The Kurdistan Region of Iraq faces attacks from without and within – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Another week, another round of bellicose statements from the Turkish government. A week ago on Friday, Turkish Defence Minister, Yaşar Güler, told CNN Turk that Turkey’s attacks on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq had moved on from periodic operations to continuous action. He also gave the old story that Turkey’s attacks on the […]

Riot police in US universities raise questions of power and democracy – a weekly news review

  Sarah Glynn When you write about politics you can end up scrolling through seemingly endless images of police violence. This week’s images were notable because so many of them showed American riot police violently attacking the students who are being educated to become the next generation of leaders, and also laying into their middle-aged […]

Freedom struggles – a weekly news review

Despite 100 years of oppression, Kurdish communities everywhere have a pride in their culture, which they are determined to defend. They have organised the only genuinely oppositional politics in Turkey, and they are responsible for a democratic haven in North and East Syria, whose grassroots feminist politics are looked to for inspiration all around the […]

Opera and the Kurdish Question – a weekly news review

Last Sunday, an illustrious crowd attended the opera house in Istanbul’s Kadıköy to hear the soprano, Pervin Chakar. One of the many politicians in the audience was the newly elected leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Özgür Özel, who took advantage of his privileged status to show public respect for the singer. […]

İmralı, Breath, and Doctors

🔷 #Turkey continues to hold PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan under total #isolation in Imralı island prison. Kurdish academic Dersim Dağdeviren compares the environmental and political pressures experienced by #Ocalan, to the wider, pressing need for climate action and international… — MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) November 14, 2023 Turkey has detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan under total […]

On war crimes and crimes against humanity – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn With so much talk about war crimes and crimes against humanity, I thought I would begin this week by looking at what is meant by these terms. The theatre of war that is in most people’s minds at the moment is, of course, Gaza, but this is far from the only place that […]

Campaigning under the shadow of Gaza – a weekly news review

  Israel’s genocide of the people of Gaza is so big, so brutal, and so blatant that is difficult to focus on anything else, but other problems have not gone away, and can even be made worse as a consequence of these attacks. How, then, should the Kurdish Freedom Movement campaign in such circumstances? Those […]

Kurds and the ‘original sin’ of the centennial Republic

Fréderike Geerdink Fireworks I saw this weekend. Pictures of fireworks in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic. In all the years I’ve been writing about Turkey and Kurdistan now, 29 October 2023 has been a point of reference. Would Erdoğan manage to remain president until that day? To […]

Invoking the wrath of God – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Yesterday afternoon, like millions of people around the world, I was marching for the people of Palestine. For the great majority of those demonstrating, of all religions and none, the emotions bringing them out were a mixture of human sympathy for people facing unbelievable brutality, and a desire for peace and for the […]

A tale of two genocides – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn “I don’t know how I will tell her that she will not be able to play with her friends. I don’t know how she will be convinced that she lost her brother Muhammad while they were playing…” “The nature and severity of the damage inflicted on civilian infrastructure critical to essential services… cannot […]

There are no ‘military solutions’ – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Will future generations remember 7 October 2023 as a historical turning point? In the Hamas attack on Israel last Saturday, some 1,000 civilians were killed as well as 250 Israeli soldiers, and nearly 150 people – including children – were taken hostage. And it has triggered a response that is bringing our planet […]

I met face-to-face with Öcalan. Here’s how he can help bring about peace

  Michael Gunter Less than a year before Turkey captured him in February 1999, I met Abdullah (Apo) Öcalan in Damascus in March 1998. I first saw him with some others in an apartment a couple of rooms away, but recognised him immediately. As an academic who had been writing about the Kurds in Turkey […]

Öcalan: humanitarian, political, and historical grounds for release

Amed Dicle The anniversary on 9 October represents an important turning point for the Kurds. It marks the beginning of the conspiracy that led to Abdullah Öcalan’s extradition from Syria. The process, which began in 1998, culminated in Öcalan’s abduction from Kenya and his being taken to İmralı Island on 15 February 1999. Öcalan and […]

Pre-announced war crimes and mass detentions – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Since Thursday, Turkish bombs have been raining down on the vital infrastructure of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria causing power blackouts, destroying the oil wells that are the mainstay of the economy, and bringing fear and death. All week, across Turkey itself, Kurdish activists and politicians have been rounded up […]

Impunity to murder – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn In the space of four days, Turkey murdered nine people in Syria and Iraq. I have already talked about last Friday’s attack in Minbic, which killed three members of the YPJ – the Women’s Protection Units that are part of North and East Syria’s Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF. On Sunday, also in […]

The ‘art of the possible’ in Deir ez-Zor – a weekly news review

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria bases itself on the system of grassroots democracy outlined by Abdullah Öcalan and embraced by the Kurdish Freedom Movement. It is this living example of a different way of structuring society that makes it a source of hope for people everywhere. But, in a world of warring […]

Betrayal and suppression: the brutal colonial prelude to the Treaty of Lausanne

Peter Boyle When I was growing up in another former British colony, I remember seeing the movie blockbuster Lawrence of Arabia, based loosely on the experiences of British military operative Thomas Edward Lawrence who had encouraged Arab tribes to fight the Ottoman Turkish regime during World War I. Lawrence was only one of several British […]

