Turkey

The revolutionaries of Bethnahrin: cooperation between Christians and Kurds

 

Dawronoye's television team visits the guerrillas. Beside Jacob Mirza (front row, third from left) sits Sargon Adam, holding a machine gun. (Photo courtesy Sargon Adam, August 1999).

By Carl Drott

May 25, 2015 -- Warscapes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This article is primarily based on interviews conducted in Syria and Sweden between August 2013 and January 2015. For the sake of simplicity, the term "Syriac" is here employed to denote also those individuals or communities identifying as Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Christian Kurds or Christian Arabs.

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In northeastern Syria, “Christian militias” (as they are often termed) are now battling the Islamic State [also known as ISIS] alongside Kurdish forces. However, these groups did not simply emerge spontaneously as a response to a security threat: they are the latest incarnations of the Dawronoye movement, which first appeared on the European and Middle Eastern political scenes 20 years ago.

Turkey: As Erdogan manoeuvres to retain power, country faces uncertain future

Supporters of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party.

By Dave Holmes

July 7, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One month after Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections, the country still does not have a government. Ahmet Davutoglu of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) remains caretaker prime minister. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains the dominant figure in the AKP and is actively manoeuvring to retain his party’s leading position. The president is supposed to be an impartial figure above party politics but Erdogan pays scant regard to such constitutional niceties.

The elections were marked by two significant and related developments.

Turkey's left party leader Selahattin Demirtaş' call for 'new way of life': radical democracy

June 8, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  -- The June 7, 2015, general election in Turkey saw the radical left People's Democratic Party (HDP) win almost 13% of the vote and around 80 parliamentary seats.

It passed the 10% threshold for parliamentary representation for the first time, with a total of almost 6 million votes. The HDP won all the seats in the following Kurdish cities: Batman four, Agri four, Dersim two, Hakari three, Sirnak four, Igdir two. The party won 1 million votes and 11 seats in Istanbul -– a city with a huge Kurdish population although the party also won significant non-Kurdish support there. Thirty-one of the HDP’s 80 new MPs are women, the highest proportion of any party. HDP candidates included Armenians, Yezidis and Assyrians alongside Kurds. The HDP had the only openly gay candidate.

On the other hand, the ruling AKP has lost its parliamentary majority and recieved 3 million fewer votes than in 2010. The AKP lost many votes to the HDP in areas where it has had a big Kurdish following. Turkey's parliament consists of 550 seats; 276 seats are required for a single-party majority government. The ruling AKP has only secured 258 with which to try and form a coalition.

The HDP’s historic gains make the success of the peace process with the Kurds within Turkey more likely, and will restrict Turkey’s dubious relations with ISIS.

The speech below from HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş' 2014 presidential bid outlines the HDP's vision for a new Turkey.

Turkey: Kurds, the working class and the new left -- interview with Erdem Yörük

June 6, 2015 -- LeftEast, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections fast approaching, all eyes are on the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) contesting its first ever election as a party, rather than a coalition of nominally independent candidates: a momentous decision on the part of the party leadership, which stands to gain clout in parliament and solidify its position as the electoral standard-bearer of the radical Left—or fall below the constitutionally mandated 10% barrier and be excluded from parliament entirely.

Turkey: People’s Democratic Party (HDP) takes centre stage with bold campaign

By Dave Holmes

May 25, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The June 7 elections to Turkey’s Grand National Assembly are shaping up to be the most important in a long time. The bold decision of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) to run as a party and strive to exceed the grossly undemocratic 10% threshold needed to win representation in parliament has put the group at the political centre stage.

Although its key support base lies in the oppressed Kurdish community, the HDP is reaching out to all those oppressed, exploited and discriminated against across the country. This includes women, workers, the Alevi religious community, Armenians, Assyrians and LGBTI people.

Support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has clearly slipped since the 2011 elections. The AKP will almost certainly gain the most seats, but the HDP's rise will deny it any chance of the super-majority needed to unilaterally amend the constitution through parliament.

AKP leader Recip Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s supposedly impartial president, wants to establish a dictatorial executive presidency. This ambition appears to be doomed.

Poll shows AKP woes

Join the campaign to remove PKK from list of ‘terrorist’ groups



By Dave Holmes

March 24, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Melbourne-based Australians for Kurdistan committee has launched a campaign calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the Australian government’s list of terrorist organisations.

Kurdistan: Why Kobanî did not fall

[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

By Dilar Dirik

January 27, 2015 -- Kurdish Question, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One year ago, today, Kobanî declared itself as an autonomous canton.

Today, after 135 days of fearless resistance, the people of Kobanî have liberated the city from the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). Since September 2014, the YPG and YPJ (People's and Women's Defence Units) have been leading – there are no other words to describe it -- an epic and unbelievable resistance against the latest wave of attacks by ISIS.

