Monday, September 21, 2015

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighter Havin Avesta was killed by Turkish security forces after fighting for 13 hours and then running out of ammo.
 
 

The Birleşik Özgürlük Güçleri (United Freedom Forces, or BÖG), a communist organization based in Turkey and working with Rojava's People's Defense Forces (YPG), have hit ISIS in Raqqa.
 
“The perspective of society on women and women’s organization changed owing to the Rojava revolution. Actually, women changed the perspective of society through their attitude. Society believes in us now. They bring their problems to us and they know that we can solve these problems completely...The rate of women’s problems decreased compared to the past. The problems are mostly family issues and we try to solve these problems as soon as possible. We solved 100 problems and brought 25 cases to court, and the Women’s House solved 25 cases as well...We are carrying on our work unbendingly for the people who paid this price. Women are coming us both to talk about their problems and to have their problems solved. We are trying to do our best. We will protect our martyrs’ efforts. They gave their lives for a democratic society. We will follow in our martyrs’ footsteps.”
---Xalya Berkel, from the Women’s Asayiş (Security Forces) in Serêkaniyê in Rojava's Jazira Canton
 
The Democratic Society Congress (DTK) has called upon the people to boycott schools at the beginning of the new school year on September 28. Twenty million Kurdish students are now deprived of the right to use their mother language.
 
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Siirt deputy Kadri Yıldırım recalled Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's remark that "Kurds can lament in mother tongue now" and said that Kurds do not want lament in their mother tongue. He said that this statement shows that massacres in the Kurdish region will continue and said, "AKP (Justice and Development Party) Spokesman Bülent Arınç says that Kurdish is not a language of civilization. Yet, the President had the Quran translated into Kurdish and presented it at rallies during the election process. We urge the government to abandon these policies. If they want to be based on Islam, they must have a look at the Quran and see what it says in this regard." He quoted  a verse from the Quran which says "Every language is a verse. If the mother tongue is assimilated, the Quran is also assimilated."
 
Protesters do a sit-in outside of the courthouse in Sason, Turkey in support of 27 people arrested for acting as human shields in an antiwar action in the Sason district of Batman province this past weekend. Among those arrested are both co-mayors of the city of Batman (Gülistan Akel and Sabri Özdemir). The demonstrators ululated, clapped and chanted slogans and called for the resignation of the provincial governor.
 
The Union of Patriotic Revolutionary Young Women (YDG-K) has punished a man who abused his wife in the Turkish city of Adana after he ignored their warning. “All men who use violence against women are our target,” the women said in a previous statement. For four years, C. A.’s husband I. A has physically and psychologically abused her. C. A. then applied to the YDG-K for help. The women warned her husband several times to stop his behavior. The YDG-K women then beat him until he promised that he will never abuse his wife again. The women of YDG-K called on all women suffering from violence to come to them and said that they struggle to protect their fellow women.
 
Kurdish intellectual Musa Anter (Apê Musa) was killed by the Gendarmerie Intelligence Organization (JITEM) in Amed on September 20, 1992. His life and death have been commemorated by his comrades and those who he influenced.
 
Musa Anter was a Kurdish writer and intellectual. He was born in Mardin's Nusaybin district in 1920 and was killed on September 20, 1992 in Amed. Turkey was found guilty of Anter's murder in 2006 by the European Court of Human Rights was fined 28,500 euros for the killing.
Free Journalists’ Society Co-chair Hakkı Botan said, “Apê Musa, who was a person of creating solutions, also guided people with his own stories and writings. We as press workers are trying to follow his path. Apê Musa is considered as a leading figure in the creation of the consciousness of a free press in Kurdistan and Turkey. Despite its failure to accomplish a result by murdering Apê Musa 23 years ago, the Turkish state still tries the same dirty methods in an attempt to silence the press...Today, at the scene where Apê Musa was killed, we see that killing is not a solution.”
 
Speaking on behalf of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), Mülkiye Birtane said that they and the workers of the free press will keep the struggle of Apê Musa going. She said that the journalists on duty today were the small children of 90's, and that the children of today will become the leading figures of the society in the future.
 
Following the speeches, the crowd marched to the scene where Musa Anter was murdered, chanting the slogans “Martyrs are immortal” and “The free press cannot be silenced” also carried photos of the martyrs and carnations in their hands. The crowd left the carnations on the ground after observing one minute of silence.
 
A probe has been opened into 94 people for participating in the Gezi Park resistance in İzmir on June 1, 2013, with Public Prosecutor Cevdet Aydemir seeking prison terms up to six years for each person under charges of violating assembly and demonstrations laws.
 
