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The latest news on kurds

. DTP Leader: There Are Three States In Turkey
2. PKK: We are prepared
3. EP unites against court cases against AKP, DTP
4. Berlin May Withdraw Backing for Turkish Project
5. President of Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (PCDK), Dr. Faeq M. Golpi ask EU-USA-NATO-UN to build democratic institutions in Iraq and Federal Kurdistan
6. Hiwa’s conviction upheld by the Iranian revolutionary Court in Mariwan
7. Police assault six journalists during pro-Kurdish demo in southeast-Reporters Without Borders
8. Turkish military says clashes in southeast kill 3 soldiers, 7 Kurdish rebels-The PKK denied any rebels were killed
9. Turkish army’s military operations and campaigns in Amed (Diyarbakir) and Gabar mountain
10. Chamchamal District People Request to Join Kirkuk Province
11. Iraqi Kurds working on new cabinet
12. Kurdish protesters, Turkish police clash during festival; dozens injured

13. Turkish army’s military operations and campaigns in Amed (Diyarbakir) and Gabar mountain
14. Here is proof for those who say there is no torture in Turkey!
15. US hints Turkish Supreme Court should be apolitical in AK Party closure case
16. Turkey’s Supreme Court decides to go ahead with closure case of ruling party
17. First Turkish official contact with KRG
18. Visit of Kurdish delegation to Ankara not imminent
19. Iranian dissident’s case throws light on a key defection
20. Iranian and Turkish relationship
21. Iran’s meddling in Iraq
1. DTP Leader: There Are Three States In Turkey

April 3, 2008
Today’s Zaman

Democratic Society Party (DTP) parliamentary group leader Ahmet Türk has said the appeal to disband the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is a product of a clash among forces within the state.

Türk, speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday, said the AK Party closure case is a consequence of a power war within the state. “There are three states in Turkey. The first one wants Turkey to change and move ahead on its road to full membership in the European Union; the second one aims to protect the status-quo in the country and the last one wants to make the state a gang-like deep state,” he said.
A prosecutor on March 14 requested the closure of the ruling AK Party and a ban on 71 of its high-level officials from engaging in politics for five years, including President Gül (a former AK Party member) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Emphasizing that the 85-year-old republican system in Turkey has finally reached an impasse, he noted that there are circles which wish to deprive the public of democracy. “They are afraid to see that the public wants more freedom and democracy. That’s why they attack politics and political parties. They do so to secure the status quo and dominance over society. They despise society,” he said.

Türk stressed that Turkey’s problems should be solved in Parliament, adding that military solutions cannot be a remedy to the country’s problems.

“The AK Party should certainly not show itself as the victim of clashes among intra-state forces. The AK Party has contributed to the eruption of these clashes. They couldn’t use the power vested in them by the nation in an effective manner. Unfortunately, the ruling party is responsible for the current situation in our country,” he said.

Türk also accused the AK Party of not defending democracy from forces that support the status quo.

“If you had fought against these forces for democracy, the Turkish democracy would not be in such peril now. It is never too late for democratic reform. Let’s start a war of independence for democracy. Let’s fight all together against those who resist change. The solution of the Kurdish problem would be the biggest step to democratize all of Turkey. One will either surrender to the status quo or be its victim if he turns a blind eye to the Kurdish problem. Let’s make Turkey the graveyard of the status quo, not a graveyard of political parties,” stated Türk.
2. PKK: We are prepared

ANF 24.03.2008

“We are prepared and we are stronger than ever.” said Bozan Tekin, PKK spokesman.

There have been reports in Western media in the last couple of days, claiming that TSK had killed 15 guerrillas, but HPG denies the story:

HPG refutes Turkish media

HPG refuted news in Turkish media which claimed 15 HPG guerrillas were killed in the Turkish army’s bombardment.

According to a statement by HPG’s media center, HPG refuted the claim that 15 guerrillas were killed in attacks carried out against the Medya Defense Zones on 28 March 2008, in the Zagros region of the Medya Defense Zones.

HPG mentioned in its statement that general staff officials manufactured this kind of war scenario. “This and similar claims are ones manufactured by the special warfare desk; they are a part of psychological warfare and they are lies,” HPG explained in the statement.

In Turkish-occupied Kurdistan over the weekend, HPG inflicted some casualties on the TSK. In the Amed (Diyarbakır) region, HPG guerrillas killed 4 Turkish soldiers and wounded 3 on 29 March 2008 around 0500 hours. While the Turkish army conducted operations on Mt. Cudî, HPG infiltrated TSK’s area of operations around 0130 hours. During this infiltration, 2 Turkish troops were killed and one day after this infiltration, the TSK was forced to retreat.

