De bizarre weg naar de verkiezingen in Istanbul

(Radio interview at popular Dutch current affairs radio show Nieuwsweekend, Saturday 11 May 2019)

Luister het interview terug via deze link!

De oppositie spreekt al van een ‘openlijke dictatuur’ en een ‘civiele staatsgreep’ nu de bevolking van Istanboel volgende maand opnieuw naar de stembus moet. De regerende AK-Partij van de Turkse president Erdogan had om nieuwe verkiezingen gevraagd omdat er sprake zou zijn geweest van georganiseerde fraude bij de verkiezingen. Hoe nu verder in het land nu de politieke, sociale en economische onrust volop borrelt onder de oppervlakte? We vragen het Turkije-kenner Fréderike Geerdink.

Turkey’s ruling AKP manipulates election outcomes in Kurdish South-east, leaves municipalities broke

The big question in the Kurdish-majority municipalities in the south-east of Turkey was whether the candidates for the leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which won the most votes in the local elections on 13 March 2019, would be acknowledged as the winners. Now that most of them have received their mazbata (official certificate) and assumed their positions as mayors, another story has emerged: the crippling public debts the mayors have discovered in their towns. In the background, another issue lingers: will the Kurdish mayors actually get the chance to fulfill their five-year terms?

Continue reading at Fanack!

TedX Leiden University: 12 May

On Sunday 12 May, I will be one of the speakers at TedX Leiden University. The theme is ‘Through a new lens’, the title of my talk is ‘Are you ready to wash your whiteness away?’ I will connect the PKK’s fight against the patriarchy – about which I learned a lot during my time with the Kurdish armed forces – with the struggle against racism in the Netherlands. Come listen!

More info at the site of TedX Leiden University!

Turkey’s claims of PKK demise exaggerated

Late last month, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported that a Turkish airstrike had seriously wounded veteran Kurdish fighter Rıza Altun.

Altun is a member of the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation that includes the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting an armed insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since 1984 and is labelled a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

The KCK neither confirmed nor denied the report. Meanwhile, the PKK has been relatively quiet for more than a year now in its fight against Turkey. Has the armed movement really been weakened and reported strike on Altun the icing on the cake of the Turkish army’s victory?

Continue reading at Ahval!

In Turkey, PKK Weakened but Vows to Step Up Attacks in Spring

According to statements issued by the Turkish government in early 2019, more than 10,000 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters have been ‘neutralized’ since the end of the so-called ceasefire between the two sides in the summer of 2015, and only 700 fighters remain in the mountains in northern Iraq. It is hard to give this number credence: if it were accurate, Turkey would surely have wiped out the PKK by now. Then again, there have not been many recent PKK attacks in south-east Turkey, where the majority of Kurds live, and the armed movement seems at least weakened in its capability to strike. Fanack sorts out the facts.

Continue reading at Fanack!

Loont het om journalisten te bedreigen?

Dutch investigative journalism radio show Argos dedicated most of its broadcast of 2 March 2019 to murdered journalists. Since I had just published a story about that, I was one of the guests.

Naar aanleiding van mijn artikel in Vrij Nederland van 18 februari 2019 over het vermoorden van journalisten en waarom dat nogal eens loont voor gespuis assorti, besteedde Argos, het onderzoeksjournalistieke programma van de VPRO, haar uitzending aan dit onderwerp. Ik was er te gast, samen met Jan Meeus, misdaadjournalist van NRC Handelsblad, en Thomas Bruning van de NVJ. Luister de uitzending hier terug!

Koerdische parlementariër al meer dan 100 dagen in hongerstaking

(Interview on Dutch radio about the hungerstrike of Kurdish MP Leyla Güven in Turkey.)

Een opmerkelijke wending in het Turks-Koerdische conflict. De Koerdische parlementariër Leyla Güven is al meer dan 110 dagen in hongerstaking. Zij werd in januari 2018 gearresteerd door de Turkse politie op verdenking van het maken van propaganda voor een terroristische organisatie. Inmiddels hebben meer dan 150 Koerden in Turkse gevangenissen, maar ook daarbuiten zich aangesloten bij de hongerstaking. Journaliste Fréderike Geerdink woont in Iraaks-Koerdistan en volgt de zaak op de voet.

Luister het interview hier terug!

Shamima Begum wants to live in the Netherlands: how realistic is that?

In three different BBC programmes I talked about Shamima Begum and Yago Riedijk, the Brittish/Dutch couple that lived in IS territory in Syria and now wants to live in Great-Brittain or the Netherlands.

Only the 22 February one is (temporarily) available online. BBC Scotland” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Listen back at BB Scotland!

Als journalisten worden vermoord, sterft ook hun verhaal

(Story about murdered journalists, published on website of Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland, February 2019)

Zesenzeventig journalisten werden er wereldwijd vermoord in 2018. In de laatste tien jaar gaat het om 974 journalisten. Niet zelden zweren achterblijvende collega’s dat het verhaal van de vermoorde verteld zal blijven worden, dat met de journalist niet ook zijn of haar verhaal zal sterven. Journalist Fréderike Geerdink onderzocht het, en concludeert: het verhaal sterft wél.

Lees hier verder op de site van Vrij Nederland!

Iraqi Kurds vent anger with violent protest against Turkey

On January 26, Kurdish locals in northern Iraq’s Dohuk province began to peacefully protest the presence of a Turkish military base in the village of Sirye. Over the previous year, Ankara had killed dozens of locals in regularly bombings on the nearby mountain headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has fought an armed insurgency in Turkey for decades.

People from Sirye and the nearby village of Dereluk gathered opposite the base. Gulistan Niheli and Omar Ali Rekani, members of Iraqi parliament for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), were among those holding a banner that read: “We call upon the Turkish army and PKK militants to respect the sovereignty of the region and take their political and military conflict to their own place”.

Continue reading at Ahval.