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الجمعة 21/08/2009
1. Kurdistan Region President, MPs and Speaker of Parliament sworn into office
2. Salih to become prime minister in northern Iraq
3. Maliki accepts Barham Saleh''s resignation over nomination for Kurdistan post Politics
4. MGK takes up democratization package
5. Foreign diplomats praise Kurdish initiative but say consensus necessary
6. DP and Motherland Party to support government's democratic move
7. AKP, CHP agree: more trouble if Kurdish move fails
8. Kurd names being restored to villages
9. Diyarbakır village renamed as part of Kurdish reforms
10. Arabs, Kurds Meet As Blasts Rock Baghdad
11. The humiliation of Dr. Sivan Perwer
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1. Kurdistan Region President, MPs and Speaker of Parliament sworn into office

KRG.org,
20 Aug. 2009

Erbil, Kurdistan – Iraq (KRG.org) – The Kurdistan Region President was sworn into office before an audience at the Erbil Convention Centre today, 20 August 2009.

The Third Kurdistan Parliament held its first session at the same ceremony, swearing in Members of Parliament and naming the Speaker.

Mr Masoud Barzani has become the first popularly elected President of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, winning nearly 70% of the total ballots. The Kurdistan Region's presidential and parliamentary elections were held on 25 July, with voter turnout of 78%.

After taking the oath, President Barzani addressed the audience. He said, “I would like to express my appreciation to the people of the Kurdistan Region. There were many different political lists competing in this election, but in the end the winners were the people of the Kurdistan Region. We have shown our bright future of democracy to the world.”

President of Iraq Mr Jalal Talabani praised the democratic nature of the elections, and said, “I would like to congratulate my brother, Masoud Barzani, and all of the Members of Parliament.”

Departing speaker, Mr Adnan Mufti, began the ceremony by outlining the achievements of the Second Kurdistan Parliament and the importance of building on lessons learned. He then closed the Second Kurdistan Parliament and invited Mr Sherwan Haidery, the oldest current parliamentarian, to chair the opening session of the Third Parliament.

Mr Haidary swore in Members of Parliament and then solicited suggestions from the political lists for the position of Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Secretary. Dr Kamal Kirkuki, former Deputy Speaker, was chosen as the new Speaker. Dr Aslan Bayez and Mr Fursat Abdullah were named Deputy Speaker and Secretary, respectively.

Dr Kirkuki, accepting the position, said, “We hope to build on our past success and to promote the democratic character of this Region.” He added, “Among the political parties, we have to work together honestly and faithfully, with determination, in the interests of the people of the Kurdistan Region.”
Vice-President of Iraq Mr Adel Abdul Mahdi sent a congratulatory letter to President Barzani and the people of the Kurdistan Region, hailing the election as transparent, commending the enthusiasm of citizens for the process, and wishing the best of luck to the newly elected MPs.

In addition, the Prime Minister of Iraq Mr Nouri al-Maliki, sent a high-level delegation to attend the ceremony.

The day before the ceremony, a series of bombings in Baghdad left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. Every speaker condemned the attacks strongly and expressed sorrow for the victims and their families.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Russia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Members of Iraq's federal Council of Ministers and Council of Representatives, and representatives from the Multi-National Force in Iraq, the United Nations, and the European Commission also attended the event.
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2. Salih to become prime minister in northern Iraq

21 August 2009,
TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES İSTANBUL

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki approved the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Berham Salih, who is expected to become the prime minister of the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq.
Noting that Salih will acquire the leadership of the regional administration, Iraqi government spokesperson Ali Debbagh said, “Maliki has congratulated Berham Salih for his staunch support of their joint work and said this work will establish a foundation to offer services to Iraqis.” Salih said in his resignation letter that his move from Baghdad to the North is an opportunity to serve the country better, and he expressed his hope that his appointment would help establish new action plans to deal with threats. Masoud Barzani won a landslide victory in the regional elections in northern Iraq on July 25, while the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) won the absolute majority in Parliament. According to the agreement between the two parties, the Prime Ministry will be given to the KDP. Therefore, the agreement suggests that Salih will be the prime minister. Salih will replace KDP member Nechirvan Barzani.
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3. Maliki accepts Barham Saleh''s resignation over nomination for Kurdistan post Politics