In Şemzinan, also on 29 March, according to a regional source, 10 military support vehicles deployed to Rûbarok to reinforce TSK forces operating there

PKK spokesman Bozan Tekin recently spoke on upcoming spring operations, saying that TSK’s operations will intensify. “We are prepared and we are stronger than ever,” Tekin said. To emphasize the fact, Tekin stated that PKK has 8 to 10 thousand fighters today.

In his statement to AFP, Bozan Tekin said, “The Turkish state must hear the message of freedom of the Kurdish people, and immediately it must end its violence against civilians.” He warned, “Uncontrollable reactions may occur. The Turkish state and the ruling party will be responsible for such incidents.”

“Despite ongoing progress, if the Turkish state does not stop its attacks against civilians,” Tekin continued, “PKK will retaliate.”

Even though TSK has 9 military bases in South Kurdistan, Tekin said that if Turkish troops had been able, they wanted to reach further inside South Kurdistan during the February land operations. Since they were not able to achieve this desire, it underlines their lack of success. He also stressed that American intelligence efforts on Turkey’s behalf were not very effective.

Tekin criticized the embargo on Qendil, saying, “However, PKK has a huge reaction capacity. In fact, it was not affected and adopted itself to the situation.” He also called on the KRG to see their real interests and wanted KRG to possess a better political approach.

Ahmet Turk made a good observation that AKP parliamentarians from Wan (Van), Gever (Yüksekova), and Culemêrg (Hakkâri) have not spoken up at all about the violent incidents perpetrated against the citizens of those cities by Turkish security forces. “People who cannot show the courage to speak up for their people’s problems, to show the democratic reflex for a solution to the Kurdish question, cannot be the representatives of the Kurds.”

So there you go, Kurdistan; your AKP parliamentarians aren’t doing a damned thing for you, are they? Consider, too, that it would have been very easy for AKP parliamentarians to get permission from the AKP-appointed governors to celebrate Newroz. But did they do that? Of course not! They did nothing while DTP attempted to avert disaster with the worthless AKP governors and security chiefs.

No, your AKP parliamentarians sat back and did nothing for the sake of their own son-of-a-bitch Erdoğan. What’s their political platform? Vote for AKP parliamentarians and get tortured for Newroz.

Well, then, we might as well include the fake Kurd AKP parliamentarians on the list of
3. EP unites against court cases against AKP, DTP

Saturday, March 29, 2008
BRUSSELS – Turkish Daily News

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels Friday discussed a draft report for 2008 by Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the parliament’s rapporteur for Turkey.
The court case seeking closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was filed after the report was drafted. Strong reactions to the case were voiced at the session, signaling possible amendments during the voting, scheduled for late April.
Oomen-Ruijten, a Dutch citizen, stated in her report that Turkey lacks a completely independent judicial system in which democratically elected officials can have faith and confidence. Oomen-Ruijten supports a possible constitutional change to counter closures of political parties in Turkey and said, “a fast reform of the judiciary can help to overcome the situation for AKP and the Democratic Society Party (DTP), both of which are treated in the same way by the prosecutor.”
‘Court cases are legal coup’
The co-president of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, Joost Lagendijk, described the court cases against the AKP and DTP as “a legal coup in the political process.” “The judiciary wants to teach a lesson to the people of Turkey, saying they have chosen wrong in the elections. This is unacceptable,” he said. However, Lagendijk also criticized the government for failing to deliver on promises for a civil constitution in an overall package, rather limiting the proposal to the headscarf issue.
Only voice for secularism is from far-right MP:
The only European Parliament member to voice unease regarding the concerns about secularism in Turkey was the extreme-right Belgian politician Philip Claeys. Although he agreed with his colleagues on the negative effects of the court case against the AKP, he said the European Parliament should not take sides. Claeys said, “there is a problem with the AKP which has a tendency for the Islamisation of the country. The Turkish secular state is gradually being dismantled. The headscarf decision has been very divisive in society”. Claeys, who does not enjoy much support at the parliament, has received harsh criticism for backing the “Stop The Islamisation of Europe” campaign in 2007.
Büyükanıt visit to Cyprus criticized:
Greek Cypriot parliamentarians, who intervened in Friday’s session, raised concerns about the recent visit of Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt to northern Cyprus. Yannis Matsakis said he believes Büyükanıt went to northern Cyprus to interfere in the efforts to find a solution. “Let’s ignore him. Let’s say we are not dealing with you anymore,” he said. Matsakis also surprised his colleagues at the committee by saying, “this should not be a Turkey bashing session. We want to help the democratic forces of Turkey. If we criticize all the time then we play in the hands of the army.”
After listening to the members of the committee, Oomen-Ruijten responded to calls that a strong message be sent to the Turkish army in her report. “In a true democracy an army cannot behave as the Turkish army does in Cyprus now or the judiciary cannot behave as the Turkish judiciary does against the AKP and DTP now. But do we really deal with the army as the European Parliament? We should give the message to the Turkish government,” said Oomen-Ruijten. Oomen-Ruijten’s report was opened to tabling amendments until April 3. Diplomatic sources said the final report may contain stronger criticism as a result of recent political developments in Turkey.
4. Berlin May Withdraw Backing for Turkish Project

