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Contradictions on the rise in Turkey as western “democracy” support attacks on Kurds (By Hamid Alizadeh)

29 Jul

(IndefenceofMarxism): While NATO throws its weight behind the reactionary Erdogan government, he continues his onslaught against Kurdish and left forces. Erdogan however, is acting from a position of weakness and he could provoke a mass movement against himself.

“The Kurds were born to be betrayed. Almost every would-be Middle East statelet was promised freedom after the First World War, and the Kurds even sent a delegation to Versailles to ask for a nation and safe borders.” – Robert Fisk

26-nisan

Turkish auto workers on strike in 2015

Yet again, today, the major western imperialist powers gathered to under-sign yet another betrayal of this tested people, whose fate has been traded between every major power of the region for a hundred years, as if it were just another item on their shopping list. Following the emergency meeting of NATO – a very rare event – General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg expressed “strong solidarity” with Turkey in its war on “terrorism”. The joint declaration by the NATO members stated that, “The security of the alliance is indivisible,” and condemned the recent terror attacks in Turkey, describing terrorism as “a global threat that knows no border, nationality, or religion — a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.”

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“My father was bleeding from his heart” – the 14-year-old Aram Tomasyan’s tragic story

2 Jul

“My father was bleeding from his heart” – the 14-year-old Aram Tomasyan’s tragic story

Agop Tomasyon, an Armenian from Kobane close to the Turkish border, who fled his hometown for Turkey around nine months ago when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched an attack, said the last eight Armenian families had left Syria for good and would not return.

“There were only eight families left before the ISIL attack [in October 2014]. All of these families left Kobane after the attack,” said Tomasyon.

Syrian Kurdish forces expelled ISIL fighters from Kobane on June 27 and retook full control after three days under siege, after a group of ISIL militants stormed into the border town. ISIL had also failed to capture Kobane at the start of 2015 after four months of deadly clashes.

Three Armenian families are currently living at the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) refugee camp in the Suruç district of Sanliurfa province.

Tomasyan, who belongs to one of the three families in the Suruç refugee camp, said they had to leave their hometown after ISIL’s attack because they knew that the jihadists would kill them once they learned that they were Christians.

“We understood that it was time for us to go. We decided to come to Turkey after a discussion between the last Armenians left. Eventually we came to Suruç,” he said. From Suruç, the eight families had spread to various other places.

“One family settled in Sanliurfa, another in Hatay, and another in Aleppo. Two of the families who had passports went to Armenia. The remaining three families were placed in refugee camps in Suruç,” Tomasyan said.

He added that they had at one point decided to return to Kobane but changed their minds after his brother was killed by jihadists in front of his son’s eyes during ISIL’s latest attack.

“Before the recent ISIL assault, my brother wanted to return to Kobane to see how his house and store was. He took his 14-year-old son with him, but later he was killed by ISIL in front of his son,” Tomasyan said.

“Kobane is not our homeland anymore.”

The 14-year-old Aram Tomasyan, who is Agop Tomasyan’s nephew, said four ISIL members wearing uniforms of the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) had shot his father on the morning of June 24.

“My father was bleeding from his heart when he fell on the ground. Despite this he still raised his hand and said, ‘Son, run, they are ISIL.’ I ran. If I hadn’t run, I would have been shot too,” the boy said.

The elder Tomasyon said the ancestral roots of Kobane’s Armenians could be traced back to Southern and Central Anatolia, but his ancestors were exiled during the massacre and deportation of Ottoman Armenians in 1915-16. They fled to Kobane and settled there to start a new life.

“We had said that we would never leave Kobane, no matter what,” said Tomasyan, adding that they had two churches in the town and lived in harmony with everyone around them.

During the YPG’s battles against ISIL last year over Kobane, tens of people died in street unrest launched in a number of Turkish cities on Oct. 6 and 7, 2014, amid calls from Turkish Kurds for Ankara to do more to prevent the town from falling to ISIL.

1/7/2015

Original source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/last-armenian-families-from-kobane-fleeing-syria-do-not-intend-to-return-.aspx?PageID=238&NID=84776&NewsCatID=341

The experiment of West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) has proved that people can make changes

28 Aug

The experiment of West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) has proved that people can make changes

[NB. we caution against over-idealization of PKK/PYD by some western anarchists but believe there are many important struggles happening in Kurdistan worthy of support]

An interesting report by Zaher Baher of Haringey Solidarity Group and Kurdistan Anarchists Forum who spent two weeks in Syrian Kurdistan, looking at the experiences of self-government in the region 

What you read below is the experience of my visit, for a couple of weeks in May this year, 2014, to North East of Syria or Syrian Kurdistan (West of Kurdistan) with a close friend of mine.

