On 28 June, the United States transferred sovereignty to an Iraqi interim government two days ahead of schedule. This government will now have to assume the onerous task of putting down the insurrection in the Sunni Triangle” and leading the country towards democracy with the help of a multinational force. The transfer of power ceremony, unexpected and organised in the greatest secrecy, took place 48 hours ahead of the planned date of 30 June, at the request of t“he Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi. According to Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the change of date was intended to “confuse the plans” of those who would have wanted to launch attacks to mark the event.
The transfer, which marks the formal restoration of sovereignty after 14 months occupation, took the form of an exchange of documents between the former US Administrator, Paul Bremer, and Mr. Allawi before the Interim President, Ghazi al-Yawar, in the Green Zone, which shelters the Coalition HQ in Baghdad. The former US Administrator, Paul Bremer, described the day as “historic”. Then, after winding up the Coalition provisional Authority that he had presided for the last 13 months, he took an Air Force plane to the United States. However, he chose to devote his last two days in Iraq to a tour of Kurdistan to visit his “Kurdish friends”. Many of them asked him top stay. “I wanted to say goodbye to the friends I have made over the last year” stated Mr. Bremer on 23 June at the end of his trip to the North. When he arrived in Suleimaniah, he was met by children dressed in traditional costumes, singing “Welcome, welcome”. During this farewell tour, he also went to Salaheddin, the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s stronghold, mainly to meet Massud Barzani. The two men have developed a strong relation through working together, coalition officials pointed out. So, instead of a formal farewell ceremony, the two men preferred a car trip round this mountainous countryside.
The swearing in of the new Iraqi leaders took place in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces in the Green Zone. Mr. Allawi swore to bring to trial the foreign fighters and called on the ex-Baathists to distance themselves from the guerrillas. He recognised the difficulty of the tasks ahead and called for national unity, extending a “hand of peace” to the neighbouring countries, including Turkey and Iran. He promised to build up the defence forces and to refloat the economy, calling for foreign help for the reconstruction of his country.
As a concrete sign of this transfer of sovereignty, the US Embassy in Baghdad published a communiqué on 28 June to announce the re-establishing of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iraq, — relations hat have been broken off since 1991, at the start of the first Gulf war. The US Ambassador, John Negroponte, arrived in Baghdad on 28 June, taking over from Paul Bremer. He will be at the head of an enormous embassy, with a staff of 1,700, of which one thousand will be Americans.
With 130,000 troops, the Americans continue to represent some nine tenths of the foreign forces in Iraq, without which the new Iraqi government would have scant chance of survival. President Bush had promised that these forces would remain in Iraq “as long as needed to ensure stability ” of the country — perspective that risks being a very long time yet. NATO has committed itself to helping train the Iraqi Security Forces, but no significant reinforcements are expected from other countries, to give the GIs a helping hand in Iraq. After taking his oath of office, Mr. Allawi announced that his government would take a series of emergency measures to try and re-establish security. He committed himself to bringing the foreign fighters to trial and asked former Baath Party members not to join the ranks of the guerrilla.
The transfer was welcomed throughout the world, though in varying degrees: it was ostentatiously applauded by members of the US-led coalition, but more soberly welcomed by the countries opposed to the war that had overthrown Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in April 2003.
Washington’s faithful ally in Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Blair considered that this transfer was “an imperative stage in the Iraqi people’s journey towards a new future”. For Poland, that commands a multi-national force in central Iraq, “everything that speeds up the process of transfer of powers to the Iraqis (…) is a very good thing” according to the Assistant Minister of Defence, Janusz Zemko.
Other countries that had supported the United States in Iraq also expressed their satisfaction. Franco Frattini, Italian Foreign Minister, stressed that his country “has worked hard to achieve this objective (i.e. the transfer of power) and feels an even greater moral duty to support the courageous Iraqi government in its efforts to promote democracy, security and reconstruction”. The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, congratulated the Iraqi people on “this act of faith in a democratic future”. Three other countries that had supported Washington on Iraq — Japan, Denmark and the Philippines — also expressed their satisfaction.
For France, which had opposed the war, “the transfer of sovereignty is a long awaited and important event”, to quote President Jacques Chirac’s spokesperson, Catherine Colonna. For its part, Germany “welcomed” this transfer. “For Iraq it is an important stage on the road back to the community of independent states” stressed the Foreign service spokesperson Antje Leendertse. Another country opposed to the war in Iraq, Russia, promised to work with the new government, while China congratulated the Iraqis, hoping that their country would be “independent, peaceful and prosperous”. The European Union declared that it planned sending a special representative to Baghdad. “We want, as soon as possible, to establish contacts with the new government” stated the E.U. spokesperson, Christina Gallach. For his part, the former UN chief arms inspector, Hans Blix, a severe critic of the Iraqi war, spoke of an “important day”.
Some Arab countries also welcomed the transfer of sovereignty. King Abdallah II of Jordan saw it as “an important stage in Iraq’s history”. For the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher, this stage is likely to favour a calming of the violence in the country. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq also expressed their support. In Cairo, the General Secretary of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, hoped that the Iraqi government would be able to “exercise its sovereignty and power in a manner that would give it legitimacy”. Indonesia, the country with the largest Moslem population in the world, expressed its satisfaction but warned that it was waiting to see how the restoration of sovereignty “would be materialised in the field”. The Islamic Conference Organisation (ICO), the largest inter-state Islamic institution, had expressed its support for the new interim Iraqi government on 16 June and undertaken to provide “active assistance” in the transition. The Foreign Ministries of the 57 countries of the ICO, meeting in Turkey, had thus legitimised the new government. The ICO had not supported the Interim Government Council, set up earlier by the US-led coalition in Iraq.
Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar was appointed first President of the post-Saddam Iraq after his rival, Adnan Pashashi, proposed by the Americans, has decided to throw in the towel. Ibrahim Jaafari, a Shiite of the Dawa Party, and Roj Nuri Shawis, a Kurd of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, were appointed Vice Presidents. Ghazi al-Yawar, a 46-year old Sunni Arab, was month’s President of the Iraqi IGC. He is the nephew of Sheikh Mohsen al-Yawar, Chief of the 3 million strong Shammar tribe, which includes both Sunni and Shiite Arabs and occupies an area running from the Syrian borders in the North to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the South, and the parts of Iraq in between. After taking an engineering degree at George Washington University in the US Federal capital, he settled in Saudi Arabia, where he ran a flourishing telecommunications company. Speaking fluent English and wishing to retain “what is best” of both cultures, the Sheikh is a supporter of the integrity of Iraq, even though he is in favour of a wide degree of autonomy for the Kurds. He has spent 15 years in exile, and entered Iraq in the spring of 2003. His candidature was proposed and supported by the Kurds because of his federalist stands, whereas Pashashi had been vague on this crucial question.
Ibrahim Jaafari and Roj Nuri Shawis, respectively Shiite and Kurdish, two experienced politicians were both born in 1947, the first in Kerbala, the Shiite holy city, the second in Suleimaniah, in the North. Ibrahim Jaafari studied Medicine at Mossul University and joined the Dawa Party in 1966. This party has gained considerable prestige by its resistance to Saddam Hussein in Iraq and abroad as well as a legitimacy gained by years of repression of its members. He began by attacks on leaders of the Baath Party in the 70s, but only really engaged in armed struggle in the 80s when Jaafari had to flee to Iran before going on to London in 1989. Membership of the Dawa Party, at that time, was punishable by death. According to the party, no less than 77,000 of its members have been killed by the Saddam Hussein regime, mainly between 1982 and 1984. After the invasion of Iraq by the coalition troops, Jaafari rapidly regained a prominent position in the Shiite community. He is one of the rare members of the Interim Government Council, of which her was the first president, to be appointed to a position in the new Iraqi executive.