 
 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

We look at the Turkish elections, Turkey's war against the people, Rojava's revolution and US interests in the region

We want to use this post to make a few subjective or thumbnail observations about the November 1 elections in Turkey, the continuing war being waged by the Turkish state against the Turkish and Kurdish peoples and Rojava's advanced revolution. Readers in the US can consider this as a brief overview intended to assist in solidarity work.

The elections

The parties have submitted their final and official lists for the November 1 elections. From our point of view, it is most important that the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) do well and increase the number of seats they currently hold in Parliament from 80 to 120.That sounds like a fantastic number to reach, and it is certainly an uphill climb, but it is not impossible. This means increasing activism and organizing for the HDP in areas where the Party has faced stiff resistance and repression and carrying out this activism and organizing without sacrificing principles.

An excellent step forward was taken when the Federation of Democratic Rights (DHF), the Labor Party (EMEP) and the Freedom and Socialism Party (ÖSP) all recently announced support for the HDP. We previously wrote on this blog about HDP Istanbul deputy Levent Tüzel, a former leader of the EMEP, who rejected joining the interim government based on a principled position taken in consultation with EMEP. Levent Tüzel will not appear on the HDP list but EMEP is supporting HDP. This is also a principled position and one taken after much debate. Meanwhile, Mustafa Sarısülük, the brother of Gezi protester Ethem Sarısülük, who was killed by police during the Gezi Resistance, will appear on the HDP list. This helps ties the HDP of today to the movement.

We can also say that the Local Administrations Gathering, which was held in Amed earlier this week under the slogan “All together towards self-rule,” has set a certain bar for the elections. Mardin co-mayor Ahmet Türk was quoted by ANF news service as saying, “Self-rule is an essential need that will contribute to the advancement of democracy in Turkey.” Ahmet Türk is an experienced political leader and can help lead a movement which can coalesce around demands for self-governance. When reactionary forces talk about the potential for "the Syrianization of Turkey" they may be talking about the capacity for civil war, which sometimes seems to us to be in the offing, but they may also be speaking about self-governance and the puysh to see something like Rojava's advanced revolution take hold across Turkey. Ahmet Türk probably anticipated this when he told ANF that “A great hope for peace prevailed in the country for three years since the initiation of the resolution process after the call of Mr. Öcalan in 2013. Everyone believed the process would reach a conclusive step for lasting peace and a new life would blossom eventually. Contrary to the expectations of the society, chaos and conflict were imposed on people as a result of the insistence on not leaving and sharing the power after the June 7 election...The freshest example (of self-governance) was experienced in Rojava right beside us. Independently of the Kurdish question, local administration is an urgent need for this country. The recent spreading of the harsh attitude manifested towards the Kurds to across the country is a concerning development.”

The HDP list is 40.9% female, still too low but better than the Republican Peoples' Party's (CHP) 22.75%, the fascist Nationalist Movement Party's 12% and the ruling reactionary Justice and Development Party's (AKP) 14%. If we cannot fully excuse or explain the relatively low percentage of women on the HDP list, we must still point out that women remain very much on the frontlines of the HDP and are paying a tremendous price for this. For instance, Gültan Kışanak, co-mayor of Amed/Diyarbakır, is now facing serious legal charges for a speech she gave on March 8, International Working Women’s Day, during which she said, "Women are growing their march to freedom, step by step. Today, in the YPJ, there has begun a non-stop women’s revolution in Kurdistan. We will spread this revolution to all of Kurdistan, the Middle East and the world. Let this be our promise to revolutionary women. Greetings to Palestinian, Afghan, Iranian, Latin American and all the revolutionary women of the world. Daesh’s (ISIS) mindset was defeated in Kobanê and it will be defeated around the world...We will stop femicide with our struggle. We succeeded in this in Kobanê and we will continue to succeed.” Gültan referenced the writings of the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Öcalan, who made women’s liberation central to his thinking. Mr. Öcalan directed us to struggle against femicide, against men. Greetings from here to Mr. Abdullah Öcalan. I bow in respect before all women revolutionaries.” A JINHA report on September 15 from Trabzon quoted a woman at funeral of a police officer killed in the recent fighting as saying that people in Turkey do not want to become police officers, but have no choice. “Teachers who aren’t given a job have to go and become police. Then we get the news that they’re martyred. It cuts us to the quick. We don’t want to see anyone from the AK Party here.”

