Is Turkey trying to suffocate life in Kobani again?

‘We cannot do anything to stop them coming back’, Fayza Abdi, co-president of the Legislative Council of Kobani, tells me. We talk at a conference on the rebuilding of Kobani, after in January the YPG, YPJ, the peshmerga and US bombs kicked ISIS’ butt and chased them out of the canton. ‘We tell Kobani citizens who want to return home to wait, but what can we do if they don’t listen?’
The only thing the administration of Kobani can do is to plead with Turkey to open a customs gate at the border, so not only people, but also materials can pass through. But Turkey doesn’t listen to Kobani’s pleas. What this implies really disturbs me. Continue reading “Is Turkey trying to suffocate life in Kobani again?”

How to get into Kobani, or: charade in a refugee camp

There we were, some sixty mostly foreign journalists, brought together in a large tent in the newly opened state refugee camp for Syrians. We were listening to the governor of Suruc, Abdullah Ciftci, who was pointing out how wonderful the camp was. I didn’t get all the details of what he was saying, since I wasn’t sitting close enough to hear. And, to be honest, I didn’t want to be there at all, just like, I can safely say, any of my colleagues. We were all just wondering about one question: when does this charade end?

Journalists on a forced tour in the stsate refugee camp, talking to the governour.
Journalists on a forced tour in the state refugee camp, talking to the governor. click to enlarge.

We, the journalists, had been pressing the governor’s office to allow us to cross into Kobani for a reporting trip. We were modest in our wishes: if we could have a few hours there, we would be satisfied and we could make our stories. Last week on Wednesday a group of journalists had already gone in, and we claimed the same right.

But apparently there was something about the first group. Their entry into Kobani went somewhat awry, and according to the governor’s office some of the reporters in that group didn’t get back to the Mürsitpinar border gate on time. This angered the authorities. Continue reading “How to get into Kobani, or: charade in a refugee camp”

To please a friendly nation

‘Should I worry?’ a friend in the Netherlands asked me. ‘It scares me that the PKK is right around the corner.’ She was referring to the arrest of 55 alleged PKK members in the Dutch province of Zeeland. They were holding a ‘secret meeting’, according to the police. I can imagine that’s kind of scary if you don’t know anything about Kurds or the PKK in Europe.
Continue reading “To please a friendly nation”

Five in the morning

When you wake up at six in the morning as a Kurdish intellectual, politician, administrator or activist, you must feel relieved. Because when the police come to get you, they always knock on your door in the early hours of the morning, around five. That’s what also happened to some thirteen youngsters on Monday, two days after a banned protest demanding the release of PKK leader Öcalan got out of hand in Diyarbakir. Continue reading “Five in the morning”