03/24/2008 01:04 PM – DAM CONTROVERSY
dsl/spiegel, Hamburg

The German government says it may suspend export guarantees needed for the construction of a massive dam in Turkey that could force the resettlement of tens of thousands.
Germany is considering suspending export guarantees for the planned construction of a controversial bridge in Turkey that would flood ancient cultural treasures and force the displacement of tens of thousands of residents.
Export guarantees that had been pledged to German construction giant Züblin totalling more than €100 million ($154.4 million) have been made subject to a “critical review” of the plans to build the Ilisu dam along the upper stretch of the Tigris River, a spokesperson for the German Foreign Trade and Investment Scheme said.
The German government moved earlier this month to delay and possibly suspend the export guarantees following the release of a new report by a commission of international experts hired by European governments sponsoring the project. The report concluded that the Turkish government had failed to meet many of the 153 criteria that had been established as prerequisites for the project to receive German government-backed export guarantees. Turkey had been required to fullfil those criteria by the end of 2007, but the experts have accused the Turkish government of ignoring most of them and of failing to adhere to international standards set for the project.
The panel said the project didn’t go far enough to protect the environment or preserve the cultural treasures in the ancient settlement of Hasankeyf, which was established several thousand years before Christ’s birth. It also criticized the planned resettlement of close to 55,000 residents living in areas that will be flooded by the dam, complaining that residents had not yet been provided with sufficient information or consultations about their relocation and that no agency had been set up to handle complaints. The Turkish government, the experts claimed, couldn’t even provide an estimate of the exact number of residents who would be displaced.
“The Report Is Dynamite”
Germany — along with Austria and Switzerland, which are also helping to finance the project — had tied its export guarantees to international standards that were to be monitored by the independent expert commission.
“The report is dynamite,” Ulrich Eichelmann of the organization ECA Watch, which monitors export credit agencies, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. “If they take their own experts seriously, then the Germans, Swiss and Austrians must immediately abandon the project.”
German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul of the center-left Social Democrats has said she will “withdraw export guarantees if the agreed to measures are not applied.”
Turkey wants to build the dam in order to provide water supplies and electricity to the country’s southeast. It’s part of the South East Anatolia Project (GAP), which includes plans to build 22 major dams, 19 hydroelectric plants and dozens of irrigation systems in the region. But the project has become a lightning rod for criticism, with critics describing it as a smaller version of China’s Three Gorges Dam project.
The Turkish government has promoted the project as one aimed at helping the region’s ethnic Kurdish population, but the Environmental Defense Fund notes that the majority of those displaced by the dam would be “ethnic Kurds who have long been abused by Turkish authorities.” The area where the dam is to be located, the organization notes, has been “devastated by an armed conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).” The organization also claimed that local Kurdish opposition to the dam has been repressed by the Turkish government. The government counters, however, that the project will give the area a desperately needed economic boost.
dsl/spiegel Hamburg
5. President of Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (PCDK), Dr. Faeq M. Golpi ask EU-USA-NATO-UN to build democratic institutions in Iraq and Federal Kurdistan

PCDK ask EU-Western Alliance to build democratic institutions in Iraq and Federal Kurdistan
– Europe and Western alliance should help the new Iraq and Federal Kurdistan to build democratic institutions…
– Developing and strengthen of the oil rich Federal Kurdistan in Middle East is also interest of Europe-Western alliance …
– Destabilisation of Iraq and Kurdistan by neighbouring countries Iran, Turkey and Syria is a danger game for all Middle East…
– The Turkish military bases in Amedi, Bamerni, Sheladiza and Chanqurna in Federal Kurdistan is a big treat against development in country and the bases should be closed before any provocations …
For more information, please take a look www.araratnews.eu – ANP / R. ALASOR – Brussels, 14/3/2008
6. Hiwa’s conviction upheld by the Iranian revolutionary Court in Mariwan

