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Introductory note by LeftEast editors
March 31, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast – For the last several months in Turkish politics, the party-state’s agenda has been dominated by two interconnected operations: consolidation of power and elimination of opposition.
By Nick Fredman
March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.
I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.
Dilar Dirik interviewed by George Souvlis, first published at Salvage
George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically?
Dilar Dirik: As a Kurd, you can never run from your identity, because your identity is essentially political and the level of your political consciousness acts as a self-defense as the only way to secure your survival and existence. That is why insistence on the free expression of your self-determined identity is portrayed as political controversy, nationalism, or terrorism by the capitalist-statist system.
By Tony Iltis
February 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the US has been involved, at first, through arming and supporting groups opposing the dictatorship of Bashar Assad, and supporting allies in the region doing likewise; and since 2014, through its direct involvement in leading an international coalition in an air war against ISIS.
Small numbers of US Special Forces and CIA operatives are also in Syria, supporting different, mutually antagonistic groups in the multi-sided conflict.
The US role in Syria often appears confused and contradictory. This seems set to increase under the new US administration.
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs that have been arrested.
By Hişyar Özsoy and Aysel Tuğluk
November 10, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This brief presents an overview of the illegality of the entire political and judicial process leading up to the arrest of our Co-Chairs Mr Selahattin Demirtaş and Mr Figen Yüksekdağ, along with eight other MPs of our party on 4 and 7 November 2016.
In response to domestic and international outcry over the arrests, the Erdoğan-AKP government officials have presented this a necessary judicial measure against our Members of the Parliament (MPs) who refused to follow the summons of prosecutors for interrogation in relation to criminal cases filed against them. In his statement to the press on November 4th following the detention of our twelve MPs the night before, Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ argued that our MPS had defied the rule of law by this refusal, and left judicial authorities with no other choice than bringing them before the court by force.
Kurds and Turks are at the edge of a cliff: An interview with arrested Kurdish women’s rights activist Ayla Akat
Nadje al-Ali and Latif Tas interview Ayla Akat
November 4, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — Ayla Akat, lawyer, former Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP for Batman, KJA Spokesperson and prominent Kurdish women’s rights activists based in Diyarbakir (Amed) was arrested a few days ago alongside other Kurdish women’s rights activists.
They were protesting against the illegal arrest of Gültan Kışanak, co-mayor of Diyarbakir, who has been detained together with the city’s male co-mayor, Fırat Anlı. In addition, 27 elected Kurdish co-mayors are in prison in Turkey, while 43 of them were dismissed. On 11 September 2016, the central government appointed deputy governors as trustees to replace the dismissed Kurdish mayors who were elected by more than 70% of the public vote.
By Rojava Solidarity NYC
September 24, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — Saladdin Ahmed, an assistant professor of Philosophy at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey, interviewed by Robert Leonard Rope
Robert Leonard Rope(RLR): Please briefly describe your background. Were you named after Saladin the Great? And what was it like to teach at a university in Turkey?
Saladdin Ahmed (SA): I never know how to answer questions about my background mainly because my identity has always been shaped around negations rather than the promotion of a certain upbringing. I wouldn’t say I have an identity crisis, but I would say identity, at least in today’s world, is itself a crisis.
August 29, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Crisis and Revolt — Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria on 24 August was flagged up as a move to drive the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) out of the border town of Jarabulus. But that is just a cover: Turkey’s not very secret major objective is to crush the 50,000-strong Kurdish YPG (people’s Protection Unit) militia, and overrun the three autonomous Kurdish dominated areas, collectively called ‘Rojava’ by the Kurds.
By Phil Hearse and Sarah Parker
August 27, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint — In the wake of the failed military coup in Turkey, and the massive wave of state repression that has followed, building solidarity with the progressive resistance in Turkey and Kurdistan is even more vital. The attention of socialists and democrats worldwide will be turned towards the reactionary mobilisation that the ruling AKP has unleashed. This will put the HDP (Peoples Democratic Party) and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) centre stage.
By Sarah Parker and Phil Hearse
August 12, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The dramatic events of 15/16 July created an international shock wave: this was, contrary to some initial opinions, a very serious coup involving large sections of the armed forces. Both the parliament and the presidential palace were attacked by fighter planes. Hundreds were killed, both demonstrators and police killed by pro-coup soldiers and helicopter gunships, and young conscripts lynched by the anti-coup crowds. The coup showed the deep rifts that exist inside the Turkish ruling class, and its aftermath showed the growing drive towards the creation of an Islamist dictatorship.
