Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 1 – 7 June 2012

NEWS
1. Van mayor detained
2. Prosecutor requests removal of immunity for 8 BDP deputies
3. Turkish Party Leaders to Meet on New Kurdish Initiative
4. EU Parliamentary President Martin Schulz recommends the creation of a Kurdish autonomous region in Turkey
5. PM Erdoğan asks rights for all… except Kurds
6. CHP proposal for Kurdish problem
7. “Guilty Until Proven Innocent!”
8. Turkey: Protests for right to abortion
9. British tourist released by Kurdish rebels
10. Haytham Manna calls on Kofi Annan to organise an international conference

11. Conference on Good Governance and Economic Development in KRG
12. IC role in massacre of Tamils a shame for entire century: Kurdish activist
13. Iran Music Feature: Rapper Shahin Najafi Responds to Death Threats…With a New Song

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
14. Interview with İlhan Cihaner: “The Political Landscape, Problem of Justice, and Media Ethics in Turkey”
15. Turkey considers Parliamentry mission on Kurdish problem
16. PYD-Assad Clashes Raise Doubts about Alleged Syrian-PKK Cooperation
17. KRG’s Lobby in America: Success or Failure?

ACTIONS

18. Sign the Petition: Say no to abortion ban!

NEWS

1. Van mayor detained
7 June 2012 / ANF

Today police have detained the mayor of Van, Bekir Kaya. The BDP mayor was detained in his house in Van. He is the 33rd BDP to be detained.
Police searched Kaya’s home for three hours and then took the mayor to his office. After a search of his office, Kaya was taken into custody. Among the detainees are Muradiye Mayor İzzet Çelik, Başkale Mayor Hecer Sarıhan and Özalp Mayor Murat Durmaz.

2. Prosecutor requests removal of immunity for 8 BDP deputies
31 May 2012 / ANF
Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor has issued a summary for the removal of the parliamentary immunity for eight BDP deputies. Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor has issued a summary for the removal of the parliamentary immunity for eight BDP deputies. The request has been launched in the context of the so-called “KCK” (Kurdish Communities Union) investigation. In accordance with Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code, the court issued a summary against BDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Gültan Kışanak, deputies Emine Ayna, Nursel Aydoğan, Sebahat Tuncel, Ayla Akat Ata, DTK co-chair Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk for allegedly “being members of KCK organization”.

3. Turkish Party Leaders to Meet on New Kurdish Initiative
6 June 2012 / Rudaw

Leaders of Turkey’s two main political parties will be meeting today to discuss a proposed initiative regarding the country’s so-called Kurdish issue. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), requested the meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to put forward a 10-point solution to the ongoing violent standoff between the outlawed armed group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish state. At the heart of the package is the idea that “solving the Kurdish problem requires a national contract” and that that can only be achieved through the parliamentary process. Towards that end, the initiative proposes to create an eight-member cross-party parliamentary Social Consensus Commission, which would be assisted by a 12-person non-parliamentary committee of ‘Wise Men.’

4. EU Parliamentary President Martin Schulz recommends the creation of a Kurdish autonomous region in Turkey
31 May 2012 / eKurd

The president of the European Parliament has linked the resolution of Turkey’s Kurdish issue to its eventual accession to membership in the European Union. “My advice is given in the framework Turkey’s of pre-EU accession strategy: We must try to convince both sides that it is possible [to create something] between a sovereign state and [a region] with a high degree of autonomy while [maintaining] the … territorial integrity of the country. That is my humble advice,” Martin Schulz, European Parliament president, said yesterday in Istanbul. Schulz was speaking at a ceremony at Bilgi University at which he was awarded an honorary doctorate. Kurdish problem is Turkey’s domestic issue.

5. PM Erdoğan asks rights for all… except Kurds
05 June 2012 / ANF

Speaking at the opening of the World Economic Forum in Istanbul, Prime Minister Erdoğan claimed that Turkey’s economic success would set an example for all countries.  Erdoğan put emphasis on the importance of stability and security in Turkey and the region of the Middle East and claimed that the AKP government made significant reforms in many areas and has specifically avoided hiding anything from the people.

6. CHP proposal for Kurdish problem
4 June 2012 / ANF

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) presented a ten point solution offer to Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek for a solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey. The solution offer by CHP also consists of the establishment of a Committee of Wisemen to act in coordination with the Parliamentary Commission for Social Agreement.

7. “Guilty Until Proven Innocent!”
6 June 2012 / Bianet
The IHD’s general secretary Öztürk Türkdoğan, the FDIH’s vice chairman Yusuf Alataş and Metin Bakkalcı, the general secretary of the Turkey Human Rights Foundation (THIV,) were among the participants at the promotion of the International Delegation of Experts Report prepared within the scope of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. The problem of the freedom of speech in Turkey cannot be solved unless specially authorized courts are relinquished, Türkdoğan said at the meeting that took place at 11:00 on Tuesday. “This report also shows that specially authorized courts must be shut down and the anti-Terror Law must be abolished. Even this country’s Chief of Staff and the Undersecretary of the MIT (National Intelligence Organization) can end up facing terrorism related charges due to this law. Even the prime minister could be tried on this [charge] at some point,” he said.

8. Turkey: Protests for right to abortion
5 June 2012 / Socialist Worker

“I consider abortion to be murder.” So declared Turkey’s prime minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan last week. Within days the minister of health announced plans to cut the time limit for legal abortion from ten weeks to just four. This would effectively make abortions illegal. One minister said women who are raped should give birth as “the state can look after the children”.  Another claimed that women should commit suicide after giving birth to an unwanted child rather than have an abortion. There were protests in several cities immediately after Erdogan spoke. An internet petition had 7,000 signatures on it within a day.

