everything is in the mountains. We carry out media and press work, we distribute different magazines,” she said.

Peri and Zagros spoke about a unique system within the PKK that reflects the organization’s approach to gender equality. In all PKK organizations, whether it be the executive council or the youth organization,www.ekurd.net there is a quota system; forty percent of the members must be women, forty percent must be men, and the remaining twenty percent is open for either sex. Additionally, in every PKK organization, if a man holds the number one position, a woman must hold the number two post – and vice versa.

Every two years, the PKK holds conventions in every part of Kurdistan, as well as in Europe, during which votes are collected to elect members to various positions.

Peri says that there exists a “mentality of men” within society, and this mentality has been systematized throughout the world. “Around the world in different countries, some women do hold positions and certain rights, but this does not change the reality. Yes, in the West, like in Europe or America, the women are able to, at some levels, represent themselves and participate. But this is only an imagination. This hegemony of the mentality of men still pervades, and society still dictates what the woman can and cannot do.”

“So we aim to free the woman in all levels of life – social, political, economic – so she will be able to take part in all levels of society on an equal basis. We aim to break the mentality of men. And for this to happen, women need to organize themselves and actively participate.”

“But we do not aim to separate from men, or to oust men from society. It is natural for men and women to exist and work together. We do not fight against men, nor do we think that there should be 100% equality just for the sake of equality – for example, thinking that just because there are 10 men, there must be 10 women. Our goal is to instead, break down the mentality of the men itself.”

Though many have made claims and conjectures against the PKK, much of the true internal workings and social dynamics of the organization remain a mystery to the world outside the Qandil Mountains, where the PKK holds base.

For example, the men and women of the PKK are strictly forbidden from having romantic relationships, marrying, or having children. Is the ability to have children not one of the most fundamental defining features of a woman’s strengths and capabilities? To deny this – is this not a denial of a woman’s identity and her rights to reproduce?

Karayilan said, “Now is not the time for men and women to be together and waste their time creating a fake relationship. No, we say there should be a free relationship between men and women – a meaningful relationship. And for this, people must have a free country and a democratic society. Only then can men and women improve their lives and create a real relationship – this is what our struggle is about.”

“Kurdistan has a lot of very deep problems,” says Zagros. “As an individual, man or woman, participating in the struggle that aims to solve these problems, you have to place yourself accordingly.”

“In society’s current state, the understanding of family, of love, of relationships, and of sex is corrupt. We have lost their true meanings. We are not against relations between man and woman – however, at the moment, there exists too many problems in all areas of society – cultural, ideological, political, social.”

“Bearing a child is a positive thing, of course. However, bringing a child into a world with so many unresolved problems becomes a negative experience.”

When a woman goes to the mountains, she goes to fight. Her family is the PKK, her lover is the mountains. She fights for the future of the millions of Kurdish children spread across four countries, and they are her children.

“When you talk about life, you talk about identity, values, will, culture, history, language…all these, with the Kurds, there is none of them,” said Zagros. “What would be the child’s future? Only when women can be truly be productive in the areas of identity, culture, economy, and politics – only then can they be biologically productive.”

Reina Saiki is a graduate student pursuing her M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. She recently finished a one-month internship at Rudaw’s office in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.

Leyla Zana’s home in Ankara raided, Turkish police detain 33 in Kurdish KCK probe

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By ekurd.net staff writers

Turkey’s prominent, outspoken Kurdish rights advocate Leyla Zana MP, former Kurdish MP in Turkey Zana spent a decade behind bars in Turkey for speaking Kurdish in the Turkish Parliament after taking her parliamentary oath. She was the first Kurdish woman to be elected to Turkey’s parliament. Leyla Zana’s home in Ankara raided.


