Kurds unable to unite against Turkey’s aggression

Turkish products sold in Iraqi Kurdistan can be recognized by a barcode starting with the numbers 868 or 869. These make it easier for Kurds to boycott Turkish products in protest against Turkey’s invasion of north-eastern Syria on 9 October 2019. Or does it? It may also confront them with their high level of dependence on Turkey, making it close to impossible to implement such a boycott. And what can the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which depends politically on Ankara’s support, do to defend the Kurds in Syria?

The implications of the invasion by the Turkish army, in cooperation with assorted jihadist groups, are potentially huge for the KRG. Together with the Iraqi government, it has stepped up its border security to prevent a possible influx of members of the Islamic State (IS). The resurgence of the group, which was pushed from its last pocket of territory earlier this year by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was also the topic of the first statement that the KRG made after American President Donald Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing its remaining troops from Syria. By now, hundreds, if not more than a thousand, IS members have escaped from prisons and camps that were guarded by the SDF until the invasion. Women (and children) escaped from Ain Issa refugee and internment camp, which was ransacked by Turkey-backed groups, while men ran away from prisons.

ontinue reading at Fanack!

‘The Kurds of Northern Syria’ – A primer on Kurdish identity and representation

International actors were both a benefit and a detriment to the Kurdish struggle for representation, Wladimir van Wilgenburg and Harriet Allsopp write in their book “The Kurds of Northern Syria, Governance, Diversity and Conflicts’’. The authors sketch the picture of how Turkey was a detriment to Kurdish representation and why the Turkish army invaded Syria to obstruct the Kurds both in the summer of 2016 and in early 2018. Of course, the current and possibly final attack on the lands east of the Euphrates isn’t in the book, but after reading “The Kurds of Northern Syria’’, you understand the current crazy news cycle.

Continue reading at Ahval!

Selahattin Demirtaş: release order upon release order, but still in jail

Legally speaking, Selahattin Demirtaş should have been freed from prison three times already. Also legally speaking, he shouldn’t have been jailed in the first place.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said so and a Turkish court said so. Despite that, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is not a free man. Meanwhile, on Sept. 18, the ECHR will look at the case again. Demirtaş’s team of lawyers have high expectations for the hearing.

Continue reading on Ahval!

Are you close to vomiting?

‘The Act of Killing’ is by far the most overwhelming film I have ever seen. It was recommended to me by the lecturers in my International Journalism Master’s as an example of a documentary film in which the unexpected form, re-enactment, is exceptionally well chosen. It is, but the film hit me mostly because of its content. All the violence was re-enacted, but revealed a shocking truth.

Continue reading on my Patreon page!

Syrian photographer documents destruction by walking tightrope

His absolute independence is what saved him in all the years that he stayed in Raqqa, the Syrian city where photographer Aboud Hamam was born and raised and that he refused to leave, even during the years that Isis was in charge. Under the current rule, he finally let go of his pseudonym for years, Nur Firat. “I miss Nur Firat sometimes,” Hamam said during a recent interview in Raqqa. “He achieved a lot.”

Keep reading at Index on Censorship!

Raqqa recovers and wants recognition

A plastic plate with pink flowers is floating in the small water basin underneath the trees on the northern bank of the Euphrates. On its rim small glasses of fresh tea are standing. Five broken plastic chairs around it. In one of the trees a yellow garden hose is wrapped around a branch. Tiny holes have been punched in it so a soft, lukewarm rain descends upon the tea drinkers. Welcome to the paradise of photographer Aboud Hamam.

He comes here every day. The shade and the vapour make the summer heat bearable. The city can’t be seen from here, but its people can. Cars and trucks pass the newly repaired bridge and boys jump from it into the strong current of the river. On the southern pebbled beach a few cars are parked. In the water close to the bank women float in their colourful clothes and boys and girls splash about in their underwear. The men are watching and smoking, in the water no higher than their knees.

For Dutch weekly groene Amsterdammer I made a big story about the reconstruction of Raqqa, the former ‘capital’ of the ISIS ‘caliphate’. I translated the story and put it on my Patreon page! No paywall, you can read the story for free here, but why don’t you become my Patron too?

Hoe de burgemeestersverkiezing in Istanbul de Koerdische kwestie op de spits drijft

Door de Koerden gunstig te stemmen, zou Erdogan de hernieuwde stembusgang in Istanbul aanstaande zondag in zijn voordeel kunnen beslissen, denken sommigen. Daarom zou hij de isolatie van de Koerdische leider Öcalan hebben doorbroken. Maar waarom is Erdogan dan tegelijkertijd een offensief begonnen tegen de PKK-strijders in het noorden van Irak?

Lees verder op de site van Vrij Nederland!

Dutch local politician stuck in Turkey on terrorism charges

SULAYMANYA – Murat Memiş, chair of the Socialist Party in the local council in the Dutch city of Eindhoven, was detained in the Turkish city of Antalya on 30 April in the presence of his wife and two young children. On 3 May he was released but Turkish authorities won’t allow him to leave the country. Memiş (31), a Dutch Kurd, is suspected of membership of, recruiting for and making propaganda for a terrorist organisation, both crimes that carry considerable prison sentences. Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma has informed the local council about the matter this evening.

Continue reading at Patreon!