KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 09 April – 26 April 2020

For all of the latest Kurdish news, see these sources:

ANF English: https://anfenglishmobile.com/

Hawar News: https://www.hawarnews.com/en/

Rojava Information Center: https://rojavainformationcenter.com


Women Defend Rojava: http://womendefendrojava.net/en/

Rojhelat: http://rojhelat.info/en/

Rojava Centre for Strategic Studies


Komun Academy: 


Continue reading “KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 09 April – 26 April 2020”



As of 13 April 2020, Turkey had recorded 61,049 cases of Covid-19 and 1,296 deaths from it. Since the first case was diagnosed on 10 March the toll is rising quickly. Turkey’s prisons are dangerous; the Minister of Justice said that 17 inmates of five prisons had been infected with the coronavirus and that three have died. Prisoners report lack of personal cleaning materials, intermittent flows of hot and cold water, no disinfectant, insufficient gloves and masks and staff without protective wear. Prisoners are reported to be having to pay for masks. There are approaching 300,000 prisoners in Turkey and approximately one-fifth of these are political prisoners, many of them charged with terrorism-related offences since the failed coup attempt of 2016. Continue reading “RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN TURKEY”


Those who seek justice in Turkey must not be left alone. We demand that all those who support democracy in Britain, all those in this country who work for justice, and all who enjoy the right to freedom of expression, use whatever means you have to call on the government and other authorities in Turkey to end the repression of Grup Yorum. Helin Bolek’s death was a sacrifice and tragedy. The tragedy unfolding must be ended – now.

 Peace in Kurdistan

 On 3 April 2020 Helin Bolek died on the 288th of a hunger strike turned death fast. Helin Bolek was a member of the popular Turkish folk band Grup Yorum. She protested the repression of her group and its supporters in Turkey and abroad by the Turkish government, led by President Erdogan. Grup Yorum demanded the right to sing freely, an end to the arrest, imprisonment and torture of Grup Yorum members and supporters, and an end to the ban on Grup Yorum concerts, which have been prohibited for nearly three years. Police attacked mourners at Helin Bolek’s funeral and prevented her from having a proper burial. We are responding to an appeal from parliamentarians and lawyers in Turkey for intervention from abroad to stop further deaths of Grup Yorum members and supporters and to back calls for the authorities in Turkey to stop criminalising dissenting musicians and artists in that country. Continue reading “STATEMENT ON GRUP YORUM AND THE DEATH OF HELIN BOLEK”

Open Letter to Dominic Raab: Release Political Prisoners in Turkey.

Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH

Dear Foreign Secretary

Ref. Release political prisoners in Turkey

We are deeply concerned about the situation for political prisoners in Turkey. It is of great importance that we don’t allow the accelerating spread of corona virus across the world to provide cover for further violations against those who are in prison, particularly those who are there simply for the expression of peaceful opinions.

We are aware of reports that the Turkish government is engaged in the preparation of a law that will result in the release up to 100,000 prisoners. While this appears to be a progressive step there remains a real danger that political prisoners will not be included in the proposed amnesty. This would be an appalling state of affairs. The spread of corona virus in prisons will result in a deadly outcome for many, especially for older prisoners and those with underlying health conditions. The risks for these prisoners, who have committed no internationally recognised crimes, will be exacerbated by the overcrowding and insanitary conditions in which they are held.  We are concerned that the continuing incarceration in these conditions amounts to a potential death sentence. Continue reading “Open Letter to Dominic Raab: Release Political Prisoners in Turkey.”





2019 is the year that the İmralı Isolation System’s reflections on law legal and political arena have become more visible in Turkey. As known, the law and political arena in Turkey, which were already antidemocratic and cause continuous dynamism of coup, have been under the rule of the Emergency Decree Laws (KHK) and the State of Emergency declared on 20 July 2016 and have been institutionalised and become permanent following incidents on 15 July 2016 and 20 July 2016 respectively coup attempt and the State of Emergency.

The most clear reflection of this period is that the Imrali Isolation System, which is implemented as a prototype, has been institutionalised and spread across the country. In fact, the Imrali isolation practices, which were developed outside the boundaries of law until 2016, have become normative practices for the whole country by adopting these practices in question as a law. It is equal to the period that the penal code, laws on criminal procedures and execution dated 2005, which were discussed also as “Öcalan Laws” and drew the borders of criminal sanctions of politics, were spread across the country.

Apart from the reflections on law, the isolation in the İmralı Prison’s relationship with various dialectics have become clearer in the politics in 2019. Mr Öcalan has made analyses, shared his ideas of solutions and methods from his perspective within the framework of the “İmralı Stance” in visits even under the conflict and tense atmosphere. There were responses, negative or positive, from different groups and figures to Mr Öcalan’s position. The responses in question demonstrated the relationship between the Isolation System of Imralı and war-peace, coup mechanics-democratization and chaos- solution dialectics in a more visible way. In this respect, Mr Öcalan stated that the isolation—both the general isolation and the period that continues for 4 years—on him is related to present wars and he has been resisting—in line with the principles of peace—to the isolation in spite of the difficulties.