Number said to be increasing by the hours. House searches and raids are underway in Ankara, Istanbul, Mersin, Batman, Diyarbakir, Siirt, Van, Urfa and Mardin. Photo: ANF
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January 13, 2012

ANKARA/DIYARBAKIR, — Turkish police detained at least 33 people in dawn raids across Turkey on Friday and searched the home of a prominent Kurdish politician as part of an investigation into alleged ties between Kurdish activists and separatist militants, officials said.

The operation focused on the offices and homes of members of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the largest party in parliament representing Turkey’s restive Kurdish minority.

Among those whose homes were raided was independent pro-Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana, who was elected to parliament in June 2011 as an independent and later joined the BDP. Security officials said police seized documents and computers from Zana’s home.

Raids were carried out in 16 provinces, including Istanbul, Ankara, and Diyarbakir in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

The BDP, which formed a bloc of 29 deputies in the national assembly, has accused the government of trying to neutralise opponents before planned constitutional reforms, which are expected to include the question of Kurdish rights.

Kurds, living mainly in southeast Turkey, numbering more than 20 million, of the country’s 80 million population.

BDP officials say up to 5,000 BDP members have been arrested in nationwide raids.

“We know that these operations are run by the government,” BDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas said. “The (ruling) AK Party’s coup orders the extermination of Kurds. That’s what their coup targets.”

Scores of BDP activists, including elected mayors and provincial leaders in the mainly Kurdish southeast and many Kurdish journalists and intellectuals, have been detained since the investigation began two years ago.

Other people taken into police custody are for example Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Provincial Chairmen M. Yaşar Tanrıkulu and Sinan Topdemir; BDP Bağlar District Managers M. Şafi Sert and Mehmet Akıcı; Bağlar Municipality Council Members Emek Yazbaşı, Selam Taş and Raziye Taşkıran; Provincial General Assembly Member Şehmus İnci; BDP member A. Selam Demirkıran; BDP former Provincial Executives Sevda Batgi, Müşeher Ölçer, A. Rezak Doğri, Zülfikar Odabaşı, Bahar Filiz and Yılmaz Kaplan; Kurdish Language Research and Development Association (KURDİ-DER) Executive Rıfat Öztürk; Müşeher Ülker; A. Rezak Doğri.

Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir, trade union confederations and many NGO issued press releases to condemn the arrests of mostly Kurdish politicians.

Kurdis politician Tuğluk called on Kurdish people and democrats to react strongly and united. “Everyone who is living for her/his honor, identity and social existence became a target for the ruling AKP government. Kurds by now have nothing to lose. This latest police operation has targeted the whole of the Kurdish struggle. It aims to debarred Kurds from their realm of freedom established by continuing repression and harassment,” said Tuğluk who considered the operations as a war message from the authority to Kurdish people.

“The message is that Erdoğan will continue to fight against Kurds. They are either killing or arresting Kurdish people. There is no option left for Kurds. Erdoğan is the century’s devil for us, not different from the dictators who tortured Kurds a thousand year ago. The Kurdish struggle is a growing fire and they fear it. These operations are signs of fear and fascism”, added Tuğluk.

Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir said that the AKP government is nothing short from the regime of the coup’ d’etat.

The mass detentions threaten to handicap efforts to forge political consensus for a new constitution that is expected partly to address the issue of Kurdish rights.

The probe is focused on an organisation called the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), and is closely watched by the European Union,www.ekurd.net which Turkey hopes to join.

According to a 2009 indictment, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), established the KCK with the aim of creating its own Kurdish political system.

Some 150 politicians and activists are already being tried in Diyarbakir, where a large courtroom has been specially built, on charges of membership of an armed terrorist group. Similar trials are being held in other cities across Turkey.

Since 2009, 700 people have been arrested for alleged links with the rebels, according to the government, but the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) puts the figure at more than 3,500.

According to the pro-Kurdish BDP statement, over 7,000 people taken into custody in the last nine months.

KCK-trial, on October 18, 2010 a Turkish court began the trial of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders, accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK rebels.

