This video is called Kurdish Women celebrating International Women’s Day 2014.
Another video, from northern Syria, used to say says about itself:
2014 International Women’s Day in Qamishlo – Rojava Kurdistan
13 March 2014
Unlike the areas under the control of the Syrian regime and Islamic opposition forces, Kurds and Syriac Christian women organised public events in their self-rule autonomous cantons in northeast Syria, which promoted gender equality.
By Jean Shaoul:
Turkey lines up for military role in Syria–Part 1
30 September 2014
Turkey may be willing to take a military role in the US war in Iraq and Syria, following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech at the United Nations Friday. The country has long borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran and is the only NATO member in the Middle East.
Erdogan called for “no-fly” and “buffer” zones in Northern Syria.
ISIS does not have airplanes. So, a no-fly zone would not be anti-ISIS.
According to the daily Hurriyet, he told journalists on the plane home, “It’s wrong to say that Turkey will not take any kind of military position. Turkey will do whatever is its duty to do.”
“You are not going to be able to finish off a terrorist group just with air strikes,” he added. “At some point ground forces will be fundamental.”
Following the approval of a government resolution in parliament Thursday, “all the necessary steps” would be taken for Turkey’s involvement in the coalition, he said, although Parliament’s approval is by no means assured, as indicated by its refusal to back the 2003 war against Iraq.
Erdogan has come under enormous pressure from Washington to give his full support to President Barack Obama’s coalition for a new war of aggression in the Middle East, one in which the Turkish leader has thus far refused to participate in a frontline role. It is a shift that could extract a heavy political price.
Washington is using the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) beheading of Western hostages and its barbaric treatment of its opponents as a cover for its military plans to unseat the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. While last year’s proposed US attack on Assad would have assisted ISIS and similar jihadist groups, this year the war is ostensibly being conducted in opposition to them. The US is to send in $500 million worth of weapons and equipment to build up what are in reality non-existent “moderate” forces as a counterweight to ISIS in Syria.
On Wednesday, Erdogan had said that Turkey’s support for the coalition would take a humanitarian and logistical form, but Ankara would not be sending troops to fight against ISIS or hitting its targets. As in the US-led war against Iraq in 2003, it would not allow either its airspace or the US air base at Incirlik in southeast Turkey to be used for US-led air strikes against ISIS insurgents in Syria. It earlier refused to sign the joint communiqué issued by 10 Arab states in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia stating their “shared commitment to stand united against the threat posed by all terrorism.”
On one level, Erdogan might have been expected to be a more willing member of such a coalition. After all, Turkey, along with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf petro-states, with additional support from Jordan and Israel, has been a fervent supporter of Washington’s bid to unseat Assad and thereby weaken Iran, Russia and China. Erdogan had long called for Washington to mount air strikes against Syria in support of “rebel” groups in Syria and was furious last September when the Obama administration called off its planned attack.
But now ISIS, having seized much of eastern Syria and with its sights set on Iraq’s vast energy resources, threatens Washington’s commercial and strategic interests in Iraq, the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the wider region. The ISIS offensive coincided with the rebellion of Iraq’s Sunni population, leading to the disintegration of the US-trained Iraqi security forces and loss of control over much of the country.
The Obama administration has therefore been forced to turn on its former clients, while at the same time using this shift to reactivate its plans to target Assad for regime change. As well as sending in arms, the US has deployed military “advisers,” along with France, Germany and Italy, to train the Iraqi Army and some of the KRG’s Peshmerga fighters, which it hopes to use as its proxy force on the ground in Iraq.
It is also using the KRG as a pawn in its dealing with Baghdad. Peshmerga forces are being joined by Kurds from both Syria and Turkey, including from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been branded as a terrorist group by the US and Turkey, and against which Turkey fought a bitter civil war between 1984 and 2008.
The PKK units based in Iraq’s Qandil Mountains have fought ISIS and other Islamist “rebels” in Syria. They were decisive in supporting the Peshmerga and pushing back ISIS in northern Iraq.
By joining the war coalition for regime change in Syria, Erdogan is positioning Turkey against its former protégé and ally, ISIS, and alongside the banned PKK. But any perceived support, let alone arming, of the PKK, which the military and nationalists view as their main enemy, is a bitterly divisive issue. According to the daily Cumhuriyet, it was initially agreed that Ankara’s support for the coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria “should be behind the scenes” because of the dilemma in which it finds itself.
Turning against ISIS is far easier for Obama and Washington than it is for the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of Erdogan and his prime minister and former foreign secretary, Ahmet Davutoglu. The decision draws Turkey into the war in Iraq and Syria and may destabilise the political, economic and security situation within Turkey.
