In the case of the 13 M.P.s of the Party foor Democracy (DEP) — including Leyla Zana — the European Human Rights Court unanimously found Turkey guilty of violation of Article 3 of the Protocol 1 (the Right to free elections). Under Article 41 of the Convention (equitable compensation) the Court granted each of the petitioners 50,000€ in overall damages and 10,500€ collectively to seven of them and 9,000€ collectively to the other six for legal costs.
The 13 Kurdish M.P.s of the Party for Democracy (DEP) had petitioned against having been stripped of their parliamentary mandate following the banning of the DEP, allging violations of Article 7 (no penalty without legal offence), 9 (freedom of thought), 10 (freedom of expression), 14 (prohibition of any discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights. They also protested against an attack on freedom of association guaranteed under Article 11 and claimed that being deprived of their Parliamentary remunerations was also an attack on their right to property, in violation of Article 1 of Protocol 1. Finally, they invoked Article 6, clause 1 claiming they had been denied an equitable trial.
The petitions had been filed with the Human Rights Commission in 1994. They were combined on 22 May 1995 and referred to the Court on 1 November 1998. By a ruling handed down on 30 May 2000, the petitions were judged admissible (except for petition N°25,144/94 which was judged only partly admissible in so far as it was covered by Article 5 — right to freedom and security — of the Convention). By a decision on 6 January 2000 the Court ruled that the petitions should also be examined in the light of Articel 3 of Protocol 1 of the Convention. Verdict was reached by a Court consisting of seven judges, including a Turkish judge.
Thus the Court recalls that “Article 3 of Protocol 1 establishes a principle that is characteristic of any genuinely democratic political regime” and that “it assumes a capital importance in the system of the Convention”. It reveals that, in effect, the petitioners were automatically stripped of their parliamentary mandate following the banning of the DEP, that this ban was decreed by the Constitutional Court because of a speech made abroad by the former President of the Party and by a written statement made by its Central Committee. “This stripping from office was independent of the individual political activities of the petitioners and is only consequent on the dissolution of the party of which the petitioners were members”. The Court also notes that, since a Constitutional amendment dated 1995, only the mandate of the member of Parliament who had made the remarks or actions that led to the banning of the party can be ended. “It considers that the measure take in this case, namely the immediate and final banning of the DEP as well as the interdiction of members of the party from exercising their mandate and engaging in political activities take on a character of extreme severity”.
The Court considers that “the sanctions inflicted on the petitioners cannot be accepted as being in proportion to any legitimate aim invoked by Turkey”, that this measure was “incompatible with the right to be elected and to exercise a mandate and that it damages the sovereign powers of the electorate that elected the petitioners”. It concludes, in consequence that htere has been violation of Articel 3 of Protocol 1of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees “the free expression of the people in their choice of the legislative body”.
On the other hand, considering that it was enough to recognise the violation “of a principle that is characteristic of any genuinely democratic political regime”, it refused “to examine separately” the charges of violations of the seven other articles (7, 9, 10, 11, 14 and 6 §1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Furthermore, on 18 June, the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg found Turkey guilty of the destruction of a Kurdish village by soldiers and the disappearance of three of the villagers.
On 6 May 1994, soldiers assembled the inhabitants of the village of Debovoyu, giving them one hour to evacuate their homes. They then set fire to the houses. The next day the villagers went to the Kurdish town of Kulp to complain to the gendarmerie commander of the district. They received permission to return to the village to harvest the crops. On 24 May the soldiers returned to the village and took away three men of the Ohran familly, to act as guides. They were seen again soon after in a neighbouring village then disappeared for ever.
The European Court considered that the Turkish State had violated the right to life of the Orhan familly as well as the ban on the use of torture, as well as the rights to freedom, to respect of private and familly life, to property and to effective and individual recourse of the petitioners. Turkey only conducted superficial and tardy enquiries into the disappearence of these men, according to the judges. Furthermore, the deliberate destruction of this family’s goods were “particularly serious and unjustified” facts for the petitioners they added.
