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Turkey and renewed repression against the Kurds: what is happening?

In the last days, the Turkish government has been carrying out a wide repressive operation against civilians, parties and kurdish guerrillas.

Such an intensity of bombings has not been experienced in years. A double attack was carried out against both the workstations of PKK guerrillas and the villages of civilians. It is obvious that Erdogan has decided to intervene both in Turkey and the rest of the Middle East, by attacking all those components that try and advance democratic instances. Why this escalation of events? Mainly for what purpose?

Young people, university students, male and female workers, militants of the lgbt movement, together with the Kurdish movements gathered on the streets against an oppressive and increasingly authoritarian government. The prompt response of the government consisted in breaking into houses, arresting, killing people on the streets, forbid everything and militarily attacking groups of people. Turkish people know the meaning of military coup. In this case, it was a political coupe of the State, since the decisions concerning military operations were taken illegally, without the coverage of a government. During the last general elections held on June 7, Erdogan’s party, the Akp, has experience a significant reduction in its consent, showing that it has politically lost in the Middle East, and thus losing even his image in front of the whole world. It is now evident that the response of Erdogan to electoral defeat is, once again, a strong repression. Almost two months have passed since the elections but the Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has not yet found allies to form a new government. This makes the position of Erdogan even more weak, who is nevertheless, taking advantage of the absence of a government, and continues to take illegal decisions in a rebel and a fascist way. In seeking approval, since it is impossible the impasse and form a new government soon Turkey will go back to the elections, and the goal is to once again push the Kurds into a corner, labeling them as “terrorists” , weakening the HDP.

However the resistance inside and outside Turkey is very strong, since the Kurdish pepole are accustomed to rise up against repression as they have already shown. On the one hand the HDP has received broad electoral support, surpassing by three points the hideous 10% threshold to enter the parliament; on the other hand, the PKK has demonstrated to the world that they are the only force able to stop ISIS (Daesh) in the Middle East. While regular armies have left the field to ISIS, guerrilla forces intervened rescuing thousands of civilians, regardless of ethnicity and religion, protecting the entire population. Hence his continued growth of popular support inside and outside Turkey. Erdogan is realizing this fact and is fearing the consequences.

And what about the peace process that was taking place between Ocalan and the Turkish state and the Turkish government, and that in the last few months has finally got to a stopping point isolating Ocalan in the last 4 months. The AKP has always used the negotiations with the Kurds to offer Europe an image of openness and tolerance; in reality its policy aimed at trying to divide the Kurdish movement and the positions of Öcalan from guerrilla forces and the Kurdish refugees in Europe, in order to divide it and weaken it. Since it failed to crush the movement with the arms, he tried to do it politically by exploiting the contradictions inherent to any peace process.

Furthermore, let’s not forget that the AKP has never recognized the revolution in Rojava and denied status for the Kurdish people, who are trying to implement the so-called “democratic autonomy”. Instead, he tried to destroy it, by financing and allowing ISIS to move freely within and through its borders. The AKP plans have failed because of Kobane’s victory and the pushing of ISIS out of Rojava. Often news about the increasingly blatant connivance between the Turkish secret services and ISIS, spread both inside and outside of Turkey.

On July 20, 32 young socialists from the largest cities in Turkey were killed in the town near the Turkish -Syrian border of Suruc. Suruc is well-known for being the village where international support was given to the resistance of Kobane. Thousands of activists from around the world, many even from Italy, went right to Suruc to offer support and help, while the guerrillas in kobane resisted against the attack carried out by ISIS. That’s why these 32 young socialists were in Suruc on July 20. They wanted to continue to give support to the reconstruction of Kobane. Using this attack as a pretext, the turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has decided to take military action, justifying this decision with the danger represented by ISIS, and bombing its stations. Nothing but false and hypocritical propaganda. In the last two days of operation, the attack on the ISIS lasted 13 minutes at the most. And the stations attacked were empty. Someone had perhaps warned them?

On July 24 the bombing operation against the Kurdish guerrillas started in the mountains in the defense area of Medya. July 24 is an unlucky day for the Kurds since on the same day in 1923 in Lausanne, they witnessed the division of Kurdistan into four parts: Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Turkish F-16s took off five minutes after midnight from the cities of Diyarbakir and Batman and dropped bombs all night long on the regions of Zap, Basyan, Gare, Avasin and Metina. The planes then hit Xinere and Kandil and many villages of civilians in the region. Some areas were hit three times in the same night. At the same time, a wide repressive operation was carried out in Turkey. It had the same magnitude than the one that was carried out in 2009, known as “KCK operation”, that led to the arrest of about 700 Democrats across the country and resulted in the killing of the 21 year old Abdullah Özdal in the city ​​of Cizre (Turkey). All these events, in a very delicate moment when the prime minister is still trying to form a new government, smell like “strategy of tension”. Taking advantage of the political vacuum, the AKP continues undisturbed its policy of annihilation of the Kurds. And that even with the support of Barzani, president of the Kurdistan region (Iraq), who is issuing statements condemning the Turkish bombings but basically turns out to be a spokesman for Erdogan and the AKP in southern Kurdistan, endorsing the game division of the Kurds. Exposing, among other things his country and putting his people at risk of becoming the “backyard” of Turkey, hoping for a formal recognition of the Kurdistan region while Erdogan’s real goal is exploiting its wealth and politically and economically controlling it. The policy of the AKP is therefore increasingly clear and desperate. Its policies in the Middle East have failed, that is why it is trying to regain a role that it no longer has, because the revolution of Rojava showed that no policy without or against the Kurds will succeed in the Middle East.