Three years ago Turkey abandoned its longstanding policy of “zero problems with its neighbours” in the Middle East, and pursued an aggressive two-pronged and inherently contradictory foreign policy. First, Ankara backed the “rebels” in Syria, including the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadist groups such as the al-Qaeda offshoots al-Nusra Front and ISIS, against Assad, with whom it had previously developed close political and economic relations. Second, it established closer relations with the semi-autonomous KRG in Iraq, antagonising Baghdad but securing vital energy resources and building pipelines that would make Turkey an energy hub for Europe.
The AKP government hosted the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and sponsored the Syrian National Council (SNC), later the Syrian National Coalition, made up of exiled regime dissidents, Muslim Brotherhood members and assorted CIA assets. But the SNC is now in disarray, having announced that it is dissolving the FSA’s military leadership after key coalition members resigned.
The FSA refused to join the US-led coalition against ISIS unless the US guaranteed that Assad’s overthrow is the main objective, given that it has been in a de facto though troubled alliance with ISIS and other Islamists for years. The most effective fighting forces in the Syrian opposition are the Sunni jihadist groups.
Turkey, while maintaining the fiction that the FSA was in charge, served as the conduit for weapons for the Islamist forces, providing bases, training, intelligence, free medical facilities and unfettered passage across the border. Much of the border with Syria is now under ISIS control, leading to a sizeable Islamist presence in border towns and villages. The AKP government also provided artillery and air cover for the insurgents.
This support prompted Turkish citizens to enlist in ISIS and other jihadist groups and fight in Syria. It is believed that up to 10 percent of these forces are Turks. AKP supporters were “encouraged” to contribute to Turkey’s Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), an Islamic charity that has provided ISIS and others with funds.
Turkey’s intelligence agency MIT played a key role in supporting the Sunni armed movement and IHH operations. The government even discussed launching a false flag operation in Syria to provide the pretext for a full-blown invasion in support of the insurgents.
As well as using the Islamists to seek Assad’s ouster, Ankara also sought to use them to fight the Syrian Kurdish militant groups in the northeast of Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and its militia, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which have established a semi-autonomous enclave with the tacit support of the Syrian regime as a means of securing Kurdish support against the insurgents. This was an anathema to the AKP government, which feared that it would fuel a similar autonomy movement among Turkey’s Kurds.
There have been numerous clashes between the Turkish-backed jihadists and the Kurds in northeastern Syria, most recently around the town of Kobani, resulting in the flight last week of 140,000 civilians into Turkey. The UN refugee agency UNHCR expects up to 400,000 Syrian Kurds, many deeply hostile to Turkey, to cross the border. Turkey is home to about 1.5 million Syrians who have taken refuge from the vicious sectarian civil war. This has pushed up rents and lowered wages, leading to riots and attacks on refugees in the southeastern province of Gaziantep last month.
The present offensive is the second attempt by ISIS to take Kobani and the surrounding villages. The previous attack in July was fought off with the help of Kurds who crossed the border from Turkey. Angry demonstrations have now broken out in support of the Syrian Kurds, with protesters accusing the AKP government of aiding ISIS.
The PKK has called on its supporters to fight ISIS. Hundreds have crossed from Turkey, and security forces responded by firing tear gas and water cannon and closing some of the border crossings. These developments may in turn jeopardise the moves Erdogan has made since 2008 to resolve the long-running conflict with the Kurds and isolate the PKK.
To be continued
Syrian Kurdish fighters unlikely to get Western support: here.
Turkish villages smuggle IS oil through makeshift pipelines. In the village of Hacipasa, almost every house is connected to an illegal oil pipeline smuggling IS oil into Turkey: here.
Why Obama has picked the worst allies for his war on ISIS: here.
Bayık: We may end the cease-fire
KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-President Cemil Bayık stated that they gave Turkey time until the end of September to take certain steps, warning that the war would resume by the end of September unless they do so; “We decide on war. The authority to end the cease-fire lies with us.”
Bayık answered Al-Monitor’s questions about the process of democratic resolution in North Kurdistan and the developments in the Kobanê Canton of West Kurdistan, Rojava.
Asked how the ISIS onslaught against Kobanê is affecting the peace process in Turkey, Bayık said the attacks by Daesh [the initials of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham] against Kobani helped elucidate two things; “One was whether Turkey’s collaboration with Daesh is continuing or not. The other is whether the peace process is continuing in the north [i.e., Turkey] or not. What emerged is that Turkey is continuing its relations with Daesh and that Turkey will not solve the Kurdish problem in the north. Because a Turkey that supports Daesh’s attacks against Kobani, that seeks to depopulate Kobani and lobbies for the establishment of a buffer zone cannot sever its ties with Daesh. Because if it did so Daesh would expose all of Turkey’s dirty laundry, and document the links between them.”