27 Mar 2008
Hiwa Butimar was sentenced to death on 17th of July 2007 for crimes described by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Court as “Propaganda against the Islamic Republic government, and acts against national security”. Through the International pressure the Iranian Supreme Court was obliged to reverse his conviction and ordered a new trail at the same branch where he were convicted on the 17 the of July. Despite the overturning of his conviction by the Supreme Court, last week he was re-sentenced to death by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Mariwan. His brother Mr. Hadi Butimar said his Lawyer has been informed orally and up to now he has not received any official documents from the court regarding Hiwas death sentence in order to enable the Lawyer to appeal against the decision.
7. Police assault six journalists during pro-Kurdish demo in southeast-Reporters Without Borders

April 2, 2008
Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders condemns police violence against six journalists during a demonstration linked to the Kurdish New Year celebrations on 23 March in the far southeast city of Hakkari. They were punched and kicked and their film and videotape was seized. One of them, Senar Yildiz of the news agency Ihlas and the news website Yüksekova Haber (www.yuksekovahaber.com), was hospitalised with a head injury.
“We call on the local and national authorities to identify and punish those responsible,” the press freedom organisation said. “The security forces should act with judgment and restraint. Journalists should not be treated like criminals.”
Yildiz and the five other journalists – Hamit Erkut and Erkan Cobanoglu of the privately-owned news agency Dogan, Necip Capraz of the news agency Anatolia, Sevket Yilmaz of the news agency Cihan and Sami Yilmaz of DIHA – were in Hakkari to cover a pro-Kurdish demonstration held the day after the Kurdish New Year celebration Newroz.
Capraz said the journalists were targeted when the police dispersed the demonstration. At first, they were charged by a lone police officer. Then other policemen followed suit, hitting them and seizing their material.
“All we did wrong was to be journalists and from Yüksekova,” Capraz said. The nearby district of Yüksekova was the scene of violent clashes between Kurds and Turkish anti-riot police in 2006.
Meanwhile, DIHA reporter Behçet Dalmaz said police were abusive and threw his press card in his face during an identity check on 18 March in Hakkari, where he had gone for the Martyrs Commemoration, an official ceremony marking a Franco-British offensive against Turkey in 1915, during the First World War.
8. Turkish military says clashes in southeast kill 3 soldiers, 7 Kurdish rebels-The PKK denied any rebels were killed

The Associated Press
Published: April 2, 2008

ISTANBUL, Turkey: Clashes between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish rebels near Turkey’s border with Iraq have left seven rebels dead, Turkey’s military said Wednesday.
The rebels were killed Tuesday and Wednesday in the southeastern province of Sirnak, the military said. The rebel deaths could not be independently verified.
In total, 16 rebels have been killed in this week’s fighting in the region, the military said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the military said three soldiers had been killed late Monday.
Rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, have been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey’s southeast since 1984. The fighting has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Turkey has launched several aerial attacks and at least one ground incursion into neighboring Iraq as part of its campaign against the rebels, who are using their bases in Iraq’s north to launch attacks against targets in Turkey.
On Wednesday, Turkish artillery units in the border town of Cukurca fired salvos at suspected Kurdish rebel positions in Iraq, private Dogan news agency reported.
The United States is sharing intelligence on the rebels with NATO-ally Turkey.
Last week, Turkey’s military said it killed at least 15 Kurdish rebels in Iraq in cross-border shelling followed by an air assault. The PKK denied any rebels were killed.
9. Turkish army’s military operations and campaigns in Amed (Diyarbakir) and Gabar mountain

Media and Communication Center of the People Defense Forces of Kurdistan (HPG)

28 2008

To the press and public opinion:

1 – Turkish army began large-scale military campaign in the region of (martyr Ramzi) in Amed(Diyarbakir), with thousands of troops and intensive air force support. A battle erupted between our fighters and the Turkish army soldiers in this region on the first day of the campaign, two Turkish soldiers killed and many others wounded.
Turkish army expanded military its campaigns from martyr Ramzi area to include all surrounding areas and these operations are continues until this day.

2 – In the mountains of Gabar in Botan / Shernak, the Turkish army as of the twentieth of February positioned thousands of its soldier in the strategic hills and summits permanently.

Media and Communication Center-HPG
10. Chamchamal District People Request to Join Kirkuk Province

02 April, 2008

In a memo sent to Kirkuk Province, Chamchamal’s people requested to bring back their district into the administrational borders of Kirkuk Province and compensate them according to Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution.
The memo said “Chamchamal District was integrated in Kirkuk Province, but it was cut from it due to the former Baathists regime similar to other districts and sub-districts. Now, all these areas were included with the compensation except Chamchamal District.”
Chamchamal District people requested in their memo to raise their voice to the Iraqi government to make their district be part of Kirkuk Province again and compensate them according to Article 140.

