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Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief

Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief
01.03.2022
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A weekly brief of events occurred in the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Turkey

 Thirty Turks from a fascist group attacked three Kurdish students on the campus of Akdeniz University in Antalya. The three Kurds, Feyzi Akan, Hatice Tonğ, and Botan Artuç, were seriously injured during the attack. A Kurdish lawmaker named Merel Bestas then claimed the police did not detain the mob, and students affiliated with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) demonstrated against the Antalya assault and other recent racist attacks on Kurds in Istanbul on Wednesday. Since the Erdogan regime’s crackdown on Turkey’s Kurds began in 2015, the number of hate crimes targeting Kurds in the country has dramatically increased. On another note, the Turkish government continued the construction of a memorial park for Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli in the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir. The move has angered Turkey’s Kurds because of Bahçeli and the MHP’s long history of racism against Kurds and commitment to fascism.  Turkish authorities accused a Kurdish woman named Zilan of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” for tweeting images of a female Yazidi fighter and a female Zapatista guerrilla. Moreover, a former administrator in Cizre, Güler Tunç, is facing charges for posting images of the Roboski Massacre and three female politicians killed by the Turkish military in 2016.Jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas granted a written interview to Turkish media outlet T24 and warned the Turkish government against closing the HDP. “I recommend that they calculate the political consequences of shutting down the HDP well, and there are no plans for HDP voters to boycott elections,” said Demirtas. Furthermore, the HDP commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Dolmabahce Agreement that led to peace between the PKK and the Turkish government by describing the agreement as a “historic door opening to Turkey’s democratization and the resolution of the Kurdistan problem.” The HDP went on to blame President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) for choosing “war and violence while abandoning the Dolmabahce Agreement.” Concomitantly, the Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) praised the Dolmabahce Agreement and called for a new peace and the release of Kurdish political prisoners.  

Iran

 Iranian security forces arrested two members of the socio-cultural organization known as Nozhin. Pajam Meri and Waran Nazhad were arrested in Sanandaj on International Mother Language Day, February 21. Nozhin’s director, Zara Mohammadi, is currently serving a five-year prison sentence. Separately, the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said two jailed Kurdish activists launched a hunger strike to protest the conditions of their detention and Iranian authorities’ refusal to provide medical treatment. Concurrently, a Baneh court sentenced a 20-year-old woman, Azhin Rahmani, to one year in prison for “cooperation with the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan.” Likewise, a Naqadeh court sentenced a Kurdish man named Hussein Rahmani to three months in prison and tacked on an additional six-month suspended sentence for aiding a Kurdish party. Lastly, Iranian authorities in Bokan administered 60 lashes to a Kurdish activist named Chiya Aqabayek, who also received a 14-month prison sentence for political activism.

Two mine explosions injured at least four Kurdish border porters (kolbars), Fuad Ibrahimzadah, Kianosh Rawoofi, Amanj Ibrahimpor, and Arkan Mahmudi, near Nowsud and Baneh last week. Iranian border guards also ambushed a group of kolbars near Baneh on Friday and killed one named Saadi Piran. Iranian border guards injured another Kolbar in a separate attack near Sarvabad. Finally, a teenage kolbar named Danah Saleh drowned in a river near the Iran-Iraq border. 

Iraq

The “four presidencies” of the Kurdistan Region Parliament, Presidency of Kurdistan Region, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and Kurdistan Judicial Council met on February 28 and rejected the Federal Supreme Court of Iraq’s February 15th ruling that deprived the Kurdistan Region of its right to produce and export oil. The Presidency of Kurdistan Region then released a written statement that read, “The meeting reiterated the Iraqi Federal Court’s ruling is unacceptable and emphasized the Kurdistan Region will continue to exercise its constitutional rights and will not relinquish its lawful rights and powers.”  President of Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani signed a decree setting October 1, 2022, as the date for parliamentary elections in Iraqi Kurdistan. “Per the 2005 Law No. 1 of the Amended Law of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region Presidency, October 1, 2022, is set as the date for the Kurdistan Region’s 6th Parliamentary Elections,” read the decree. That said, the Kurdistan Parliament must extend the validity of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) or designate a new commission to oversee the elections, as the IHEC’s validity expired two years ago. IHEC officials told several media outlets they needed six months to prepare for the elections. Minister of Peshmerga Shorash Ismael called for Iraqi officials to be pressured into completing the formation of the joint Iraqi-Peshmerga division that will be deployed to the “Disputed Territories.” Ismael met with several high-ranking US military officers and emphasized the importance of joint units in addressing the security vacuum in the region that has allowed ISIS (Da’esh) to regroup and stage attacks.Turkish jets bombed several locations in Iraqi Kurdistan on Sunday and Monday, including a mountain near an elementary school in Erbil Governorate’s Barzan. Turkey continues to claim its deployment to Iraqi Kurdistan is intended to counter the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but it has built more than 40 military bases and outposts in the region since May 2018. 

Syria

 A Turkish drone struck the Qamishli-Amuda road and wounded four civilians, including three women. Turkey also struck along the al Sajour line, northwest of Manbij, that divides Turkish-occupied Syria from the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). On a separate note, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured “an Iraqi Da’esh terrorist near Raqqa that was allegedly fleeing to Turkey for “treatment.” The terrorist, Abdullah Abdulkarim, claimed he joined the terror group in 2017 and was previously deployed to Iraq’s Saladin Governorate. Turkish-backed Islamists kidnapped five more Kurds in occupied Afrin last week. Among those abducted, was a 67-year-old mosque clerk and community leader named Yousif Abdulaziz. At the same time, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) released the names of several kidnapped Kurdish civilians who were released after ransoms were paid. Meanwhile, Kurds displaced from Afrin continue to suffer from high taxes on food and drugs imposed by the Assad regime’s Fourth Division in al Shahba Canton. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) will open a representative office in London in the coming days. The SDC previously opened such an office in Washington, D.C., and numerous Kurdish and British officials plan to attend the London office’s opening ceremony. 

Washington Kurdish Institute

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