If increasing left unity and a continuing struggle for self-governance and relatively high representation from women help the HDP, it also seems to us that the HDP orienting towards winning positions in Aydın, Elazığ, Muğla and Hatay creates certain pressures by putting the HDP in the position of more directly challenging both the ruling reactionary Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the liberal/social-democratic Republican Peoples' Party (CHP). The AKP is clearly losing overall support but still managed a slight upward bump in the polls last week with mixed, rather than absolutely terrible, economic news. The CHP meanwhile seems to be gaining. There is much speculation over how the government's war on the Kurds in North Kurdistan will affect voters, and all parties have instinctively tried to position themselves against terrorism and lead demonstrations opposing terrorism, but anti-terrorism no longer belongs solely to the AKP and the nationalist CHP can't resolve the Kurdish question on their own. Moreover, capitalist forces in and around the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association's (TÜSİAD) clearly want a coalition government of some kind. The AKP is left with carrying out its war efforts, attempting to recruit something like 5000 village guards as part of the repressive apparatus, continuing its most repressive policies, building short-term conspicuous consumption and arguing that only a strong presidential system and one-party rule can save the country. The AKP is going into the most difficult part of the election with a divided party. For once, or for now, the CHP is relatively united.

Still, there is persistent talk that the elections may be cancelled and that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is the now the HDP's real enemy and does not want the HDP to win on November 1. Garo Paylan, the popular Armenian-Turkish HDP representative from İstanbul, recently told Zaman that "The biggest risk is not to have elections. If we hadn't had the election, the de facto coup of Erdoğan would have become solid and we would have lost all democratic ground. It could be even possible to have what happened in Egypt here...I am a member of the HDP's Central Decision and Administration Board and I have never felt such hegemony by the PKK. Yes, we both deal with a similar sociological base, but we are never equals. The HDP's only goal is peace and this will make it easy for freedoms to come. The HDP and PKK can be critical of each other, and they have to listen to each other in order to solve problems. It is the warring sides that need to agree on peace and leave behind their arms. After that, it is Parliament and democratic politics that can secure peace by protective measures. That's why we are in the HDP; we engage in civilian, democratic politics."

For his part, PKK Executive Council Member Murat Karayılan recently told ANF that "Many valuable individuals and circles are now calling for a ceasefire, and most recently representatives of HDP have issued more striking calls. We value all these calls and support their essence. Yet, those making these calls should also see that the Turkish side is every day pledging to 'keep the operations going until the last terrorist lays down arms,' which manifests a very harsh, warmongering attitude and an intention to continue with intense attack. We are using our right to retaliation against these attacks. This is a resistance of defense against violent attacks that aim an annihilation, and which inevitably faces defense-a must for existence and living. An opposite case would be a surrender which doesn't comply with humanity and the cause of freedom at all. A ceasefire can only be realized by a view of this reality. Qandil hears all the calls but a mutual attitude is needed for a ceasefire. Past practices proved us that one-sided ceasefires can accomplish no result...If this war continues like this, there can be no election. Both we and the AKP know this. AKP is continuously conducting polls. If it notices a future failure, it might use this ongoing conflict as a reason for a postponement of the election. This is why it will want to keep the war going. In the same way, it might again want to continue the war in the event of seeing an accomplishment of the current warfare circumstances. In other words, AKP intends to keep this war going till November 1 and will not stop it, even if we do so. It might abandon this idea if both national and international circles and civil society organizations adopt a stance against the mindset of receiving votes through this war. It does otherwise not seem much likely that AKP will stop this war before the election. This war is actually pursued on this very basis. The other issues are just a means to cover this truth up. This is the reason why the mainstream, i.e. pro-AKP media publishes exaggerated reports every day and gives headlines that target and provoke the people, and are entirely based on lies."

We can see from these contrasting statements that the HDP wants the elections to go forward and that the PKK and the HDP are not enemies. Perhaps more to the point for people in Turkey, these contrasting opinions show that Turkish President Erdoğan and his AKP are attempting to mislead people by continually arguing that the PKK controls the HDP.

This is, as we say, a thumbnail sketch of things. Let's look at the war underway in Turkey and North Kurdistan.

The war

* Rojava's heroic People's Defense Units (YPG) General Command has released a statement refuting claims that “members of the YPG who were trained by the United States of America in Rojava, Syria, have been fighting in Turkey and cities of north Kurdistan.” The YPG statement also says that "These reports published by Turkish media are totally incorrect and fabricated, they aim to cause damage to democratic improvements achieved in Rojava and destabilize military cooperation between the Defense Units and the Anti-ISIS International Coalition, the same partnership that has reached a very advanced level and endures a strong and effective contribution to the fight against terrorism in the region.”

* Police forces attacked young people who took to the streets in the Bağlar district of Diyarbakır to protest the total warfare concept put into effect by the interim AKP government. Clashes in the district lasted late into the night as protesters carried out self-defense tactics against the police attack. One young person was hit and critically wounded by three bullets fired by police.

* Yesterday Turkish police raided a women’s center and health center in Diyarbakır at dawn. They hit the local government-supported Kardelen Women’s Center and Women and Children’s Health Center by breaking down the doors, destroying medical supplies and violently pinning a Center worker to the ground.