A Turkish court on Nov.1, 2011 pressed separatism charges against 23 suspects, in so-called KCK-Trial, including a university professor Prof. Busra Ersanli, a political scientist, and Ragip Zarakolu, a well-known human rights activist and director of Belge Publishing House, on suspicion of membership in a separatist Kurdish PKK rebel group.

Around 70 journalists and intellectuals have also been arrested on various charges, including links with Kurdish rebels, provoking criticism of the Turkish authorities at home and abroad.

Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey’s Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK’s demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish,www.ekurd.net paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as ‘terrorist’ organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union’s terror list.

Is Turkey safe for Kurds?

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A woman shows a photograph during a demonstration of members of the Kurdish community in France on December 30, / AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT

The Kurdish Globe
By Mehmed Sabri Akgönül

Investigations continue, but the damage is irreversible

 

The Roboski massacre will not be the last mass killing as Turkey moves forward with its new war strategy against the PKK.

On 28 December 2011, Turkish Military Forces (TSK) used F16′s, killing 35 Kurdish villagers who were allegedly smuggling gas and tea from Iraqi Kurdistan. They were returning to Roboski village linked to Qilaban (in Turkish Uludere), in the district of Shirnak, close to the Iraqi border.

The Diyarbakir chief prosecutor’s office launched an investigation, and on 8 January 2012, Gendarmerie Col. Hussein Onur Guney, Deputy Commander of the Gulyazı (in Kurdish Bujeh) Border Regiment, was removed from his post by the Turkish Interior Ministry. This is yet to be announced formally.

Turkish military authorities claimed that the road was bombed because it was known as the Kurdistan Workers, Party’s (PKK) transit road, and frequently used by its fighters. According to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) high-level officers, it is an “operational accident” and “intelligence failure.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to reporters, questions on the event by saying smugglers used to cross the border in small groups but this time they were in a large group, which he said strengthened the Turkish military unit’s suspicion that a group of PKK guerillas was trying to enter Turkey. However, there seems no clear reason in his speech to think that this bloody event was a mistake or an accident.

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) replied harshly and claimed that this was an intentional mass murder. BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas particularly emphasized that what took place in Qilaban was a horrifying massacre, adding that “now, one more massacre is added to the Turkish history of massacres.”

Ahmet Turk, another prominent figure in Kurdish politics, called the incident “genocide.”

Recalling the remarks of Erdogan, who said that a government that kills its own people loses its legitimacy with respect to embattled Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Demirtas said that “If this massacre had taken place in other countries, he [Erdogan] would be all over the place, talking about the massacre; had this happened in Syria he would have pointed his finger at Al-Assad.”

Demirtas said that AKP government, the Turkish President, and Chief of the Turkish General Staff are responsible for this massacre. “They are the ones who ordered the massacre. Those who issue fatwa [a religious edict] calling for war against the Kurds, those who say we take revenge are responsible. The Turkish military forces, explanation is nothing but a confession to the crime,” he added. “Enough is enough. For 80 years we have been experiencing massacres, violence and shedding tears, nothing else. Kurdish people will be liberated. We have no other options.”

Speaking about the air strike, Erdogan announced plans to continue full steam ahead in the fight against PKK. He said that PKK militants will be rendered ineffective wherever they are, “be it in the mountains, in the country or across the border.” He said they plan to draft a law that would classify Molotov cocktails, a fixture at Kurdish anti-government demonstrations, as weapons.

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, also visited to the district of Qilaban. “Thirty-five people lost their lives in an undeserved manner. This is not an incident that could easily be forgiven. We are going to pursue this in Parliament as well as in other places,” he said. He criticized the AKP government and also called on the AKP to apologize.

The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli, also spoke on the issue and defended the air strike against the Kurdish civilians, arguing that the Turkish army must act even at the slightest suspicion of a threat. “If there is a 1% chance that those sneaking over the border will hurt Turkish soldiers, then the government must take immediate action. This is what they have done in the latest incident,” he told.