11. Iraqi Kurds working on new cabinet

The New Anatolian / Ankara
02 April 2008

The Iraqi Kurdish administration is currently working on a new cabinet with reduced portfolios.

The Kurdistan Democracy Party (KDP) and The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) have agreed to reduce the number of seats in the cabinet from the current 40 to 20 or 22.

The Kurdistan Regional Government led by Nechirvan Barzani was appointed on May 2006.

Nechirvan Barzani will lead the new cabinet but with reduced cabinet seats.

KDP leader and regional president Massoud Barzani has met Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq and also the leader of the PUK in Dukan last week and the two discussed the new cabinet.

This means the KDP and the PUK will give up some cabinet seats.

Sources say the KDP and PUK leaders will nominate some candidates for cabinet seats and Nechirvan Barzani will make his choice.

Kurdish sources say the tricky bit is to convince other Kurdish and local parties who have cabin et portfolios to give up some of their seats.

The New Kurdish cabinet is expecetd to be announced late this month.

12. Kurdish protesters, Turkish police clash during festival; dozens injured

March 30, 2008

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Kurdish protesters chanting support for separatist guerrillas clashed with police in eastern Turkey on Saturday during a spring festival. Dozens were injured.
Kurdish men hurled rocks at riot police who protected themselves with plastic shields during the festival in Van near Turkey’s border with Iran, footage from the Cihan news agency showed. Police later fired tear gas to disperse the crowd and beat some of the protesters.
Mehmet Kesmez, police chief of the eastern province of Van, said 38 protesters and 15 police officers were injured, and that 130 protesters were detained. Four of the injured, including a police officer, were in serious condition and being treated in an intensive care unit, he said.
Protesters had gathered early Saturday to celebrate the Nowruz festival marking the beginning of spring, an event Kurds traditionally use to assert separatist demands.
The group soon started chanting slogans supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, police said. The party, known as the PKK, has waged a guerrilla war against the government for Kurdish autonomy since 1984.
Riot police intervened, ordering the group to end the celebrat
13. Turkish army’s military operations and campaigns in Amed (Diyarbakir) and Gabar mountain

Media and Communication Center of the People Defense Forces of Kurdistan (HPG)

28 2008

To the press and public opinion:

1 – Turkish army began large-scale military campaign in the region of (martyr Ramzi) in Amed(Diyarbakir), with thousands of troops and intensive air force support. A battle erupted between our fighters and the Turkish army soldiers in this region on the first day of the campaign, two Turkish soldiers killed and many others wounded.
Turkish army expanded military its campaigns from martyr Ramzi area to include all surrounding areas and these operations are continues until this day.

2 – In the mountains of Gabar in Botan / Shernak, the Turkish army as of the twentieth of February positioned thousands of its soldier in the strategic hills and summits permanently.

Media ands Communication Center-HPG
14. Here is proof for those who say there is no torture in Turkey!

Kurdish Info, Roj Tv, ANF
March 28, 2008

Turkish Police torture on the streets!
This year’s Newroz celebrations in Turkey and the Kurdish cities were the same as what happened in the 1990’s. Shootings, broken arms, head injuries and beatings were all observed during the celebrations.

Newroz was celebrated by millions throughout the four parts of Kurdistan. The people gave a reply to those claiming “they do not know what they want”. However, once more the price to pay was heavy. The Syrian regime killed three Kurdish youths on the 20th of March. Mihemed Zekî Remedan, Mihemed Mehmud Hisên ve Mihemed Yahya Xelîl lost their lives.

The Diyarbakir celebration was an occasion where hundreds of thousands sent out messages for peace, however, the very next day in Van, Hakkari and Siirt the Newroz celebrations were dealt a blow by the City Commissioners appointed by the AKP government. The Turkish police killed two people during the celebrations: Zeki Erinc in Van and Ikbal Yasar in Hakkari had lost their lives. Masked and uniformed officers terrorised the people. Kurdish people were targeted on the streets, in alley ways and in homes. A 15 year old boys arm was broken in front of cameras by “security” forces. There are three officers by the child in the footage. One of them calmly brakes the arm of the unidentified 15 year old in front of camera.

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s nice words on the 8th of March regarding women were not realised in Kurdish cities where women were severly beaten by police officers.

Millions of people were on the streets for the Newroz celebration which is a Middle Eastern festivity. However the Kurdish people paid a heavy price for celebrating this day this year. Western cities like Istanbul (48), Izmir (250), Adana (70), Kocaeli (11), Denizli (3) and Mersin (7) and Diyarbakir (20), Van(200), Kars (7), Dersim (7), Hakkari (50), Silopi (18), Cizre (12), Siirt (16), Malatya (19), Urfa (123) and in Batman (8), in 8 days at least 869 arrests.