Ankara will have to pay more than 150,000 euros dammages to a Kurdish family that has lost three of its members and whose houses and certain of whose property were deliberately set on fire.
Twenty-five childrenand adolescents, aged between 11 and 17, appeared before the Diyarbekir State Security Court on 11 June, charged with “supporting separatism by using slogans in support of Kurdish language teaching”. The prosecution stresses that “the children and adolescents had shouted slogans demanding Kurdish language teaching during a rally last December” whereas it is forbidden to teach or broadcast programmes in that language. The Turkish authorities state that “the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) hides itself behind this campaign calling for Kurdish language teaching in Schools and universities”.
During the hearings the minors, who face penalties of 3 years jail, denied having shouted any such slogans during the rally. The Court set a a date in September for further hearings.
For several months past the Turkish authorities have been very nervous. They are trying to stifle, by repression, any form of demand for Kurdish cultural rights, not even hesitating at suing parents for giving Kurdish first names to their children. Thus, by giving his baby the first name of Berivan (milkmaid), which is the name of his favourite singer, Turfan Akcan, head of a Turkish family from Ardahan (North-East Turkey) of Georgian origin, had no idea that he would find himself on trial, charged with “attempting to sabotage the State”. The name is, moreover, that of a very popular televised series in which one of Turkey’s singing stars, Sibel Can, plays the part of a young Kurdish woman called Berivan. But a Public Prosecutor detected in this Kurdish first name “an anti-Turkish symbol” and Akcan was suddenly suspected of “terrorism and support for the Kurdish separatists of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)”. The prosecutor based the proceedings he brought against Akcan on the draconian Anti-Terrorist Acts adopted to fight the PKK. Also on the carpet — the local council staff that had accepted this “diabolical first name”.
Tufan Akcan, however, is not the only one to have faced this problem recently. In Ardahan another father has been summonded by the Prosecutor for having named his children Rojin (Sunny) and Rohjan (Sunset). In Izmir (Western Turkey), in the middle of the night, the police raided 11 families who had given their children Kurdish first names. Proceedings have been started against 9 of the families suspected of “propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.
However, the Turkish courts do not automatically follow the prosecutors in their arguements. The Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Erzurum State Security Court refused to follow through the case against Akcan and another father from Ardahan. A Court in Dicle also threw out proceedings against 7 families who had, in all, 23 children with Kurdish firast names. A case that particularly attracted attention in that the woman judge herself was called “Sirvan” — a Kurdish first name meaning “dairymaid”.
At a time when, for the firast time in years, the principal Kurdish movements are at peace and Kurdistanis enjoying a period of freedom and relative prospetity, groups linked to the Iraqi or Iranian special special services are trying to destabilise the region with terrorist attacks. Thus, according to the 29 June edition of the Kurdish daily Kurdistan Nuwe, a man was arrested the day before by members of the Kurdish security forces while planting an explosive device in the crowded market at the town of Halabja.
The Halabja Security Department stated that “it is the third attempt of this kind [to be foiled] in this market in only one week”.
Moreover, the Kurdish daily Brayati (Brotherhood) reported in its 27 June edition that twenty people, mainly women and children were injured in a blast that occurred last night in a restaurant in the Iraqi Kurdistan regional capital, Arbil. Moreover, in early June, blasts occurred in two summer resorts, Gali Ali Beg and Shaqlawa.
The 17 June edition of the Kurdish daily Kurdistan Newsline reported, for its part, that police units of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led regional government arrested a member of the Kurdish Islamic armed group suspected of preparing a “a suicide mission against the PUK military command centre”. Members of the Kurdish armed group, Ansar al-Islam in Kurdistan, or Supporters of Islam (AIK) are suspected of being responsible for these recent attacks.
The two major political parties which rule over the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq, the PUK and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) have recently established a joint anti-terror operation command centre to combat terrorist attempts in Kurdistan region.