There were also many mass demonstrations against the Roboski massacre with the participation of thousands of Kurds. Many protestors, including high school and college students, faced off with Turkish police, and more than 100 people were taken into custody during demonstrations in Diyarbakir, Urfa and Hakkari. During protests, police in Diyarbakir killed two young persons.

Following an extended, on-the-spot investigation in Qilaban, eight NGOs, including the Human Rights Association and the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER), released a report. “Our delegation has concluded that the incident is an extrajudicial execution and mass massacre in terms of the number of persons killed,” it stated. In the report, HaciEncu, who survived the bombing, recorded that they were blocked by the Turkish soldiers and bombed by the war crafts. The report quoted eye-witnesses as saying the group had not been warned to stop before the bombardment.

According to this report, Turkish security forces were aware of this go-return for border trade since villagers always use the same road. The delegation also pointed out that the ambulances were prevented from getting to the scene by security forces, which also caused deaths. There is strong evidence that some injured victims died from freezing or from lack of medical interference due to late medical assistance. The statement ended with an emphasis that the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations and the European Council should urgently send a delegation to investigate the event.

Twelve Bar Associations of Kurdish-majority cities also released a joint report about the strike in Qilaban.”There is strong evidence that the attack was done intentionally and was not accidental,” the report said. Statements by spokespersons of the AKP increased concern that the incident will not be investigated properly.

Ali Bayram, vice president of the Shirnak Bar Association and lawyer for the cases of the 35 dead Kurdish civilians, said to The Kurdish Globe the investigation is in its early stage and the testimonies of three relatives of killed villagers have been taken. “Qilaban residents did not consider this incident an operational mistake. They described it as an intended massacre. Turkish military troops in the region are known to kill people, and troops are usually aware of the crossing of the border due to trade,” he added. Bayram stated that only the Gendarmerie Colonel has been dismissed so far, and he thinks it will remain limited to dismissal.

“Because the people responsible for the massacre are public servants, they have the public armor. I have doubts — the government’s investigation will not be effective. But if our struggle of internal law does not bring results, we will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights,” he told the Globe.

Ali Bayram also touched on to the delegation that the Kurdistan Regional Government aid to the families of the victims. He expressed that the visit of condolences from Kurdistan Region has awakened a sense of protection for the people of Qilaban. “The visit of condolence and the help of the KRG are very important to provide the common feelings and to share this painful event via nationalist feelings. We must not let the massacre be forgotten, and we must stick to it until the end for the prosecution of those responsible,” Bayram said to the Globe.

This Kurdish massacre by the Turkish state cannot be understood independently from the politics of the Turkish state on the Kurds, and it is a new war strategy in their fight against the PKK. The goal of this new strategy is based on two pillars: military destruction and political pressure. Not leaving any space for the PKK in the mountains of Kurdistan and by bombing everything moving in the area where PKK has taken up position, the Turkish state aims to defeat the PKK as a military force. The second goal is to restrict all political opportunities of Kurdish legal politics by preventing Kurdish legal figures from conducting active politics in Turkey. In order to accomplish this, they implemented the Kurdistan Communities’ Union (KCK) operations, which are identified by Turkish deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay as a government project.

The architects of the new war strategy and its defenders state that they “will wipe out the terror” and “this time this will be the solution.” They repeatedly say that they are working intensively to “exterminate” the PKK militants one by one or in groups with war crafts through “point shooting.” They assert political pressure and detentions on Kurdish politicians, activists, journalists and academics who claim to be supporters of the PKK. They are inculcating that apart from this government policy there is no other way to solve the Kurdish issue. As Prime Minister Erdogan proclaimed in his latest speeches, they will not give up that policy. Without doubt, if this policy continues to be implemented, the Roboski massacre will not be the last one, and living in Kurdistan–which has become a wide military and political operation area for the Kurds–will continue to be risky for Kurds.

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