‘Such a parcel of Rogues’ in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Sometimes, it seems that Kurds cannot escape being oppressed. Sometimes that oppressor is themselves Kurdish. I am not just thinking of Turkey’s Foreign Minister and former intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, who must take the responsibility for many of the underhand attacks implemented against the Kurds over the last decade. There will always be […]

Sanctions aren’t enough, US must hold Turkey accountable

Robin Fleming Two Turkish-backed military groups operating within the occupied region of Afrin in Syria’s northwest have been targeted by sanctions, as announced by the US Treasury Department on 17 August. The sanctions come after allegations of severe human rights abuses occurring within the Kurdish-majority region. The first group named by the Treasury department was […]

War against PKK disguises Turkey’s intentions in Kurdistan in Iraq

Fréderike Geerdink There is busy diplomatic traffic this week between Ankara, Baghdad and Erbil. The Iraqi oil minister was visiting Ankara on Monday to talk with his Turkish counterpart, while Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan was flying in the opposite direction to start his three-day visit to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. One of the […]

Rojhelat: a revolution on hold? An interview with Gordyaen Jermayi

As we approach the anniversary of Jina Amini’s death at the hands of Iran’s “Morality Police”, Sarah Glynn talked politics with Gordyaen Jermayi, a human rights activist originally from Rojhelat or East Kurdistan – the part that’s in Iran. Below are some highlights – lightly edited for clarity. You can listen to the interview at […]

The Barzani family alliance with Turkey and Iran: Kurds attacked from all sides

"Turkey is attacking the Zap region, citing PKK as pretext, to eliminate all Kurdish gains. Their aim is to gain military superiority and eliminate the Federal Kurdistan Region completely or control it. The most effective weapon in this plan is the KDP." — MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) August 23, 2023 Amed Dicle The following short video […]

What makes a peace agreement? – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn On Tuesday, Kurds everywhere commemorated the 39th anniversary of the beginning of the PKK’s armed struggle. This huge and widespread support is itself an extraordinary achievement, justifying the name given to 15 August by the Kurdish Freedom Movement: Resurrection Day. The PKK has enabled millions of Kurds to be proud of their Kurdish […]

Öcalan’s Freedom Will Make Talks Possible

Adem Uzun There have now been almost forty years of war between the Kurdish movement in Turkey as represented by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and the Turkish authorities. There have always been obstacles to finding an end to this war, mostly imposed by the Turkish authorities. Successive Turkish governments have wasted every positive step […]

Medya News and Kurdish Peace Institute panel analyses Turkey-PKK peace talks

A panel convened by Medya News and the Kurdish Peace Institute, a Washington-based research and policy institute, focused on exploring routes toward re-opened peace talks and a negotiated political settlement between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government. Panellists discussed developments and attempts at negotiation over the past 39 years of armed conflict, […]

When will they lay down their arms?

Fréderike Geerdink Today, it’s been 39 years since the PKK carried out its first two armed attacks against the Turkish state. On 15 August 1984, the gendarmery in Şemdinli and Eruh were targeted with several deadly victims as a result. The armed struggle continues and the question again being discussed is: when will they lay […]

Öcalan’s freedom matters because the Kurds’ freedom matters

Fréderike Geerdink It’s been four years this week that PKK-leader Abdullah Öcalan hasn’t been in touch with his lawyers, and two years since also his family hasn’t been allowed to contact or visit him. This is not only a violation of the fundamental rights that every prisoner has but also a form of torture, and […]

Migration and the capitalist nation state – an interview with Manja Petrovska and Nidžara Ahmetašević

Sarah Glynn With tightening immigration rules leading to ever more catastrophes, political rhetoric hardening, and more and more of the world being made uninhabitable, Sarah Glynn talks politics with two researchers who’ve written critically about migration control, Manja Petrovska and Nidžara Ahmetašević. Manja is a researcher at the University of Amsterdam, and Eur Asian Border […]

ISIS legacy- a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn If you go to the information website of the YPJ, the Women’s Protection Units of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, you will find some of the most disturbing 4 ½ minutes of video you are likely to meet. These largely consist of a compilation of clips taken from mobile phones […]

Lausanne is not what hurt Kurds the most

Fréderike Geerdink The Lausanne Treaty, which ultimately arranged the recognition of the Kemalists as the successors of the Ottoman Empire by the international community in 1923, is causing a lot of debate on its 100th anniversary. It’s sometimes seen as the treaty that ended the aspirations of the Kurds to have their own nation-state, but […]

The one state rule was always harder to beat

Fréderike Geerdink Throw back to election times this week in Turkey, as CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu was scrutinized heavily for different reasons. Meetings are being held by popular party members without his knowledge to undermine his position, he is suing a Youtuber for ‘insulting’ him and last but not least, he made a secret deal with […]

The road to Lausanne and the division of Kurdistan – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn 24 July will be the centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne, which served as midwife to the Republic of Turkey and left the Kurdish population of the old Ottoman Empire divided between Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. In each of these states, and also in Iran, which was already separate, Kurds have suffered suppression […]

100 Years of Occupation – 100 years of Silence

Provisions that were relevant to Kurdish statehood were included in the Treaty of Sèvres, signed on 10 August 1920 in the aftermath of World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Under the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres, the Ottoman Empire ceded significant territories, including areas with a predominantly Kurdish population, to […]

Why is the Lausanne Treaty still so important?