On 1 July, Denmark began its the six month Chairmanship of the European Union, which is planned to end with agreement on the conditions for engalging the E.U. at the Copenhagen summit in December 2002. On the same day Gunter Verheugen, European Commissioner responsible for enlargement stated to the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that no timetable could be set for Turkey’s membership.
In welcoming Romano Peodi, President of the European Commission, and all the other Commissioners to Copenhagen, Mr. Rasmussen “expressed the hope that all ten of the candidates would be ready to enter the E.U.”. (Editor’s Note: Turkey is the eleventh candidate). Mr. Rasmussen once again warned “against the slightest delay in the negotiations, which would result in several years postponement of this enlargement” refering to the very full agenda of the E.U. over the coming years. He indicated that “the European Union will present its common position to the candidate countries very early in November and that there remained intense negotiations to be condicted until the Copenhagen summit” on 12/13 December. This summit might even be prolonged for one or two days if need be.
Despite repeated promises of reform, the Turkish regime has not yet taken any serious steps towards satisfying the Copenhagen criteria.
On 17 June, the Turkish President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, began a difficult official visit of two days to Iran, accompanied by a strong delegation of 120 businessmen and 20 journalists. He was received by his Iranian opposite number, Mohammad Khatami, in a colourful ceremony at the Saadabad Palace, in the Northern part of the capital, followed by two hours of private discussions, no details of which have filtered out.
Turkey is politically opposed to Iran on a number of regional issues. Consequently, encounters are difficult though economic relations are improving. Ankara was worried by Iran’s testing of a balistic missile capable of reaching Turkey. Tehran, for its part protests at Turkey’s close military and security relations with Israel, its sworn enemy. Secular Turkey and Islamic Iran frequently accuse one another of being the source of all evils — Ankara accusing Iran of supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK while Iran accuses Turkey of harbouring the Iranian People’s Moujahidin opposition. The Turco-Israeli alliance is “one of the principal obstacles” to bi-lateral relations, stresses the moderate English language daily Iranian News on 17 June.
Despite these political quarrels, trade relations have improved, rising to 1.4 billion dollars last year. And, above all, in January 2002 Iran began exprting natural gas to Turkey via a pipeline over 2,500 Km long, in the context of an agreement worth 30 billion dollars.
On 27 June, the Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, sowed the greatest confusion by admitting, for the first time, the probability of early General Elections, before going back on his remarks by claiming to have been “misunderstood”. “I think I was misunderstood. It is out of the question to organise early elections before 2004 — I am categorically opposed to this” he declared to the press in from of his house, where he is resting under medical supervision.
A little more than an hour before, however, Mr. Ecevit had indicated, at a meeting of the parliamentary group of his party, the Democratic Left Party (DSP — ultra-nationalist) that “elections were on the horizon” while afirming that he was opposed to such an eventuality. This was, in fact, the first political meeting he had attended for nearly two months.
He had even asked his party’s 128 members of parliament to go to their respective constituencies to prepare the ground for a poll.
This brief speech before his M.P.s by Mr. Ecevit, who had gone through acomplete medical check-up at hospital the day before, was ????? with confusion over the use of words. After this speech, he had a meeting with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, as he had been wont to do every week prior to his illness. Then he went to meet the many cameras that had been camping before his house to refute his own remarks. “When I mentioned elections, it was about the next elections in 2004 ” he said.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ecevit has increased doubts on his ability to govern by failing to attend, on 7 June, the crucial summit on reforms to be carried out to integrate Turkey into the European Union. This summit, called by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, to speed up the process of reform, brought together leaders of the 5 parties represented in Parliament — the three in the government plus the two Islamic parties. The leader of the True Path (DYP) opposition party, Tansu Çiller, cancelled her participation by declaring “There is a vacuum in the government. If the Prime Minister is not there, that means that there is no government. If there is no solution to the problem of the government, the solution to other problems cannot be found”.