8/20/2009
BAGHDAD, Aug 20 (KUNA) -- The Iraqi Government announced on Thursday that the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh was given the approval of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.
Government Spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh said, "Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki accepted the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh who is now the nominee for the post of Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region." He added that Al-Maliki stressed his future relationship with Saleh "would be based on teamwork and aim to secure the best interest of the people of Iraq.
" Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Saadi Ahmad Bayra said the PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party renewed commitment in their last meeting to implement an agreement that Saleh lead the new regional government.
Political sources, from both parties, meanwhile said that Kurdistan Region President Messoud Barazani had actually tasked Saleh to form his government within a week's time.
Saleh is to head to Baghdad to present his resignation officially after today's Kurdistan parliament session and he is to hold talks on his cabinet formation.
It is still to be decided who is to take on Saleh's post in the federal government, but press leaks indicated there were signs the minister of water resources, Abdellatif Rashid, would most probably be tasked to serve in the post as acting. (end) mhg.wsa KUNA
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4. MGK takes up democratization package

21 August 2009,
TODAY'S ZAMAN İSTANBU

The government discussed its recent Kurdish initiative during yesterday's National Security Council (MGK) meeting.
Although the details of the meeting which started in the afternoon were not immediately available, sources say the Kurdish initiative was an important item as the generals have long been closely monitoring the contacts of Interior Minister Beşir Atalay, who has been meeting with representatives of civil society organizations and political parties to hear their suggestions on the matter.
Interior Ministry officials say Atalay prepared a summary to brief the MGK on his activities, indicating that the democratization package will come up during the meeting.
Yesterday's MGK meeting was chaired by President Abdullah Gül. The Kurdish initiative, which will be based on expanding individual freedoms of Kurds, is currently in the making as a solid to-do list, but reforms such as restoring place names that were changed during the early republican era to their Kurdish originals and allowing the increased use of Kurdish in the public sphere will be included in the reform list. The generals are expected to express their views on the democratization package during the meeting.
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5. Foreign diplomats praise Kurdish initiative but say consensus necessary

August 20, 2009
DÖNDÜ SARIIŞIK
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

The international stage is the best environment for Turkey to deal with its decades-old Kurdish issue, senior experts and diplomatic sources have maintained, in line with President Abdullah Gül’s description of the situation.
“The move [to deal with Kurdish militancy] is a positive process in line with international norms,” Associate Professor İhsan Bal, an expert on terrorism and international relations at the Ankara-based International Strategic Studies Institute, said in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday.
Bal pointed out the changing balance between Turkey and its closest ally, the United States, saying: “Turkey has been trying to convince the U.S. administration to maintain the unity of Iraq since 2003. The U.S. has finally gotten closer to Turkey’s thesis and has been taking steps against the [outlawed Kurdistan People’s Party] PKK since 2007. Some speculate that there is a U.S. plan for Iraq and that the government is acting accordingly. I think the reality is the absolute contrary. The U.S. sees Turkey as a regional power and needs to act in cooperation."
The opposition parties strongly reacted to the process on the grounds that the government’s plan was originally designed in the United States and that the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government was merely an executor of the plan.
Another factor Bal drew attention to was the situation in northern Iraq where Turkey could play an influential role in diffusing potential tension between Arabs and Kurds following the withdrawal of U.S. troops. "It makes it difficult for the PKK to use northern Iraq as a launch pad for terror attacks" he said.
The European Union will give its support and criticize the PKK as long as democracy efforts are deepened and become part of daily life, Bal said, in reference to EU officials who warned the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, to put distance between itself and the PKK. "The operations to wipe out the financial sources of the terror organization are underway and it is a meaningful support. Of course it is not found satisfactory but better than it was in the past," he pointed out.
Turkey has become an energy hub because it is seen as the most secure route between many supplier and buyer countries, he added. "Each new agreement increases its power. Remember the recent visits paid by Russian, Qatari and Azerbaijani leaders? The Iraqi administration, especially Iraqi Kurds, want to market their energy to the West. All these developments change the balances in Turkey’s favor."
A strategist from SETA – a foundation for political, economic and social research – Bülent Aras advocated the Kurdish initiative completely fell in line with international norms. “An encouraging statement came from the EU saying the move is being followed with approval. The compromise between Turkey and the U.S. is based on two elements: the fight against armed PKK militias and a radical political solution to the Kurdish quest at home. The EU vision is the same. There was a similar note when Prime Minister Erdoğan inked a strategic cooperation agreement. Similar expectations were voiced at the Iraq’s Neighbouring Countries Summit in Istanbul," he said.
"There is strong support from the international community for a permanent solution. Multidimensional moves, common interests and giant projects like Nabucco make regional stability necessary,” Aras said.
National consensus a must
Foreign diplomats in Ankara note Turkey’s internal debates and each move toward democracy is being closely followed because of its increasing role on the global stage. Evaluating the government’s “Kurdish move” for the Daily News, diplomatic sources said a permanent solution was the most desirable result since the Kurdish issue has been shadowing Turkey-EU relations. The sources said the country’s image would be restored as long as more concrete steps were taken and noted that stability here was vital for multinational projects such as the Nabucco gas pipeline.
However, tension between the opposition parties and the government worry the diplomatic circles well. A national consensus is imperative, they expressed. Both DTP and conservatives should avoid any statement that may destroy the whole process, one diplomat said on the condition of anonymity.
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6. DP and Motherland Party to support government's democratic move