Robin Fleming This Saturday, thousands of people from the Kurdish community and their supporters are expected to participate in an authorised demonstration in Switzerland. The purpose of this gathering is to remind the world of the Treaty of Lausanne on the 100th anniversary of its signing, and to reiterate the Kurdish communities condemnation of this […]

Erdoğan puts the world on probation – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn For Turkey’s President Erdoğan, Sweden’s desperation to join NATO is a gift that keeps on giving. Like every other NATO member, Turkey can veto Sweden’s application, and the bargaining power this has given him is not something Erdoğan intends to give up until he has to. Every moment that he keeps Sweden waiting […]

The German students in the Kurdish armed movement

Fréderike Geerdink   A German PKK member was killed this week in the Xakurk region in the mountains in Kurdistan, in a Turkish drone attack. His name was heval* Azad, real name Thomas Johann Spiess, from Mainburg. He reminded me of heval Baz and heval Ronahî, two Germans I met when I was with the […]

A century in the balance: Turkey’s foreign policy after the election

Matt Broomfield Whatever the result of Sunday’s crucial run-off election between incumbent President Erdoğan and his challenger Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu, the country will continue plotting a course between Moscow and the Washington-led NATO security alliance. Though the balance would likely swing back toward the West should Kiliçdaroğlu achieve what looks like an increasingly improbable victory, in […]

İmralı Delegation calls on Council of Europe to take action for peace

Sarah Glynn   The İmralı Delegations to Turkey began in 2016. They are made up of people from different countries and submit formal requests to visit Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı prison. These requests are ignored, but the delegations are able to meet with lawyers and human rights organisations, and to draw up reports of the […]

Making Turkey Great Again, the rise of the far right – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Now is not a good time to be a Kurd; nor to be a woman, to be a government critic, to be gay, to be Alevi, to be any minority. It is not a good time to be a prisoner, to worry about corruption, to care about the environment, to look for peace. […]

Turkey’s struggle for democracy persists

Devriş Çimen News is spreading worldwide that Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is nearly certain to spend another five years strengthening his grip on power. Following the first-round vote on Sunday, Erdoğan secured 49.5 percent of the support, while his challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu received 44.9 percent. Subsequently, runoff elections have been scheduled for 28 May. […]

The smartness of Kiliçdaroglu’s heart gesture – but what’s next?

Fréderike Geerdink During a radio show in the Netherlands in which I spoke about today’s elections in Turkey, there was some sniggering about the heart shape that Kılıçdaroğlu makes with his hands, that he has become known for during the campaign. Masses of people who attend rallies of the opposition alliance make the heart too. […]

KDP can’t protect Yezidis if it doesn’t investigate itself

Fréderike Geerdink Yezidi students from the university in Duhok in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq have been reluctant to go to the city for groceries, afraid they will be attacked because of their religion. The security around the Yezidi displacement camps has been ramped up. Why? There is an ongoing wave of hate speech against […]

Unseating Erdoğan is about democracy

Devriş Çimen Turkey, about to elect a new parliament and a new president on 14 May, is at a turning point, more than at any point in the past two decades, during which the autocratic incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan consolidated his increasingly authoritarian government. 📌#AUDIOARTICLE | Emphasising the role of Kurdish in the election, he […]

Election in Turkey: nightmare or change?

Kariane Westrheim The situation in Turkey cannot possibly get worse than now. Erdogan and his AKP/MHP government have brought chaos and suffering to the people of Turkey and especially to the Kurds within its borders, but also in Iraq and Syria. Economic crisis, a total lack of democracy, lawlessness, war on foreign soil, ethnic cleansing, […]

Erdoğan battles against democracy and his own human frailty – a weekly news review

SARAH GLYNN This week’s potentially biggest news story has generated a vast amount of speculation to make up for the lack of genuine information. We know that President Erdoğan was hit suddenly by some illness because it happened when he was being interviewed on live television, though not actually on camera at the key moment, […]

The Gezi spirit and the Castle of Resistance

Fréderike Geerdink The Yeşil Sol Parti [Green Left Party] held a successful rally within the scope of its election campaign this weekend in Yoğurtçu Park in Kadıköy, Istanbul. It is a symbolic place: during the Gezi uprising of 2013, this was one of the parks were so-called ‘forums’ were held: gatherings in which people discussed […]

Turkey’s elections: pivotal moment for country’s fate and beyond

Melike Yaşar Turkey’s upcoming elections will be a turning point for the country’s future and the global struggle for democracy. The vote comes at a critical juncture for rights and freedoms in the country. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hopes that a victory will allow him to remove the last restraints remaining on his personal power. […]

Beautiful words and dodgy dealings in Turkey’s election – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn “Everybody should watch this with their heart. It is possible to live on these lands without discrimination, in equality and peace, as siblings. I congratulate Mr Kılıçdaroğlu and wholeheartedly support his beautiful message.” So tweeted Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The beautiful message from opposition presidential […]

‘Comrades of Jîna Amini’ animated film to screen at Australia’s ‘Love, Art and Revolution’ Film Festival