On the 23rd of March 250 people were arrested in Izmir, 45 of them are still in custody, in Adana (29), Mus (8), Hakkari (20), Urfa (7), Mersin (5), Denizli (3) and CIzre (8) and Van (at least 1).

After Newroz the attacks are still continuing in the shape of house raids. The least tolerant towards the Newroz celebrations was without a doubt Turkey.

There are a lot of children among the arrested. Lawyers have stated that the children were heavily beaten while being arrested. There are many casualties as a result of police brutality and some people are still uncergoing treatment.
15. US hints Turkish Supreme Court should be apolitical in AK Party closure case

The New Anatolian / Ankara
01 April 2008

U.S. Department of State said it hopes those involved in the closure case filed against Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party would proceed in a way that was apolitical.

This seemed to be a reference to claims that the Constitutional Court is politically motivated and is set to closedown the AK Party and that the trial is a mere formality.

“What we would expect and hope from this process is that those involved would proceed in a way that was apolitical and that reflected the commitment to representative democracy that’s been expressed by the Turkish voters in recent elections,” spokesman Tom Casey said in a daily press briefing on Monday.

“We attach great importance to the democratic values and the secular principles that Turkey is committed to and that’s the basis of our relationship and to the alliance,” he said.

“I know that the court has accepted hearing this case, but we understand that this is going to be a rather lengthy process,” Casey added.
16. Turkey’s Supreme Court decides to go ahead with closure case of ruling party

The New Anatolian / Ankara
31 March 2008

The Constitutional Court judges of Turkey decided unanimously to go ahead with a trial for the closure of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party on charges of anti-secular Islamic activities.

Meanwhile, four judges out of 11 opposed the trial to cover President Abdullah Gul who according to the chief prosecutor issued pro-Islamic memorandums to the diplomatic missions abroad when he was the foreign minister of the AK party government between 2002 and 2007. However, they were overruled by the votes of seven judges who said the trial should also cover Gul. Judges Hasim Kilic, Sacit Adali, Serdar Ozguldur and Serruh Kaleli voted against.

Observers said the fact that seven judges have displayed a hard-line attitude means the same may well be set to vote to eventually closedown the party. According to law at least seven judges of the supreme court have to vote for the closure of a party.

Osman Paksut, deputy chief justice of the Turkish Constitutional Court, officially announced on Monday the court has decided to examine an indictment prepared by the prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The ruling AK Party will now prepare its preliminary defense and will submit it to the Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

After the Chief Prosecutor states his views on the merits of the case, AK Party will make a verbal defense in a month’s time.

This will be followed by verbal statements of the Chief Prosecutor. Later the rapporteur assigned by the Constitutional Court will prepare his/her report on the merits of the case.

In this phase, the Chief Prosecutor can submit further evidence and AK Party can submit additional defense material to the rapporteur. After completion, the rapporteur’s report will be distributed to court members.

Later Constitutional Court Chief Judge Hasim Kilic will set a date and the court will start hearing the case.

If AK Party demands extra time for its defense, the court will also assess this demand.
According to the Constitution, at least 7 of the 11 members of the court have to vote for dissolution in order for the court to shut down a political party.

In line with Article 69 of the Constitution, the court may instead decide to reduce or cut the financial aid given to AK Party from the Treasury.

If the party is closed 71 members of the AK Party including some deputies and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is also the chairman of the AK Party risk a five-year political ban.
17. First Turkish official contact with KRG

The New Anatolian / Ankara
28 March 2008

A Turkish delegation led by Foreign Ministry Acting Iraq Coordinator Murat Ozcelik met on Friday with the governor of the Duhok province and the Foreign Relations chief of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Safeen Dizayee thus establishing the first official contact between officials of the Kurdistan Regional Government and Turkey.

Ozcelik and his team had been holding high level contacts in Baghdad. They also traveled to Basra where Turkey plans to open a consulate.

The delegation returned to Baghdad after clashes between Shiite groups and government forces escalated.

From Baghdad they headed to Mousul and before returning to Turkey via Habur they met with KRG officials.
18. Visit of Kurdish delegation to Ankara not imminent

The New Anatolian / Ankara
02 April 2008

The visit of a Kurdish delegation either representing the Kurdistan Regional Government or the Kurdistan Democracy Party (KDP) is not imminent, Kurdish official sources reported Wednesday.

They said Turkish press reports that a low level delegation from the KDP will visit Ankara is not true.

