NEWS
1. Turkish Court Holds 31 in Kurdish Rebel Probe
2. Turkish police raid Kurdish targets
3.Ten people detained in Tatvan on Wednesday
4. Turkey launches new raids on Kurdish homes, offices
5. Investigation about Uludere Survivors
6. First Hearing of Journalists after 13 Months of Pre-Trial Detention
7. BDP hints at federalism for Turkey
8. Turkey’s Kurds could shun the PKK and rise up similar to Arab Spring, brother of jailed PKK leader says
9. “Amendments of Anti-Terror Law Should quickly Pass into Law”
10. Minorities and ethnic groups call for more rights in Turkey’s new constitution
11. More bones at Diyarbakır mass grave
12. “New Civil Servants Law is a Step Backwards”
13. HRANT DINK TRIAL: Istanbul march as verdict anger continues
14. Is Turkey safe for Kurds?
15. Dissidents to control ‘Kurdish card’ in Syria
16. Rocket hits Turkish mission in Baghdad
17. Turkey does not want return to Iraq chaos: minister
18. Kurdish Activists: Women’s Abuse Under-Reported
19. Voluntary union or partition for Kurds
20. Kurds adapt best possible policy

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

21. Inching away from democracy?
22. Turkish Justice: Gulen’s Recent Response to Uludere Massacre
23. Uludere massacre and government
24. Turkey must investigate this massacre to build Kurdish trust
25. Then, the Kurds were alone, and so they still are now…
26. PKK Leader: We Had 5 Years of Direct and Indirect Negotiations With Turkey
27. “A dying horse has a killing kick”: EUTCC 8th International Conference report
28. Don’t cross Ankara
29. Turkish women get behind the wheel
30. What is behind Turkey’s latest PKK operations?
31. Kürkçü: Roboski massacre was not a “mistake”
32. Why are political apologies so difficult?

STATEMENTS AND REPORTS

33. BDP Statement on the latest KCK operations and arrests of BDP members
34. Letter to President Obama, by
The General Assembly of Kurdistan’s Free Life Party (PJAK)

EVENTS

See below.

 

NEWS

1. Turkish Court Holds 31 in Kurdish Rebel Probe
17 January 2012/ Voice of America
A Turkish court has brought charges against 31 people Tuesday for alleged ties to a Kurdish rebel group that is fighting for autonomy in the country’s largely Kurdish southeast. Among those being held are former member of parliament Fatma Kurtulan and politician Tuncer Bakirhan. Bakirhan was the head of a now-banned Kurdish political party. Turkish police detained the individuals during simultaneous nationwide raids Friday on the homes and offices of members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, including the Ankara office of Kurdish lawmaker Leyla Zana.

Turkish Court Holds 31 in Kurdish Rebel Probe

2. Turkish police raid Kurdish targets
13 January 2012 / CNN

The raids were carried out in connection with a sprawling investigation into the urban wing of the banned Kurdish separatist movement the Kurdistan Workers Party, according to the semi-official Anatolian Agency. Anatolian also reported that Turkish police pursued information from a detained Kurdistan Workers Party member about 5 kilograms of C-4 plastic explosives that had been buried near Ataturk Olympic Stadium on the European side of Istanbul.
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/13/world/europe/turkey-kurds/index.html

3.Ten people detained in Tatvan on Wednesday
19 January 2012 / ANF

Ten people have been taken into custody on Wednesday in the Tatvan District of Bitlis. According to locals, the operation was held in the connection with the protest demonstration against Robokski massacre. On 28 December the Turkish Armed Forces launched airstrikes which killed 35 civilians. The massacre has been called an “operational mistake” by the authorities which are trying to cover it up.
http://en.firatnews.eu/index.php?rupel=article&nuceID=3929

4. Turkey launches new raids on Kurdish homes, offices
13 January 2012 / GlobalPost
Turkish police raided the offices and homes of Kurds allegedly involved in an illegal organization on Friday in a nationwide operation. The operations being carried out target the Kurdish Communities Union, or KCK, described in the Turkish media as the urban extension of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Police carried out raids across 17 provinces and searched more than 100 addresses, according to Dogan News Agency. Most of the premises searched are the offices of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, but also include the offices of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, or KESK.
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/120113/turkey-launches-new-raids-kurdish-homes-offices