Descended from a famous family of Kurdish patriots, Roj Nuri Shawis took a degree in electrical engineering at Mossul then left for Germany where he did his Ph.D. and was one of the organisers and president of the Kurdish Students Association in Europe. He returned to Iraq in 1975 to join the Kurdish resistance, in which he fought for a decade, rising to be a member of the Political Committee of Massud Barzani’s KDP. Prime Minister of the Kurdish regional government in Irbil from 1996 to 1999, he then became Speaker of the United Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan.
On 11 June, the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament adopted a “positive stand” on the UN Security Council Resolution endorsing the retention of seven Kurdish Ministers in the interim government led by Iyad Allawi. “The Kurdistan Parliament has decided to adopt a positive stand regarding the Security Council resolution as everyone states their respect for the fundamental law” declared Roj Nuri Shawis, who is both Vice-President of Iraq and Speaker of the Kurdish parliament, at the end of its meeting. He stressed, with satisfaction, the fact that both President Ghazi al-Yawar and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi “had shown that they were committed to this law and that US President George W. Bush, in his recent European tour, had frankly expressed his commitment to this law”.
Following on the passing of UN Resolution 1546 on 8 June, many Kurdish leaders had expressed their disappointment that the wording of the resolution did not mention the Fundamental Law that is to govern Iraq for the next 18 months. This law, adopted in March by the now defunct IGC and intended to fill the role of a Provisional Constitution, recognises federalism and the autonomy of Kurdistan. It also gives the Kurds veto powers of veto in the referendum on the final Constitution.
The Kurdish Parliament was founded on 4 June 1992 and has 105 members, 51 from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (Massud Barzani’s KDP), 49 from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (Jalal Talabani’s PUK) as 5 Christians.
During the Irbil meeting, to which 25 other organisations were invited, going from Islamists to Communists as well as the Turkomen, the majority of the speakers considered that it was necessary to remain in the government. “Iraq will continue acting in conformity with the fundamental Law until the elections that will follow the vote on the constitution”, that is at the end of 2005, stressed Mr. Shawis.
“As a Kurd and a woman, I am disappointed that it (the resolution) does not recognise the Fundamental Law as the future basis of the Constitution” declared Public Works Minister Nesrin al-Barwari, adding that she feared that the rights it embodies would disappear in the future constitution. The Fundamental law contains a declaration of rights that includes a quota of 25% in the future Parliament and makes Iraq a Federal State — a fundamental Kurdish requirement.
The Kurdish Government’s Minister of Transport, Haidar al-Sheikh Ali, for his part considered that “the Kurdish man in the street is very disappointed, especially as we were the only ones to welcome the Americans with flowers. But they have deceived us”. “The Americans did not come here to give us federalism but to serve their own interests”. “Let us call on the Kurds to resist within the government and to strengthen their alliances” he added, nevertheless. Ahmad Sherif, A member of the PUK executive said he was “pessimistic about the future”. “I am afraid of the attitude of the Arab parties towards the Kurds” he added. “Let us call for a referendum in Kurdistan so that the Kurdish people can decide its own destiny” pointed out Rafur Mahmuri, a KDP member, for his part.
Moreover, the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Saleh, has returned to Suleimaniah to express his discontent at the vagueness of his rights and duties in the new government. According to an official in then Suleimaniah government, “Mr. Saleh explained (to Prime Minister Iyad Allawi) during the Council of Ministers, that he had no intention to be satisfied with a purely honorary position simply so as to have a seat in the government”. “I can only accept …a real post having clear legal powers, which represents the aspirations of the Kurdish people and shows that the Kurds are the equals of the Iraqis” of other communities Mr. Saleh pointed out to Mr. Allawi, according to this official.
Mr. Saleh, who had filled the role of Prime Minister of the Suleimaniah-based regional government, met Mr. Allawi several times to discuss his rights and duties as Deputy Prime Minister responsible for National Security. There are, indeed, difficulties to the extent that the Prime Minister has made security the most important of his own priorities and heads a Ministerial Committee for National Security, which is responsible for co-ordination with the coalition.
In a joint communiqué published on 8 June, the two Kurdish leaders, Massud Barzani and Jalal Talabani, stated that “the Kurdish people cannot accept to be treated as second class citizens in post-Saddam Iraq. We have already, in the past, been given Vice-Presidential posts and other functions without any real powers”. Messrs. Barzani and Talabani had insisted on having the positions of either President or Prime Minister in the interim Government set up the week before, but the UN special envoy and the US Administrators, Paul Bremer, had refused, offering them the post of Vice-President. The Kurds have seven of the 33 Ministries in the Iraqi central government.
The two Kurdish leaders had also sent a letter to Mr. Bush before the vote on the UN resolution. “We ask that the Fundamental Law be mentioned in the resolution or that it be recognised as a law governing the interim government both before and after the elections” Messrs. Barzani and Talabani had stated in this letter published on the Kurdish internet sites and dated 1st June. “In the event that the Law be not applied or be suppressed the Kurdistan government would have no option but to cease participating in the central government and its institutions and to boycott the elections and forbid entry into Kurdistan to members of the central government” they added.
The draft resolution on the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq was unanimously passed by the UN Security Council after the US and Great Britain had accepted amendments removing the last reservations of that body. The resolution aims at accompanying the transfer of power to the Iraqis by detailing the stages intended to lead to the General Elections between now and January 2005, and the conditions under which coalition troops will remain after the 30 June. The final version of the draft commits the Iraqi government and the multi-national force (MNF) maintained after the transfer of sovereignty to cooperating on security questions “including measures regarding sensitive offensive operations”. At UNO the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, had asked the Security Council for “full sovereignty” for his country on 3 June. The head of Iraqi foreign relations had considered that, with regard to sovereignty, the Americano-British resolution was “fairly appropriate”. However, he had also hoped that Iraq might “have its sa” on the subject of the presence of international troops on its territory after the transfer had been effected. Recognising that his country could not yet maintain security on its own, he had, nevertheless, added that the international troops should remain well after 30 June. In his view, the State “needed the help of the multi-national force to work with the Iraqi forces so as to stabilise the situation …Every departure would lead to chaos and a real possibility of civil war”.
The resolution was well received by the Iraqi parties except for the Kurdish organisations. “This is a great day which future generations will remember as that in which Iraq passed from a period of occupation to a new period and in which it found total sovereignty” Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, declared. “The occupation will be part of the past on 30 June, when Iraq will be a country with full sovereign independence” he added. Moreover Mr. Allawi also indicated that the new government would negotiate with the international forces the “mechanisms” of their deployment, rejecting the criticisms of the absence, in the resolution, of the right of veto on military operations.
Furthermore, leaders of the majority Shiite community expressed relief that the resolution had not mentioned the Fundamental Law. “God be praised, the new resolution does not mention the Fundamental Law” stated Latif al-Mussawi, who runs a Foundation close to the senior Shiite clergy. Another Shiite leader, an assistant of the former member of the Interim Government Council Mohammad Bahr al-Ulum, had said much the same thing. Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the country’s most influential Shiite dignitary reproaches the Fundamental Law for not placing Islam as the sole source of legislation and for giving the Kurds an effective veto in the referendum for adopting the final Constitution.