20 August 2009, Thursday
EMRE SONCAN ANKARA

While in the process of merger, the Democrat Party (DP) and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) have granted their support to the democratic initiative kicked off by the government.
Delivering a joint statement on behalf of both parties, DP Chairman Hüsamettin Cindoruk said, “We are ready to sincerely contribute to stopping the bloodshed and ending the 25 years of divisive terrorism to maintain lasting peace and societal compromise.”
Cindoruk said they are presenting a more commonsense attitude than other opposition parties, which are trying to avoid meeting with the government. Noting that they want full and consolidated democracy for Turkey, Cindoruk stated, “We sincerely support all the necessary constitutional and democratic legislation granting more individual democratic rights and liberties and removing regional underdevelopment, and we think all these steps should be decisively addressed without further ado.” In evaluating the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) stance regarding its Kurdish initiative, Cindoruk hinted that the AK Party should consult more with other state institutions rather than drawing up a plan only from within the AK Party.
==========
7. AKP, CHP agree: more trouble if Kurdish move fails

Thursday, August 20, 2009
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

It would be a risk to retreat on the government’s Kurdish move, according to ruling and opposition parties.
Falling into disagreement on most of the country’s political agenda items, the ruling and opposition parties agree that if the Kurdish move fails, then it is certain to cause more trouble for Turkey.
Onur Öymen, deputy leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and Ömer Çelik, of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Adana deputy and political adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said it would be a risk to retreat on the government’s Kurdish move, which aims to resolve the Kurdish issue.
“If the government can’t conclude its Kurdish initiative as a result of its consultations with different segments of the society and if you can’t end the terror problem, then you lose the game,” said Öymen, speaking at a press conference at the CHP headquarters on Wednesday.
“I especially wanted to point out the fact that if you say, ‘We held talks, we did our best but we couldn’t get a result from it,’ then your situation in the future will become worse than today.”
Öymen said if the government launches a campaign, then it must end terror problems in the country and take a result from it. “Otherwise, you lose your determination to combat terror,” Öymen said.
Echoing Öymen’s remarks, Çelik said it would be a risk to take a step backward in the Kurdish initiative. “That would harm us if we retreat on the Kurdish move,” Çelik said, speaking to daily Akşam on Thursday.
‘Kurdish move will develop Turkey’
In response to the opposition MHP and CHP’s concerns that the move was likely to divide the country, Çelik said the concerns could be beneficial if they remained at a certain healthy level. “Such concern doesn’t only exist within the CHP and MHP but it exists in our party as well. There is always a concern but the concern shouldn’t sabotage the respect,” he said.
In response to the question of whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a similar concern, Çelik said he didn’t have any concern on the Kurdish move. “Because we know very well what we are doing. The move will not divide the country. On the contrary, Turkey will grow. This enlargement will not be a physical one. It is an enlargement in terms of power and perception.”
“Turkey exists in the political genetics of this geography. Turkey is the DNA the region,” Çelik said.
===========
8. Kurd names being restored to villages