The women and men, who lead the most glorious resistance of our time, hoisted their flags on the last hills that were occupied by ISIS and immediately began their line dances, accompanied by old Kurdish revolutionary songs and slogans. Ever since, people around the world rushed to the streets to celebrate. After the countless tragedies, massacres and traumas that this region has had to suffer recently, the pains that have preceded this moment make victory even sweeter. One eye sheds tears for the dead, while the other cries out of much deserved joy.

Unfolding revolution in Rojava: Interview with Özgür Amed, journalist and researcher

"We can say that Kurdish women led the Rojava revolution. Women have a part in every decision taken in Rojava. The colour of the Rojava revolution is the colour of women."

[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

Özgür Amed interviewed by Dylan Murphy

January 17, 2015 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following interview was conducted in partnership between the Rojava Report. Özgür Amed is a journalist, columnist, teacher and activist from Diyarbakir, where he gives courses on cinema and works with local civil society organisations as a project coordinator.

He writes regular editorials for the newspapers Ozgur Gundem and Ozgur Politika, contributes to various journals, assists foreign journalists working in Kurdistan and provides analysis of the region to foreign media outlets. He also conducts research on the Kurdish movement and its author of a book of humour, Works of Kurdology (Kürdocul İşler). He can be reached at ozguramed@live.com

France: 'Charlie Hebdo' would have run the headline: ‘Satraps who you have escaped’

This drawing (representing Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan) was tweeted by television presenter Sedef Kabas on January 11.

By Thomas Cantaloube and Mathilde Mathieu

January 14, 2015 – French original published in Mediapart, January 11; English translation first posted Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- To govern is to choose. By accepting the participation of dictators, jailers of opponents and enemies of the freedom of the press from all corners of the planet at the January 11 demonstration in memory of the victims of the Paris [Charlie Hebdo] attacks, the François Hollande-Manuel Valls government has once more demonstrated its cowardice.

Germany: Lift the ban on the PKK!

Kurds protest in Dusseldorf.

By Florian Wilde, Die Linke member

November 3, 2014 -- International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The West has suddenly begun supporting various Kurdish organisations in its fight against the Islamic State.

So why is the largest Kurdish organisation of all, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), still outlawed? This article discusses current developments in Kurdistan and gives a brief overview of the history of the Kurdish liberation movement and the PKK’s illegal status in Germany. It argues for a radical left strategy focused on defeating the ban on the PKK.

Critique of Patrick Cockburn’s ‘Whose side is Turkey on?’

Fighters of the Free Syrian Army

For more on Syria, click HERE.

By Michael Karadjis

October 31, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The November 6 London Review of Books has published Patrick Cockburn’s latest article (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n21/patrick-cockburn/whose-side-is-turkey-on), ‘Whose side is Turkey On?’. Now, as I support the struggle of the Syrian Kurds, led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed militia, the YPG, against ISIS’ genocidal siege, I have no interest in defending Turkey’s shabby role in this, even if I think both the US and Turkey, in their current difference on this issue are both being totally cynical in their different ways. So this critique will not deal with these issues.

Rojava’s autonomous cantons: What a revolution looks like

"A YPJ fighter (right) next to a very similar picture of a female fighter in the Spanish revolution in the 1930s. The comparison is apt. The presence of such a high proportion of female front line fighters is evidence of a profound social transformation that has been happening in liberated Rojava and  within the Kurdish revolutionary movement."

By Tony Iltis

November 1, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 1, protests were held worldwide in solidarity with Kobanê. Protests took place in most countries on every continent. Even in Afghanistan, protests were organised in six cities by left-wing anti-occupation groups.

After withstanding more than six weeks of intense siege by the terrorist group that calls itself “Islamic State” (IS), Kobanê (also called Kobani), a small majority-Kurdish town on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, has become one of the most well-known places on the planet.

The defenders of Kobanê mostly belong to the Syrian-Kurdish militias, the Peoples Defence Units (YPG) and Womens Defence Units (YPJ). The YPG has both male and female fighters. The YPJ is, as its name suggests, all female. Despite having held three cantons in Rojava as liberated zones since July 2012, until recently these militias were as obscure as Kobanê itself.

Emerging Kurdistan: socialist or capitalist?

"The latest developments in the Middle East have had Western specialists-strategists-analysts playing with their pencils, rulers and compasses, doodling all over their maps of the Middle East."

By Giran Ozcan

October 2014 -- Kurdish Question, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The last decade has seen many maps published by "think tanks" and/or "intelligence organisations" in which the Middle East gives birth to "new nations/states". The latest developments in the Middle East have had Western specialists-strategists-analysts playing with their pencils, rulers and compasses, doodling all over their maps of the Middle East; once again hoping to carve up the region to best fit the interests of their imperial masters.