The summit also high-lighted the profound differences between the three government partners regarding the reforms — the total abolition of capital punishment, Kurdish language eduction and broadcasting — to which Mr. Devlet Bahceli and hisd MHP (the 3 party coalition’s principal partner) are totally opposed. The latterm indeed, even threatened, after the summit, to resign if his partners relied “too frequently” on Parliament to push through the reforms, particularly the granting of cultural rights to the Kurds.
Since 1999, Mr. Ecevit has run a three party coalition government, but his poor health and the divisions in his government on the reforms to be effected in order to join the European Union have allowed serious doubts to hang over the political life of the country, with repercussions on its crisis ridden economy. His remarks thus sent a shock wave through the already volatile financial markets, the Turkish Lire (TL) losing against the dollar (1.64 million TL) before recovering to return to its level of the previous day (1.60 million TL). The Istanbul Stock Exchange, which had falled to its lowest level of the year the day before, dropped a further 5.1% at the close, recovering on 27 June with a rise of 4.4% to 9000, a phenomenon that analysts attributed to the resuption — howevewr partial — of Mr. Ecevit’s political responsibilities on that day.
• ASSESSMENT OF THE VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN TURKISH KURDISTAN FOR THE MONTHS OF APRIL AND MAY. The Diyarbekir branch of ther Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD) made public, on 11 June, its assessment of Human Rights violations for the months of April and May 2002. Here are extracts from itsw report :
Number of “unsolved” murders or “extra-judicial” Executions 5 deaths , 1 wounded in April 5 deaths in May Number of persons tortured or victims of Ill treatment 16 in April 25 in May Number of persons taken into detention 224 in April 352 in May Number of arrests 66 in April 72 in May Numbers of exiles 8 in April 1 in May Number of publications banned in the State of Emergency Region (OHAL) 29 in April 29 in May Number of associations banned 1 in April
• FOUR KURDS THROWN INTO THE SEA BY UNSCRUPULOUS SMUGGLERS. Four Kurdish immigrants, aged between 25 and 40 died and two others were injured after smugglers had forced about forty Kurdish illegals to jump into the sea near the Italian coast of Apulia (the South of Italy) the Itlaian Police announced on 8 June.
According to the reconstitution of the events made by the police and Carabinieri, several illegal immigrants had rebelled when ordered to leave the boat at dawn and two of them were wounded by stabbing. The Kurdish immigrants then gave way to the smugglers orders and jumped overboard. According to the first findings of the enquiry, three of these men were drowned. The smugglers, two Albanians, succeeded in escaping and the police, who found 39 illegal immigrants transferred them to a reception centre in the Lecce region.
The United States had recently warned Turkey about economic retaliatory measures that might be taken against it if it did not seriously struggle against the trafficking in human being taking place on its soil. Once again it was the Army that reacted, through General Aytac Yalman, Comander in Chief of the Gendarmerie who declared on 12 June that “as for the immigration issue, they are being unfair to Turkey, that houses a million illegals” and that “last year 92,000 illegals were arrested” in the country.
• THE EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS COURT AGAIN FINDS TURKEY GUILTY OF VIOLATING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. Turkey was again found guilty by the European Human Rights Court on 4 June of “violation of freedom of expression ” of a Turkish citizen accused by the Turkish authorities of having made a speech in support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Esber Yagmurdereli, a lawyer by training, a writer and Doctor of Philosophy, had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1985 for “attempting to overthrow the Constitutional order”. Released on bail in 1991, he was again sentenced for “separatist propaganda” after making a speech in which he had used the (tabooed) word “Kurdistan” and mentioning the PKK’s “struggle for democracy and freedom”. He was finally released in 2001. The European Court considered that “the petitioner’s remarks took the form of a political speech made on the occasion of a public debate regarding a new law on terrorism, that they were in the nature of matters of general interest”. The judges, considering that the remarks were not an ”incitement to arouse hatred or violence between citizens” rejected the Turkish argument regarding the necessity of protecting national security and territorial integrity.