Reuters
20 August, 2009

Ankara: Turkey has begun restoring names of Kurdish villages and is considering allowing religious sermons to be made in Kurdish as part of reforms to answer the grievances of the ethnic minority and advance its EU candidacy.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said his government will push democratic reforms to address decades-old grievances from the Kurdish population and help end a 25-year conflict between the state and separatist guerrillas. Erdogan, who has given few details on the measures and their timeframe, is seeking public, military and parliamentary support for his 'Kurdish initiative', aimed at persuading Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels to lay down arms and end an insurgency that has killed some 40,000 people.
The conflict has hampered Ankara's European Union membership bid and weighed on the local economy.

Analysts say some of the expected measures will require difficult legal and constitution reforms for which Erdogan needs broad consensus, but the main opposition parties have rejected a call for talks, arguing the process threatened Turkey's unity.
Turkey's estimated 12 million Kurds out of a population of 72 million have long complained of discrimination by the state.
Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party, which first came to power in 2002, has taken some steps to expand political and cultural rights for Kurds, partly under pressure from the EU.
Haberturk daily said the provincial council of Diyarbakir in the mainly Kurdish southeast had restored the old Kurdish name to a hamlet and the state-appointed provincial governor had not objected.
The governor had challenged similar moves by the council in court in the past
============
9. Diyarbakır village renamed as part of Kurdish reforms

21 August 2009, Friday
TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH REUTERS ANKARA

Turkey has begun restoring the names of Kurdish villages and is considering allowing religious sermons to be made in Kurdish as part of reforms to answer the grievances of its Kurdish citizens amidst its quest to advance its European Union candidacy.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his government will push democratic reforms to address decades-old grievances from the Kurdish population and help end a 25-year conflict between the state and the ethnic group. Erdoğan, who has given few details of the measures and their timeframe, is seeking public, military and parliamentary support for his "Kurdish initiative," aimed at persuading Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists to lay down arms and end an insurgency that has killed some 40,000 people. The conflict has long hampered Ankara's EU membership bid and weighed on the local economy. Analysts say some of the expected measures will require difficult legal and constitution reforms for which Erdoğan needs broad consensus, but the main opposition parties have rejected a call for talks, arguing the process threatens Turkey's unity. Turkey's estimated 12 million Kurds -- out of a population of 72 million -- have long complained of discrimination by the state.
Erdoğan's Islamic-rooted AK Party, which first came to power in 2002, has taken steps to expand political and cultural rights for Kurds, partly under pressure from the EU.
The Turkish press reported yesterday that the provincial council of Diyarbakır in the mainly Kurdish Southeast had restored the old Kurdish name to a hamlet and that the state-appointed provincial governor had not objected. The governor had challenged similar moves by the council in court in the past.
‘Positive development’
Villagers had applied to the council for it to accept the name Celkaniya for their settlement in place of the Turkish name Kırkpınar. The council is dominated by the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP). "This is a very positive development. We are still in shock. The government's democratic initiative project is bearing fruit for the first time in Diyarbakır," the paper quoted council chairman Şehmus Bayhan, of the DTP, as saying.
More than 12,000 village names, some 35 percent of the total, were changed in Turkey between 1940 and 2000 under a "Turkification" drive.
The name change initiative, dating back to the Ottoman era before World War I, was also designed to give Turkish names to places with Armenian, Greek and Bulgarian names.
In the meantime, Interior Minister Beşir Atalay, who has been having talks with political parties, business groups and Turkey's generals on the "Kurdish initiative," said he would discuss with the country's religious authorities the possibility of sermons being made in Kurdish. Under the plan, sermons in the main cities in the Southeast would remain in Turkish, but in villages where the population is completely Kurdish, preachers would be allowed to choose whether to conduct sermons in Turkish or Kurdish.
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10. Arabs, Kurds Meet As Blasts Rock Baghdad