Peter Boyle A short animated film made by a group of women and artists in Rojhilat (East Kurdistan) in Iran, ‘Rehevalen Jîna Amini’ / ‘Comrades of Jîna Amini’, will be shown at the ‘Love, Art and Revolution’ Film Festival, which will take place in Sydney, Australia on 27-29 April. 📌 #AUDIOARTICLE| The film, 'Comrades of […]

Kurds will be “kingmakers” in Turkey’s elections but don’t overlook their anxiety

Fréderike Geerdink A prosecutor in Turkey seeks life imprisonment without early release 38 times for the defendants on charges of murder, looting, injuring a public official with a gun, burning flags and disruption of the national unity and the integrity of the country. 📌 #AUDIOARTICLE| Fréderike Geerdink (@fgeerdink) looks at the threats #Kurds face under […]

“He can do anything to reach power again,” – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn On Friday 7 April, a drone exploded in Sulaymaniyah Airport in the part of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that is controlled by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Close to the explosion, a US military convoy was carrying Mazloum Abdi, Commander in Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and Ilhan Ahmed, […]

John Holloway on the Kurdish Movement and the wider left: an interview with Sarah Glynn

John Holloway’s preface to Öcalan’s Sociology of Freedom manages to be both hugely supportive and helpfully critical, so I was excited to be able to meet with him at the Challenging Capitalist Modernity Conference in Hamburg and to ask him for his thoughts on how Öcalan’s ideas and the Kurdish movement can inspire and interact […]

We want our world back – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Last week I began my review with the growing authoritarianism in Europe, and ended it with the hope of this weekend’s Challenging Capitalist Modernity conference in Hamburg. I didn’t know that just a few days earlier, German authoritarianism – via Hamburg University, whose student association has been organising the conference together with the […]

Öcalan’s return

There follows a translation of sociologist author Selim Ferat’s Tuesday article for Yeni Özgür Politika, lightly edited for clarification. 🔴 #AUDIOARTICLE| The conditions of isolation in a quarter century of imprisonment have still not made it possible, philosophically, to destroy the bridges between #Ocalan and his organisation. — MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) April 6, 2023 Selim […]

No Africa policy without human rights!

Jürgen Klute For a long time, the African continent played only a subordinated role in the awareness of European countries. This is changing in view of the energy transition. The African continent is rich in energy from the sun and thus, from a European perspective, predestined for the production of solar energy and green hydrogen. […]

A historic election in an authoritarian world – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn   Scrolling through twitter, I see image after image of police violence, and I have to check twice to see where they are from. Across the world, there is a ramping up of authoritarian oppression as ruling elites defend a political system that generates growing inequality and destroys the planet and that is […]

For Öcalan, ‘Nelson Mandela rules’ are a distant dream

Matt Broomfield There is a historical and political affinity between South African icon Nelson Mandela and jailed Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan. Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu were both staunch supporters of the Kurdish struggle, with Mandela refusing a prize given to him by the Turkish authorities in 1992, citing his opposition to their repression […]

Hüda-Par completes the violence alliance

Fréderike Geerdink In several media I have heard or read that with including Hüda-Par in his alliance, Erdoğan is trying to appeal to Kurdish voters. Kurds are, after all, the ‘kingmakers’ in the upcoming elections, so having them on your side can make or break your success. Erdoğan has different strategies though, and they have […]

Everywhere Newroz, always freedom – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn On Monday, at the Turkish Parliament, the presidential candidate of the main opposition alliance, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) visited the leaders of the pro-Kurdish leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for a much-anticipated discussion; and on Wednesday, the Labour and Freedom Alliance, centred on the HDP, which has been […]

There’s nothing mysterious about SDF fighters in a chopper

Fréderike Geerdink Last week, nine SDF fighters died in a helicopter crash close to Duhok in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. It’s considered a ‘mysterious’ incident.  I’ve been chewing on that word for a couple of days now, and come to the conclusion that it’s in fact not mysterious at all. 📌 #AUDIOARTICLE🎧| "The problem […]

Newroz in Kurdish culture and politics: Delal Aydin talks to Sarah Glynn

Sarah Glynn Delal Aydin is a visiting scholar in Turkish Studies at the university of Duisberg-Essen in Germany, who works on the political mobilisation of Kurds in Turkey. In this podcast interview, she describes how Newroz evolved from a spring equinox festival, celebrated for thousands of years in Iran and the surrounding region, to a […]

Medya News panel: Öcalan’s voice is needed more than ever amidst Turkey’s ongoing crises

Abdullah Öcalan’s continued imprisonment in Turkey’s İmralı prison island lies at the heart of the legal, juridical and political crisis in contemporary Turkey, panellists stated at an online panel discussion organised by Medya News on Monday. The event, entitled ‘Öcalan, political prisoners, and legal reform in Turkey’, was occasioned by a January 2023 delegation of […]

Battling to be on the ballot paper – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn There has been a trend in the branding industry for paring down logos. A casual glance would suggest that this trend had been followed by Turkey’s pro-Kurdish, leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP); however, reality is more complicated. The still very recognisable but simplified logo is the new symbol of the Green Left Party, […]

HDP’s only agenda is the democratic transformation of Turkey, says jailed politician Demirtaş

