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Archive for the ‘Öcalan’ Category

Fighting the Caliph: U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the Kurds

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On 9 May 2017, while holding a joint press confererence with the Danish Minister of Defence Claus Hjort Frederiksen in Copenhagen, General Mattis told reporters the following in response to a query regarding the decision to arm Syria’s Kurds: “Yes, they — we had very open discussion with the Turks. It’s a NATO ally, and NATO allies stick together. That’s not to say, we all walk into the room with exactly the same appreciation of the problem or the path forward. We work that out through extensive dialogue. We’ve been conducting military and diplomatic dialogue with the Turks, and it was a very, very useful discussion today. We’re getting — as you know — into the position where we will have Raqqa surrounded. The idea is, ladies and gentlemen, that the foreign fighters not be allowed to escape and return to constitute a threat against free and innocent people elsewhere, whether it be in the Arabian Gulf, North Africa, and certainly Europe. By taking, for example, Manbij away from the enemy, that was the spoke of the hub and spoke of their terrorist effort against Europe, and that’s how they conducted the attacks against Brussels and Paris. So our intent is to work with the Turks, with — alongside one another to take Raqqa down and we’re going to sort it out and we’ll figure out how we’re going to do it, but we’re all committed to it and that’s what came out of today’s discussion”.i

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The U.S. Secretary of Defense clearly sidestepped the thorny issue of Turkey’s opposition to the Pentagon’s decision by means of simply ignoring the question and talking about the U.S.-Turkish relationship as if everything were hunky dory. Still, as reported by Reuters: “U.S. President Donald Trump has approved supplying arms to Kurdish YPG fighters to support an operation to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Tuesday [, 9 May 2017]”.ii Ankara regards the YPG as but the Syrian incarnation of the PKK, Turkey’s homegrown Kurdish terror group. In this connection, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White made the following declaration: “We want to reassure the people and government of Turkey that the U.S. is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally . . . We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey”.iii

YPG Flag

Bülent Alirıza, director of the Turkey project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, on the other hand, made the following observations: “There have been bad episodes in the relationship between the United States and Turkey, but this one is serious because it gets to the heart of Turkish security priorities . . . You’ve now got a question mark over the U.S.-Turkish security relationship that is pretty serious”.iv Now, all eyes are on Tayyip Erdoğan’s upcoming visit to Washington, D.C.

Trump on Tayyip

i “Joint Press Conference with Secretary Mattis and Minister Frederiksen in Copenhagen, Denmark” U.S. Department of Defense (09 Mauy 2017). https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1177882/joint-press-conference-with-secretary-mattis-and-minister-frederiksen-in-copenh/.

ii Phil Stewart, “U.S. to arm Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State, despite Turkey’s ire” Reuters (10 May 2017). http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-usa-kurds-idUSKBN18525V.

iii Phil Stewart, “U.S. to arm Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State, despite Turkey’s ire”.

iv Phil Stewart, “U.S. to arm Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State, despite Turkey’s ire”.

The Ankara Blast: 17 February 2016

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Ankara 1

“A large explosion near Ankara’s Eskişehir Yolu detonated on the February 17. The explosion, reportedly caused by a car bomb, was carried out close to military headquarters, the parliament and various government ministries, including the Ministry of Interior. Hürriyet Daily News reported that the target of the attack was shuttle buses transporting military personnel, which has been confirmed by Ankara’s governor Mehmet Kılıçlar. The government is treating this as an act of terrorism but still looking into the cause. So far at least 28 people have been reported dead, with 68 injured; including military personnel. The number is believed to be much higher however as a large fire is obstructing rescue operations, added to by smaller fires caused by burning car engines and gasoline in the area”.[1]

 Ankara 2

“The explosion was heard across Ankara. There is a large plume of smoke still visible above Ankara, showing the devastation caused by the blast. Roads in the area have now been blocked off for security purposes. Prime Minister Davutoğlu has cancelled his forthcoming trip to Brussels while this situation unfolds, and is to attend immediate security meetings. A broadcast ban has already been put in place on reporting non-official news of the bombing; however various news outlets have continued their coverage”.[2]

 Ankara 3

“The timing of the explosion, during rush hour, has added to fears of growing casualties from the blast. The Health Ministry has sent 20 ambulances to the scene according to CNN Türk and is calling for blood donations. No one has claimed responsibility so far, but this is the fourth in a series of attacks on Turkish soil over the past few months, most of which have been linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The ISIL bombing in Ankara last year killed over 100 people, in the worst terrorist attack in Turkish history”.[3]

 Ankara 4

“Internet censorship monitoring service TurkeyBlocks has confirmed that Turkish ISPs including TTNet have censored Twitter and Facebook by means of bandwidth throttling. The new blocks came around an hour after a major explosion in Turkey capital Ankara. Data indicates that the social media sites may still be accessible from smaller Internet Service Providers in the country – blocking orders are known to take some time to become fully active. The blocks took effect only minutes after the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) announced an immediate blanket media ban on reporting relating to the Ankara bombing incident, suggesting that a rapid response system may now be in place to automatically block social media services upon request. Despite the internet blocks, Facebook went ahead and debuted its “safety check” feature in the hours following the attack, allowing those in Ankara to let friends and family know if they are safe or have been hospitalised”.[4]

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[1] Indepedent Turkey, “Deadly Blast Rips through Ankara: Death Toll Rising”, Independent Turkey, 17 February 2016, London: Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (Research Turkey). Original link: http://researchturkey.org/?p=10792.

[2] Indepedent Turkey, “Deadly Blast Rips through Ankara: Death Toll Rising”.

[3] Indepedent Turkey, “Deadly Blast Rips through Ankara: Death Toll Rising”.

[4] “Twitter and Facebook Restricted in Turkey following Ankara bombing” D8News (17 Feb 2016). https://d8news.com/twitter-facebook-restricted-turkey-following-ankara-bombings-683.

Abdullah Öcalan ve Özgürlük Yolları: HDP & PKK

‘Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP) Eş Genel Başkanı Figen Yüksekdağ, özgürleşme yolunda ilerlediklerini ve mesafenin kısaldığını söyledi. Kendileri açısından artık zaferin dilinin konuştuğunu ifade eden Yüksekdağ, “Bütün bir toplumu özgürleştirirken bu toplumsal davanın lideri olan sayın Abdullah Öcalan’ı özgürleştirecek yolu da açıyoruz.” dedi (17 Kasım 2014).

“HDP Eş Genel Başkanı Figen Yüksekdağ, partisinin Avcılar 1. Olağan Kongresi’ne katıldı. Burada konuşan Yüksekdağ, yürüttükükleri yolun özgürleşme ve kurtuluş yolu olduğunu kaydetti. Yüksekdağ, “Ve zalimler bütün dünyada olduğu kadar bizim memleketimizde de kurdukları tiranlarla, kurdukları o sırça saraylarda çok büyük belalar yaratarak, çok büyük engeller çıkararak karşımızda konumlanıyor.” diye konuştu”.[1]

[1] “HDP Başkanı Yüksekdağ: Abdullah Öcalan’ı özgürleştirecek yolu açıyoruz” Bugün (16 Kasım 2014). http://www.bugun.com.tr/son-dakika/hdp-baskani-yuksekdag-abdullah-ocalani-ozgurlestirecek-yolu-aciyoruz-haberi/1349702.