All countries that somehow are interested and / or involved in the Middle East policies change strategy according to their own interests. But Turkey insists on not changing and tries to continue as if it was still at the time of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey did not understand that the world has changed, the role of Turkey is no longer the one it had in the past: It cannot survive with the policies and “tricks” used by the Ottomans, rather this would lead the country to total failure. Society is changing. The boundaries are changing.

The only possible way out is to democratize Turkey and resolve all issues with all the people who live there, this is what Ocalan has been trying to pursue with the peace process. Meanwhile it is clear that the Kurdish guerrillas will not stay and watch, and they will continue their fight against ISIS in Rojava (since they showed they can stop them), and in Turkey against repression and bombings. They will continue to fight against this policy of the AKP that is taking Turkey into a marsh. They will continue to carry out the revolution in Rojava since it is the only solution for the people in the Middle East. The will continue to express their protest in all the cities in the world, as it happened for example in 15 cities in Italy or in 22 cities in Germany, or Japan, India, France, after the attack on Suruc. Kurds are accustomed to resist and will no longer bend, nor they would let anybody use them for the games of the great powers as had happened in the past.

Now the revolution has begun and has no boundaries. Especially those artificial boundaries that were decided in Lausanne without consulting the people. Then the audience should break the silence! The Kurds will no longer accept slavery. No bombing will break them ..

These bombings beyond the Turkish border are a violation of international law. International forces, with their democratic solidarity have had an important role in stopping the spreading of Isis in the Middle East. Let’s not forget that the AKP is another face of ISIS. It is important to act immediately to put an end to this policy of the Turkish state.

NATO in strong solidarity with Turkey

BreakingNews @en/Europe di

NATO: The North Atlantic Council met today at Turkey’s request to hold consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, which states that “the parties will consult whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any of the parties is threatened.”

Turkey requested the meeting in view of the seriousness of the situation after the recent terrorist attacks, and to inform Allies of the measures it is taking.

At its meeting today, the North Atlantic Council discussed the threats against Turkey.

“We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey, and express our condolences to the Turkish government and the families of the victims in Suruç and other attacks against police and military officers” said NATO spokesman .

Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of NATO countries and to international stability and prosperity. It is a global threat that knows no border, nationality, or religion – a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together. Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations can never be tolerated or justified.

The security of the Alliance is indivisible, and we stand in strong solidarity with Turkey.

 

NATO answer to Turkey’s request for article 4 cosultation

BreakingNews @en/Europe di

The North Atlantic Council, which includes the ambassadors of all 28 NATO Allies, will meet on Tuesday 28 July, following a request by Turkey to hold consultations under article 4 of NATO’s founding Washington Treaty.
Under article 4 of the Treaty, any Ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened.

Turkey requested the meeting in view of the seriousness of the situation after the heinous terrorist attacks in recent days, and also to inform Allies of the measures it is taking. NATO Allies follow developments very closely and stand in solidarity with Turkey.

Syrian refugee crisis: EU Trust Fund launches first response programmes for €40 million

BreakingNews @en di

Syrian refugee crisis: EU Trust Fund launches first response programmes for €40 million, helping up to 400,000 people in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq

Brussels, 29 May 2015-  Today, the new EU regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, held its first board meeting and adopted European response programmes for € 40 million. It will provide aid to 400,000 Syrian refugees and host communities in need in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, focusing on education, livelihoods and food security targeting especially children and young people.

This Trust Fund provides a regional response to the regional dimensions of this crisis, thus enabling the EU and its Member States to intervene jointly, flexibly and quickly, in response to changing needs.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission said: “While the EU continues to support all efforts to achieve a Syrian-led inclusive political transition, the EU and its Member States remain the largest contributors to the international response to the crisis. This Trust Fund is another illustration of the EU’s commitment to help the victims of this crisis of unprecedented magnitude in Syria and the neighbouring countries. Our objective is to contribute to a strategic de-escalation of violence in Syria and to help build resilience in the region more generally, in order to alleviate the suffering of the people and create a basis for a sustainable and inclusive political process”.