📌"If somebody is to fear the #HDP, they should be those robbing the state, the nation. Those who persecute the people, the gangs, the mafia should be afraid of the HDP," says former HDP co-chair #SelahattinDemirtaş. ✍️@hdpdemirtas — MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) March 19, 2023 Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party […]

Turkey’s War on Water

Robin Fleming After over a decade of war, crisis has penetrated every aspect of Syrian life: from the political and economic spheres down to the most fundamental aspects of infrastructure. These crises are frequently exacerbated by the meddling of foreign powers seeking to benefit and exploit the suffering of the Syrian people and nowhere is […]

A candidate for the entire opposition? – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Turkey’s elections – presidential and general – will be held on 14 May. President Erdoğan signed off the official order yesterday, but election manoeuvrings have long been under way, and this week’s news has been dominated by the pre-election tactics of the opposing players. While these may give the impression of a complicated […]

Turkey’s election is a fork in the road: Darker days or a walk back?

Amed Dicle As this article was prepared, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made the official announcement that the parliamentary and presidential elections will be held on 14 May. A day before, the Constitutional Court postponed the deadline for the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) oral defence in the case to shut the pro-Kurdish party down, a […]

Palestinians and Kurds: What can they learn from each other today?

Erling Folkford Sometimes it is wise to look back a little before looking forward again. I think Palestinians and Kurds today are in such a situation. Because, after all, they have experience of working together and helping each other. The military coup in Turkey the 12th of September 1980 was to crush all left-wing opposition. […]

Is Turkish opposition presidential candidate Kılıçdaroğlu good news for the Kurds?

Matt Broomfield To those who primarily follow Turkish politics through the prism of the Kurdish issue, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s name may not be that familiar. But as Kılıçdaroğlu has now been nominated the official candidate of Turkey’s main opposition bloc, and will likely go head-to-head with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in epochal upcoming elections, it […]

Kılıçdaroğlu, Amedspor and the crimes of the state

Fréderike Geerdink The day after the match, the players bus of Amedspor arrived back home in Diyarbakır and the ‘table of six’ announced its presidential candidate, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. It’s impossible to discuss one of these issues without the other. And it begs an answer to the question: if Kılıçdaroğlu wins […]

In Turkey, women’s cries go unheard year-round

Robin Fleming International Women’s Day is a day for women around the world to celebrate their achievements, advocate for gender equality, and demand an end to gender-based violence. The occasion has become divorced from its roots in the labour movement as a day to celebrate women’s roles as workers, celebrated primarily by socialist governments, and […]

A good time for disaster capitalists – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn   Turkey’s Presidential Decree number 126, published on 24 February, is a disaster capitalists’ charter. As has been increasingly emphasised in the analysis of the 6 February earthquake, a large part of the blame for the appalling number of casualties must be taken by poor quality construction that did not comply with regulations; […]

After the earthquake, Turkey’s Jewish and Christian minorities must be protected

Matt Broomfield Anyone familiar with the New Testament will recognize the name of Antioch. This storied city, known to some as “the cradle of Christianity”, was once the most important metropolis in the Roman Empire save only Alexandria and the imperial city itself. By the end of the 15th century, the city was all but […]

Representing the Iranian revolution – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn   Kurdish news has been dominated by the catastrophe of the earthquake, but other developments have not paused. The Iranian revolution is now into its sixth month, and, as protests and persecution continue, there have been attempts to give it clearer structure and a minimum programme. There is widespread agreement over what people […]

In disastrous times, slow down your journalism

Fréderike Geerdink My attention was drawn this week to what appeared to be small news. It was a report shared by Pirha News Agency, which serves the Alevi community in Turkey, about Islamic children’s books that had been distributed in a camp for Alevi earthquake survivors who had become homeless. It made me realize once […]

Earthquake perspectives

Sarah Glynn This week, in response to the catastrophe of the earthquake, I have taken a break from my usual news review to write three separate articles on different aspects of this overpowering story. But for those who have come to expect a weekly podcast, I have also made an audio recording of all three. […]

Ongoing conflicts affecting aid to earthquake survivors

Jürgen Klute While I am writing these lines, the number of reported dead has already risen to over 17,000. And the number is obviously still rising. The number of injured and the number of homeless is much higher, the destruction seen in photos is enormous. It seems that this earthquake was one of the strongest […]

Faultlines as extra layers, deepening the pain

Fréderike Geerdink It’s too early to draw conclusions. People are still begging for machines to help them rescue their loved ones from under the rubble, thousands and thousands of people are missing, and the ones who live hear the voices of their mothers, fathers, children, neighbours under the rubble – until they stop. The tragedy […]

Existential Questions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Kurdish autonomy within Iraq was only achieved after decades of hard struggle. And, in 2017, an unrecognised referendum produced a nearly 93% vote for full independence. So, it is pretty startling to learn that a new survey in the region found that around half of their interviewees believe it would be better for […]

Instability persists in Iraqi Kurdistan

Amed Dicle Political instability in Iraq’s federal Kurdistan Region is gradually worsening. And it does not look as though intervention by international or regional forces would bring about positive outcomes. There are two main forces in the federal Kurdistan Regional capital Erbil. These are the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by the Barzani family, and […]

Human rights versus Turkey – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. These are the founding principles that the Council of Europe was set up to defend, and once again Kurds have gathered outside the Council building in Strasbourg to call on them to apply these principles to the case of their imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan. Inside […]