The Sunni Islamic party was pretty satisfied. “There are many positive points, firstly sovereignty for the Iraqi people, as this is the first stage towards the end of the occupation” stated its Assistant General Secretary Ayad al-Samarai.
In Baghdad, a government spokesman, Gurgis Sada, stated that the Iraqi leaders were committed to the Fundamental Law and did not need a UNO resolution to prove it. “The government agrees 100% with the Law. The President, the Vice-Presidents, and the Prime Minister are working in accordance with the Law” stated Mr. Sada. Questioned about the possibility of resignation by the Kurdish Ministers, he said “I am not worried about this. All the government is here, and we had a very good meeting an hour ago”.
On 9 June, Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Orhan Dogan and Selim Sadak, former Members of Parliament for the Party for Democracy (DEP — banned in 1994) were released by an Appeal Court after over ten years imprisonment. The four ex-M.P.s were retried in April, but the “retrial” had just confirmed the original verdict, provoking negative reactions from the European Union that Turkey hopes to join. A Public prosecutor has requested that the verdict be quashed on a legal technicality, opening the way to their release from detention.
The release of Leyla Zana and her three parliamentary colleagues from the Ulucanlar Prison in Ankara, which was besieged by myriads of journalists and by thousands of jubilant Kurdish activists, took place in an immense uproar. Leyla nearly fell down, carried away by a wave of journalists and by her admirers, some of whom wave bouquets of flowers. Sirri Sakik, a former M.P. of the pro-Kurdish Party for Democracy, who was also charged at the time along side Leyla Zana, caught her in his arms just in time then pushed her towards a car while the crowd shouted “The Kurdish people is proud of you!”
As soon as the Appeal Court announced that the four detainees would be immediately released pending the review of their latest trial, relatives and many Kurds living in Ankara began a long and anxious vigil outside the prison, located in a working class quarter of the Turkish capital.
Around the building, a very large number of police were deployed to keep order. At times they tried to intervene over their megaphones to ask the Kurdish activists, who were dancing traditional round dances and singing Kurdish folksongs, not to shout “forbidden slogans”.
“I am very glad. I’m in a hurry to see my daughter again and return to Diyarbekir” Said Mrs. Hediye Dagli, Leyla Zana’s mother.
For his part, Sirri Sakik considered that the decision to release them was “overdue”. “We have all paid a heavy price to get some more democracy” he declared. “Eleven years ago we were accused of treason. But events today have shown that we were right” he said pointedly.
The four ex-M.P.s’ principal defence lawyer, Yusuf Alatas, was the person most sought after by the many Turkish TV networks, which were broadcasting the event, live. “We are satisfied” with the appeal court’s decision he stated. “But we also hope that all political prisoners, all people who have been imprisoned for their political opinions, will be very rapidly freed” the lawyer added.
In the course of a short speech in the Ankara premises of the People's Democratic Party (DEHAP), Leyla Zana called for reconciliation between Turkey and its Kurdish minority and invited the population to “look to the future with hope”. “I think that we have reached a turning point, that a new page is being opened where the Kurds, the Turks (…) will be able to shake hands and open out to the rest of the world” declared Mrs. Zana. “I call on everyone to abandon the animosities and bitterness and to unite their efforts to resolve their problems” she pursued.
Leyla Zana, who referred to her ten years’ imprisonment as “terribly painful” but “born with dignity”, recalled that during this period of trial, she had always continued to believe that “if the country solves its internal problems it would become the star of this region”. “We have an opportunity to transform this country into a garden of Eden by working together, in this new era (…) like free and equal citizens (…) and by pooling our efforts to ensure the internal peace of the country” declared the former member of parliament.
Furthermore, Leyla Zana thanked Mrs. Mitterrand, President of CILDEKT, and all those, across the world, who had mobilised in her defence and that of her colleagues. “Our release owes much to the constant and combined efforts of those defenders of Human Rights and of democracy” she added.
The next day the Turkish leaders welcomed this release, considering that this measure lifted the last obstacle to the opening of negotiations with the European Union. According to the Speaker of Parliament, Bulent Arinc, the release of Leyla Zana and the beginning of Kurdish language broadcasts on the State radio and Television, will help turkey to secure, from the European leaders, the green light for negotiations for membership. “I think that Turkey’s credibility in the eyes of the E.U. will really take a great leap forward, now that the reforms adopted by Turkey are being applied in the field” stated Mr. Arinc to the Anatolia press agency.
According to the Minister of Justice, Cemil Cicek, this release “is a very important decision which will ease pressure on Turkey, both internally and externally”. He claimed that the EU no longer had any more excuses for refusing his country’s membership. “Those who seek excuses for refusing Turkey’s membership of the EU have lost their last card” stated the Minister.
The European Commission and the speaker of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, had welcomed, the day before, the announcement that Leyla Zana would be released. Gunther Verheugen, EU Commissioner for the enlargement also considered that: “Today’s decision is a sign that the application of the political reforms that Turkey has started over the last two years is advancing”. The European Parliament consider the four to be political prisoners, jailed for their opinions following the banning of their Party for Democracy (DEP). The German Government welcomed this release, considering that it was “an important step” on the road to reforms in Turkey. “Today is a good day for democracy and the rule of law in Turkey” stated Walter Landner, the German Foreign Ministry spokesman. For his part, Peter Schieder, Speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council, is quoted, in a communiqué dated 10 June, as recalling that “Our Parliamentary Assembly has been insisting on their release for several years”, adding that “recently, indeed on April, I had expressed my consternation following the verdict of guilty given by the Ankara State Security Court”. “With yesterday's decision, Turkey is showing that it is up to out expectations and of the image it is giving, principally through the ambitious reforms under way” he concluded.
In France, the Socialist Party was “delighted at the freeing of these public figures” and hoped that “the four former members of parliament would very rapidly regain their rights so as to be able to pursue their political struggle with the forms of their choice”. “It is very good news and a moment long awaited by the Socialist Party, which, over the years has not ceased to express its solidarity with the four detained members of parliament … and has always supported their struggle for democracy and human rights” pointed out the Socialist Party in a communiqué dated 10 June. “Many of us today, as human rights activists rejoice at their decision … Respect and observance of human rights must be a fundamental and permanent value of the European Union and, consequently, of those who aspire to join it” commented, for her part Mrs. Khedidja Boucart, Deputy Mayor of Paris responsible for Integration.
“Leyla Zana’s liberation confirms Turkey’s commitment to human rights” this month’s Chairman of the Council of Europe’s Ministerial Committee, Jan Petersen, Norwegian Foreign Minister, commented, for his part, in another communiqué. “The announcing of this release, like the broadcasting on the Turkish public network, of Kurdish language programmes are an important step towards the rapprochement of Turkey and the E.U. and along the road to the application in practice of the reforms begun by the Turkish government”.
For Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the time on an official visit to the United States, the release of the former members of parliament will contribute to a return of peace in the country’s Kurdish provinces. “I hope that this measure will put an end to the excuses put forward for threatening peace in our country” declared Mr. Erdogan on 9 June. On his return, in a Press conference at Istanbul airport, he stated that he was ready to meet Leyla Zana. “There is no reason why I should refuse to meet her” declared Mr. Erdogan. The Prime Minister, who recalled that Mrs. Zana had already met the Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on leaving prison, said, on the other hand, that his was disinclined to support a Bill for a general for amnesty Kurdish fighters, proposed to enable them to lay down their arms. “The government has carried out all the measures in its programme, and if some people have difficulty in understanding these measures, I have nothing to add” pointed out Mr. Erdogan. “The present government has taken measures, which are without precedent in the Turkish Republic’s history. Apart from the context of the Copenhagen criteria, it has taken them courageously and despite the dangers. We are distressed to see that there are, nevertheless, still people who get up to say “there is still a problem to be settled here or there” he continued.
On 10 June, the Turkish press as a whole displayed its optimism on the chances of the country, which has officially been a candidate for membership since 1999, being shortly able to start negotiations for membership. “A historic day for Turkey” headlined the daily paper Radikal that considered that the measures taken the day before constituted “two giant steps on the road to the European Union”. “The road to the EU is now open” declared the mass circulation daily Milliyet, while its main competitor Hurriyet considered, like the Minister of justice the day before that “the last excuses” advanced by those who do not want to see Turkey join the EU had now been set aside.
In December the European leaders must decide if Turkey has made enough progress regarding Human Rights and democracy to justify opening negotiations for membership with Ankara. The day had opened with the first Kurdish language broadcasts on the State radio-television network — a symbolic measure, but which breaks a very old taboo. In the 80s, to mention the very existence of a Kurdish minority was forbidden while the use of the language in public has long been repressed.
While waiting for the verdict of her appeal, Leyla Zana wants to take advantage of her new found freedom to return rapidly to the Kurdish countryside. “After so many years locked up behind bars, I need to recharge my batteries, to meet people, to listen to them. The world has changed so much these last ten years, and Kurdish society must also have changed a lot. I need to plunge back into it, to renew my links with the people” she told us.
Unfortunately she will not yet be able to see her husband, Mehdi Zana, former mayor of Diyarkebir, who, after 14 years passed in Turkish prisons for “criminal opinions” is living in exile in Sweden because of fresh sentences of 8 years jail for his collection of poems and his book of memoirs — of years in jail. Leyla’s son Ronay, threatened with prosecution and by death squads has also had to go into exile in Europe. Only her daughter, Ruken, who lives in Ankara, was able to go to meet her as she came out of prison.
On 13 June, tens of thousands of Kurds (20,000 according to the police), many of whom were shouting “Peace” while others slogans like “An end to the policy of violence and annihilation” gathered in Diarbekir to welcome the former M.P.s. After being greeted by the local representatives of the People’s Democratic Party (DEHAP — Kurdish) including the Mayor of Diyarbekir, Osman Baydemir, the four were lifted to the open top of a bus, which was to take them to the City centre. The vehicle took over an hour and a half to complete the 3 Km trip through a dense crowd carrying red, green and yellow flags (the colours of the Kurdish movements) and showered with flowers thrown from windows and balconies. On arrival at Station Square where thousands of supporters were waiting for them, the former members of parliament spoke to the crowd, in Kurdish and Turkish, in favour of peace and reconciliation. “We have shown our patience for centuries. If we must more show our patience and self-sacrifice, we will do so, since these qualities are the sign of a great people” declared Leyla Zana, who called on the United States and the European Union to help Turkey to avoid becoming “another Palestine, another Lebanon”. Mrs. Zana also sent a message to Kongra-Gel, the PKK’s new name, calling on it “not to break the cease fire for at least six months”.
Hatip Dicle, for his part, called on the government to pursue its efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question and asked it to make a gesture towards the 5,000 political prisoners still in jail.
Other demonstrations took place in several Turkish towns on the initiative of DEHAP. In Istanbul, several thousands of demonstrators answered the call of this party. Leyla Zana and her three companions then effected a tour 12 Kurdish towns that ended on 17 June.
However, the legal proceedings regarding Leyla and her colleagues are continuing. On 8 July, the Court of Appeals is due to hand down its ruling on the appeal filed by the former members of parliament. If the verdict of the State Security Court is confirmed by this Turkish Supreme Court, the M.P.s will have to return to prison. Leyla had already served almost the whole of her sentence, since she is due, in any case, to be released on 4 June 2005, Orhan Dogan and Hatip Dicle on 2 June 2005 and Selim Sadak on 1 October 2005.
In keeping with its tradition of capital of the Arts and Culture, and anxious to make better known the richness and diversity of the heritage of its inhabitants originating from other parts of the world, Paris scheduled, this year, an exceptional welcome to Kurdish history. The Paris City Hall, for the first time in its history, celebrated, last March, Newroz — the Iranian and Kurdish New Year.
Following on this event, and under the sponsorship of Mrs. Khadidja Bourcart, Deputy Mayor of Paris, responsible for Integration and for non-E.U. foreign residents, the City Hall’s prestigious Salon des Tapisseries was, from 22 June to 24 July, the scene of an Exhibition of photographs collected by Susan Meiselas entitled Kurdistan in the Shadow of History
This exhibition traces the stormy and often tragic history of the Kurdish people from the very earliest days of photography to the present. She presents documents, motley either unpublished or inaccessible, gathered over several years of research in Kurdistan and in international archives.
Susan Meiselas, a world famous American photographer, has been a member of Magnum since 1980 and lives in New York. She teaches photography and has worked for the Press, in particular for the New York Times. She has won several international prizes, such as the Robert Capa Gold Medal, the Leica Prize and the Hasselblad Prize.
The Kurdistan in the Shadow of its History Exhibition was first presented at the Menil Collection in Houston (Texas), then at the Impressions Gallery in York (England). It has also been exhibited at and the Nederlands Foto Institut in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), at the Hellenic-American Union in Athens (Greece), the Hamburg Ethnographic Museum (Germany), the Madrid Conde Duque(Spain) and the Centre régional de la photographie in Cherbourg-Octeville (France).
The official opening took place at 7 p.m. on 22 June at the Paris City Hall, attended by Mrs. Khedidja Boucart, Susan Meiselas and Kendal Nezan, who made a warm and enthusiastic speech. Several hundreds of people, invited by the Paris Kurdish Institute, gathered at the Salon des Tapisseries and the Salle des Prevosts to look at the exhibits and listen to Kurdish music by the Kurdish musician Issa. There were 3 metre-long posters on display in the City Hall forecourt throughout the duration of the exhibition to advertise this event, which was also covered by the French language TV5, Kurdistan-TV, then Arte as well as by the weekly Le Monde 2, and the daily paper Libération.
On 9 June, Turkey strengthened its hopes of being able to open negotiations for membership of the European Union by starting Kurdish language televised radio programmes — a symbolic measure, which nevertheless breached a long-standing taboo. To evoke the very existence of the Kurds during the 80s was banned and even the spoken use of that language in public was forbidden.
The Turkish National Radio and Television (TVT) began for the first time to broadcast programmes in Kurdish with the object of meeting the conditions put forward by the European Union for the opening negotiations for membership with Ankara.
Broadcasts in Kurmanji — the Kurdish dialect most widely spoken in Turkey — began with 35 minutes of radio, followed by a half-hour of television. They form part of a series of broadcasts, which began on 7 June with a virtually identical format, in other minority languages, Bosniac and Arabic. Broadcasts in Cherkass and Zaza (another Kurdish dialect) are also planned on Thursdays and Fridays respectively.