5. Investigation about Uludere Survivors
17 January 2012 / Bianet

The survivors of the Uludere massacre are facing an investigation under allegations of “opposing the passport law”, “illegal violation of the border” and “cross-border smuggling”. They were summoned to give their statements.  Davut, Servet and Hacı Encü survived the bombing of Uludere in the south-eastern Kurdish-majority province of Şırnak on 28 December. 34 villagers died in the course of the military strike. The three survivors of the Encü family have now been called to the Gülyazı Regiment Command to give their statements.
http://www.bianet.org/english/minorities/135491-investigation-about-uludere-survivors

6. First Hearing of Journalists after 13 Months of Pre-Trial Detention
16 January 2012 / Bianet

Six employees of the Yürüyüş (“Marching”) magazine will appear before the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court for their first hearing after 13 months of pre-trial detention. They invite everybody to come and support press freedom. Journalist Naciye Yavuz wrote on page two of the Prisoners Gazette, “We, the employees of the Yürüyüş magazine, will go to court for the first time after 13 months in detention. We will be at court for the first time after having been detained in our cells for 13 months without any investigation, enquiry, evidence of proof”.
http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/135464-first-hearing-of-journalists-after-13-months-of-pre-trial-detention

7. BDP hints at federalism for Turkey
18 January 2012 / Hurriyet

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş vowed yesterday that his party would “defend the freedom of Kurdistan,” as he called on all democratic forces in Turkey to unite against “the fascism” of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “If there is no justice for the Kurds, the thing they should do is resist. We will not give way to AKP fascism. We will win,” Demirtaş said in a speech to his party’s parliamentary group.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/bdp-hints-at-federalism-for-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=11716&NewsCatID=338

8. Turkey’s Kurds could shun the PKK and rise up similar to Arab Spring, brother of jailed PKK leader says
18 January 2012 / Al Arabiya

The 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.
http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/01/18/189017.html

9. “Amendments of Anti-Terror Law Should quickly Pass into Law”
16 January 2012 / Bianet

The Turkey Publishers Association called on the parliament to urgently pass the amendments of Articles 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terror Law as proposed by CHP MP Oktay into law in order to remove obstacles before press freedom.  In their announcement, the association underscored that about 100 journalists were imprisoned as detainees or convicts based on Articles 6 and 7 of the TMK (“Disclosure and Publication” and “Terrorist Organizations” respectively).
http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/135462-amendments-of-anti-terror-law-should-quickly-pass-into-law

10. Minorities and ethnic groups call for more rights in Turkey’s new constitution
17 January 2012 / The National

As Turkey’s politicians try to reach consensus on a new constitution, demands for more rights and greater self-rule for minorities and ethnic groups are challenging long-held principles of national unity under a centralised government. With officials telling the country to expect a new constitution before the end of the year, calls for more rights are coming from the country’s huge Kurdish population and other groups.
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/europe/minorities-and-ethnic-groups-call-for-more-rights-in-turkeys-new-constitution

11. More bones at Diyarbakır mass grave
17 January 2012 / Hurriyet

The number human skulls found in the vicinity of a former gendarmerie building in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has increased to 11 as the prosecutor’s office deepens the investigation.“In the past, Turkey was proud of its underground mine treasures; now Turkey has more to be proud of, such as skulls and bones from unsolved murders,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu said Jan. 15 during a visit to the area.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/more-bones-at-diyarbakir-mass-grave.aspx?pageID=238&nID=11630&NewsCatID=341

12. “New Civil Servants Law is a Step Backwards”
13 January 2012 / BIANET
According to the draft law on Public Servants’ Trade Unions, one single and general contract will be signed on behalf of all civil servants. Confederations criticize that this will result in a retrogressive development regarding acquired rights.
http://bianet.org/english/labor/135415-new-civil-servants-law-is-a-step-backwards