* Violent weekend police raids were reported in the Kemaliye, Kemertaş, Sanayi, İstasyon, Adnan Menderes, Kıner and Uzunağaç neighborhoods of the Ergani district of Amed, the Karahasan and Kürtük neighborhoods of the Lice district of Amed and the Seyhan district of Adana.

* A report by the People’s Defense Forces (HPG) Press Office issued yesterday said that Turkish jets shelled the Pırbıla, Martyr Kurtay and Bektorya areas of Heftanin in the guerrilla-held Medya Defense Zones, while aerial activities by Turkish aircraft over guerrilla-held areas also continues. Turkish troops have continued shelling the guerrilla-held areas with mortars and tanks.

The HPG reported Turkish warplanes over the Qandil region on September 19 and the Avashin area at on September 18 and Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles flying over the Avashin area the Garê area, the Heftanin area and the Zap region on September 18. Turkish jets shelled the Pırbıla, Martyr Kurtay and Bektorya areas in Heftanin on September 18 and started fires on lands held by local people there. Bombings were also directed at many areas within the the Medya Defense Zones on September 18.

* An ANF report issued yesterday said that 83 people who acted as human shields in Batman have been detained and 10 people were remanded in custody in Urfa. All of those seized by security forces were acting as human shields for peace in actions intended to hinder clashes and casualties. Among those taking part in these actions were Batman Municipality co-chairs Sabri Özdemir and Gülistan Akel, Batman Party of Democratic Regions (DBP) branch co-chairs Mehmet Candemir and Songül Korkmaz, HDP Batman branch chairs Bari Karaağaç and Rojda Sürücü.  also joined the crowd in the action to hinder probable clashes and casualties. DIHA reporter Engin Eren was one of those detained by soldiers. Ten of the people who were detained in the Viranşehir district of Urfa have been charged with being members of an illegal organization and have been sent to the Urfa E Type closed Prison.

* Special operation police teams conducted raids in several houses in Varto district of Muş and detained HDP district branch co-chair Halide Aktay and two other.

* On Friday it was announced that HPG (People's Defense Forces) guerrillas blocked the road between Dersim and Erzincan in Zağge area and detained a Turkish sergeant there.

This brief report covers some of the struggle taking place in North Kurdistan over the last 48 hours.

Rojava (West Kurdistan)

* The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) has sent a message to Rojava's Democratic Union Party (PYD) saying that building of a democratic Syria can only be ensured by the power of Rojava's Revolution, which will determine the new balance in forces in the Middle East. The KCK statement also pointed out that the forces fighting against the democratization of Syria have tried to overwhelm Rojava's Revolution through the ISIS gangs.

The KCK upheld the concepts of self-defense, democracy and a free life and said, “Leaving oneself defenseless with expectations from others counts to defeat. A protection of the existing gains cannot be made possible without developing resistance.”

The KCK statement also said, "The PYD must get organized very well by strengthening and extending its democratic system. It must ensure a strong organisation of all its cadres, workers and laborers under the umbrella of TEV-DEM.” TEV-DEM is the Democratic Society Movement.

The KCK said that Rojava's Revolution can become a model for the building of a democratic society and free individuals in the Middle East within a short period of time these points are reached. The KCK added that the PYD must further build its struggle on this basis. The KCK touched on the matter of migration from Rojava and said that the migration in question was being planned, encouraged and organized by capitalist forces. The KCK statement said, "Rojava's Revolution has the capacity to produce a solution to all kinds of matters, including economic problems. Without expecting an external support, it must be based on waging a struggle with its own gains, own means and power.”

* A PYD statement issued on the occasion of 12th anniversary of the party stressed that the PYD's primary goal is to create free and organized humanity and said that they will continue working for the common values of humanity and the fraternity of peoples. The statement saids, "For our party, which was founded on 20 September 2003, the Qamishlo uprising in March of 2004 became a great experience, in the wake of which dozens of our leading cadres fell as martyrs in the struggle we have waged, from Bavê Cudi and Şîlan Kobanê to Osman Silêman and Îsa Hiso." The PYD also stated that the primary goal of the party, which is based on the ideas and philosophy of imprisoned Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan, is to raise the free human beings needed for a democratic and organized society, people capable of defending their social human values and principles and making this decision on the basis of their free will and "self-power."

The PYD recalled that the party recognized and grounded itself on the Democratic Autonomy Project, stated by the PYD as the solution to all of the problems of the Middle East's peoples, at their third congress in 2007. "The struggle waged by Kurdish young people and people in Serêkaniyê, Kobanê, Hesekê and all across Rojava, has revealed the extent of the will and resistance of the Kurdish people, and proved to the whole world that they could defend the values of humanity and fraternity of peoples. This experience became an example for the democratic Syria project for all the peoples living in Syria, and the Democratic Middle East Confederalism project for the peoples across the Middle East," the PYD said.