These new broadcasts, sub-titled in Turkish and called “Our Cultural Riches” dealt, higgledy-piggledy, with national and international news, sport, natural flora and fauna, interspersed with some clips of Kurdish music. Even though, by these Kurdish language broadcasts, a long-standing taboo was broken, the press criticised the broadcasts, considering that they were just a purely symbolic gesture without any real content. “The E.U" will not be fooled” stressed the liberal daily Milliyet, pointing out that these programmes are all identical, with only a change of language and that the news flashes included were out of date and none mentioned, for example, the inflation figures published on 3 June. Some Bosniac associations attacked the fact that these programmes were broadcast in their language, stating that they had never asked for this, while the ultra-nationalist organisations declared that broadcasting programmes in any other language than Turkish was an attack on the country’s unity.
Osman Baydemir, the Mayor of Diyarbekir, welcomed the measure, avoiding, for the moment, any critique of their content. “This is just a start (…) the mere fact that a phobia is being overcome is an important step forward” he declared on the national NTV news channel. But “if these programmes are not rapidly developed, it will be said that the mountain has given birth to a mouse” he added. The People’s Democratic Party, (DEHAP) also welcomed the broadcasts. “They were absolutely devoid of any content, but these broadcasts on TRT greatly excited me (…) This is the collapse of the official ideology” which denies any Kurdish rights, declared Kemal Avci, on of its spokesmen.
In the context of the legislative reforms aimed at bringing Ankara closer to E.U. standards, the Turkish Parliament had given a green light to Kurdish language broadcasts on the State TV network in 2002, but the actual application of this reform came up against many bureaucratic difficulties — particularly with the TRT organisation. It was only after a public warning issued by the Justice and Development Party (AKT) government that TRT announced last week the beginning of these broadcasts, though not beginning by those in Kurdish.
On 30 June, Saddam Hussein and 11 of his defunct regime’s top leaders were brought before an Iraqi judge to be charged with various crimes for which they will be tried, even as the interim government is considering whether to restore the death penalty. “Today at 10.15 (6.15 am GMT) the Republic of Iraq took over legal responsibility for the detention of Saddam Hussein” said a laconic communiqué from the office of the interim government’s Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi.
The former dictator and his 11 close associated were handed over to the Iraqi legal system 15 months after the country’s invasion by the Americano-British coalition forces that put an end to his regime. They will continue to be guarded by the US Army. “Saddam Hussein said “Good day” and asked if he could ask some questions” stated Salem Shalabi, the US trained judge who will preside the court responsible for trying Iraq’s former “strong man”. “He was told, in reply, that he would have to wait for the next day” stated Shalabi after the official handing over ceremony.
“I am Saddam Hussein al-Majjid, President of the Iraqi Republic” declared the former dictator to the investigating judge and the Director General of the Iraqi Special Court (ISC) Salem Shalabi when he came to show him the warrant for his arrest. Wearing a grey dishdasha (an Arab man’s robe), a moustache and visibly thinner he gave a cold “Good day” to those present then demanded “Are you going to question me today, yes or no?”, one of the ISC assistants present reported. To show his contempt for his visitors he then sat down while all the others remained standing. “He seemed in good health, arrogant and showed no signs of remorse” added this reporter. The encounter lasted barely five minutes. The second to enter the room after Saddam Hussein had left was Ali Hassan al-Majid, alias Chemical Ali, the former president’s advisor and cousin, arrested on 21 August 2003. He limited himself to saying “I’m tired, I’m tired”. Then came Tariq Aziz, former Deputy Prime Minister. “He said nothing, like others who confined themselves to just giving their names” pointed out Mr. Shalabi’s assistant. As for Taha Yassin Ramadan, former Vice-President arrested 18 August 2003, “he seemed to have put on weight in prison” he remarked. Abed Hamid Mahmud, the fallen President’s former secretary, arrested 16 June 2003, spat out “I’m innocent. One day you’ll find this out”. “The whole procedure only lasted quarter of an hour, and at 9.15 (5.15 am GMT) it was all over” stressed Mr. Shalabi’s assistant.
Accused by the Iraqis of having ordered the killing or torturing of thousands of people in the course of his 35 years in power, Saddam Hussein has been considered a prisoner of war since his capture by the US Army in a hideout near his birthplace, Tikrit, on 13 December last. He henceforth has to answer to Iraqi penal laws and can no longer claim the protection of the Geneva Conventions prisoners of war. His trial, however, is unlikely to take place for several months yet. The official responsible for Iraqi national security indicated that it would be broadcast live on television.
The Iraqi President declared that the death penalty, suspended during the country’s occupation by the coalition forces, might be restored, and the officials responsible for internal security considered that it could be applied to Saddam Hussein’s trial. According to Mr. Shalabi, the former dictator might be charged with crimes against humanity because of the use of gas against the Kurdish population in 1998, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the eight-year war against Iran between 1990 and 1998.
The French lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot, one of the 20 lawyers mobilised by Saddam Hussein’s wife for his defence, indicated that the former president would challenge the legitimacy of the court and its judges. “It will be a trial of revenge and settling of scores” Ludot declared on France Info radio, adding that the Court President would be under great pressure to prove Saddam Hussein’s guilt.
Amongst the Baath regime’s top brass handed over to the Iraqi courts are Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz as well as three of Saddam Hussein’s half-brothers.
These former top leaders and others amongst the 55 on Washington’s black list are also likely to be key witnesses for establishing the regime’s chain of command to establish Saddam ·Hussein's responsibility for crimes against humanity.
The European Human Rights Court indicated that it had taken no action regarding an application by Saddam Hussein’s lawyers that Great Britain be forbidden from handing him over to the Iraqi courts. The Court nevertheless authorised Saddam Hussein’s defence to argue a case before it on the basis of the right to life and the abolition of the death sentence on the basis of the Human Rights Convention.
The summit of 26 NATO Heads of State and Government opened on 28 June in Istanbul at the same time as the transfer of sovereignty to the Interim Iraqi Government was taking place in Baghdad. The NATO Summit, over-shadowed by the Iraqi issue, opened at 9.30 local time (6.30 am GMT) under close surveillance in a conference centre. It assembled some 7,000 people, including 3,000 delegates and 46 Heads of State and Government, starting with the US President George W. Bush.
Over 26,000 police were made responsible for security, some elite Army units were mobilised (including specialists in protection against weapons of mass destruction), flying over the city was forbidden and NATO’s AWACS planes were on 24-hour patrol. The Bosphorus straits, which separate the two sides of the city was close to oil tankers and any ships carrying dangerous materials, while a 10 Km perimeter in the very heart of the city was closed to any traffic and all movements of the inhabitants of this zone, locally baptised “NATO Valley”, were checked. During these controls, the Turkish authorities discovered a stock of very modern weapons on a Ukrainian cargo ship going to Egypt and have opened an enquiry on the subject. Two containers full of arms, including rocket launchers, missiles and ammunition were found when the ship stopped for refuelling near Istanbul on 2 June.
According to the Turkish press, over 300 people were taken in for questioning these last few weeks — Islamists, extreme left activists, and also journalists and members of staff of Kurdish cultural associations.
A little before the opening of the Summit, there were violent clashes between police and some 2,000 demonstrators protesting against the holding of this summit. The demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails and sought to break through the security barriers before being dispersed by the riot police.