9. British tourist released by Kurdish rebels
4 June 2012 / Independent

Kurdish rebels have released a British tourist unharmed a day after his abduction in Turkey’s south east, officials said today. The Foreign Office confirmed the abduction and the subsequent release of the man, but didn’t provide his name.  “We can confirm that a British national has now been released,” the Foreign Office said. “He has since been in touch with his family in the UK.”  Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency identified the man as James Masami Miyazaki-Ross. He was freed Sunday evening near the town of Genc, about 25 miles north of where he was kidnapped, the governor’s office in the south-eastern province of Diyarbakir said today.

10. Haytham Manna calls on Kofi Annan to organise an international conference
5 June 2012 / Support Kurds
Dr. Haytham Manna, Deputy General Co-ordinator of the National Coordinating Body in Syria – NCB called on Mr. Kofi Annan – envoy for UN and the Arab world – to organise an international conference on the Syrian crisis, during  an interview on the BBC. The conference would be for all parties to attend including Russia, China, Turkey and Iran in order to hold the world accountable for what is happening in Syria.

11. Conference on Good Governance and Economic Development in KRG
3 June 0212 / Rudaw
Kurdistan’s lack of economic vision is harming the region’s development, economist Kadhim Habib told a Good Governance Conference in Erbil Saturday, warning that the region urgently needs to set a strategy for economic development.
Iraq’s dependence on oil revenues, he said, has created a “deformed” economic structure where the agricultural and manufacturing sectors are the victims of an almost total reliance on imported goods.
This in turn has created a “deformed” society, Habib told the audience of international academics, with growing poverty, increased income disparity and both overt and “masked” unemployment.

12. IC role in massacre of Tamils a shame for entire century: Kurdish activist
1 June 2012 / TamilNet
The international players knew what was going to happen in May 2009 to the Tamils but they did nothing to prevent it, and that was a shame right at the beginning of the 21st century, and a shame for the entire century, stated Mirham Yigit, Head of Kurdish Institute in Germany, in an interview to TamilNet. Talking about the current phase of the Kurdish nationalist movement, the role of the Kurdish diaspora, the importance of ideology in the struggle, the senior Kurdish activist said that when “illegal and militarist states” cooperate with one another, it was necessary for people oppressed by such states to build greater solidarity with each other.

13. Iran Music Feature: Rapper Shahin Najafi Responds to Death Threats…With a New Song
5 June 2012 / Enduring America

Last month Iranian clerics and politicians called for the execution of rapper Shahin Najafi after he released the song “Naqi”, invoking Shi’a’s 10th Imam to criticise Iranian politics and society. A pro-regime website offered a large bounty for Najafi’s death, and 40 authors have promised royalties from their books to his killer. Najafi, who lives in Germany, has responded to the threats with a new song, “Istadeh Mordan (Our Codewords Are ‘Dying Upright’)”


COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

14. Interview with İlhan Cihaner: “The Political Landscape, Problem of Justice, and Media Ethics in Turkey”
21 May 2012 / Research Turkey
The Honourable Mr. İlhan Cihaner is currently a Member of Parliament as representative from the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Before taking his seat in parliament, Mr. Cihaner was a prosecutor in the provinces of Adana and Erzincan, however, during his tenure in Erzincan, circumstances surrounding his investigations into İsmail Ağa  and Fethullah Gülen groups led to his arrest and he was held prison being accused as a member of the Ergenekon terrorist organization. After a long process where he was not formally charged with a crime, he was released from detainment. For ResearchTurkey, he has evaluated the general outlook of politics in Turkey today along with his engagement with it from his position in Parliament.

15. Turkey considers Parliamentry mission on Kurdish problem
4 June 2012 / Hurriyet

The proposal of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to form a conceptual working group to find a solution to the country’s Kurdish problem came last week with interesting timing. It came in the middle of the proxy flirt between Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Democracy Party (AK Party) and Devlet Bahçeli’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) over the Uludere raid blunder, in which 34 villagers were killed after being mistakenly identified as militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

16. PYD-Assad Clashes Raise Doubts about Alleged Syrian-PKK Cooperation
27 May 2012 / Rudaw

Clashes between the pro-PKK Democratic Union Party (PYD) and supporters of Bashar Al-Assad’s Syrian regime on a few occasions in the past few months with the latest on May 9 in Aleppo – have raised doubts over claims made by rival Kurdish groups and Turkish newspapers that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) cooperates with Assad. The PYD says the Assad regime is trying to drag the Kurds into a civil war with Arabs.

17. KRG’s Lobby in America: Success or Failure?
02 June 2012 / RUDAW

Qubad Talabani, 34, set up the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) lobby in 2006 and succeeded in portraying Kurdistan as “the other Iraq” with the help of paid consultants, evangelists and retired generals. Now Talabani is heading home. Some say the Kurdish lobby under his leadership has been ineffective and partisan, while others praise his efforts. It thus remains to be seen whether Qubad is leaving a sinking ship or a rising star. One of his fiercest critics has been neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar Michael Rubin, who has had an adversarial relationship with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) for years, while having good relations with Kurdish pro-opposition media.

ACTIONS

18. Say no to abortion ban!
TO THE POLICIES OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKEY THAT TARGET GENDER EQUALITY, WOMEN’S BODIES, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, AND SEXUALITY, OUR RESPONSE IS A RESOUNDING “NO!” We demand that the process to ban abortion be ceased IMMEDIATELY!

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