الرئيسية » English Articles » Kurds- Turkey crisis-latest news 27/2/2008

Kurds- Turkey crisis-latest news 27/2/2008

1. MP Sabhat Tuncel visits to the United States
2. Tensions Between U.S. And Turkey Over Length Of Military Operation; Cheney Cancels Visit To Turkey, Gates Arrives Today
3. Kurdish Demonstration at U.S. State Department
4. Kurdish-American communities demonstrate against Turkey’s aggression
5. Iran: Kurdish Teacher Tortured, Sentenced to Death
6. Kurdish community protest against discriminatory reporting and broadcasting
7. Kurdish Iraqi lawmakers authorize force
8. Turkey in Iraq: Menacing Civilians, Fraying Alliances, Exposing Hypocrisy
9. Gates to Tell Turks to Wrap Up Iraq Op
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1. Sabhat Tuncel visits to the United States

Fabruary 27, 2008

Congresswoman Sabhat Tuncel, a human rights activists, a Kurd and member of Turkey’s Parliament visits the United States between February 27th to March 6th, 2008. She is invited by Kurdish associations, student and human rights organizations to speak at different universities and institutions and discuss the relations between the US, Kurds and Turkey, Finding a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, democracy, women, and human rights in Turkey.

Sebahat Tuncel was elected to the Turkish Parliament in 2007, by 300 000 votes from Istanbul city. This is the highest number of votes any candidate has in parliamentary elections during the history of the republic of Turkey. Kurds and Turks have voted for her.

Tuncel is a well-known Kurdish, human and women’s rights advocate, she is engaged in intellectual endeavor and shares her experience with various non-governmental organizations including the UNDP and Amnesty International in addition to her parliamentary activities.

MP Tuncel was born in Malatya, eastern Turkey in 1975. She graduated from the Cartography and Land Surveying Department of Mersin University. Tuncel stepped into political life in 1998 via the Women’s Branch in the Party of People’s Democracy (HADEP) and assumed office as Esenler District Chairperson for two subsequent periods.

Tuncel is one of the founders of the Democratic Society Party (DTP). Prior to her election to the parliament she held the title of DTP Women’s Assembly Spokesperson. Tuncel is currently the Vice Co-chairperson and İstanbul Deputy of Democratic Society Party. DTP has 21 elected members in the Parliament of Turkey and 54 elected Kurdish mayors including the big city of Diyarbaki
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Program:
February 28th, 2008 (Thursday) at 5:00 pm: Lecture at Brown University, Providence, RI. Sponsored by New England Kurdish Association (NEKA)

As you all know a Kurdish Congresswoman will be coming to Brown University in Rhode Island on the 28th of February. We have changed the room of the lecture due to the capacity amount. The new room is called MacMillan Room 117, Brown University. We would like to invite all of you to attend this lecture on the 28th. MP Sebahat Tuncel will be giving a speech on the recent Kurdish issues. Her topic is based on “The Struggle for Democratic Rights and Liberties in Turkey, the Kurdish Perspective”. She will also discuss relations between USA, Turkey, and the Kurds.
After the Lecture there will be a banquet Party at a hall in Johnston about 10 minutes away from Brown University. Location: Entertainment Center, 200 George Waterman Ave
Johnston, RI 02919. Time : 8pm to 12 Minight. The Banquet is sponsored by NEKA. Free Dinner with the Congresswoman as well as Private Question and Answer period. We would also like to thank the Amnesty International Chapter for their cooperation and help in planning this event.
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February 29th, 2008 (Friday) at 6:00 PM: CUNY University, New York, NY. Sponsored by American Kurdish Association (AKA)

“The Condition of Struggle for Democratic Rights and Liberties in Turkey”

An Evening with Sebahat Tuncel
Kurdish member of the Turkish Parliament
Lecture followed by cocktail
Friday, February 29, 2008 at 6:00 PM
Graduate Center, University of New York