The Heads of State and Government, including George W. Bush, Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, were welcomed by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. During the Summit’s opening French President, Jacques Chirac, celebrated “the spirit of friendship and brotherhood” that unites the members of the Atlantic Alliance, despite their differences over the Iraqi issue.
On 29 June, the last day of the Summit, the NATO Heads of State and Government welcomed Afghan President Hamid Karzai, after having deciding the day before to strengthen allied presence in Afghanistan. The Allies decided to increase the NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan from 6,500 to 10,000 men before the elections, planned for September. Of these, 1,300 soldiers would be stationed outside the country, only to go into action in the event of an emergency. In the morning, in addition to the 26 NATO member states 20 countries from Central Asia, Europe as well as Russia and the Ukraine were associated so as to form a Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC).
Furthermore, the People’s Democratic Party (DEHAP) announced on 9 June that 34 members of Kurdish press organisations and cultural associations had been detained the day before in police operations to ensure the security of the NATO Summit. “In Istanbul, the premises of a Press Agency and a substantial number of Cultural Centres, Associations, magazines were searched yesterday by plain clothes police on the instructions of a State Security Court in the context of measures to ensure the security of the NATO Summit” declared Cemal Kavak, Vice -President of the Istanbul section of DEHAP, to the Press. In all, 34 people had been kept in detention, according to Mr. Kavak, who stressed that the searches had lasted several hours, that journalists and members of staff as well as passers-bye had been arrested and that, in certain cases the police had used tear-gas bombs. Apart from the Dicle Press Agency, founded in 2002, which distributes news in Kurdish and Turkish, at least four least four reviews and five cultural associations working for Kurdish rights were targeted by these police operations. DEHAP condemned these police operations and called for the freeing of the people arrested.
Moreover, about twenty DEHAP members, allegedly suspected of being linked to a “terrorist organisation” were detained on 9 June in Elazig following a press conference. “It would appear that the (government’s) messages on democratisation and legal reforms, and especially on the democratic resolution of the Kurdish problem are lies” declared Mr. Kavak, who considered that “these attacks had the objective of gagging opposition press and associations”.
On 29 June, Amnesty International called for the “immediate liberation” of seven Kurds condemned to prison sentences by a State of Emergency Court in Syria, attacking an “unfair trial”. “Amnesty condemns the unfair trial by the State Security Court of seven Syrian Kurds” according to a communiqué. The organisation calls on “the Syrian authorities to quash the prison sentences and immediately free” the sentenced men. It accused Damascus of “violating the right to expression” embodied in the Syrian Constitution and in the Convention on the rights of civilians and parties that Syria has ratified.
On 27 June the Syrian State Security Court sentenced four Kurds to one year’s imprisonment and three others, including a lawyer, Mohammad Moustapha, to two years jail, according to the Syrian Human Rights Association. The seven Kurds were accused of “belonging to a secret organisation” and of “attempts to amputate part of Syrian territory to annex it to a foreign State”. Syria is fiercely opposed to the creation of an independent Kurdish State in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Some foreign diplomats, including those of the United States, the European Union and Canada, as well as ten lawyers attended the Court hearings.
The seven Kurds were arrested at the end of June 2003 during a demonstration near the Damascus Headquarters of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to mark World Child Protection Day, on 25 June. During this demonstration, the protesters had demanded “Syrian nationality as well as recognition of the Kurdish people’s cultural rights” according to Human Rights Associations.
Furthermore, the Syrian authorities have recently told some leaders of Syrian Kurdish parties that they were forbidden to travel, stated the lawyer and Human Rights activist Anouar Bounni in a communiqué on 3 June. “The military security services summoned the Kurdish leaders to tell them that their political parties were banned and that they should cease all political activity” the communiqué stated.
Kurdish leaders Fouad Alliko (Yakiti Party) and Aziz Daoud (Progressive Democratic Party) and Saleh Kaddo (Kurdish Socialist Party) have been informed that they “should wait for the passing of a new law on parties” before resuming their activities. Mr. Bounni has asked himself whether this new measure were not “the start of a new campaign of repression against opposition parties, organisations for Human Rights and unauthorised (officially) but very present civil society” in Syria.
On 6 June, a Kurdish leader, Aziz Daoud, called on the Damascus authorities to enact on new law on political parties. “The decision to ban Kurdish movements by repression guarantees neither security nor calm. The solution would be to enact a law” that would authorise the creation of political parties in Syria, stated Mr. Daoud, General Secretary of the Democratic Progressive Party in a communiqué. “The Kurdish political parties are patriotic movements, present in Syria since independence in 1946. They will not cease their political activities” continued the communiqué. “Their presence in Syria is similar to that of the parties in the National Progressive Front (NPF — a coalition of seven parties led by the Baath) and their banning is the reflection of a policy of discrimination against the Kurdish people” the communiqué considers.
Syria has a population of about 1.5 million Kurds. In addition to recognition of their language and culture, they ask to be treated like full citizens “in the context of the country’s territorial integrity”.
On 22 June, the director of the Kurdish Cultural Institute in Teheran, Bahram Valibeyghi, was freed, four days after being arrested by the police as he was about to visit Iraqi Kurdistan. Bahram Valibeyghi, director of the Kurdish Cultural Institute, who also directs a bilingual Kurdish/Persian daily paper, “Achti” (Peace), had gone with a group of friends to the Khosravi border post on his way to Iraq, but was arrested on the order of the Teheran Public Prosecutor’s office. No explanation or reason was given for his arrest.
On 21 June, the director of an Iranian Kurdish weekly was freed on 70 million rials ($8,100) bail, a week after he had been arrested for articles that favoured “ideas of independence”. Mohammad Sadigh Kaboudvand had been arrested on 15 June for “disturbing the public order, publication of articles favouring religious and ethnic dissentions and ideas of independence”. The charge mainly accuses him his review, People’s Message, of having published articles about Ghazi Mohammed, President of the 1946 Kurdish Republic and founder of the Iranian KDP and a historic Kurdish leader, who was hanged in 1947, and about Abdullah Ocalan, boss of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
People’s Messageis published in Sanandaj, capital of the Iranian province of Kurdistan, and has been coming out in Persian and Kurdish since the beginning of 2004. Iran, where the Kurdish community is estimated at ten million people, mercilessly fights any demands for democracy or Kurdish autonomy. About a dozen Iranian journalists are at present in jail, which makes it the country with the highest number of journalists in jail in the Middle East, according to Reporters sans Frontières.
The Iranian courts, controlled by the conservatives, have managed, in recent hears, to silence any opposition by detaining and torturing writers, student leaders, and political activists and by gagging reformist papers, states a new report by the American Human Rights defence organisation, Human Rights Watch, published on 7 June.
There is little hope of seeing the present trend reversing, adds Human Rights Watch in this 73 page report entitled “Like the dead in their coffins: torture, detention and repression of dissidence in Iran”, the fruit of talks with former political prisoners, conducted outside Iran. These former prisoners, few of whom have accepted to have their names published or to speak openly in Iran, state that they had been beaten, been locked up in windowless and sound-proofed cells they described as “coffins”. “There is general agreement that the political environment is getting increasingly oppressive and is determined by force” adds the report.