Turkish fascism and militarism kill at every age

Fréderike Geerdink Quite some anger and scornful laughter in my Twitter mentions this week. I had made a connection between the Turkish army making very young kids familiar with and enthusiastic about the military, and the often heard accusation against the Kurdish armed movement that they recruit child soldiers. “Turkey again does what it accuses […]

“Pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will” – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn   It has dominated the region’s politics, offering the possibility of democratic change, but also of dictatorship, and it has provided motivation for oppression at home and aggression in other countries. Turkey’s election now appears to have a date and is expected to take place on 14 May. This crucial election – or, […]

Will Turkey profit from a 2023 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

Matt Broomfield In a report published at the beginning of 2023, influential US think-tank Crisis Group identified ten conflicts to watch around the world. The potential for a fresh war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, on the basis of unresolved and mutually exclusive claims to the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, ranks second – just behind the ongoing […]

HDP’s vital role in Turkey’s upcoming elections

Robin Fleming The attention of the world, specifically Kurds and their allies, is on Turkey now. I am not alone in eagerly reading each new bit of information being released about the upcoming election. The fate of Turkey’s internal politics, the future of the Kurds throughout all parts of Kurdistan, and Turkey’s role in global […]

Tell me who they are, your murdered ones, your killers, your brave souls

Fréderike Geerdink Kemal Kurkut, Abdurrahman Gök, the Şenyaşar family, Ali Ismail Korkmaz and a murdered member of the Grey Wolves tell us everything we need to know about the current state of Turkish politics. The situation is dramatic. The oldest case in this list is that of Ali İsmail Korkmaz, a 19-year-old man who was […]

May our hearts shrivel if we forget

Fréderike Geerdink Should I write a column about both Roboski massacre, which happened eleven years ago on the day I am writing this (28th December), and the murder of three Kurds last week in Paris? Should the intentional massacre by the Turkish state of 34 Kurdish civilians, mostly underaged, be in any way compared to […]

The king who’s been ruling Turkey for a century

Fréderike Geerdink With the conviction of Istanbul mayor Imamoğlu on absurd charges and for political reasons, the alliance of which his party, the CHP, is a part of, has (seemingly) become more united. They strive to bring back the parliamentary system, which Erdoğan replaced by a presidential one, but for the rest, they don’t have […]

By stripping parliamentary rights, Turkey prevents peaceful resolution of Kurdish issue

Matt Broomfield Parliamentary immunity is one cornerstone of a functioning parliamentary democracy, but Turkish prosecutors have long sought to chip away at this fundamental right. In the decades following the establishment of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey in 1961 in the aftermath of the previous year’s coup d’état, Turkish prosecutors made 2,713 requests […]

Ethics aside, US must counter Erdoğan or suffer consequences 

Matt Broomfield This week brought the strongest declaration yet of United States opposition to Turkey’s mooted ground invasion of Kurdish-led North and East Syria (NES). In a call with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III shared his Department’s “strong opposition to a new Turkish military operation in Syria.” […]

Releasing political prisoners is not enough

Fréderike Geerdink Finally, after six years and six months, journalist Nedim Türfent from Gever (Yüksekova) was released from jail. He had completed his sentence for ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’, a crime he obviously did not commit. Good news? Of course. But is it enough? Of course not. Nedim Türfent is one of those Kurdish […]

Turkish war crimes in Syria

Robin Fleming In the early hours of Sunday, 20 November, Turkey began intensive cross-border operations into North East Syria (NES). The Turkish Ministry of National Defense has claimed that Turkey is operating within their rights of ‘self defence’ according to Article 51 of the United Nations (UN) Charter. Turkey invokes their right of self defence […]

Turkish aggression and the silence of the world

Kariane Westerheim The recent bombing in Istanbul, probably orchestrated by the Turkish secret services, has become a convenient pretext for Erdoğan and the AKP-MHP government as they launch their latest wave of assaults on Kurdish-led North and East Syria (NES), the Yazidi homeland of Sinjar, and northern Iraq. As Turkey’s economy and welfare have continued […]

Kurds have no reason for Istanbul bombing, Turkey does

Amed Dicle On 13 November, a bomb exploded on Istiklal Avenue, the busiest street in Istanbul. The bombing directly targeted civilians, killing six people and injuring dozens more. The media broadcast images from the scene minutes after the explosion, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a statement shortly after, saying the incident “smells of […]

Medya News ban in Turkey is tip of the censorship iceberg

Matt Broomfield The Medya News website has been banned in Turkey, but with censorship targeting hundreds of thousands of web pages including sites like Wikipedia and YouTube plus the Western press, it’s clear Turkey’s programme of censorship is not limited to the Kurdish media. It will come as no surprise to Medya News readers to […]

Kurds who fought ISIS feel abandoned once again

Amed Dicle Below are four Kurdish guerrillas and the information the People’s Defence Forces (HPG) released about them upon their deaths in Turkey’s military operations in Iraqi Kurdistan. These young Kurds had all joined the guerrilla forces in relation to the Islamic State (ISIS) attacks against Kurds, Arabs and all other peoples of Iraq and […]

Convention against chemical weapons demands a spine of the international community