13. HRANT DINK TRIAL: Istanbul march as verdict anger continues

19 January 2012 / BBC
At least 20,000 people have marched in Istanbul to mark five years since the murder of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Some of the demonstrators were driven by anger over verdicts delivered this week in the latest trial of people linked to his killing.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16632890

14. Is Turkey safe for Kurds?
14 January 2012 / Kurdish Globe

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.
http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=CF1E56636B2E87D3B2387C6F7C2024EC

15. Dissidents to control ‘Kurdish card’ in Syria
17 January 2012
/ Hürriyet
The Istanbul-based opposition group Syrian National Coucil (SNC) is trying to secure the rights of Kurds in Syria in order to prevent possible security problems that might emerge in the aftermath of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Basma Kadmani, SNC spokesperson, told daily Hürriyet the group was in contact with Erbil and Ankara in order to take a possible Kurdish problem under control. “We need to reach agreements and arrangements before the end of the revolution and collapse of the regime. We have to have that card under control,” said Kadmani.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/dissidents-to-control-kurdish-card-in-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=11627&NewsCatID=352

16. Rocket hits Turkish mission in Baghdad
19 January 2012 / Hurriyet

Ankara will closely monitor the developments about the rocket attack on Turkish Embassy, says FM. Three rockets were launched on the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad yesterday and one hit the walls of the embassy, according to Turkish Ambassador in Baghdad Yunus Demirer.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/rocket-hits-turkish-mission-in-baghdad.aspx?pageID=238&nID=11801&NewsCatID=338

17. Turkey does not want return to Iraq chaos: minister
18 January 2012 / Reuters

Turkey does not want a return to chaos in Iraq, Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said on Wednesday in comments that followed a complaint from Baghdad that Ankara was meddling in its internal affairs. Iraq summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad on Monday to complain about comments by Turkish officials, a sign of regional tension over worries that Iraq’s political crisis could lead to sectarian war.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/18/us-iraq-turkey-idUSTRE80H18M20120118

18. Kurdish Activists: Women’s Abuse Under-Reported
19 January 2012 / Rudaw

Nearly 4,000 cases of violence were recorded in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2011 including 720 cases of systematic torture, the government reported last week, but women’s activists say the numbers are severely under-reported. The government registered 3,766 cases in 2011. Seventy-six women were killed or committed suicide, while 330 had either been burned or self-immolated — a common method of suicide by women in the region.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurds/4339.html

19. Voluntary union or partition for Kurds
14 January 2012 / Kurdish Globe

Amid the winds of the Arab Spring, Kurds need to start looking for their logical, realistic options in the Region. In an interview on Saturday with BBC’s Persian-language station, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani said, “The Iraqi government must find a solution to political problems facing Iraq now, and if these problems continue, the Kurds will assess all the possibilities.”
http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=6663E7563F078D4AD7AFF9D3CA372594

20. Kurds adapt best possible policy
14 January 2012 / Kurdish Globe
While the cold war between the Shiites and the Sunnis has led Iraq to the edge of a tribal one, Kurds are concerned about the potential impact. Alireza Nurizadeh, an expert in Middle East issues, believes Kurds are dealing with the situation in the best way possible. http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=1AAA38FE3DC72C4D0215CDF76A3D990F

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

21. Inching away from democracy?
19 January 2011 / European Voice

European Union officials are increasingly worried that Turkey might be drifting in the direction of authoritarianism. A wave of arrests of opposition journalists under sweeping anti-terrorism laws has alarmed decision-makers in Brussels at a time when Turkey’s bid to join the EU appears completely stalled.  Close to 100 media workers – editors, reporters, producers and photographers – are currently in Turkish jails charged with “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation”, an offence that carries a sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment, increased by one-half in the case of crimes committed with the help of the media.
http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/inching-away-from-democracy-/73249.aspx

22. Turkish Justice: Gulen’s Recent Response to Uludere Massacre
15 January 2012 / Kurdish Aspect

Almost two weeks ago, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) killed 35 Kurdish civilians from  Uludere village in an operation along the Iraqi border. The official statement argues that these 35 villagers were killed because the military thought they were terrorists. The military knows everything about the smuggling business.
http://www.kurdishaspect.com/doc011512AM.html