As it is known, no news was received from Mr. Öcalan in 2017 and 2018. The date of last contact with Mr. Öcalan was on 11 September 2016 when concerns about the right to life increased and protests intensified. Similarly, there was an absolute isolation including ban on visits from lawyers and relatives; the communication right namely sending and/or receiving letters, telegraph, telephone in 2019. However, 2019 became also the year that people showed democratic sensitivity and raised their concerns about the problem.

Ms Leyla Güven, the MP from Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), made the following statement in the courtroom on 7 November 2018:

“Today, the isolation is not imposed on Mr Öcalan only but on the

whole people. Isolation is a crime against humanity. For being a member of the people, I begin a hunger strike action, which is permanent and non-alternating, to protest the

isolation on Mr Öcalan.” She made the statement while she was in pre-trial detention for


PIK Statement: After 21 years, time to free Ocalan and grasp the peace

15 February 2020|Peace in Kurdistan

Statement marking the 21st anniversary since Ocalan’s abduction in Nairobi, 15th February 1999, by Turkish MIT agents supported by the CIA.

It is difficult to believe that it is now more than two decades since Abdullah Ocalan, the leader and founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, lost his freedom. It is a reality difficult to accept because Abdullah Ocalan remains a shaping influence on the current politics of the Kurdish movement in Turkey and throughout the region. His influence has achieved a permanency as a result of the power of his ideas and the loyalty of his people. The Kurdish people and supporters worldwide were outraged as much as they were dismayed by the brutal and conspiratorial manner of Ocalan’s apprehension in a coordinated multi-state operation involving security services working across continents. He was taken to Turkey from Kenya after having his movements tracked half-way around the world. He was delivered to Turkey trussed up and supposedly humiliated like a trophy for the satisfaction of the victors and their clamouring populous.

Continue reading “PIK Statement: After 21 years, time to free Ocalan and grasp the peace”

UK trade union support for Kurds has “parallels” with opposition to Apartheid South Africa and Pinochet’s Chile, says Freedom for Öcalan Director

10 February 2020|Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Matt Nathan, Director of the Freedom for Öcalan Campaign, describes to Kurdish Journalist Aleddin Sinayic how key trade unions came to back the Freedom for Öcalan Campaign, after becoming aware of the siege of the Kurdish-majority Syrian city of Kobane imposed by Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Islamic State) and exacerbated by the Turkish state. Nathan, who is also Labour Party Councillor for Clerkenwell, discusses how UK-based trade unions came to see the libertarian socialist vision of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan as representing a “fulcrum around which many issues that as trade unionists we would instinctively find solidarity with”.

Matt Nathan Twitter: @MattNLabour, https://twitter.com/mattnlabour?lang=en

Freedom for Ocalan Campaign Twitter: @ocalanfree, https://twitter.com/ocalanfree

Freedom for Ocalan Campaign website: https://freedomforocalan.org/

Learn more about the Kurdish libertarian philosophy of Democratic Confederalism: https://komun-academy.com/2018/11/22/the-main-principles-of-democratic-confederalism/

BBC documentary “Inside Kobane keeping Islamic State at bay”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk36pP_yD-Q

Peace in Kurdistan Statement on 41st Anniversary of Founding of Kurdistan Workers’ Party

Celebrating 27 November 1978

For the Kurdish people, today is the 41st anniversary of the founding of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). It was a landmark in Kurdish history because this was the first time there appeared a modern, secular movement for Kurdish freedom uniting the Kurdish workers in political struggle.

Continue reading “Peace in Kurdistan Statement on 41st Anniversary of Founding of Kurdistan Workers’ Party”

(VIDEO) Dr. Thomas Jeffery Miley Discusses Turkish State Violence, Kurdish Resistance, and Democratic Confederalism

8 November 2019|Alaettin Sinayic

Cambridge University Professor and author Dr. Thomas Jeffery Miley speaks with Journalist Alaettin Sinayic about Turkish state violence, Kurdish resistance and the philosophy of “democratic confederalism” which has been adopted by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the PYD in Syria for the better part of twenty years.

(VIDEO) Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival 2019 – Interview with Simon Dubbins

The Freedom for Öcalan trade union campaign interviewed Simon Dubbins, co-chair of the campaign and International Director at Unite the Union at the 2019 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. We asked Simon about his thoughts on the progress and future of the campaign, the international situation and the engagement of UK politicians in the Kurdish struggle.

The Freedom for Öcalan campaign is a UK trade union-backed initiative to secure the release of imprisoned Kurdish political prisoner Abdullah Öcalan.

In 2017 the annual meeting of the TUC voted unanimously for a motion calling for Mr Öcalan’s immediate release and a return to peace talks between Turkey and representatives of the Kurdish people.