The PYD statement also said, "At the 12th foundation anniversary of our party, we state to our people that we will be the defenders of human values and dignity to the end, and continue working for the fraternity of peoples on the basis of democratic nation.”

* Members of the women-only communes in Rojava's Efrîn Canton recently completed an ideological training program organized in memory of Ekîn Wan, who was murdered and whose body was stripped and displayed by Turkish police on a street in North Kurdistan. Twenty-six members of the communes attended a 15-day training program at the Center Education and Science for Women. Bêrîvan Zîlan, who is a member of Yekîtiya Star, the umbrella organization of all women institutions there, gave a speech at the center and said that women, before everything else, must gain competency in ideology and work for a democratic and moral society.

* It is clear that US strategy in the region struggles with certain on-going contradictions. Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Rider has said that Syrian Kurds have hampered ISIS attempts on the border with Iraq and have also helped Iraqi forces in their war against ISIS. He said that the US will support and help  Kurdish forces by equipping and training them and also said that Kurdish forces who defended Kobani against ISIS have been receiving support from the US over the past year. He gave credit to Kurds for liberating 17,000 square kilometers from ISIS and liberating Kobani and Tel Abyad and he stressed that these will stabilize and empower forces in Iraq.

On the other hand, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee has said that US soldiers have arrived at a camp in the Kurdistan Region in preparation for an assault  Mosul. Nayef al-Shammari said that 90 troops arrived at the base in Makhmur, southwest of Erbil, and also said that the “Iraqi government and Mosul town council will decide whether they join the Mosul operation or not.”

Meanwhile, a leading member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has said that the presence of the US forces in Makhmor is not news and that the forces have been in the region for more than a year. Reshad Galali denied the forces are there to participate in the operation to liberate Mosul and said that they are in the Kurdish region to train Peshmerga and other Iraqi forces.

How does this relate to Rojava's revolution?

First, both the Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) took part in the PYD congress. We have mentioned recently on this blog that talks have been held between Rojava's leadership and the Barzani ruling clique in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG, or so-called "Iraqi-Kurdistan") region. Talks have also been held between progressive forces from North Kurdistan and Turkey with the PUK. Barzani and his government, limited as they are in the current situation, have some power and are often favored by the US. The US clearly orchestrated the talks between Rojava's leadership and the Barzani government.

Second, the US may well want to use Rojava's heroic People’s Protection Units (YPG) to protect Free Syrian Army forces and is now struggling internally over how this might work and best benefit US interests. The Kurdistan Democratic Party in Syria (KDP-S) wants KRG President  Barzani to send Kurdish Peshmerga forces to Rojava. Barzani supports the Kurdistan National Council (KNC) and KDP-S, but the US will have a tough time supporting these forces and the YPG or getting cooperation from all forces. Behind this 8s the question of how united or divided Syria might be in the future. If it seems as if the PYD is being pressured, it is also true that Rojava's revolution has remarkable resiliency.

PYD co-president Salih Muslim has said that the return of Peshmerga forces to Rojava in order to fight ISIS and the Syrian regime “will cause violence and destruction.” He told PYD media that "The Rojava Peshmerga only belong to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and some of them are former Syrian soldiers who were trained in Başûrê (Iraqi Kurdistan) and receive salaries...Without salaries they won’t fight. They don’t have any connection to Rojava and they are only KDP Peshmerga...There is no possibility the Peshmerga will be allowed in Rojava, as Turkey wants them here.” He also said that Rojava wants a stronger relationship with the Kurdish parties in the KRG and said that they receive some aid from the KRG.

The Kurdish National Council (KNC) refuses to recognize the PYD-led administrations in Rojava's Afrin, Kobani and Cizere cantons and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria KDP-S) withdrew from Afrin's elections last week in a conflict with the administration and TEV-DEM (Democratic Society Movement) there. KRG President Masoud Barzani and the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria met after this and issued a joint call for unity against ISIS in an attempt to hold what support they have. The PUK and the Gorran Movement in the KRG territory have led the opposition to Barzani and recently proposed a new state structure for the KRG which Barzani and his party were lukewarm to. Barzani would no doubt like another term in office but is not officially telling the opposition so. At this point, the PUK is the party in the KRG region best prepared to support Rojava's revolution and progressive forces in North Kurdistan.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported that dozens of vehicles carrying fighters, weapons and ammunition crossed the Bab al-Salama border from Turkey into Syria on Friday in order to join the US-backed Division 30 units and the Suqur al-Jabal group. They were trained and armed under the $500 million US program which sent 60 fighters to join the fight against ISIS and al-Nusra. ISIS or al-Nusra  kidnapped or killed at least twelve of the US-trained fighters deployed with Division 30.