By Santiago Alba Rico, translated from Cuarto Poder by Sean Seymour-Jones
August 4, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — What many of us feared on the night of July 15 has occurred in the most sombre way possible. If a victorious coup in Turkey would have been terrible, its failure looks set to be no less so. In barely a week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has detained or purged more than 40,000 public officials: army officers, police, judges, teachers, and journalists. He has declared a state of emergency for three months - which can be extended indefinitely - and has suspended the European Convention of Human Rights, which could open the way – as the government has already insinuated - to the reestablishment of the death penalty and, in any case, normalise repression against all forms of opposition, particularly against the Gulenist forces and the Kurds, who have once again, following the reinitiating of the military conflict a year ago, been converted into the “internal enemy”. In short, to stop or avenge a coup - real and manipulated - Erdogan and his party have at the same time carried out a coup.
By Dario Azzellini
July 31, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- During the first decade of the current century factory occupations and production under workers’ control seemed to be limited mainly to South America, with a few exceptions in Asia. It was beyond the imagination of most workers and scholars in industrialized countries that workers would or could occupy their companies and run them on their own. Nevertheless, the crisis that started in 2008 put workers’ control back on the agenda in the northern hemisphere. Occupations of workplaces and production under control of workers sprang up in the United States, Western Europe and Egypt. This chapter describes some of these struggles and their common characteristics and differences.
(Updated) HDP leader: 'We must take a clear position against both pro-coup mindsets'; plus Kurdistan National Congress statement
July 20, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Peoples’ Democratic Party English website -- Öcalan had warned Erdogan about this matter a lot. “Tell him, he does not get it, he is acting like an idiot” Öcalan said. “By continuing the resolution process I supported him, if this process ends, the mechanics of coup would step in and he would end up just like Morsi of Egypt” he constantly warned.
Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of Peoples’ Democratic Party, defined the attempted coup as “the coup attempt of putchists against putchists” and added: “A clear attitude must be adopted against both pro-coup mindsets and the struggle must be stepped up because the coup mindset that tried to seize power through military forces using tanks and cannons is illegitimate and so is ruling the society through an election that takes place with war, violence, and bombing of the cities, it also is a civil coup.”
By Sarah Parker and Phil Hearse, foreward by Kate Hudson
-Does any living-being have a chance to survive without defending oneself?
Today is a day for taking responsibility for the projects of self-government and for raising one’s voice.
-If there had been barricades in Wan (Van), Sêrt (Sirt) and Qoser (Kızıltepe) would there have been as many extrajudicial executions?
Now a weekend protest makes no contribution to the revolution. However there is no in front of or behind the barricade. There is Kurdistan. There is self-government. Either we will become a new Vietnam or we will experience what happened to the Tamils of Sri Lanka. I am speaking to the youth: There is leadership. There is a party. There is a movement. What are you waiting for?
Tom Anderson and Eliza Egret report from the war-torn city of Kobanê and meet those trying to rebuild what Daesh and US bombs have destroyed
January 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper — ‘We have cleared 1.5 million tonnes of rubble,’ Abdo Rrahman Hemo (known as Heval Dostar), head of the Kobanê Reconstruction Board, tells us humbly as we sit in his office in Kobanê city in November 2015. But as we walk through the bombed streets, with collapsed buildings all around us and dust filling our lungs, it's hard to believe that Kobanê could have been any worse. ‘We have estimated that 3.5 billion dollars of damage has been caused,’ he continues.
It's been one year since the US bombing of Kobanê — then partly occupied by Daesh — and most of the buildings are still in tatters. Kobanê is in Rojava (meaning 'West' in Kurdish), a Kurdish majority region in the north of Syria that declared autonomy from the Assad regime in 2012.
For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people
Selahattin Demirtaş (pictured) interviewed by Ezgi Başaran
July 28, 2015 -- Hurriyet Daily News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The government of Turkey’s refusal to provide legal guarantees for the Kurdistan Workers Party'(PKK), coupled with the construction of military fortresses, effectively ended the ceasefire in Turkey, Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş (pictured) explained.