The process of democratization in Turkey is a deeply- rooted and ceaseless controversy. From the assassination of Hrant Dink, to recent military operations to Iraqi Kurdistan, rising attacks on Kurdish politicians and Turkey’s strategic role in American occupation in Iraq, various issues regarding the democratization of Turkey are also on the agenda of the US public and the world as well.
On February 29, 2008, Sebahat Tuncel will deliver a lecture at The Graduate Center; The City University of New York entitled “The Condition of Struggle for Democratic Rights and Liberties in Turkey” at 6.00 pm. In her talk, Sebahat Tuncel will focus on the conditions of struggle for democratic rights and liberties in Turkey.
Sebahat Tuncel was born in 1975. She graduated from the Mersin University. Tuncel stepped into political life in 1998 via the Women’s Branch in the Party of People’s Democracy (HADEP) and assumed office as Esenler District Chairperson for two subsequent periods.Tuncel is one of the founders of the Democratic Society Party (DTP). Prior to her election as Istanbul Deputy at the 2007 General Elections, she held the title of DTP Women’s Assembly Spokesperson. She is the youngest woman to serve in Turkish parliament and the first person in Turkish history to be elected to parliament from prison, where she was hold for her struggle for democratic rights and liberties in Turkey as a Kurdish woman. Tuncel is currently the Vice Co-chairperson and Istanbul Deputy of Democratic Society Party. As a well-known human and women’s rights advocate, she is engaged in intellectual endeavor and shares her experience with various non-governmental organizations including the UNDP and Amnesty International in addition to her parliamentary activities.
*This evening sponsored by Middle Eastern Student Association (MESO)
*Cocktail sponsored by American Kurdish Association (AKA)
Location: The Robert E. Gilleece Student Lounge, 5414
The Graduate Center, the City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-430
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March 2nd, 2008 (Sunday): Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Sponsored by Forgotten Social Histories Community at John Hopkins University

MP Tuncel will be a Keynote speaker at a Conference organized by Forgotten Social Histories Community at John Hopkins University in Baltimore on Sunday, March 2nd.

Location:Arellano Theater, in Levering Hall, Homewood Campus, JHU, 3400, North Charles St, Baltimore. Johns Hopkins University.

Conference Program:
From 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Opening Comments, Social Histories Group
Presentation on IWD, Social Histories Group
Sebahat Tuncel (Keynote Speaker-deputy of Turkish Parliament)
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Meetings in DC from March 3rd to 6,
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2. Tensions Between U.S. And Turkey Over Length Of Military Operation; Cheney Cancels Visit To Turkey, Gates Arrives Today
February 28, 2008, Hurriyet, Turkey,

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney canceled his official visit to Turkey, which was due in March in a sign of rising tension between Ankara and Washington following Turkey’s ground operation against PKK. Cheney didn’t specify any reason for canceling his visit.

According to media reports the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who is scheduled to arrive in Ankara today, also contemplated canceling the visit but decided that holding talks in Ankara would be more productive. Gates said in India yesterday that they would like to see the operation end in a matter of days, and not months.

It is reported that Gates is also urging Turkey to establish a dialogue with the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq, as well as the government in Baghdad. He stated that military operations alone would not solve the problem and that economic and social initiatives were needed for the mostly Kurdish southeast of Turkey. He said that the U.S. provides intelligence to Turkey and would be willing to provide economic aid as well. Earlier, the U.S. had justified Turkey’s cross-border operation against the PKK in northern Iraq.

According to Hurriyet’s report Gates will arrive in Ankara with three requests: 1. For Turkish forces in Afghanistan to assume a more active role, including combat duty against terrorists in more dangerous areas; 2. For Turkey to agree to U.S. military’s withdrawal from Iraq to be conducted through Turkish territory, using not only Incirlik air base but also other Turkish air and sea ports; 3. For Turkey to agree to become the third leg [alongside Poland and Czech Republic] of the European missile-defense-shield that U.S. wants to build. According to Hurriyet’s report the project would include the building of an ‘X-band’ radar station in Turkey, close to the Iranian border.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, February 28, 2008

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3. Kurdish Demonstration at U.S. State Department



Friday February 29, 2009



A demonstration protesting the Turkish military aggression against Iraqi Kurdistan.



Date: Friday February 29, 2008

Time: 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

Where: Galvez Statue, outside U.S. Department of State

Why: To show your support for peace and diplomacy, and respect for the sovereignty of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

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4. Kurdish-American communities demonstrate against Turkey’s aggression

Kurdish Info 28.02.2008 This week, several Kurdish-American communities and supporters across the United States are expected to demonstrate again in several cities in response to the recent invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan by the Turkish military. Kurdish-American communities in each city have coordinated with one another to launch demonstrations during the same week in order to express a unified opposition to months of bombings by the Turkish military and the recent invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Kurdish-American communities have organized protests in several areas and demonstrations are expected to be carried out throughout the week in cities including Atlanta, GA, San Diego, CA, Dallas, TX, Nashville, TN, Phoenix, AZ, San Francisco, CA, Minnesota and Washington DC.

