Kurdistan

Kino Eye: A film from Kurdistan

Pete Boggs’ articles on the Kurds (Solidarity 591 and 589) suggest it is time for a Kurdish film. Although director Samira Makhmalbaf is not Kurdish, her film Blackboards (Takhté siah) was shot in the Kurdish-populated mountainous border region of northern Iran and Iraq. Released in 2000, the film features a group of itinerant teachers who, carrying their cumbersome blackboards on their backs, hope to find some village children to teach. It is hard, dangerous work and many villages are deserted as the inhabitants have taken flight due to the Iran-Iraq war. One of the teachers, Said, encounters...

The attempt to erase the Kurdish people

Kurdish cavalry in the Ottoman Empire, early 20th century Newroz is the Persian New Year, which is celebrated by Kurds in Turkey. In 2021 it came on 20 March, at a time when Kurdish people in Turkey are facing increased state repression: the judiciary has now begun in earnest its attempt to ban the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP), and the pro-Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya Ajensi is facing continued police harassment. A new government-prepared textbook about the predominantly Kurdish city Diyarbakır, which says that the language spoken in the region is “Baku Turkish”, neglecting to...

Turkey moves to ban HDP

Procedures to ban the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) in Turkey are now moving quickly. At the beginning of March, the Court of Cassation (Turkey’s highest court of appeals) began an inquiry into the HDP, focusing on the actions of HDP parliamentary deputies during the 2014 protests against ISIS’s [Daesh's] siege of Kobanî. Then, on 17 March, the Chief Public Prosecutor submitted an indictment against the HDP, calling for the party to be banned and for 687 HDP politicians to be banned from public office. The government has accused the HDP of acting in concert with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party...

Uneasy lull in Idlib

Since Friday morning 6 March, a tentative ceasefire has been in place in Idlib. Russian president Putin and Turkey’s president Erdoğan came to this agreement at their meeting in Moscow on Thursday 5th. The deal makes provisions for a security corridor covering the area around the M4 motorway which goes through Idlib from Aleppo to Latakia, and Russia-Turkey patrols starting in mid-March. It did not secure any withdrawals by Assad from any of his recent gains in Idlib province, or a safe zone for the million people who have been displaced by the latest round of fighting. Despite being a member...

Noori Bashir's speech at the 11 January 2020 meeting

On Saturday 11 January 2020 Workers' Liberty hosted a meeting in London on the conflicts in the Middle East following the USA's 3 January assassination of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian state's "Quds Force". The chair was Maisie Sanders, and the speakers were Morad Shirin (Iranian Revolutionary Marxists' Tendency), Noori Bashir (Worker-communist Party of Kurdistan), Azar Majedi (Worker-communist Party of Iran Hekmatist), and Muayad Ahmed (Organisation of the Communist Alternative in Iraq). See here for statements from IRMT, WCPIH, and OCAI, and see here for our Solidarity editorial...

No “safety” for Kurds in Syria

As far as the foreign powers involved are concerned, the ceasefire in northern Syria has shakily held up for the most part. For people on the ground, it is a very different story. In the talks between Russia and Turkey last week, Putin agreed to preside over the withdrawal of the Syrian Democratic Forces from northern Syria, allowing Erdoğan to establish a Turkish “safe zone” between Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad. This was agreed in Sochi without any representatives of the Kurdish forces present, demonstrating clearly how Russia sees its role in the region, and the nature of the “protection” they...

Why we don’t look to “the international community” to defend the Kurds

“The policy that attempts to place upon the proletariat the insoluble task of warding off all dangers engendered by the bourgeoisie and its policy of war is vain, false, mortally dangerous. “’But fascism might be victorious!’ ‘But the USSR is menaced!’ ‘But Hitler’s invasion would signify the slaughter of workers!’ And so on, without end. “Of course, the dangers are many, very many. It is impossible not only to ward them all off, but even to foresee all of them. Should the proletariat attempt at the expense of the clarity and irreconcilability of its fundamental policy to chase after each...

Self-determination for the Kurds!

A temporary ceasefire for five days in Turkey’s invasion of majority-Kurdish areas of Syria was negotiated by the USA on 17 October. The American delegation to Ankara, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, agreed a 120-hour period for the Syrian Democratic Forces (the Kurdish-led forces in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria) to withdraw from a 20-mile deep area which Turkish president Erdoğan has decreed as a “safe zone”. In reality, this is a zone which has been designated for occupation and ethnic cleansing. Even the temporary halt to the violence is good. According to the...

Turkey: the poverty of “anti-imperialism”

In a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson leading figures from 13 UK unions have urged the UK government to condemn outright the Turkish aggression against the Kurds, triggered by Trump’s precipitate decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria. They describe Trump’s move as “a green-light to a Turkish military invasion of North and East Syria, which, as we have already seen in Afrin, will undoubtedly lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kurds as well as a resurgence of ISIS. “We therefore call on the UK government to immediately condemn Turkey’s threats of invasion and to work with...

Turkish troops out of Syria!

Since the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-controlled northern Syria started on 9 October, over 160,000 civilians have been displaced, with at least fifty civilian deaths already. The invasion immediately followed the announcement by Donald Trump that US troops would be withdrawn from northern Syria. Trump’s “America First” policy is confused and totally inconsistent. Attempts by the White House to portray Trump’s move as a step in disengaging the US from overseas conflicts were shown to be a scam when Trump also announced sending 2,000 soldiers to Saudi Arabia in a move against Iran. The decision...

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