Bayık noted that that; “Before Daesh attacked Kobani, Turkish officials contacted the YPG [the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units] official responsible for Kobani. They warned him that should the YPG attack the Shah tomb [the Ottoman Tomb of Suleiman Shah inside Syria, which is guarded by Turkish troops and considered Turkish territory] that Turkey would retaliate in kind. I repeat, they said this before we were aware that Daesh would attack. Isn’t this strange?”
Regarding Turkey’s support to ISIS gangs, Bayık continued pointing out that; “Two days after the campaign against Kobani started, a Turkish train stopped at an Arab village near [the IS-controlled] Tell Abyad border gate and unloaded weapons and ammunition that were taken by Daesh. There are eyewitnesses to this transfer. And during this period the [Turkish] hostages [held by IS in Mosul] affair is supposedly resolved. These events are all interlinked. Turkey then opens the Mursitpinar border gate with Kobani just as Daesh fires Katyusha rockets at Kobani and surrounding villages to sow panic among the people. Turkey opens the border gate on the third day of the attack so that the people can flee to Turkey. This is what Daesh wants as well. This proves the collusion between them. Because Turkey has long wanted the establishment of a buffer zone. Its aim is to prevent the Kurds in Rojava [Syrian Kurdish areas in western Kurdistan] from winning a formal status. By emptying Kobani and provoking a mass exodus of people, Turkey can then claim before the international community that its own security is at stake and set about establishing a buffer zone.”
Asked about the reports that Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s national spy agency [MIT], had as recently as last week offered to mediate between the Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party [KDP] and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD], Bayık stressed that Turkey always supported the KDP against the PYD.
Bayık continued thus; “Now they [the Turks] are supposedly trying to drive a wedge between the PKK and the PYD and to draw the PYD into an alliance with groups that are close to [the Turks] and to bring them in line with their own [Turks’] Syria policy. There are thousands of Syrian Kurds within the PKK. During the war [against Turkey] 1,500 Syrian Kurds were martyred. Many Syrian Kurd commanders from the PKK went over to Rojava to train YPG forces and to help them in the fight against Daesh. Such matters do not always work the way Turkey intends them to through money and weapons. And there is no friction between the YPG and the PKK as claimed. They are acting together in the south [Iraqi Kurdistan] in Kirkuk, in Shengal, in Rabiya. The only force to defend Rojava is the PKK.”
Regarding the peace process of democratic resolution between Turkey and Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan, Bayık said it has been realized a while ago that the AKP will not solve the Kurdish problem. He underlined that; “There is tremendous pressure on our leader and a very ugly psychological war that is being waged against him. Propaganda is being spread to demean him in the eyes of the people. I am telling you openly: Turkey must immediately stop these psychological ops tactics and end its pressure on our leader.”
Pointing out that there is no improvement in the internment conditions of the Kurdish leader, Bayık said; “Recently, his sister and nephew visited him and they were put in a room where nobody could breathe. The nephew protested to the prison guards, saying they were aware of our leader’s breathing difficulties. Their response was that they would have to meet there and that was all. Moreover, they forced the meeting to end before the allotted time. The new government is trying to force our leader to roll back his demands by applying pressure on him. This applies especially to the negotiating points. But as they know he won’t back down, they are going to use this as an excuse to set the stage for war.”
Remarking that Turkey wanted to resume the war, Bayık continued; “If this were not so, they would have worked harder at solving the problem. They would have improved the internment conditions of our leader. They would have accepted the presence of third-party observers in the peace talks. And they would have allowed the negotiating sides to carry equal weight. All they have done is to pass a bill to “end terrorism” in the parliament [legislation that effectively formalized the talks without actually referring to their substance]. And they did so kicking and screaming. We are concerned with actions, not words. The negotiations have still not started. They want to keep the talks on a dialogue level. They want to deceive our people. We have been in dialogue for years. We went back and forth to Oslo for years [the secret Oslo talks that ended in 2009].”