23. Uludere massacre and government
17 January 2012 / Todays Zaman

Milan Kundera, in his novel “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting,” makes the protagonist say, “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”  When I first heard this, I made a connection to Turkey. What first came to my mind was one of the unforgettable scenes in the miniseries “Roots.” The slave who had just been brought from Africa was being whipped by his master, being told to forget his name. Every time he insisted, “My name is Kunta Kinte,” his black body was lashed. The white master was making him “memorize” his new name: “Your name is Toby.” Finally, Kunta Kinte accepted his new name, after being beaten so severely that the strokes became unbearable. But what he went through was also the struggle not to forget his name and transfer it to the minds of his children and grandchildren.
http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-268855-uludere-massacre-and-government.html

24. Turkey must investigate this massacre to build Kurdish trust
19 January 2012 / Guardian

A group of Kurdish schoolchildren and young villagers were transporting cheap fuel into Turkey from Iraq on 28 December. Some time after 9.30pm, as the group reached the border area, four Turkish F-16 fighter jets launched an attack and within an hour, 34 members of the group, including 17 children, were dead. The Turkish army initially hailed the raid as a success, claiming that it had killed fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) – a group that has waged an armed rebellion against the state since 1984. But it soon transpired that the victims were civilians, some as young as 12. The army and the national intelligence organisation blamed each other for the faulty intelligence that led to the attack.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/19/turkey-massacre-kurdish-trust-army?newsfeed=true

25. Then, the Kurds were alone, and so they still are now…
1 January 2012 / Article translated from Ceni Info No 5

In a letter to the Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal, which was published on 1.1.2012 in the newspaper “Milliyet”, BDP MP Ayla Akat describes her encounter with, and feelings about, the massacre at Roboski.

http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/then-the-kurds-were-alone-and-so-they-still-are-now/

26. PKK Leader: We Had 5 Years of Direct and Indirect Negotiations With Turkey
18 January 2012 / Rudaw
In an exclusive interview with Rudaw, Murat Karayilan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said five years of peace talks with Turkey failed because the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not honor promises it made during the talks. Karayilan said that unless Turkey grants Kurds autonomy, full cultural rights and releases all political prisoners, the PKK will refuse to lay down arms.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/turkey/4335.html

27. “A dying horse has a killing kick”: EUTCC 8th International Conference report
17 January 2012 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
The 8th International EUTCC conference, titled ‘The Quest for Democracy in Turkey – Universal Rights and Kurdish Self-Determination and the Struggles over the New Constitution’ and held at the European Parliament in Brussels on the 7th and 8th December, came at a critical time for Turkey’s Kurds. Six months on from the June general elections that saw 36 Kurdish politicians elected to the National Assembly, amidst promises of a new draft constitution in the autumn, it has been becoming increasingly clear that the struggle for Kurdish self-determination is far from over.
http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/a-dying-horse-has-a-killing-kick-eutcc-8th-international-conference-report/

28. Don’t cross Ankara
11 January 2012 / The Economist

WHEN Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development (AK) party took office in Turkey in 2002, many feared that it had an Islamic agenda for the country. But today a bigger fear is over what many see as a creeping authoritarianism. Mr Erdoğan has justly asserted civilian rule over an army that had toppled four of his predecessors since 1960. But some believe the government has used the fear of coups to justify harassment of legitimate opposition, including the persecution of journalists. http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2012/01/slideshow

29. Turkish women get behind the wheel
13 January 2012 / The Guardian

Most of the stories that emerge from Baglar, the largest and poorest district in Diyarbakir, in south-east Turkey, have been reports of violent clashes between Kurdish people and police. Baglar is home to refugees who were forced from their homes when Turkish security forces emptied more than 3,000 villages during their conflict with the Kurdish separatist PKK in the 1990s.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/13/turkish-women-equality-pkk-kurds?newsfeed=true