Fréderike Geerdink New accusations have been made against the Turkish army for the use of banned weapons in the war against the PKK. Inside Turkey, more people are beginning to speak out and ask questions. The reactions to their courage to speak out only adds to the urgency with which this issue needs to be […]

The Murder of Jîna Mahsa Amini – a Fire Torch for Collective Mobilisation

Kariane Westerheim Jîna Mahsa Amini was Kurdish, she was a woman and like most Kurds, was brought up in political environments in a politically aware family. Being a Kurd, a woman, and politically conscious is like waving a red cloth in front of the eyes of the clergy in Iran, and for that matter also […]

Erdoğan’s train to autocracy: a commentary on varieties of democracy studies – 2

Michael Günter This commentary will only briefly discuss how the Report specifically defines liberal democracy: the Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) “combines the electoral ‘core’ institutions with the liberal aspects—executive constraint by the legislature and high courts, and rule of law and individual rights” (p. 13). It maintains that “this measure is among the most sophisticated […]

Erdoğan’s train to autocracy: a commentary based on the University of Gothenburg Varieties of Democracy Study, 2022

Michael M. Gunter Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – Turkey’s current president (elected 2014) and former prime minister (2003-2014) – infamously once declared that “democracy is like a train; you get off once you have reached your [real] destination.” In other words, one can use democratic means to achieve autocracy. Analyzing Erdoğan’s imaginary train journey, one must […]

How do Kurds fit into Putin’s push for Syria-Turkey reconciliation? – 2

Ertuğrul Kürkçü Yesterday’s column discussed how Kurdish gains in Syria had set Ankara and Damascus drifting toward reconciliation against a backdrop of devastation in the war-torn country. But how might the other players in the conflict react to Turkey’s shifting Syria policies? And, where does this leave the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria? The […]

How Ankara’s Kurdish conflict led to possible rapprochement with Syria – 1

Ertuğrul Kürkçü What could Kurds possibly gain from the “secret” negotiations between Ankara and Damascus, as lethal Turkish drone and artillery strikes continue targeting Kurdish inhabitants, including children and elderly, in the autonomous settlements across North and East Syria? Is there a chance that the talks pave the way for a new window of opportunity […]

Crescendo of Kurdish women’s rallying cry: Jin Jîyan Azadî!

Zozan Sima writes for Yeni Özgür Politika The Iranian morality police (Gasht-e-Ershad) beat to death a young Kurdish woman in the flush of youth, Jîna (Mahsa) Aminî, on the grounds that her hair was showing from under her headscarf. Throughout the centuries a woman’s hair has been seen as her crowning glory. It is a […]

Ax Kobani – the revolutionary battle on screen

Fréderike Geerdink Last night, KOBANÊ, the newest film of the Rojava Film Commune, had its premiere in Kobani. It must have been amazing to see it right there in the city where the legendary battle against the siege of Daesh took place a couple of years ago. Having seen the film already, at home on […]

Imperial legacies – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn For a large part of British media, Shamima Begum is the poster girl of evil: a woman who praised and colluded in unspeakable atrocities carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS). One of three London schoolgirls who ran away to Syria to become ISIS brides – and the only one of the three […]

If you tolerate this your children will be next – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn While political pundits continue to debate the implications of Turkey’s U-turn towards President Assad, and to speculate on responses from the Syrian government and from the opposition groups that had been enjoying Turkish support, the cruel realities of life under Turkey’s authoritarian government continue to bite, both in Turkey itself and in the […]

Rojava stays calm in a crisis. We must too.

Matt Broomfield Each time Turkey threatens a fresh invasion of the Kurdish-led autonomous regions in North and East Syria, it spreads a wave of panic through the Kurds’ friends and supporters in the West. The response is understandable. We all know what another invasion would mean. But during the years I spent in Rojava (Syrian […]

The SDF’s retaliation is only guided by their own compass

Fréderike Geerdink Is it smart of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to retaliate against Turkey across the border? Shouldn’t they retaliate against Turkish targets inside Syria, to circumvent the possibility that Turkey will use the retaliations as proof that the SDF attacks them? It’s yet another example of how the Kurdish struggle – armed and […]

Erdoğan and Assad, a match made in Russia – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn On 15 August, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party – the PKK – marked 38 years of armed struggle against the Turkish state. The decision to take up arms is not one made lightly. It is a last recourse when all other options have been thwarted. 38 years on, the Turkish government continues to employ […]

Decisions made behind closed doors – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn   We see the staged handshakes in front of national flags, and read the official communiqués, but the life and death deals made behind closed doors we can only guess at. What was negotiated between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan? How have the dynamics been impacted by the war in Ukraine? And […]

When war is the new normal – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn International leaders seem ever more ready to go to war: ready to resort to force in pursuit of their own power, and ready to accept military aggression by others as inevitable. The Turkish government, especially, has no qualms about seeking a military solution to every problem – including the problem of dwindling political […]

“The Rojava revolution has completely refreshed my activism”

by Fréderike Geerdink The revolution in Rojava, or North and Northeastern Syria, has “completely refreshed my activism”, said writer and feminist Rahila Gupta in a new episode of Avaşîn podcast. After having waged a struggle against racism and sexism, mainly focused on trying to eradicate gender-based violence against women, in London for forty years, visiting […]