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn stated: “Helping Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey and through them the almost 4 million refugees they host on the ground, is the most effective means to turn despair and illegal trafficking into hope and resilience. As we had to witness in recent months, the conflict has direct consequences for EU security, notably through foreign fighters, terrorism, illegal migration and the polarisation between religious communities. The majority of refugees are children and young people, whose future holds little prospect and risks becoming a fertile breeding ground for radicalization if we don’t boost our response. The EU Trust Fund is a new and innovative way of pooling our resources into one single and flexible mechanism with high European visibility responding together to this unprecedented crisis in our southern neighbourhood. ”

German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Müller said: “I hope that the German contribution will move other member states or third countries to also make contributions to the EU Trust Fund. I am confident that, with this new instrument, we will be able to respond flexibly and without delay to the needs of the people in the crisis region of Syria and lraq, offering European assistance that is well coordinated and flexible.”

This funding comes from the EU budget and Italy while Germany pledged an additional contribution of €5 million which is subject to parliamentary approval. Further substantial contributions to the EU Trust Fund from the EU budget and Member States are expected before the end of the year, when a second round of response programmes can be adopted. The three response programmes launched today provide targeted support to the most affected Syrian refugees and their host communities in the region:

  • Firstly, with €17.5 million the EU Trust Fund will provide more than 200,000 Syrian refugee children in Turkey with additional second-shift Arabic teaching, life skills education, educational materials & school supplies and psychosocial support. There will be a special focus on access to safe spaces in host communities for Syrian children and adolescents, especially girls, to counter the risk of sexual and gender based violence. In addition, 3,700 Syrian volunteer teachers will receive training and incentives to enhance quality of education in Arabic; and more than 31,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees will receive monthly vouchers to get food.
  • Secondly, a new regional higher and further education facility for young Syrians will address the forced dropout of almost half of Syrian students from university since the beginning of the refugee crisis. In Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Syria, this programme of €12 million will reach and assist up to 20,000 young Syrians through a combination of full-time scholarships, full time enrolment in short-cycle higher education courses, face to face, blended and online. This EU Trust Fund programme will thus boost by four times the number of Syrian students presently receiving international assistance to continue their studies (currently 7,000), and thus help to reverse the radicalisation and brain drain resulting from the war in Syria.
  • The third programme of €10 million will sustain livelihoods by increasing short-, medium- and long-term economic opportunities for Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, reaching up to 190,000 people in 90 poor communities most affected by the refugee influx. The programme will help in particular youth and women, by strengthening their prospects and those of host populations to be economically and socially productive. At least 15,000 unemployed and disillusioned youth will directly benefit through short-term work, training and community engagement.

Background

Since the start of the conflict in Syria, more than 11.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including almost 4 million who fled to neighbouring countries. Inside Syria alone more than 12 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, an increase of 30 percent compared to one year ago. The EU and its Member States have thus far mobilised €3.5 billion in aid to respond to the crisis.

In response to the Syria crisis the EU significantly increased its funding at the 15 March Third International Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait. Together, the European Commission and Member States pledged close to €1.1 billion – doubling the overall EU pledge at the 2014 Conference. Of this, €500 million in humanitarian aid, early recovery and longer-term stabilisation assistance come from the EU budget, which nearly triples the contribution from last year. EU Member States also increased their pledges compared to 2014.

The EU Trust Fund is open to all EU Member States, as well as to other donors, public or private. It will enhance Europe’s response to the crisis both as a donor and doer by addressing the massive and increasing resilience and stabilisation needs in Syria’s neighbouring countries, in particular Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq, as well as over time also inside Syria. This fund may also be adapted to reconstruction needs in Syria in a future post-conflict scenario, thus becoming a funding vehicle for a future reconstruction effort. The Arabic name of the Trust Fund is “Madad”, broadly meaning providing help jointly with others.

This initiative should be seen as an integral part of the EU efforts to work with third countries on the comprehensive approach to managing migration better in all its aspects as also reflected in the European Agenda on Migration published on 13 May 2015.

Kuwait, Un donors’ conference: 80 countries helped Syrian population

Middle East - Africa di

They donated 3,8 billion dollars. This aid will help several million people displaced from the beginning of civil war.

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More than 80 countries decided to donate 3,8 billion dollars at a donors’ conference in Kuwait on Tuesday. The United Nation event served the purpose to find capitals to aid about 11 million Syrian people displaced from the beginning of civil war. Moreover, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey received financial resources to help their populations. Eu committed around 1 billion euro.

Syria has become “the largest displacement crisis in the world” and “12.2 million people needed of aid”, said Un Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. A rising geopolitic and humanitarian emergency, which incited Un Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to call a donors conference for three consecutive years since 2013.

Giacomo Pratali

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