8-20-2009

ARBIL, Iraq (UPI) -- Arab and Kurdish leaders agreed to form a panel to discuss security issues in the northern provinces as the death toll mounts from attacks Wednesday in Baghdad.
Arab and Kurdish officials agreed to suggestions offered by the U.S. military to form a joint committee to find a political solution to violence and lingering tensions in Ninawa, Kirkuk and Diyala provinces.
U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq, called for the multilateral panel in an effort to find a political solution to Arab and Kurdish issues.
"The agreement is a good step as it will contribute in maintaining security through the joint coordination between the three parties," Fouad Hussein, the chief of staff to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, said in statements to the Voices of Iraq news agency.
He went on to deny allegations that a U.S. congressional delegation led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., sent to the region was meant to put pressure on Kurdish officials to concede their issues on the so-called disputed territories, a region north of a line from Sinjar near Syria to Khanaqin in Diyala province.
U.S. military strategists worry Arab-Kurdish tensions could lead to conflict if left unresolved. Odierno said he would consider moving his forces into the so-called disputed territories in an effort to provide a buffer to regional tensions.
Meanwhile, police officials say a series of coordinated blasts rocked Baghdad around 10 a.m. local time, killing as many as 100 people.
The attacks targeted government buildings near the fortified Green Zone, with a truck bomb detonating near the building housing the Foreign Ministry in some of the worst attacks in Iraq in years.
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11. The humiliation of Dr. Sivan Perwer

KurdishMedia.com
By Minhaj Akreyi
20/08/2009

Dr. Sivan Perwer escaped from Turkish government to Europe in 1976 due to criminal and treason charges against him. These charges would have carried a high possibility of death penalty if he had remained in North Kurdistan, or Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. He was accused of treason because he sang in the Kurdish language which was at the time a forbidden language. At the time it was prohibited to speak, read, write, learn or teach the Kurdish language anywhere in Turkey. Since he has been living in exile in Europe, he has recorded hundreds of songs with over 30 albums, performed in countless concerts for peace throughout the world, has recorded songs with Peter Gabriel, Sting, Paul Simon, Tom Jones, Gypsy Kings, as well as other international artists.
Recently Dr. Perwer and his friends went to Canada to perform for the thousands of the Kurds residing there. While they were on their way to perform a concert for over 3,000 fans the Canadian police had sealed off both sides of the highway and several dozens of police block at the scene to stop Dr. Perwer’s vehicle. They stopped his vehicle because they thought he and his entourage were possible terrorists based on an erroneous tip. Dr. Perwer was asked to get out of the vehicle with his hands up and to walk backwards towards the police while guns and shotguns were aimed directly at him. As soon as Dr. Perwer reaches the police walking backward with his hands up, a policeman from behind drags him down and throws him on the ground with Dr. Power’s face smashed on the floor, while the policeman’s knee is stabbed in his ribs.
The Turkish government is considered to be the only democratic country in the Middle East, yet ironically it has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Turkey’s version of democracy consists of one race and one religion; the Turkish race and the Islamic faith. Turkey refuses to acknowledge the existence of minorities such the Kurds and choose to refer to the Kurds as mountain Turks. The foundation of Turkey was founded on the basis of genocide of the Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Christians, and other religious minorities. So, it would be no surprise if Dr. Perwer were to be arrested in Turkey but it is surprising for this issue to occur in Canada, which is a democratic country where human rights are supposed to be respected.
Dr. Perwer holds several honorary doctorates in music, has received International World Music prizes, and is the author of several books as well as many other publications. “It hurt our honour, it hurt a lot” said Dr. Perwer to CNews of Canada. “I have had trouble with Turkish police before but I did not know Canadian police were like this,” said Dr. Perwer when was tracked down by the Sun to his hotel. "We do recognize that these situations could be stressful to people involved, including the officers," OPP Inspector Dave Ross said. "But the officers were acting on information they got about a weapon in the vehicle and acted in the interest of public safety” (TheStar.com). The Ontario Provincial Police should formally apologize to Dr. Perwer and his entourage. It seems like there is no difference between the democracy practiced in Turkey whom still have not apologized for all of their crimes and genocide against peoples of other race and faith there and between democracy practiced in Canada whom have no plans to apologize for insulting innocent people such as a humanitarian like Sivan Perwer.
Amateur video of Dr. Perwer getting arrested:
The humiliation of Dr. Sivan Perwer
or
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpLdRouCKMk  
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