Turkey was thus found guilty of violating article 10 (Freedom of expression) and also of violating Article 6.1 (Right to a fair and equitable trial) since an Army judge was on the bench that condemned him.
• A MUSIC PRODUCTION COMPANY BANNED FOR “KURDISH PROPAGANDA”. On 5 June, the Turkish Ministry of Culture decided to ban Kalan Muzik, a music publishing house famed, amongst other things, for having produced the cassettte of poems by the Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit. The Ministry charged Kalan Muzik with having produced, in 1993, an album of which one of the songs, written some 82 years ago, contained the tabooed word “Kurdistan”. “It is the task of the Ministry of Culture, in Turkey, to check every album in the Kurdish, Laz or Armenian language, except for those made in English, French, German or even in other African languages (sic). They must be translated into Turkish and sent to the Ministry of Culture … Not knowing Kurdish, it was the performing group that was responsible for the translation. I didn’t take any notice” stated Hasan Saltik, to the daily paper Hurriyet on 6 July under the headline “Closure of the Ecevit’s publishers for Kurdish propaganda” accompanied by a photo of Bülent Ecevit, accompanied by Hasan Saltik, (copyright Husmettin Ozkan) (Editor’s Note : Minister of State and Bülent Ecevit’s right hand man). “When we take office, all these bans will cease” H. Ozkan at the time the picture was taken of the publisher who is described as the “archaeologist of music” by the Turkish press.
• THE DIYARBEKIR CULTURAL FESTIVAL : A GROUP OF WOMEN SINGERS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH SINGING IN KURDISH AND WEARING KURDISH DRESS. The Diyarbekir cultural festival, organised for the week 25 May to 2 June by the Kurdish local council, was closed in disorder after the Turkish police’s strong-arm intervenmtion to arrest Koma Asmin, an amateur group of 11 young girls from Istanbul’s Mesopotamia Cultural Centre, whose only crime was to have sung, in Kurdish, a very popular old Kurdish folk song.
The Diyarbekir State Security Court (DGM), who released the members of the group on bail on 3 June, charged Koma Asmin with having not only sung in Kurdish but also of having provoked the authorities by wearing Kurdish traditional dress. For his part, the Mayor of Diyarbekir, Feridun Çelik, is going to lodge an official complaint against the Police Director.
• TURKISH WRITER FIKRET BASKAYA RELEASED. The left-wing writer, academic and journalist, Fikret Baskaya, was released from prison on 27 June after having served a sentence of one yeqar for an article he’d written on the Kurdish problem. Mr. Baskaya, 62 years of age, was welcomed by Human Rights defenders on leaving Kalecik prison, near Ankara.
Mr. Baskaya, a university economics specialist, who had already served twenty months in prison between 1993 and 1995 for defending Kurdish rights, was sentenced to 16 months for “separatist propaganda” by the Istanbul State Security Court for an article published in 1999 in the paper Ozgur Bakis — which has since had to cease publication.
• A TURKISH ECONOMIST TAKEN TO COURT FOR HAVING CALLED ABDULLAH OCALAN “MR. …”. A well known Turkish economist faces trial for having called Abdullah Ocalan “Mr. Ocalan …” during a symposium in Istanbul on 8 June. A Public Prosecutor, has initiated investigations against Atilla Yesilada, a TV commentator and editorial writer in newspapers, who created a scandal by repeatedly calling Abdullah Ocalan “Mr.Ocalan” using the term “sayin” which implies a degree of respect.
The Minister of External Trade Tunca Toskay, of the neo-fascist MHP, stormed outof the seminar in protest. “We will not remain in a meeting in while an individual with the blood of 30,000 people on his hands is called Mister” he declared.
In a letter sent by eMail to the symposium organisers, Mr. Yesillada defended himself saying “I have never had the slightest respect for the PKK and the coward who runs it (…) I have always defended Turkey’s just struggle against the PKK. But I am a defender of Human Rights to the very end”.
• THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL GIVES THE GREEN LIGHT FOR CERTAIN REFORMS : THE LIFTING OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN TWO KURDISH PROVINCES. On 30 May, the State Security Council (MGK) decided to recommend that Parliament to lift the State of Emergency (in force for the last 14 years) in the two Kurdish provinces of Hakkari and Tunceli (Dersim) on 30 July.
The Army dominated MGK, which brings together the highest ranking civilian and military officials every month to draw up the main lines for running the country, decided, in addition to extend the State of Emergency, on July 30, “for the last time” in the other two provinces in which it remains in force, namely in Sirnak and Diyarbekir stressed the comminiqué issued at the end of the May meeting.
The lifting of the State of Emergency in the Kurdish provinces is amongst the “medium term” measures demanded by the European Union of Turkey before opening negotiations for its membership. The Turkish government had committed itself to lifting it (but without setting any date) in its “national programme” — a vast catalogue of measures adopted in 2001, that should put Turkey in conformity with European politcal and economic standards.
The MGK meeting, which Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit (who is now 77 years old and at the moment convalescing) did not attend, also called for an acceleration of the reforms needed for opening negotiations for E.U. membership. The MGK also called on the Fifteen to set a date before the end of the year for these negotiations, which are being insistantly demanded by Ankara.
Mr. Ecevit’s three party government is divided on these reforms, whichinclude the complete abolition of capital punishment, the creation of a Kurdish language TV chanel and education system. Its neo-fascist coalition partner, Devlet Bahceli’s MHP is openly holding them back.
The European Commission welcomed the MGK’s recommendations on 31 May. A Brussels spokesman also welcomed the fact that an Army dominated body had recommended the ending of capital punishment as well as “education and audiovisual broadcasting in languages other than Turkish”. “These are positive signs in the right direction” the spokesperson said.
“We now urge Turkey to translate these recommendations into concrete actions as rapidly as possible, for the benefit of all Turkish citizens” he continued. “A concrete application” he warned “is all the more urgent and important in that it will determine the content and tone of the regular report” that the European Commission will publish in October on the thirteen countries who have applied for membership. The spokesman finally called on Ankara to pursue its reforms in such a way that it could meet “all the political criteria” for membership. “More progress has still to be acheived in the areas of the rights to free expression, association and of freedom of the press” he concluded.
Associate members of the Kurdish Institute have just had the following books published :
• Etudes Kurdes — N°4. The Paris Kurdish Institute’s quarterly review of research work Published by Editions l’Harmattan, Paris June 2002. 126 pp. 12 €.
There are three long articles in this new issue of the Kurdish Institute’s research review.
In the first, François Pérouse covers the issues and the role of “civil society” in Kurdistan. The writer deals with the geopolitical and geo-economic determinants, with the conditions for the emergence of a collective initiative such as that of a civil society that is free from the control of States.
The second article, by Joost Jongerden, examines the forces evacuation of the Kurdish civilian population in Turkey during the 1990s and analyses the recent concept of the re-integration of these populations towards the regions from which they came, and in particular the rebuilding of the villages.
The third article, written by Kendal Nezan, analyses the experiment of Kurdish self-determination in Iraq, which will soon be entering its twelfth year. An entity without any recognised status, something outside normal standards with no equivalent in international law, the Kurdish quasi-State is nevertheless blossoming politically, institutionally, socially and economically. But its future depends on an American military action aiming at overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
The Archives section continues a presentation of the correspondence between the Bedir-Khan bothers and Pierre Rondot. This issue publishes the letters, which had been confided to Hamit Bozarslan by General Rondot, sent by Jeladet A. Bedir-Khan to Lt. Rondot. They mainly deal with the periodical Hawar.
In the book review section, Joyce Blau presents two recently published dictionaries : Kurdistan, by G. Mukriyani and Sharezoor, by S. Qazzaz.
The issue ends, as usual, with a chrinicle of events drawn up by Rusen Werdi.