Demonstrations are focused around the recent military aggression by Turkey against the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Since December, the Turkish military has engaged in extensive aerial attacks against the region, which have resulted in the destruction of villages, bridges and other infrastructure, and the killing and wounding of countless civilians under the pretext of fighting Kurdish rebels. The Kurdish-American communities are demanding an end to the United States’ support for the Turkish military and are requesting the U.S. government to issue a clear condemnation of the military incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan, which is a threat to the stability and peace of the region.

The demonstrations will highlight the importance of belief that a political and peaceful solution is the only viable solution to the conflict, and that the peace offerings and Kurdish rebel ceasefires negotiated and supported by members of the Iraqi government should be recognized as important developments to the progression of peace in the region.

Representatives in each of the cities are urging members of Kurdish and non-Kurdish communities in America to show their support for peace and join the demonstrations.

For more information, please use the following contact for each city:

Atlanta: araalan@gmail.com

San Diego: kurdincali@hotmail.com – Dallas: pesh20@gmail.com – Nashville: rqaradagh21@gmail.com – Phoenix: kycarizona@gmail.com – San Francisco: reliefaid@gmail.com – Minnesota: kurdish.youth.club@gmail.com – Washington DC: kurdish.youth.club@gmail.com
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5. Iran: Kurdish Teacher Tortured, Sentenced to Death

WASHINGTON, DC – February 27 -The Iranian judiciary should revoke the death sentence of Kurdish teacher Farzad Kamangar, Human Rights Watch said today. Kamangar was active in a number of civil society organizations.
The authorities should also investigate Kamangar’s allegations that he was tortured in detention, and they should hold accountable any officials involved in such abuse.
“Farzad Kamangar’s case highlights how human rights abuses have become routine in Iran,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Kamangar was tortured, subjected to unfair trial and now faces execution.”
On February 25, Branch 30 of Iran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Kamangar to death on charges of “endangering national security.” The prosecution claimed that Kamangar is a member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
According to Kamangar’s lawyer, this trial violated the Iranian legal requirements that such cases must be tried publicly and in the presence of a jury. He also told Human Rights Watch that court officials ridiculed his requests that they follow mandated legal procedures.
Authorities arrested Kamangar in Tehran in July 2006 and held him in various detention centers in Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Tehran. Kamangar claims that during a period of detention in Unit 209 of Evin Prison in August 2006, officials tortured him to such an extent that they had to transfer him to the prison clinic to receive medical attention. Kamangar also alleges torture and ill-treatment while in detention in the cities of Sanandaj in Kurdistan province and Kermanshah.
Kamangar’s lawyer told Human Rights Watch that the first time he met his client, Kamangar’s hands and legs were shaking as a result of mistreatment during detention and interrogation. Kamangar himself outlined the details of how he was tortured in a letter written from prison. Human Rights Watch has obtained a copy of this letter.
Prior to his arrest, Kamangar worked for 12 years as a teacher in the city of Kamyaran, where he was on the governing board of both a local environmentalist group as well as the local branch of the teachers’ association. Kamangar wrote for the monthly journal Royan, a publication of the Department of Education of Kamyaran. He was also a writer with a local human rights organization that documents human rights abuses in Kurdistan and other provinces.
Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all circumstances because of its cruel and inhumane nature.
“This case gives the Iranian authorities an opportunity to show how they can investigate and remedy a situation where there is strong evidence of an unfair trial and of torture,” Stork said
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6. Kurdish community protest against discriminatory reporting and broadcasting

London (27 February 2007): The Kurdish NGO CHAK cooperates with other Kurdish organisations and individuals to organise a protest against Turkish State Terror. The protest is organised in front of the BBC in London.
The Kurds chosen to protest in front of the BBC building, angry of the BBC’s biased broadcasting, undermining the people of Kurdistan.
The BBC still shay away from using the word “Kurdistan”, inline with the Turkish apartite regime and Arab ultra-nationalists.
The BBC has not only eliminated the Kurdish voice from all its broadcasting, but also pushed aside the voice of liberal Arab, Iranian and Turkish intellectuals, favouring a group of ultra-nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists; and even promoting radical individuals like Usama Bin-Ladin. Those who speak via the BBC address Bin-Ladin as “Sheikh Bin-Ladin” and name suicide bombers as “freedom fighters”, effectively promoting violence.
The BBC is institutionally discriminatory against Kurds, a nation of at least 40 million people without a state of their own.
The BBC is not alone in this anti-Kurdish campaign, there are many other media agencies. However, the BBC is publically funded and should not be discriminatory. We, the Kurdish community in London with our Arab, Turkish, Iranian and other friends, protest in front of the BBC to condemn the world media agencies for their discrimination policy against Kurds.
Our slogans are:
– We Kurds are not terrorists; we are the largest nation without a state!
– Kurdistan is not a taboo; it is our homeland. You can also say it BBC!
– News in 33 languages: not in Kurdish; shame on you the BBC!
– The BBC be objective in broadcasting!
– The BBC must not discriminate!
Time and venue:
BBC Wood Line TV Centre
Date: Saturday, 01 March 2008
Time: 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
How to get there:
Television Centre
BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London W12 7RJ
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7. Kurdish Iraqi lawmakers authorize force