They said Turkey’s Iraq acting coordinator Murat Ozcelik met with Kurdish officials in Duhok last week and sides agreed to conduct silent diplomacy trying to create the conditions for normalization of relations between Ankara and Eril.

They agreed to soften the atmopshere and avoid negative statements that fuels tensions.

A senior Kurdish source told The New Anatolian that if this atmopshere can be achiveed eventually contacts can start betwene the Turkish government and the Iraqi Kurds.

They said neither the visit of a Kurdish delegation nor the visit of Nechirvan Barzani is currently on the cards.

19. Iranian dissident’s case throws light on a key defection

29 Mar 2008
The Los Angeles Times

Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, who now lives in Germany, says he was held in Istanbul over his role in helping a top Iranian official flee to the West through Turkey.

By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

DAMASCUS, SYRIA — A diplomatic standoff over the fate of an Iranian dissident temporarily detained this week at a Turkish airport has revealed new clues about the defection of a high-ranking Iranian military official in late 2006 and exposed lingering tensions between Ankara and Tehran over the incident.

The dissident, Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, was held for nearly 18 hours over Thursday and Friday in a cell inside Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport amid a tug-of-war over whether he would be sent back to Germany, where he lives, or deported to Iran, human rights activists and Western officials said.

He was finally placed on an airplane to Berlin on Friday afternoon, his lawyer said.

In a series of phone calls from his cell, Ebrahimi said Iranian officials wanted him to answer for his role in the defection of Brig. Gen. Ali Reza Asgari, a former Iranian deputy defense minister and Revolutionary Guard commander who disappeared during a trip to Turkey.

Ebrahimi said Asgari now lives in the United States, where he is believed to have provided intelligence about Iran’s military capabilities and operations.

Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and a U.S. ally but maintains strong diplomatic and economic ties to Iran, which has been locked in a conflict with Washington since its Islamic Revolution in 1979.

A U.S. official reached Friday in Ankara said American diplomats were aware of Ebrahimi’s detention and had followed developments in the case. German consular officials were also in contact on the matter with Turkish authorities, a German diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Ebrahimi, 32, arrived in Istanbul from Germany on Thursday night to meet relatives coming from Iran for a holiday. Ebrahimi said he was taken from the passport counter, searched and physically abused by Turkish authorities and confronted with his involvement in the Asgari defection. He said he was threatened with deportation to Iran.

“A police officer came and said, ‘Every time you come here, you do political work and create problems for us with Iran,’ ” said Ebrahimi, who was allowed to keep his cellphone while he was held.

Ebrahimi said a man claiming to be an Iranian official demanded to be allowed to take him back to Iran, which Ebrahimi had fled after being released from prison in 2003.

Asgari is believed to be the highest-ranking Iranian official to defect to the West. Analysts say he served as an intelligence official in Lebanon during the 1990s and became deputy defense minister under then-President Mohammad Khatami.

After a business trip to Syria in 2006, Asgari left for Turkey, and then dropped out of sight. “Because of the intelligence he had he was very much in danger,” Ebrahimi said. “He had very precious intelligence about the Iranian nuclear program.”

Ebrahimi said he coordinated with international organizations and U.S. officials to help Asgari leave Turkey for the West in late 2006. The two met in Nicosia, Cyprus, immediately after Asgari left Turkey, he said.

“I did nothing illegal,” Ebrahimi said. “I helped him. We didn’t get him out illegally.”

Reports in Western media suggest that Asgari has proved a gold mine for intelligence services seeking information about Iran’s nuclear program and support for militant Islamic groups throughout the Middle East.

Iranian authorities and Asgari’s relatives blamed Turkey and Iranian opposition groups for the defection.

Istanbul lawyer Nasrine Hosseinzadeh, who oversaw Ebrahimi’s case at the airport, said Turkey and Iran had an agreement requiring each to hand over wanted political criminals. But international law requires that deportees be returned to the country where their flight originated.

“The law is very clear,” Hosseinzadeh said in a phone interview from the airport. “I don’t think they will allow him into Turkey, but they can’t send him to Iran.”

Like Asgari, Ebrahimi turned against Iran’s Shiite Muslim clerical government. He was once a government enforcer and an attache at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut.

In a videotaped statement, he described connections between political leaders and pro-government militias in the violent crushing of student protests in 1999. He was arrested and imprisoned for several years in Tehran’s Evin prison, including 18 months in an infamous solitary confinement ward for political dissidents. Since fleeing Iran, he has worked as a journalist and blogger.
20. Iranian and Turkish relationship

29 Mar 2008

Iranian and Turkish relationship; silence of West due to political interest in the region.