• Serdem Klasik le meju da. The classical period in history. (Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven) Barzan Yassin. Avesta Publishing, Istanbul 2002. In Sorani Kurdish. Published with the help of the Kurdish Institute. 286 pp. 15€.
People always enrich their lives through their own experiences. These have become a great heritage that has been built on the existence of every one of us and help all to progress. To this end, people appear, in various societies, who take a place in the vanguard in a particular field and become guide, teacher and light for humanity as a whole. For this reason, the tale of the lives of three great musical prodigies (Hayden, Mozart and Beethoven) deserves to be known because it develops our ideas, enriches our thoughts and strengthens our arguments.
The thing that impelled the author to take an interest in this historic theme was the paucity, in Kurdish libraries, of books on music in general and especially of European music. This book recounts their lives, their personalities, the example of their works, the social, economic and political situation of their times. Thus it describes the musical forms current at that period and how they developped.
Seha Dîwana Ehmedê Xani, Felsefe û Jiyana Wî, by Abdurrahman Durre, the Keskesor Edebiyat Collection, Avesta Publishing, Istanbul 2002, in Kurmanji Kurdish. Published with the backing of the Kurdish Institute. 568pp.20€.
A a critical interpretation of the classic diwan (collection of poems) by the 17th Century Kurdish writer Ahmedi Khani (author, inter alia, of Mem û Zin), his life and philosophy.
Les Chroniques syriaques, by Ephrem-Isa Yousif. Editions l’Harmattan, Paris, 2002. 467 pp., 38€.
The author recounts the epic of the Syriac chroniclers who, from the 3rd to the 14th Centuries recorded the civil and religious events of the Near East. They produced annals, local histories and chronicles. They were contemporary witnesses of civilisation’s great moments and have left us documents of the greatest importance. They look at the world from a different angle to that of the Latin, Greek, Arab and Mongol historians. Without their eleven chronicles we would only have a partial view of History.
Refugiés Kurdes en France. Modes de vie et integration, (Kurdish refugees in France. Ways of life and integration). Chirine Mohseni. Editions l’Harmattan, Paris, 2002. With the backing of the Kurdish Institute. 207 pp. 18.30€.
In August and September 1998, fleeing chemical air raids by the Iraqi Air Force, tens of thousands of Kurds sought refuge in Turkey. These Kurds were transferred by the Turkish government to camps close to the Iraqi borders. Following a visit by Mrs. Mitterrand to these camps in April 1989, France, for the first time, decided to grant them collectively the right to asylum and receive these Kurdish families on it soil. Thus, in the context of a reception programme between August 1989 and April 1991, 76 families arrive in France and were sent successively to Bourg-Lastic (Puy de Dôme — central France) and Piriac-sur-Mer (Loire Altantique — on the borders of Brittany) … The author analyses in detail the evolution on the life styles of these families through their daily practices regarding housing, food and, in particular, clothing.
Olüm Lobisi. Bati Irak’i nasil silahlandirdi ? (The death lobby — how the West armed Iraq). Kenneth R. Timmermann. Translated into Turkish by Ibrahim Bingol. Preface by Kendal Nezan.
The French translation of this reference work is also available at the Kurdish Institute.
Avesta Publishing, Istanbul 2002. With the support of the Kurdish Institute. 583 pp. 15€.
Several years after Operation Desert Storm, questions are still asked : What is Iraq’s military power ? From where did Saddam Hussein procure the weaponry that enabled him to start the Gulf War ? How many of these weapons does he still have available ? The Death Lobby is the first book to tell how the West armed Iraq. The book is written like a spy thriller, each chapter of which recounts the true story of the men, firms, and governments who helped a small oil state to become a planetary flash point. Kenneth R. Yimmermann has several times travelled to Iraq and is the only Western journalist to have approached the highest ranking oficials of the iraqi military programme. The conspiracy of silence in Washington, London, Paris and Bonn although Saddam Hussein’s intentions had been explicitly stated several times and deliberately ignored, has never been so clearly exposed.