We have previously described these US operations as "contra operations." We made a mistake when doing so. This is not to say that the US role in Syria is progressive or is dictated by something other than immediate perceived self-interest. In fact, the US role in Syria and US relations with Rojava, and with Kurds generally, shows a divide among the imperialist powers and divisions within the US government as well. The liberation movement derives some benefit from these divisions at present but this is nothing to count on and the liberation mo0vement knows that.

Letter from Abdalla Kurdi, father of Alan Kurdi

Our friends at the Peace in Kurdistan website ran the following letter earlier this week. It seems important to us because it speaks in very human terms about what is taking place in Syria and has the potential to move at least some people in the US into action. The letter was published as another body of a refugee child washed up on Turkey's shores. We have decided not to run the photograph of Alan Kurdi for reasons stated on thi blog in other posts. Refugees will continue to push northward and suffer, and more bodies will wash up on beaches, so long as ISIS advances and the imperialist powers divide Syria and attempt to sideline the peoples' liberation movements.

The image of 3-year old Alan Kurdi’s small body on a beach in Turkey quickly became emblematic of the current refugee crisis. Today, we received this letter written by Alan’s father, Abdalla, and Anwar Muslim, which he wrote from Kobane where he has returned.

Letter from Abdalla Kurdi, father of Alan Kurdi

Dear friends,

There is very good information about the situation in Syria and more generally in the Near East.  The region is involved in a local and international power struggle. Our Syrian homeland has become a focus of this struggle, in which there is now neither security nor economic stability. This is the reason that people have packed up, leaving the country of their fathers and grandfathers for other countries, in hope of finding security and a humane life.

The victims of such a power struggles is always the civilian population. For reasons both of political and economy security, I like so many blameless others have thus been forced to leave my homeland. I initially fled to another area of Syria and from there abroad, where I became the victim of smugglers and people traffickers, those who profit from other people’s unfortunate fates. The price was too high. I have lost my wife and both of my children. And yet my tragedy is not the first and will not be the last. It is likely that hundreds of families have been extinguished in the same way.

I am now back in the land of my ancestors, and will remain here with the graves of my children and my wife. This earth is soaked in the blood of martyrs who have defended Kobane. I am writing this letter together with a representative of the democratic self-organisation of Kobane founded by those who have defended this city against the humanity’s enemies. Before the eyes of the world, in the 21st century, people have been slaughtered, and women and girls dragged away.

Dear friends, I do not want anyone from this region, whether Kurd, Arab, Assyrian or Armenian, to go through what I have gone though. And yet, historically, these people have gone through far worse than I have. Who among them does not remember the genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Jews in the twentieth century? An important step on the road away from an ideology which opposes the value of humanity, is that we live together in collective self-administration, in democracy and in brotherhood.

I am sending this letter from Kobane, the city which has lived through war for four years. It was and still is a target of ISIS and other groups such as the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham. Eighty per cent of the buildings, institutions and infrastructure have been raised to the ground, not only in Kobane but also in the surrounding villages and provinces. There is no longer any standard of life, only the will of the population, bound to the earth of their fathers and grandfathers. Resistance, however, does not fill bellies, nor heal the injured, and the children can no longer go to school. We want to live in freedom in our homeland, upon our earth. Please, help us!

Many thanks that your governments have taken in thousands of refugees. That is a great act of humanity – but is it a permanent solution, ladies and gentlemen? We love our homeland, as you love your country. We would not emigrate and leave our homeland, if it were not that terrorist violence has forced us to do so. Only the democratic self-administration and our institutions, such as the YPG (People’s Protection Units), protect us and try to support us in carrying out the daily necessities of life. We beg of you to recognise such self-administration as part of Syria’s future, and to build a new, free society with it. It would be of great help to me and my people, as well as other ethnic groups who live in this self-organisation. In this way we can contribute to the ending of the human tragedy in my homeland.

I am grateful also for your sympathy for my fate. This has given me the feeling that I am not alone. An essential step in ending this tragedy and avoiding its recurrence, is support for our self-organisation.

Along with our democratic self-adminsitration, I send my greetings and thank you for your attention.

Abdalla Kurdi, father of Alan Kurdi
Anwar Muslim, Representative of the democratic self-organisation

Kobane, 12.09.2015

What really happened in Cize September 4-12

We have posted a great deal here about Cizre and the struggle there. Unfortunately, Cizre has not made it into most mainstream media in the US. A courageous group of good people in the Bay Area recently did an action there to raise public awareness and we hope that such efforts will continue. Please check out the Bay Area Light Brigade on Facebook and support them. The report below came out 4 days ago and first appeared in English on the excellent ANF news service site. ANF is under attack for doing this kind of work and also deserves strong support from people in the US. IT is one good thing to support foreign journalists arrested in Turkey, but it is at least equally important to support forces there directly. The report gives some needed background for solidarity activists. We have not edited the report.