Bayık said they gave Turkey time until the end of September to take certain steps, warning that the war would resume by the end of September unless they do so. “As we are at the center of this process, if we say there is no progress in the peace progress, that means there is no progress because there is no one better placed to assess this. We have paid a very heavy price during 40 years of conflict. Thousands of our fighters and cadres were martyred. Thousand of Kurdish villages were burned and destroyed. Thousands of our people fell victim to extrajudicial killings. And now we see that the numbers of village guards [a state-paid anti-PKK Kurdish militia] are growing. Army garrisons are being built, together with supply roads. We are sticking to the cease-fire but they are not. And they took advantage of the cease-fire to launch a war against Rojava”, he underlined.
Asked if they “will resume” or “may resume” war, Bayık explained; “We decide on war. The authority to end the cease-fire lies with us. But our leader Apo decides on peace, on the continuation of the peace process. His role is different from ours. We are complementary.”
Asked about their demands from Turkey in order for peace to prevail, Bayık said; “The internment conditions of our leader need to be improved. We cannot negotiate in his present conditions. Third-party observers must be allowed to take part in the negotiations. They can be from civil society, from the parliament or from an international organization. It can also be a foreign power. And the support being given to Daesh against Rojava must end. Rojava is part of the peace process. This is clear.”
Bayık emphasised that nobody can blame the PKK, a legal movement, for waging an attack on Turkey, adding; “Until now we have declared nine unilateral cease-fires since 1993. In 2013, on the occasion of Nowroz, we freed all our prisoners. We ended the war and began to withdraw our fighters from Turkey. We are not eyeing anyone’s territory. We are not seeking independence. All we want is to live freely with our own identity, culture and values in democratic conditions.”
Asked about the risk of opening a second front against Turkey while fighting IS in Rojava, Bayık pointed out that; “We have been fighting for 40 years. If need be, we shall fight for many more years. We are fighting because we are being forced to do so. We are not going to surrender after 40 years. No power can implement its strategies in the Middle East without taking the PKK into account.”
Asked about the protest actions of PKK’s youth wing who have been burnt down some schools in the Kurdish region in response to the Turkish state’s attack on Kurdish schools, Bayık said burning schools is wrong, adding; “But our people built schools there with their own means. They want to study in the Kurdish language, so why is the state forbidding this? There is a great deal of anger among our youth. Even we are having trouble restraining them. When we ask them why they burn schools, they respond, “Why are our schools being shut down?” There is a lot of alienation. The number of people joining our ranks last month has exceeded that in 1993. In 1993, around 1,000 people would join every month. Last month, 1,200 people joined.”
Confirming that the Turkish government continues to speak positively about the peace process, and the pro-government media is helping to propagate this upbeat mood, Bayık noted that; “This is a delaying tactic, a deception. They are trying to portray Apo as being optimistic when in fact he continually criticizes the AKP during the talks. They want to drain the process of all its substance and they want to manage it at their whim. What was their aim? To win the [March 2014] local elections and then the [August 2014] presidential elections. And now they want to win the 2015 [parliamentary] elections. It’s true that they would not want to resume the war before the elections. They want the cease-fire to continue, but they want it to continue without making any concessions, save for a few unimportant gestures. After the 2015 elections, their position may change.”
Source: ANF – NEWS DESK 27-09-2014
Irmak: Kurds fighting ISIS for the sake of all peoples
The hunger strike started by HDP deputies Selma Irmak, Sebahat Tuncel, Kemal Aktas and Feleknas Uca in front of the United Nations building in Geneva, continues on the fifth day.
DTK (Democratic Society Congress) co-president and HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Şırnak deputy Selma Irmak, Van MP Kemal Aktaş, Istanbul deputy Sebahat Tuncel and former MEP Feleknaz Uca, a current member of the executive board of the DTK, started hunger strike to call attention to the ongoing attacks of ISIS gangs on the Kobanê Canton of West Kurdistan.
A tent set up in front of the UN building for the deputies continues to receive support and visits from various organisations as well as the Kurdish people living in Europe.
Speaking during a visit by hundreds of Kurds living in Switzerland, DTK (Democratic Society Congress) Co-president Selma Irmak called attention to the meaning and importance of their protest, stressing that the UN should fulfill its responsibility and hear the voice raised by the people there and by the Kurdish people resisting in four parts of Kurdistan.
Irmak said Kurds were intended to be left facing a massacre in the 21st century, underlining that they however fought alone against an inhuman organization for the sake of all peoples and their future.
Speaking after, HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Istanbul MP Sebahat Tuncel pointed to the fact that international powers didn’t go beyond just watching what is happening in Rojava. Tuncel said the decisions made by the west served their own benefits, and called for the breaking of the wall of silence in the face of the threat of massacre being faced today by the peoples in Rojava and the Middle East.