The region’s military may intervene if Turkish fighters pursuing anti-government rebels move into civilian areas.

By Asso Ahmed and Tina Susman,
Special to The LA-Times
February 27, 2008

IRBIL, IRAQ — Lawmakers in northern Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region authorized their military Tuesday to intervene if Turkish forces pursuing anti-government rebels bring their battle into civilian areas.

The move heightened fears that the conflict could draw in Iraqi Kurdish forces and destabilize the one region of Iraq that has been relatively peaceful since the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

Tensions also were growing between the governments of Iraq and Turkey, which sent thousands of ground troops over the northern border into Iraqi Kurdistan on Thursday.

Turkey says its aim is to pursue separatists of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, who took up arms against the Turkish government in 1984 demanding Kurdish independence in southern Turkey and who have bases in the mountains of northern Iraq.

But Iraq’s Kurdish minority views the invasion as an infringement of Iraq’s sovereignty.

Iraq’s national government agrees, spokesman Ali Dabbagh said in a statement Tuesday. He called the Turkish action “not acceptable” and a threat to Iraq-Turkey relations.

The Kurdish regional government’s parliament held a special session Tuesday in Irbil to discuss the issue and voted to authorize the regional military force, the peshmerga, to respond if civilian areas are attacked. It also called for U.S. forces to play a bigger role in protecting Iraq’s land and air space.

The Bush administration considers the PKK a terrorist group and has acknowledged that it knew in advance of Turkish air raids and the subsequent ground invasion.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, about 200 protesters demanded international intervention to drive Turkey out. “Turkey has to resort to peaceful and diplomatic solutions instead of military ones,” said one, Hawkar Mohammed.

Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed city, is scheduled to have a referendum this year on whether to become part of Kurdistan and break away from Iraqi central government control. There is concern that the conflict between Turkey and its Kurdish rebels could exacerbate violence in Kirkuk, where Sunni Arabs oppose Kurds’ desire for autonomy.
Also Tuesday, Iraqi television showed video of a man identifying himself as one of five Britons abducted from an Iraqi government building last May. The man said his name was Peter and that his kidnappers were demanding the release of nine Iraqis being held by British forces in Iraq.

“I have been held here for eight months, and I miss my family so much,” said the man, who appeared on the Arabic-language Al Arabiya satellite channel. “What I want is to get out of here.”

A previously unknown Shiite Muslim group calling itself the Shiite Islamic Resistance in Iraq claims to hold the five men. It was the second time the group released a video showing any of them. In December, it released a video of a man who called himself Jason.

The five were abducted May 29 from an Iraqi Finance Ministry compound in Baghdad. Four were working for the Canada-based security firm Garda World. The fifth is a computer expert working with the McLean, Va.-based management consulting firm BearingPoint.

In northern Iraq, a bomber blew himself up in a bus near the city of Mosul.

Iraqi security officials said 14 people were killed, but the U.S. military put the death toll at eight, not including the bomber. There was no way to account for the discrepancy.

tina.susman@latimes.com

Special correspondent Ahmed reported from Irbil and Times staff writer Susman from Baghdad. Special correspondents in Baqubah and Kirkuk contributed to this report
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8. Turkey in Iraq: Menacing Civilians, Fraying Alliances, Exposing Hypocrisy