30. What is behind Turkey’s latest PKK operations?
14 January 2012 / Hurriyet

In a new move on Jan. 13, Turkish police raided a number of houses, offices and party buildings of the Kurdish problem-focused Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in a number of cities including Ankara, Istanbul and Diyarbakır, taking more than 30 people into custody.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/what-is-behind-turkeys-latest-pkk-operations.aspx?pageID=238&nID=11479&NewsCatID=409

31. Kürkçü: Roboski massacre was not a “mistake”
17 January 2012 / ANF

BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) Mersin deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü is in Europe for a round of meetings. We publish extracts of an interview he gave to Perwer Yaş of ANF Turkish service.
http://en.firatnews.eu/index.php?rupel=article&nuceID=3920

32. Why are political apologies so difficult?
17 January 2012 / Today’s Zaman

This week it is five years ago since Hrant Dink was killed. As part of the efforts to keep his memory and the ideas he defended alive, each year a Hrant Dink Memorial Lecture is organized in İstanbul and in Ankara. This year I was invited to deliver the Ankara lecture at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ). I was honored to do so and want to share with you the main points of my speech that focused on the question of why it seems to be so difficult for politicians to apologize.
http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-268792-why-are-political-apologies-so-difficult.html

STATEMENTS AND REPORTS

33. BDP Statement on the latest KCK operations and arrests of BDP members, 13 January 2012, http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/bdp-bulletins/bdp-statement-13-january-2012/

34. Letter to President Obama, by The General Assembly of Kurdistan’s Free Life Party (PJAK), http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/pjak-calls-upon-obama-to-reassess-policy-toward-the-kurds/

EVENTS

See also our events page.

Saturday 21 January, 3-7pm
Kurdish Social Media Gathering
This event is to highlight and encourage more Kurdish rights activists to open Twitter accounts to be more effective in their work. There will be speakers from the Kurdish Social Media Community and Experts in Social Media Technology. #TwitterKurds will help you to open accounts and answer any basic questions you may have.
Venue:
Kurdish Community Centre (KCC), 11 Fairfax Hall, London N4 1HU
The event is free and open to all, and will be streamed online.

Tuesday 24 January, 12pm
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer

The European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH) is organising protests in capitals all over Europe against unlawful arrests and the obstruction of lawyers. This year, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer is dedicated to the lawyers in Turkey who have been persecuted and arrested for political reasons, and by this and other obstructions prevented from fulfilling their professional duties. Please find the ELDH petition attached.
Venues:
In European capitals across the continent. In London, action will take place outside the Turkish Embassy, 43 Belgrave Sq  London SW1X 8PA. Supported by CAMPACC.
For more information, check the ELDH website: http://www.eldh.eu/events/event/the-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-24th-january-2012-96/

Tuesday 31 January 2012
Marching for Kurdish rights!
A freedom march organised by The Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe beginning outside the UN building in Geneva.  The march is expected to reach Strasbourg by 18 February.
http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/marching-for-kurdish-rights/

Wednesday 1 February 2012, 6.30-8.30pm
How to start a revolution, with Gene Sharp live from the USA
A screening How To Start A Revolution, a new award-winning documentary about Gene Sharp’s life and work – and followed by a live link-up with Gene Sharp himself, speaking from his home in Boston.
Venue:
Committee Room 10, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Hosted by the All Part Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues. RSVP to: [email protected]

Friday 3 – Sunday 5 February 2012
Challenging capitalist modernity: Alternative concepts and the Kurdish Question
Exchanging ideas at the academic level about the worldwide theoretical and practical measures that are needed to intervene effectively against capitalist hegemony. Debates will also – but not exclusively – be focused on the Kurdish example.
Venue:
Hamburg University, Hamburg, Germany. Organised by the Network for an Alternative Quest. For further details and the full programme, visit: http://networkaq.net/

Monday 6 February, 7.30pm
Marked by faith: Persecuted for religious beliefs

The Exiled Lit Café event this month features Adnan al-Sayegh (Iraq), poet Pete Godismo (Nigeria), and Yvonne Green. MUSIC will be provided by by Alexander Hart playing the Okinawan Sanshin.
Hosted by Chinwe Azubuike. £4 or £2 EWI 2012 members
Venue: Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2 (Covent Garden tube). For further information contact: 020-8458 1910