Tuncel stressed that the point the AKP government has reached in the “process of democratic resolution” initiated by Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan meant insisting on war, adding; “Turkey’s approach towards Rojava serves interrupting the peace process. The AKP government should know very well that there can be no peace in Turkey while a war is going on in Rojava. If there will be peace, it should happen in all four parts of Kurdistan.”
Source: ANF – GENEVA 25-09-2014
Turkish tanks cross the border under ISIS flag
Kurdish TV MED NUÇE has broadcast footage revealing the support the ruling AKP government of Turkey is providing to the inhuman gangs calling themselves the Islamic State.
The footage, reportedly from the Karkamıs border crossing of Jarablus, features trucks carrying Turkish tanks crossing from the border into areas held by the ISIS.
The trucks carrying tanks are accompanied by a military convoy while crossing the border under the flag of ISIS.
The Jarablus region and the Karkamıs border crossing is held by ISIS for some time. Jarablus is located between Efrin and Kobanê Canton, 45 km to the west of Kobanê.
The question where tanks are heading and for what purpose, remains unanswered.
Source: ANF – NEWS DESK 25-09-2014
KCK: Non-conflict environment no longer exists
The KCK Executive Council has issued an important statement regarding the support provided by the Turkish state to ISIS gangs, the ‘process of democratic resolution’ launched by Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan and the imposition of withdrawal by the Turkish state.
The KCK stressed that Öcalan and the Kurdish Freedom Movement had taken all possible steps for a democratic political resolution and had maintained the necessary sensitivity in order for these steps to yield a result, whereas the AKP government had from the outset not engaged with the resolution process. The KCK statement continued:
“The AKP Government, by its failure to respond to the steps taken by our movement, has brought the process to a point of no return. All our efforts have not sufficed to bring the AKP government into the process. In the last 2 years the AKP has merely mentioned the process of resolution in order to gain public support. In practice it has done everything it could to render futile the process initiated by Leader Apo.”
The KCK also drew attention to the support provided to ISIS gangs by the Turkish state, saying: “with the ISIS onslaught on Kobanê a state of non-conflict no longer exists. The Turkish state and AKP government have ended this by turning their psychological war against the Freedom Movement into a military attack. The attack on Kobanê is not just an assault on the Rojava Revolution, but also an attack on the entire Kurdish people.”
The KCK reacted strongly to the government’s insistence on the guerrilla forces’ withdrawal from North Kurdistan, rather than engaging with the process initiated by Abdullah Öcalan. “Until negotiations start and serious practical steps are taken towards a political resolution of the Kurdish issue, there is no question of a withdrawal of guerrillas. No impositions will bring this about.”
The KCK statement continued: “To insist on the withdrawal of guerrillas at a time when our movement is debating how maintaining the state of non-conflict has been rendered meaningless is a psychological operation. The AKP government is trying to ensure a continuation of the environment of non-conflict without taking any steps towards a solution so that they can win the 2015 elections and consolidate their power.”
Stressing that it is not possible for the Kurdish movement to remain passive in such an environment of psychological warfare, KCK said an appropriate response will be made to the AKP government’s policies that have rendered the non-conflict situation meaningless and its ending of this situation with the attacks on Kobanê. “The encouragement by Turkey of ISIS attacks on a small autonomous area like Kobanê that only has a border with Turkey is the last straw”, it underlined.
The KCK statement also reacted to state terror in Suruç, saying: “The brutal treatment meted out to protesters is unacceptable. There is now great anger in all parts of Kurdistan against Turkey. For Turkey to attack Kurds rushing to support other Kurds under threat of massacre in a Kurdish city under siege is a declaration of war on the entire Kurdish people. This is how Turkey’s participation in the ISIS attacks should be understood all over the world.”
The KCK drew attention to Turkey’s intention to depopulate Kurdistan with these attacks, and to set up a buffer zone, adding: “They are continuing their 3-year hostility to the Rojava Revolution by trying to create a buffer zone. The AKP government supported groups such as Al Nusra and ISIS and encouraged Syrian Arabs to go to Turkey to intensify the civil war in Syria, and now it wants to create a buffer zone by throttling the Rojava revolution with fascist ISIS gangs and emptying the region, thereby enhancing its position in Syria. . With a buffer zone it is aiming to step up its war against the Kurdish people and the representative of its will, the Kurdish Freedom Movement.”
KCK ended the statement by calling on the Kurdish people, the peoples of Turkey, democratic forces and global democratic public opinion to adopt a stance against the policies of the AKP, and support Kurdish Freedom Movement’s struggle to democratise Turkey and free the Kurdish people.
Source: ANF – BEHDINAN 25-09-2014
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