In the opinion of Human Rights’ Watch, the legal system, firmly controlled by the regime’s “hard core” is “at the heart of human rights violations” mentioned in the report. “In four years, the Iranian authorities have succeeded in virtually reducing to silence any political opposition in the country by the systematic use of isolation for indefinite periods of political prisoners, by physical torture of student activists and bye denying the fundamental right of fair trial to all those who are detained for having expressed dissident opinions” states the report. “A small group of unelected judges, answerable only to the Supreme Guide of the Revolution, Ali Khamenei, has gagged all political dissent” adds the report that points out that these judges have at their disposal militia and security agents to enable them to detain and interrogate dissidents, to hide their activity in secret prisons and to close down the papers that have expressed any support for political prisoners.
Questioned on 6 June about the reports of violations of human rights, the spokesman of the Iranian Minister of Justice, Nasser Hosseini, stated that the recourse to torture had appreciable diminished in the country since the Minister of Justice, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hachemi Sharoudi, had forbidden its use during interrogation last April. This interdiction was the first public acknowledgement of the existence of torture in the country.
In another development, the Iranian dissident, Hachem Aghajari, has learnt that he is no longer liable to the death penalty, the courts having formally dropped the charges of apostasy on 28 June. “The accusations of insulting the prophet and negation of religious principles, which are both considered to constitute apostasy and so punishable by sentence of death, have been withdrawn” announced his lawyer, Saleh Nikhbakht. Hachem Aghajari must now answer to charges of “insulting sacred principles” punishable by five years imprisonment, he added, stating that he was now confident that his client “would not be sentenced to death”.
The intellectual and academic, Hachem Aghajari, was found guilty of the capital charge of apostasy in 2002 by a judge in Hamedan (West Iran) despite his status as one of the pioneers of the Islamic Revolution and a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). This sentence had aroused a wave of national and international protest, driving the Supreme Guide, Ayatollah Khamenei, to order a review of the verdict. This was quashed a first time by the Supreme Court, then a second time when the same Hamedan judge, to whom the case had been sent for review, had confirmed his original verdict.
According to the judge who had sentenced him to death, Hachem Aghajari had questioned the fundamentals of the religion and the Islamic Republic, beginning with the pre-eminence of a spiritual Guide over political matters and publicly arguing in favour of a sort of Islamic Protestantism by affirming that Moslems were not “monkeys” to “blindly follow a religious chief”.
The Supreme Court divested the judge of the case and confided it to a Teheran Court before which Hachem Aghajari was summoned on 28 June to hear the new charges. According to his defence lawyer, the court ordered that the prisoner remain in detention, evoking “certain problems, such as threats on his life”.
Hachem Aghajari has been in jail since 8 August 2002. He is at present incarcerated in Teheran. The decision of the courts is not in doubt. Ayatollah Khamenei himself has considered that Hachem Aghajari was not guilty of apostasy and did not deserve to die, explained recently the assistant head of the judicial authority, Abdolreza Izadpanah. The ultra-conservative Iranian judiciary, that has incarcerated hundreds of dissidents, opponents, journalists and students, and which had tightened up its stand in the first few months of this case, has been concerned to soothe people’s minds and feelings since the confirmation of the death sentence by the Hamedan judge. It has hastened to stress that this sentence was not final.
Turkey remains opposed to any autonomy for the Kurds in Iraq, declared the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan on 19 June, denying that Ankara had altered its policy regarding the status of this minority. “Turkey’s policy on this subject is identical to that of yesterday. There has been no change” assured Mr. Erdogan to the press in Istanbul. Turkey is opposed to the autonomy of the Kurds in Iraq but will, nevertheless, respect the will of the Iraqi people on their state’s future system stated, for his part, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, on 21 June. “We hope that the transition period leads to peace and stability (…) and to the preservation of the political and territorial unity of Iraq” he declared. He nevertheless indicated that Turkey, while respecting the Iraqi people’s decision on Iraq’s administrative system” he declared. The head of the Turkish diplomatic corps explained that one of his country’s priorities was the maintenance of the (territorial) integrity of its neighbour. “We will not approve of dangerous (administrative) structures that would provoke divisions and breaking up” he stressed. He indicated, however, that Turkey would respect the decision of the Iraqi people on the future administrative system of the country, on condition that this did not undermine Iraq’s unity.
These declarations follow remarks by the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Massud Barzani, who the day before had assured his hearers that Turkey had informed him that it was no longer opposed to a federal status for Iraqi Kurdistan, in the framework of a united State. “A high level Turkish delegation visited us on 9 June and informed us of an extremely positive position whereby Turkey was no longer opposed to a federal status for Kurdistan in the context of Iraq” Mr. Barzani had declared on the Qatar satellite television Al-Jazirah. The KDP leader had added that the delegation had assured him that Turkey “is inclined to having better relations with the province of Kurdistan side by side with its relations with the Iraqi government” and indicated that the delegation had also invited him to visit Ankara and that he had accepted this.
Mr Barzani had also stressed that “our (Kurdish) brothers” in Turkey, in Syria and in Iran “observe with optimism and support” the developments regarding the status of Kurds in Iraq. “These countries must understand that the Kurds are a nation (…) which has rights and which has been the victim of a historic injustice” he declared. “These countries must show some understanding of these rights and behave in a civilised and democratic manner, and this will strengthen the national unity” of each state, Me. Barzani added. “If these rights are ignored and if the Kurds are treated in an uncivilised police-ridden manner, the problems will, on the contrary, be increased” he concluded.
The Fundamental Law, adopted in March and which is intended to govern Iraq during the next 18 months, recognises federalism and the autonomy of Kurdistan.
Despite a return to calm in Najaf, after two months of fighting between Shiite militia and the US Army, thirty-nine people were killed in less than 48 hours in Iraq early in June. Thirteen people were killed and 10 others injured in an attack on a police post at Mussayeb (50 Km South of Baghdad) according to an official of the town’s hospital. According to a witness, “seven armed men, dressed as policemen, arrived on Saturday at 15.15 (11.15 am GMT) driving two cars”. “They entered the police station with boxes which (apparently) contained explosives. They opened fire and killed all the police inside, then continued firing while leaving for the street” stated one witness. On 10 June, six Iraqis were killed in the first major clash between militiamen of the radical chief, Moqtada Sadr and the police at Najaf. A policeman, three militiamen and two civilians were killed and 10 police, two children and 17 adults, including two militiamen were injured, stated the Assistant Manager of the Hakim hospital in the holy city of Najaf. The exchanges of fire began when the police tried to arrest the militiamen in one of the city’s cemeteries and in the streets where they had dug themselves for some weeks past, according to Ali Moqtada Mohsen, administrative official of the Najaf hospital. On 4 June the militiamen had taken all armed presence off the streets of Najaf and the neighbouring city of Kufa without, however, withdrawing from them. On 25 June, the militia of the radical Shiite chief, Moqtada Sadr, announced a truce in its “military operations” in Baghdad and said it was prepared to cooperate in the protection of installations vital to Iraq against terrorist attacks.
In the rest of the country, the clashes continued to take place. On 6 June, six Iraqi civilians were killed and at least 68 others were injured by the explosion of a car bomb at the entrance to an American air base at Taji, on the Northern road out of Baghdad, according to medical sources. A communiqué attributed to a group led by the Jordanian islamist, Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi, linked to the Al-Qaida network, claimed responsibility for this attack. In addition, five Iraqi civilians were killed and 19 others injured in fighting between Shiite militia and US forces in the previous 24 hours in Sadr City. Another 12 people died in Iraq in attacks. Two Poles and two Americans were killed by insurgents who had opened fire on their vehicles, which belong to the Blackwater security company, while on the airport road. In Mossul a Briton was killed and three others were injured when assailants opened fire on their vehicles, according to the Foreign Office.