Alex Thurston
February 27, 2008
The Agonist

It cannot be stressed enough that the US’ passive acceptance of Turkish military actions against the PKK invalidates any remaining excuses for the US occupation. It also highlights how the rhetoric of the “war on terror” ultimately weakens the US’ position in the world by opening a door for allies to justify their aggression with our ideology.
Opponents of a US withdrawal from Iraq often argue that a troop reduction would spark greater levels of violence than currently exist in Iraq. But as Iraqis scream that Turkish maneuvers are violating their country’s sovereignty, we mumble excuses. Are Kurds not Iraqis? How is the occupation helping to keep them safe? If the surge, as viewed from northern Iraq, only paves the way for another surge – of Turkish forces into Iraqi homelands – is it really working?
Turkish attacks supposedly target only terrorists. But the conflict quickly began to displace civilian families and threaten the delivery of food and medicine in the region. Civilians are scared of getting caught in the cross-fire, and legitimate Kurdish authorities have warned they will retaliate if Turkish soldiers begin killing noncombatants. The national Iraqi government has also condemned the attacks and called for immediate withdrawal of Turkish forces, and also mentioned that the attacks may lead to clashes between Iraqi security forces and Turkish troops.
The campaign also brings consequences for America’s image in Iraq. Kurds of all political persuasions are angry at the attacks, and many, including current and former allies, are angry at America too.
Peshmerga Gen. Muhammad Mohsen took down his American flag, folded it up, and placed it in his office corner Sunday, reflecting the growing anger in Iraq’s Kurdish north with US support for Turkey’s campaign against separatist rebels operating in the region.
Frustration over the Turkish incursion cuts across the spectrum. Many average Iraqi Kurds sympathize with the PKK rebels’ aim to form an independent Kurdistan and officials say Turkey’s real goal is to destabilize its semiautonomous government, the leaders of which have long been American allies.
“We think the United States is making a big mistake,” says General Mohsen, who once led Iraqi Kurdish fighters alongside US forces when they entered the northern city of Mosul during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Other important actors in Iraq are equally unhappy with Washington. Moqtada al-Sadr, who recently extended a cease-fire which some partially credit for lower levels of violence in Iraq, also expressed his anger toward the US and demanded the withdrawal of Turkish forces.
A lot is on the line here. All sides are wondering aloud about escalation. Alliances are fraying. And how does our government handle such a complicated issue?
Weakness runs through Washington’s response. The White House offers the feeble hope that the attacks will be short, evading the central issue, namely that they reveal the sham of Iraqi sovereignty and the inability or unwillingness of America to protect Iraqis under threat.
“We hope that this is a short-term incursion so that they can help deal with the threat,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters in Washington.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s the “war on terror” crap that boxes the administration in, rendering it unable to stand up to Turkey without admitting that its core principles are flawed. If we declare the PKK terrorists, and Turkey pursues them, how could we object? With “fighting terror” as the all-important goal – and “terrorism” defined selectively by the US – even the national sovereignty of Iraq must take a backseat.
Additionally, opening Iraq up as an international battlefield where might makes right reveals that sad truth that no one controls Iraq – only parts of it, and those in a limited fashion relying more on brute force than on genuine political authority. With Basra mostly on its own, a battle for Mosul raging, and chaos in Kurdish areas, the country is clearly fragmented. If these are the conditions under occupation, it is difficult to argue that we have brought stability to Iraq.
But events near the Iraq-Turkey border also point to the necessity for US withdrawal strategies that draw heavily on international diplomatic efforts. If and when we draw down our presence in Iraq, we will need to involve all of Iraq’s neighbors, as well as major world powers, in a substantive discussion about the country’s future. Open war between Iraq and Turkey would be a disaster, and there are ways to prevent that. Here’s hoping that the next administration will put more fervor into dialogue and enforcement of the will of the international community, rather than stubborn refusals to admit that our policies in Iraq are not making Iraqis safer.
Alex Thurston February 27, 2008
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9. Gates to Tell Turks to Wrap Up Iraq Op

February 27, 2008

NEW DELHI (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that he will tell Turkish leaders they need to wrap up their military operations in northern Iraq quickly, and that the ongoing assault must not last longer than a week or two.
Gates, who leaves New Delhi for Ankara Wednesday afternoon, also said he will call on Turkey to address some of the complaints of the Kurds, and move from combat to economic and political initiatives to solve the problems.
“It’s very important that the Turks make this operation as short as possible and then leave. They have to be mindful of Iraqi sovereignty,” said Gates, adding, “I measure quick in terms of days, a week or two, something like that, not months.”
It was the first time that Gates put any time limit on the incursion, which Turkey launched the into northern Iraq last Thursday against separatist rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The rebels are fighting for autonomy in the largely Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey, and have carried out attacks from northern Iraq.
Gates had a similar message of rapid action for the Indian government here, saying that they need to move quickly to approve a landmark nuclear cooperation pact between India and the United States.
“The clock is ticking in terms of how much time is available to get all the different aspects of this agreement implemented,” he told reporters.
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