Human rights organizations have released a report they prepared following a scene-examination in Cizre district of Şırnak. The report reveals that state forces deliberately targeted and shot civilians dead, violated their right to health and denied them access to treatment.

IHD (Human Rights Association), TIHV (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey) Amed Branch, Amed Chamber of Medicine and General Practice Association (PHD) Amed Branch visited the town for an examination of the state terror between 4 and 12 September.

Releasing the report at a press conference in Amed, IHD General Vice President and Amed Branch Co-Chair Raci Bilici recalled that they were denied access to the town despite all their efforts during the course of the curfew and were able to enter the town only after the lifting of the curfew.

'ISOLATION MUST END, TALKS MUST BE RECOMMENCED'

Bilici said they faced a terrifying scene during their examination as they talked to the families of slain civilians, witnesses and health personnel in the town.

Calling attention to the urgency of ending the conflict environment, Bilici urged the removal of the aggrevated isolation on Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and return to the table of negotiations.

'CIVILIANS WERE DELIBERATELY TARGETED'

Speaking after, TIHV Representative Barış Yavuz underlined that state forces deliberately targeted and shot civilians, while also denying those wounded access to hospital. Remarking that the inhabitants of the town were also cut off from the outside world as electiricty, water and mobile phone services were all suspended, Yavuz noted that the houses and workplaces of the people were also targeted by attacks and demolished.

FINDINGS

Some of the findings highlighted in the report are as follows;

* The examining delegation reached the conclusion that operations by state forces in civilian settlements took no account of the civilians' security of life and property, resorted to use of excessive force and perpetrated heavy violations of human rights. During the eight days of curfew, a total of 22 citizens lost their life, mainly as a result of armed fire and denial of access to urgent treatment service.
* State's security forces participating in operations deliberately targeted civilians with armed fire and hindered the access of emergency service staff to neighborhoods.
* Those denied access to medical service were treated by locals in houses amid a lack of hygiene and medicine, as a result of which many of those wounded didn't respond to treatment and died, while some others lost their lives at the scene where they were shot. Even after the ending of the curfew, wounded civilians abstained from visiting hospitals due to ecurity of life, and continued receiving treatment in their houses.
* During the operations, houses and workplaces of many citizens were damaged, while many others were forced to leave home and the town due to a lack of security of life and property.
* Due to a lack of any assessment after the curfew and operations that were supposedly conducted for the 'capture of organisation members', it has been concluded that the operation was in fact conducted in the form of an attack, intimidation, threat and deterrence against the people.
* The incidents have also caused a critical psychic trauma for the children.
* Our delegation concluded that the uncollected garbage in streets and neighborhoods could lead up to serious health problems.

DEMANDS

The report listed the following demands in the wake of the recent incidents in the town;
* Regardless of the cause and manner of the incidents, our delegation condemns the attacks that targeted civilians and resulted in heavy violations of human rights, the right to life in the first place, also demanding an effective investigation to expose all the aspects of the incidents.
* Our delegation proposes launching of immediate judicial and administrative investigations regarding the practices of security forces that threatened civilians' security of life and property during and after the operation, and suspension from office of concerned personnel and superior authorities during the course of the investigations.
* In consideration of the serious damages inflicted on the houses and properties of civilians, which constitutes a violation of the Article 35 of the Constitution, the damages on the right of property must be covered immediately. Şırnak Governor's Office must form a damage and loss determination commission and cover the victimization suffered by civilians during the incidents.
* Considering the suspension of electricity, water and mobile network services during the operations as a restriction and violation of rights, our delegation demands an immediate exposure as to which institution ordered these interruptions for which reason.

SAVE HASANKEYF AND THE IRAQI MARSHES!

We are posting the following for two related and important reasons. First, many of our friends in the US are not familiar with Hasankeyf and the on-going efforts to save it and the Iraqi Marshes from destruction. These efforts deserve international support and attention. If Hasankeyf and the Iraqi Marshes are destroyed by Turkish authorities a vital link to the past will be broken and great environmental damage will be done. It is fair to say that such destruction is also the goal of ISIS. If our links to the past are destroyed then the possibility of building a human future is limited and the people with the weapons will try to decide for us. Second, we try on this blog and in our related work to model internationalism and build solidarity across borders. World Hasankeyf Action Day and related international days of solidarity should be built in the US.

PRESS RELEASE: DEMONSTRATION AT UNESCO TO SAVE HASANKEYF AND THE IRAQI MARSHES – Monday, 21 September 21015 - 12-2pm at UNESCO, 3 WHITEHALL, LONDON.
 