What kind of Kurdistan for women? (+ video)

By Dilar Dirik

October 20, 2014 -- Kurdish Question, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "Azadî", freedom. A notion that has captured the collective imagination of the Kurdish people for a long time. "Free Kurdistan", the seemingly unattainable ideal, has many shapes, depending on where one situates oneself in the broad spectrum of Kurdish politics. The increasing independence of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in South Kurdistan (Bashur) from the central Iraqi government, as well as the immense gains of the Kurdish people in West Kurdistan (Rojava) in spite of the Syrian civil war over the last year, have revived the dream of a free life as Kurds in Kurdistan.

Kurdish leader: 'We are the only humanist shield against barbarity'

Gharib Hassou.

[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

October 6, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Gharib Hassou is representative in Iraqi Kurdistan of the Syria-based Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekitîya Demokrat, PYD), the main force of Kurdish resistance in Syria. He is interviewed by Stéphane Aubouard in Erbil for the French left-wing newspaper l’Humanité. Translated by Isabelle Métral. (Note: DAESH is also know as "Islamic State" (IS) or ISIS).

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Why is the conquest of Kobane so important for DAESH?

Kurds: Statement by People's Democratic Party (Turkey) on developments in Rojava

rojava2

Kurds rally to defend Kobane from IS killers.

By the foreign affairs commission of the People’s Democracy Party (HDP),Turkey

October 3, 2014 -- HDP, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Today the peoples of the Middle East face the threat of a large-scale massacre. Peoples of the region, particularly Syrian and Iraqi peoples, are putting up an historic resistance to ISIS terror. Heavy attacks by ISIS, especially on the Kobane Canton of Rojava, are being resisted by the people of Kobane and YPG forces. The defence of Kobane, under the siege from four sides, continues.

Socialist Alliance: Solidarity with Rojava revolution! West prefers IS killers to humane, pro-woman, democratic revolution

"At least a third of the defence forces of Rojava are female. They are in the frontlines and in the command. Many women have perished after resisting heroically to the end. Such examples by women are demolishing social taboos and challenging feudal, patriarchal values in society. Rojava has also mounted a big ongoing campaign against domestic violence."

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[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This resolution was adopted by the Australian Socialist Alliance National Council on October 4, 2014. Below that is the text of a leaflet being distributed by Socialist Alliance members at solidarity mobilisations in Australia.

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1. Socialists have always supported the legitimate national aspirations of the Kurdish people, left divided by the colonial powers at the end of World War I between four countries.

Kobanê: Heroic defence resists ‘Islamic State’ assault; 'Kobanê will be a grave for IS'

The People’s Democracy Party (HDP) leader Selahattin Demirtas, who won nearly 10% in the recent presidential election. The HDP is leading a big campaign of solidarity with Rojava against the IS assault.

By Dave Holmes

September 27, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Besieged since September 15, the northern Syrian Kurdish-majority city of Kobanê (Arabic name: Ayn al-Arab) has mounted an heroic, all-out resistance to the murderous 'Islamic State' (IS, formerly referred to as "ISIS") gangs.

As of September 25, despite all the superior heavy weaponry deployed by the IS, it appears that fierce resistance and determined counterattacks have halted or slowed the assault. Nonetheless, the IS thugs have pushed closer to the city centre than ever before and the situation remains perilous.

Socialist Alliance: 'No Australian military involvement in Iraq'; 'End Australian partnership with NATO'

September 4, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statements were adopted by the Socialist Alliance national executive on September 4, 2014, in response to the Australian government's decision to join the US and other imperialist states in a new military intervention in Iraq.

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1. The US wars on Iraq (1991 and 2003) killed hundreds of thousands and completely wrecked the country. The US promoted sectarian divisions in order to retain control. It created the conditions for the rise of the "Islamic State" and is thus responsible for the current crisis.

2. Australia was an enthusiastic junior partner in both US wars on Iraq and thus shares responsibility for the terrible suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people as well as the current situation.

3. There is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria due to the Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing and general terror campaign. Approximately 1.5 million refugees are living in camps in Rojava (the Kurdish liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and the Federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

a. Australia should give large-scale assistance to these refugees. This should be delivered by non-military means.

b. Australia should massively increase its refugee intake from Iraq and Syria.

c. No asylum seekers already here should be forcibly returned to Iraq or Syria.

Iraq: West for pushes yet another Crusade

By Tony Iltis

September 7, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a shorter version of this article first appeared at Green Left Weekly -- In a speech at the Council of Clermont on November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II used allegations of the persecution of Christians in the Holy Land to launch a series of military adventures by the warrior aristocracies of feudal Christian western Europe against the Muslim civilisations of the Middle East.

The ensuing two centuries of religious wars, or Crusades, were characterised by land-grabbing, plunder and the massacre of Muslims, Jews and non-Catholic Christians.

Listening to the Australian parliament on September 1 debating a motion on human rights in Iraq, it was difficult not to be reminded of Pope Urban’s speech. Starting with opposition Australian Labor Party shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, who moved the motion, six politicians got up and gave passionate accounts of the persecution Christians were suffering at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

They called for "Australia" to join with the “international community” in taking action to rescue them.

Islamic State

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