Legacy of Lausanne – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Ninety-nine years ago, the Palais de Rumine, in the Swiss city of Lausanne, witnessed the signing of a peace treaty between the remnants of the Ottoman Empire and the Allied victors of the First World War. This was the treaty that brought into being the new Turkish Republic, and that killed off hopes […]

Picnic with death…

Kariane Westrheim Northern Iraqi Kurdistan region is an attractive destination for travellers and tourists from central and southern parts of Iraq. The region’s beautiful mountains, waterfalls and streams have made it a favourite holiday destination. According to the two Jerusalem Post correspondents Seth J. Frantzman and Tzivi Joffre, Kurdistan Region was considered a major centre […]

A massacre too far? – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn On Wednesday afternoon, a group of tourists who had escaped the heat of the Iraqi plains for the cooler mountains of Duhok were enjoying a popular picnic spot in Zakho district when they came under attack from the nearby Turkish military base of Khatir. Four artillery strikes left nine people dead, including a […]

“Justified security concerns” about Turkey – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Anyone who cares about peace, democracy and human rights must worry about Turkey and the threat that the Turkish government poses to prospects of peace in the Middle East and beyond. While Turkey’s NATO allies obediently echo Turkey’s rhetoric about Turkey’s “justified security concerns”, despite the absence of any justification, Turkey daily attacks […]

Crushing freedom movements is what NATO does – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn To be considered for NATO membership, Sweden and Finland have been forced, by Turkey, to sign a memorandum that pits them against the Kurdish freedom movement and undermines their own purported democratic values. This is not just a hurdle to be overcome to allow them to join NATO. Crushing freedom movements is what […]

Sweden at the crossroads – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn Benny Gustafsson could be a symbol of humanitarian Sweden: a retired headmaster who has dedicated his time and energy into making his small town a centre of support for Kurdish rights. Of course, this was only ever one version of Swedish life, but if the Swedish government is tempted to submit to President […]

Why I am forever indebted to my Kurdish journalist colleagues

Fréderike Geerdink Almost two dozen Kurdish journalists are in detention, their files have a ‘secret’ stamp marked on it, they are not informed about the charges against them and have not been taken to the prosecutor to have their statements taken. As rights violations are piling up again, I can’t help but think of the […]

Who cares about the Kurds? – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn As Turkish invasion threats continue to cast their shadow over northern Syria, and pundits dissect the latest statements to speculate on whether either the United States or Russia will do a deal to stand aside and let Turkish ground forces go in; as Turkish forces continue to pound the mountains of northern Iraq, […]

A good time for autocrats – a weekly news review

Writer Sarah Glynn evaluates the latest developments in Turkey, Middle East and Kurdistan.

Anything is possible

Writer Akın Olgun looks at the coming Turkish general elections and the two main competing alliances, and notes also a third, the Alliance of Democracy, coming to the fore, stating that it presents a real alternative to the status quo.

NATO and US duplicity in North and East Syria

Writer and politician Erling Folkvord looks at Turkey’s transfer of arms to jihadist groups in Syria and its ongoing support for ISIS, and the attitude of the US and NATO, appearing to oppose ISIS while actually supporting Turkey.

Semra Güzel picture shows: PKK fighters are not aliens

Fréderike Geerdink writes in her weekly article, “A 2014 photo of HDP MP Semra Güzel with PKK member during ‘peace talks’ has been deemed worthy of prosecution by the Turkish government.”

America: the dog that didn’t bark in the night – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn looks at how the US displays a complete absence of support for NE Syria in fighting ISIS, noting that they still remain silent about Turkey’s continued attacks on the region although it is clear Turkey itself supports ISIS.

Confessions began when the ‘destruction plan’ collapsed

Fehim Işık writes that the exposure of Turkish criminal elite Sedat Peker was caused by the failure of the National Security Council’s “destruction plan”, which the Kurds have resisted against and scuppered.

Turkey – A mafia state

HDP’s Fayik Yağızay looks at the ongoing YouTube confessions of Sedat Peker, a mafia boss in Turkey and details the history of mafia connections with the Turkish state.

Turkey sows the seeds of future conflict – a weekly news review

Sarah Glynn writes in her weekly review, “Everywhere that Turkey goes they bring in mercenary gangs of brutal jihadi fighters and consolidate their occupation with settlements of the jihadists’ families – and western governments hardly even comment.”

In which I effortlessly connect Roboskî massacre to Dutch colonialism

Fréderike Geerdink sees the same colonial powers at work in the Netherlands as she saw in Roboski and the same love and solidarity that offers hope for the future.

The occupation of Afrin and the ongoing revolution Elif Kaya Three years has passed since the occupation of Afrin (Efrîn). Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave Afrin after 58 days of shelling from the ground and air by Turkish forces. They could not even say a last farewell to their lands before they left the city. They arrived in [...]

For the Fascist State of Turkey, No Lives Matter

Kurdish affairs expert Frederike Geerdink suggests a planned scenario was spun out at Gare to allow Turkey to further criminalise the PKK and to justify the next phase of repression.  

The Arab Spring did not fail

Rojava, the women’s revolution, a grassroots anti-patriarchal, multi-ethnic, secular and ecologically sustainable democracy was the only true success story of the Arab Spring argues Rahila Gupta