 Sunday, 20 September 2015
 
 A demonstration is planned for 12 noon on Monday 21st September calling for UNESCO to list the town of Hasankeyf, in north Kurdistan, and the Iraqi Marshes as World Heritage Sites. The Ilisu dam, which Turkey is building in North Kurdistan (the part of Kurdistan within Turkey's borders), threatens to destroy these two unique places.
 
 The demonstration coincides with World Hasankeyf Action Day and will take place outside of the UNESCO office at 3 Whitehall, London. During the demonstration, we will deliver letters to key UNESCO staff to bring the urgent plight of Hasankeyf and the Iraqi marshes to their attention.
 
 The Ilisu dam is 90% complete and will displace 78,000 people, mostly Kurds, from the area. In total 199 villages and towns will be destroyed by the Ilisu Dam, including Hasankeyf. The Ilisu Dam is part of a series of 22 dams (the Southeastern Anatolia Project) that the Turkish state is building in North Kurdistan.
 
 The stunning 12,000 year old town of Hasankeyf, home to thousands of human-made caves, hundreds of medieval monuments and a rich-ecosystem, may be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world. Hasankeyf is set to vanish forever under a 121 square mile artificial lake if the Ilisu Dam is completed. That is why Kurdish andTurkish campaigners, as well as activists worldwide, are calling on UNESCO to certify the area a World Heritage Site.
 
 The dam will also destroy the unique ecosystem of the Iraqi Marshes. The water flow to Iraq will be cut by the dam, causing the marshes to dry out. The completed GAP Project will reduce water flow to Syria by 40% and Iraq by 80%.
 
 There has been a long-running campaign against the Ilisu Dam and its construction has previously been halted on several occasions.
 
 Officially the Ilisu Dam will provide hydroelectric power, but Kurdish organisations claim that the dam is being built to force Kurdish people out of the rural areas and force them into the cities.
 
 The Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive (ITKHA) says: “To date, more than half of the GAP has been implemented, but nothing has been improved for the regional people, rather they have had to bear the social and ecological costs while the industrial centres in West Turkey and big companies have the profit.”

The region where the Ilisu Dam is being built has a history of repression by the Turkish military. In the 1990's, whole villages were either burnt down by Turkish security forces or forcibly dispelled. Thousands of people were killed or disappeared. By the mid-1990's more than 3,000 villages had been wiped from the map.
 
 To coincide with World Hasankeyf Day, we will also travel to ICOMOS UK's office at 90 Cowcross Street, London, EC1 and deliver a letter to its staff. ICOMOS advises the World Heritage Committee of sites that should be designated as World Heritage Sites. We have also sent an "alert" to ICOMOS through their website, informing them of the urgent need to save Hasankeyf and the Iraqi Marshes. We have also posted letters to Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, in Paris, and to IUCN, another advisor to the World Heritage Committee, in Switzerland.
 
 Right now, there is a resistance camp at Hasankeyf, and activists are gathering there to march against the dam. Activists worldwide are demonstrating in different cities in solidarity with our friends in Kurdistan.
 
 Signed:
 
 Activists and organisations including:
 
 Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK
 Kurdish People’s Assembly
 Roj Women’s Group
 Kurdish Student Union
 Kurdish Community Centre Haringey
 Halkevi Community Centre
 Corporate Watch
 Corner House
 Brighton Kurdish Solidarity
 Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
 
 
 Notes for journalists:
 
 1. Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurdish people have been divided across the region’s redrawn national boundaries. The region known as Kurdistan now lies within the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria
 and Iran.
 2. The region within Turkey's borders is known as North Kurdistan.
 3. The region has recently seen large scale repression by the Turkish military and includes the city of Suruç, where a bomb recently killed 32 young people who were volunteering to help rebuild Kobane after it was destroyed by ISIS late last year. It also includes the city of Cizre, where a curfew is currently being maintained by the Turkish military and where civilians are being killed daily.
 
 
 Contact:
 07598 777 596 or 07544 589 734
 or email
kurdishsolidaritynetwork@riseup.net <mailto:kurdishsolidaritynetwork@riseup.net>
 or
estella24@tiscali.co.uk
 
 For more information, see the websites:
http://www.hasankeyfgirisimi.net/
https://corporatewatch.org/

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Women in Ankara were following the example of their comrades in Istanbul who staged a “Watch for Peace” demonstration in Kadikoy. Representatives from the women’s action in Istanbul joined those in Ankara for the peace march in solidarity with the Kurdish town of Cizre under siege by the Turkish police and military.--From sendika.org on September 13. 
A civil marriage contract in Rojava
 
Kurdish Christians in Rojava
 
The Turkish army attacked the historic Fatihpaşa Mosque in the Sur district of Amed/Diyarbakir
 
The funeral procession of Vedat Balik (18) who was killed by Turkish police