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It’s time to declare independence in South Kurdistan (By Muhsin Berxane)

10 Jun

It’s time to declare independence in South Kurdistan As a freelance writer, in 2005 I wrote an article on the Dutch-Kurdish ‘Azady’ news website about Federalism in Iraq and why it would fail and lead to Kurdish independence in the end.

We are now in 2014 and my opinion has not changed. Federalism does not work in Iraq and most Kurds will agree with me.

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Meet Turkey’s Youngest Mayor, A 25-Year-Old Female Former Political Prisoner (By Sophia Jones)

12 Apr

Meet Turkey’s Youngest Mayor, A 25-Year-Old Female Former Political Prisoner 

Rezan Zugurli, Turkey's youngest mayor, at her office in the southeastern Turkish district of Lice. | Sophia Jones

Rezan Zugurli, Turkey’s youngest mayor, at her office in the southeastern Turkish district of Lice. | Sophia Jones

LICE, Turkey — Rezan Zugurli is soft-spoken and unassuming, but she radiates charisma. You would never peg her as a fighter.

But a fighter she is. Born into a family of prominent Kurdish activists, Zugurli grew up in southeastern Turkey in the midst of an armed struggle for autonomy and political rights by the Kurds, a minority group making up one-fifth of the country’s population. The fight has claimed more than 40,000 lives since its start 30 years ago.

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Rojava and Kurdish Political Parties in Syria (By Nader Atassi)

3 Mar

Rojava and Kurdish Political Parties in Syria

The Syrian uprising has presented Syrian Kurds with an opportunity to assert self-determination in a variety of ways, despite divisions within the community. Some Kurdish political parties have been able to exploit the evolving nature of the crisis and reap considerable gains. Despite many obstacles and much suffering, they have been able to achieve de facto autonomy in much of the territories where they comprise a majority of the population. Historically hostile to the Ba‘thist regime, yet lukewarm about the current Syrian opposition, attempts to decipher “which side” the Kurds are on in Syria are not productive, for the political realities do not lend themselves to blanket claims.

What exactly is happening in the Kurdish-majority areas of Syria—or what the Kurds refer to as “Rojava,” short for “Western Kurdistan”—and what role are Syria’s Kurds playing in the current civil war? In this essay I will begin to provide some provisional answers.

[Kurdish female members of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) stand guard at a check point near the northeastern city of Qamishli, Syria.]

[Kurdish female members of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) stand guard at a check point near the northeastern city of Qamishli, Syria.]

Background

Syrian Kurds are mostly concentrated in the province of al-Hasake, where the cities of Qamishli and al-Hasake constitute the major urban centers. They also form a majority of the population in other cities and villages in al-Raqqa province (the village of Tal Abyad) and Aleppo province (notably the district of Ayn al-Arab, or Kobanê in Kurdish, and the district of Afrin). Although these territories are not contiguous, together they make up what is referred to as “Rojava.”

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The Invisible Land Of Kurdistan: Iraq Oil, Turkish EU Membership, Could Lead To Official Recognition (By Avedis Hadjian)

11 Jan

The Invisible Land Of Kurdistan: Iraq Oil, Turkish EU Membership, Could Lead To Official Recognition

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — The sound of Turkish military jets taking off to unknown destinations no longer disturbs the sleep of Abdullah Demirbaş. Four years ago, at the age of 16, his son joined the PKK, the acronym of the Kurdish Workers’ Party, a guerrilla group that has been fighting against the Turkish state since the late 1970s.  For decades, the planes were headed to target PKK positions in the mountains. These days, the fighters carry out surveillance missions, patrolling Turkey’s air space near the Syria and Iraq borders. They are no longer attacking the guerrillas as a peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdish independence movement slowly unfolds.

Demirbaş, the mayor of the Sur district of Diyarbakır — the second-largest city in southeast Turkey’s Anatolia region and the unofficial Kurdish capital — hasn’t seen his son since he “went to the mountains,” as the locals euphemistically say when referring to someone who takes up arms for Kurdistan.

A few months ago, Demirbaş’ other son was called to compulsory Turkish military service, which means that if fighting between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish army resumes, his family will be among many who could find themselves with sons in opposing camps.

For now, Demirbaş and other Kurds who have no appetite for war take comfort in the dialogue under way since 2012 between the Turkish government and the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, even if the government’s overtures are an effort to make the country more attractive for membership in the European Union. Nonetheless, the Kurdish issue remains volatile, in Turkey and in neighboring countries with sizeable Kurdish populations, and is complicated by changing economics, including urban migrations of rural Kurds and the increasing extraction of oil and gas reserves in Kurdish Iraq.

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