According to Ettelaat Newspaper-Tehran- Head of Turkish Chamber of Commerce, Rifat Hisarciklioglu, said that Iran and Turkey should boost their bilateral trade to reach economic success.
In the 7th Iran-Turkey joint trade session held at Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Hisarciklioglu said that although Iran is an oil rich country, two sides can cooperate not only in the field of energy but in other areas due to the cultural common ground.
He added that the volume of Iran-Turkey trade exchange is less than expectation which is somehow affected by new changes in Customs Office laws. He also said that Iran’s exports to Turkey are five-fold that of Turkey, calling for trade balance.
Turkish private sector can cooperate with Iran with partnership in investment projects, he said.

However, on the 2/March/2008 Iranian president Mr. Ahmadinezhad in a news conference called upon Turkey to cooperate and jointly fight Kurdish guerrilla in Southern Kurdistan, and very strongly supported recent Turkish Incursion. It was at the time when the Turkey was under extensive criticism internationally and regionally. Turkey suffered heavy consequences politically and militarily. Therefore, Turkey and Iran adapted a different method to fight and constant their brutal suppression. On the 14/March/2008 head of Turkish Chamber visited Iran companied by the Turkish Intelligent officials “mead”. The purpose of that visit was not merely economic; both sides discussed some other key purposes and factors including the current bombardments of Southern Kurdistan by the Iranian artilleries’.

In addition to that, the uprising of Mahdi militia army in Southern Iraq and causing instability in that region of Iraq approves that there a great conspiracy against the Kurds. The current uprising in southern Iraq is funded and supported by the Iranian regime. In order to put extensive pressure on coalitions forces and keeps them silent regarding the 1770 resolution.
21. Iran’s meddling in Iraq

30 Mar 2008
The Washington Times
By David Charles Waddington

As four more rockets thumped into buildings in the Baghdad Green Zone on Tuesday, it became devastatingly clear that promises made by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his trip to Iraq in early March were worthless. According to reports, two of the rockets landed in Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s compound but mercifully there were no deaths or serious injuries.

When accused of interfering in Iraqi affairs, Iran has always emphasised its innocence. But this weekend the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, blamed Tehran fairly and squarely for the barrage of rockets which have hit the Green Zone over the past week. “The rockets that were launched at the Green Zone,” he said, “were Iranian-provided, Iranian-made rockets,” and he added that the groups that carried out the attack were funded and trained by the Iranian regime’s Qods Force.

In response to this heightened violence, Mr. Al-Maliki has flown to the southern city of Basra to oversee an operation targeting the stronghold of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers within the Mahdi Army. Clearly, Iran’s support for rogue elements in Iraq has increased rather than diminished since Mr. Ahmadinejad traveled to Baghdad this year; and it is believed that at least 40 individuals have been killed in Basra as the relative calm has been broken by intermittent fighting.

It is in this volatile climate that the U.S. searches for a solution to end the Iranian regime’s destructive influence in Iraq. Many believe that the solution lies with the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq’s Diyala province, which is dedicated to bringing an end to the present Iranian regime, and as Iran’s baleful influence in Iraq has increased, so has the support for this opposition group increased among the Iraqi population and Western politicians.

Based in Ashraf city, 40 miles northwest of Baghdad, the MEK has for many years now been a major thorn in the side of the Iranian regime. It was the MEK that first exposed Iran’s nuclear program in 2002, and since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the MEK has exposed Iran’s infiltration into Iraq on a number of occasions. Most notably it has revealed the existence of two training centers in the outskirts of Tehran, where the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps train and arm Shia militia men; and it is these same Shia militias that are now believed to be behind the rockets that have targeted Baghdad’s Green Zone.

The Iraqi military operation in Basra is clearly helping to diminish the influence of rogue elements in Iraq loyal to Iran, but it is clear that in spite of the promises Mr. Ahmadinejad is believed to have made to Iraqi officials, the Iranian regime has no desire to limit its support for terrorist entities, whether they be in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine or Afghanistan. Surely this means that victory in Iraq must now be seen as the first step in cutting Iran’s influence across the Middle East, and a failure on that front would be a terrible setback in the quest for Middle East peace.

The elections in Iran earlier this month have shown clearly enough that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has tightened his grip on the country and the Revolutionary Guards Corps has increased its power and influence. This makes almost certain an even more intransigent attitude by the regime toward the West. Following Vice President Richard Cheney’s trip to the region to obtain greater support for isolating Iran, the U.S. would surely therefore do well to look at the MEK, which has the means and the will to bring about change in Iran, as a solution to this entire crisis.

The Rt. Hon. Lord David Charles Waddington is former home secretary of the United Kingdom under former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher