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Entries in Selahattin Demirtas (18)


Turkey Analysis: Kurdish Fighters Begin Withdrawal --- Is Peace on the Way? 

Prime Minister ErdoganAs part of peace talks, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has begun withdrawing forces in small groups from northern Turkey near the Black Sea, even though the PKK, backed by Turkish opposition groups, was unable to get Parliamentary oversight of the move.

So does this mean the "peace process" between the Erdogan Government and PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is on its way to resolving the decades-long crisis?

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Turkey Analysis: The Opposition, the Government, and the “Grand Kurdish Settlement”

Abdullah Ocalan and Recep Tayyip ErdoganThe challenges to a "grand Kurdish project" go beyond Ankara. The first is over the crisis in Syria --- indirectly involving Iran --- where the Erdogan Government has no intention of repairing times with Syrian Kurds of the Democratic Union Party. The second is the inclusion of Iraq's Massoud Barzani in a political process: it is unclear what incentive Ankara has to acknowledge, let alone accept, the demand of the pro-Kurdish opposition party BDP.

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Turkey Feature: 10,000s in Funeral Ceremony for Kurdish Activists "Peace Now!"

Despite the Government's warnings about "provocative support", tens of thousands of mourners gathered on Thursday to lay three assassinated Kurdish women activists to rest in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

The  ceremony was peaceful. There were flags of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on the coffins ---  including that of PKK co-founder Sakine Cansiz --- but not many were waved, in comparison with previous gatherings. There was even no posters of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdish movement who is imprisoned on Imrali Island. This was Turkish citizens bolstering the peace process rather than seeking vengeance.

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Turkey (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Three Kurdish Officials Killed in Paris Attack

1623 GMT: Turkey. The Chairman of the Federation of Kurdish Associations of France, Mehmet Ulker, claiming to quote French policemen, has said that the Paris killings were carried out by more than one professional.

1613 GMT: Turkey. The Vice-Chairman of the pro-Kurdish BDP party, Gulten Kisanak, puts out a warning:

Even if those murderers get lost like a mole, they will be held accountable. This massacre is not an ordinary one. Clearly, it is a political murder. It is a trap set for the solution of the Kurdish question. Whoever attempts to cover, justify or distort this, he/she will be the murderer. Whoever, while there is no proof, calls the murder of three revolutionist women who were on duty to carry out their people's struggle as an internal execution and distorts it, he/she is either murderer, or knows the murderers or wants to protect the murderers.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Take a Military Airport in the North

See also Syria 1st-Hand: A Taxi Ride In the Damascus Suburbs
Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: Talk of Ceasefire Fades as Israel Pounds Gaza

Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Change the Situation on the Ground

2059 GMT: Jordan. Security officials are holding and interrogating 130 citizens for 15 days on suspicion that they called for the overthrow of King Abdullah II at protests this week. They face charges of "threatening to undermine the regime, illegal gathering, and creating civil strife", which can carry sentences of up to 5 years.

Human rights lawyer Musa Abdallat said of the detained individuals, "These are prisoners of conscience who should be released".

1919 GMT: Bahrain The Ministry of Interior offers its thought for the day:

Some may disagree. The main opposition society AlWefaq recently released a report on the attack on Friday prayers led by Sheikh Isa Qassim which took place on 9 November. Authorities reportedly set up 26 separate checkpoints to keep worshippers away from Duraz. People who attempted to travel to the mosque by foot were fired on with tear gas.

The Government, however, is unlikely to heed the dissent. It said Sunday that “a number” of Shiite religious figures have been referred to the public prosecutor for delivering political sermons or leading anti-regime chants.

See also Preaching Religious Tolerance, Practicing Religious Discrimination.

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Turkey Special: A Tangled Situation --- Ankara, The Kurds, and US Messages

Recep Tayyip ErdoganAn intervention from the US Ambassador, a challenge from Washington's top military commander --- what is “Erdogan’s country” to do now? Facing the Americans, Iraq's Barzani, and the PKK --- all in the context of the evolving Syrian crisis --- will Ankara change its tough-on-Kurds inside Turkey? Will it make a move regarding Syria's Kurds? Or will it try to gain time until Ankara can see a clearer message from Washington following the US elections?

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Turkey Analysis: An Opposition MP Gives Prime Minister Erdogan An Edge on the Kurdish Issue

Last week, Leyla Zana, an MP of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peace and Democracy Party, expressed hope in an interview that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would solve the Kurdish issue:

There is a solid fact here. Let’s say this openly and accept this fact. If he wanted, the strongest can solve this [Kurdish] issue. Who is the strongest one? It’s the government and its head, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The person who is the head of the strongest government in [our] history is able to show the willpower and has the power to sort out this issue. I believe that he will be able to solve this issue. I have never lost my faith in him solving this issue. And I don’t want to lose my faith in him. If I had lost [my faith], I wouldn’t be here.

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Turkey Live Coverage (14 May): A "Happy Ending" for 2 Journalists, But Kurdish Problem Remains

Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 30 Die as Protests Continue

1645 GMT: The establishment of an “International South Azerbaijani Turks' National Council” has been announced in Ankara.

Cemal Mehmethanoğlu, the spokesperson of the council, declared:

Our ultimate aim is the independence of Turks living in ‘Southern Azerbaijan.' But we seek independence by democratic, peaceful means, not through the use of weapons.

1430 GMT: There has been a clash between Turkish soldiers and PKK members in the province of Diyarbakir. Last week, Veysel Celik. Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s chairman of the Kulp district of Diyarbakir had been kidnapped by PKK members. Two village guards are reportedly wounded.

1200 GMT: In response to the demands of public servants for a 16 percent increase in monthly wages, Minister of Labour and Social Security Faruk Celik had stated on May 1 that the proposals were on the table and had continued

You will demand, as a necessity of democracy, and we will try to give you what you want. We will give less or more than you want, but we will solve this.

However, the government offered much less than what was expected. According to this offer, 3+3 percent increase in the first year and 2+3 percent increase in the second year are offered. 

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Turkey Live Coverage (9 May): Kurds, Syria, Iraq, and the EU

1800 GMT: The Humanitarian Aid Association (İHH) says Iranian officials helped in determining the whereabouts of the two missing Turkish journalists in Syria.

1645 GMT: Speaking to reporters after the three-hour meeting, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek said the drafting process would commence on Thursday. Political parties will create a catalogue of basic rights and freedoms on Thursday. He said: “The first step of this process is [to determine] basic rights and freedoms."

1625 GMT: In its the U.S.-Turkey Relations: A New Partnership report, the Independent Task Force of Council on Foreign Relations says that "Turkey may not yet have the status of one of Washington's traditional European allies but there is good strategic reason for the bilateral relationship to grow and mature into a mutually beneficial partnership that can manage a complex set of security, economic, humanitarian, and environmental problems." 

1600 GMT: Diyarbakir Dicle University's Rector Aysegul Jale Sarac complained about the insufficient number of academic personnel in the region and showed the 'label of terrorism' for professors' not choosing the eastern part of the country. 

1545 GMT: In response to speculations whether Tariq al-Hashemi will be returned to Iraq, deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that they would not return someone they had given support to. 

1420 GMT: A specialist corporal was killed when he stepped on a land mine in a rural area of the province of Tunceli. An air-backed operation began immediately. 

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Turkey Live Coverage (7 May): Kurds and Syrians At The Top of The Agenda

1825 GMT: Two PKK members were killed by Turkish forces in the province of Siirt.

1700 GMT: According to some experts, the new election results in Armenia, Greece and France have pros and cons for Turkey

As Socialist leader François Hollande wins in France, Paris is expected to have a different approach than Sarkozy's on Turkey's EU accession process. However, as Galatasaray University's professor Beril Dedeoglu says, his expectations on democratization, human rights and transparency of Turkey will be higher. In case of strong opposition from Ankara, the bilateral relations are likely to be damaged.

In Greece, many experts do not expect another friction since the economic crisis is likely to be at the top of the agenda. And, in Armenia, the current status quo in relations is likely to be preserved since Sarkasyan won the elections again. 

1620 GMT: Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag says the Presidential system shall be discussed during the new constitution making process.

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