On 10 June, the National de-Baathification Committee announced, for its part, the re-employment of 12,000 former Baath Party members, out of the 30,000 purged in 2003, in their jobs in all areas of the administration.
The bombings and attacks in Iraq increased between 13 and 15 June. At least 37 Iraqi civilians and seven foreigners, including four Western civilians and an American soldier were killed. At least sixteen people, including five foreign security agents, were killed and 60 were wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in Baghdad. The explosion took place in front of a drinks warehouse and the angry crowd seized bottles of alcoholic drinks to throw on the burning cars. Moreover, on 14 June, five Iraqis were killed and seven others injured in clashes between armed fighters and American soldiers in Ramadi, according to hospital sources in this Sunni town to the West of Baghdad.
On 17 June, two new attacks against the security forces caused 412 deaths and 145 injured, while two hostages, an Egyptian and a Turk, were freed. According to the Ministry of Health, 35 people were killed and 141 others injured in a suicide attack on 17 June in front of a recruiting centre for the Army in the Allawi quarter, in South-Eastern Baghdad. The people queuing up before the centre were either unemployed or former soldiers who had been coming almost daily for three weeks to enquire whether their application had been successful. In a second car bomb attack, a few hours later in the North of Baghdad, six members of the Civil Defence Corps (ICDC — an army auxilliary corps) were killed and four others wounded in a the locality called Yathrib. To the North of Baghdad, near Baaquba, five insurgents were killed in a clash with US forces on 17 June, indicated a coalition spokesman, while the local hospital reported three Iraqis killed and 12 injured. For its part, Hungary announced that it has lost its first soldier in Iraq, in an explosion that occurred at As-Suwayrah (South-East Baghdad).
Furthermore, on 24 June US fighter-bombers dropped 14 bombs on Fallujah and Baaquba, two of the five towns targeted for simultaneous attacks. The towns of Mossul, Baaquba and Ramadi experienced attacks on police stations and violent fighting. Fallujah, (West of Baghdad) was the scene of tough fighting between insurgents and US soldiers, which continued sporadically through the night. These violent clashes caused 90 deaths, including 3 US soldiers and nearly 300 wounded, mostly civilians. Jordanian islamist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s group, linked to al-Qaida, claimed them in a communiqué attributed to him on an islamist web site. This makes it the bloodiest day inn Iraq since 2 March, when 171 people perished and 400 others were wounded in suicide bomb attacks in Kerbala and Baghdad during Shiite Ashura processions. In Mossul, the city most badly affected, there were several car bomb attacks on police stations, which killed, at least 62 and wounded over 200, according to the Ministry of Health. At least seven serious explosions were recorded in Mossul, where the police set up a night time curfew and barricades on all the main roads, while television broadcasts called on the population to stay at home. There were outbursts of gunfire in the city between insurgents on one side and Iraqi police and US soldiers on the other.
Kurds were also targeted by many attacks in the country. At least three people were killed in a car bomb attack on front of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) premises in Baghdad. The explosion occurred on 1 June, near the PUK headquarters, near the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and an entry point to the Green Zone where the Americans have their HQ in the centre of the Iraqi capital. The Karama Hospital received two dead and 28 wounded, Yarmuk Hospital received one dead and five wounded and the Kindi Hospital one wounded. “The car bomb explosion occurred as people were leaving the premises after a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the party’s foundation in 1974” stated a PUK guard, Hamid Gaeb Saedulla, pointing out that two of his colleagues had been killed. “At the end of the ceremony were left the office and, as we reached the door a car bomb just before it exploded”, stated Ali Tufiq, PUK chief in Kut (South) who was sent to Karama Hospital.
The explosion blasted a great hole in the pavement near the building. The attack took place at the same time as shells were falling on the Green Zone perimeter, within which the Coalition Headquarters are located, and while the Interim Government Council was appointing Ghazi al-Yawar as first post-Saddam President of Iraq.
Furthermore, on 14 June a Kurdish leader in Kirkuk announced that five Kurdish recruits to the new Iraqi Army were killed and their bodies burnt by unknown assailants to the North of Baghdad. “The five killed were associated with Kurdish parties and were undergoing training in the Taji region (10 Km North of Baghdad)” declared Jalal Jawhar, a PUK official in Kirkuk to the press. “These are five Kurds who were killed on Saturday (12 June) between Berjil (25 Km North of Baghdad) and Samarra (75 Km further North) by unknown people, who placed their bodies in their car before setting it alight” he added. According to him, their car had broken down in this area and they had called for a garage to repair it before being attacked.
Elsewhere. Ghazi Talabani, Oil Fields Security Chief in the city of Kirkuk was assassinated on 16 June in front of his house. He was attacked by men who arrived in front of his house, located next door to the Regional Government offices. Mr. Talabani ran security for the North Iraq Oil Company (NOC), which manages production in this part of the country. The dead man was acting as liaison between the US forces, the North Iraq Oil Company and the private surveillance company Erinys as they were trying to secure the North Iraqi oil fields. Talabani, a 54-year-old Kurd and former NOC engineer was made responsible for the company’s security after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
This was the third assassination of the weekend, following on those of two senior civil Servants. The Director of Cultural Relations of the Ministry of Education, Kamal Jarrah, 60 years of age, was assassinated by shooting on 13 June. The day before, the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, responsible for international organisations, Bassam Kubba, was killed by an unknown man who fired at him in Baghdad.
On 26 June, one person was killed and 18 injured, including the Irbil regional government’s Minister of Culture, Mahmud Mohammad, in a car bomb explosion in Irbil. Karim Sinjari, Minister of the Interior of the Irbil regional government accused the Ansar al-Sunna extremist islamist group of perpetrating this attack.
In Mossul, two peshmergas (Kurdish militiamen) were killed and two others wounded on 29 June in the region’s third anti-Kurdish attack. “Some persons unknown, driving by in a car opened fire on some peshmergas driving a car, killing two and wounding two others” reported the police commander, Zaid Issam Sabri. Five peshmergas were seriously wounded on 27 June by a bomb explosion near Mossul while another was killed and two others wounded in the city the day before in the course of armed attacks. Fighters of the two main Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK) took control of several buildings in Mossul, including the premises of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s banned Baath party.
On 1 June, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK — renamed Kurdistan People’s Congress, KONGRA-GEL) ended its unilateral cease-fire, decreed five years earlier following the arrest of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is now serving a life prison sentence.
Turkey has brushed aside the renewal of hostilities, considering that the “terrorists” should surrender and the Western countries should help it in its struggle against them. The decision to end the truce “is proof that Kongra-Gel is an armed terrorist organisation” stressed the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Namik Tan, in the first official reaction. “This organisation’s discourse contains elements that are against the unity and security of Turkey. All we expect from terrorist is that they surrender their arms to the security forces and stand trial” he indicated. Mr. Tan called on the United States and the European Union (who have included KONGRA-GEL on their list of terrorist organisation) to “strengthen their solidarity with Turkey in the struggle against international terrorism”.
Clashes, which have been in abeyance for the last five years, have resumed and intensified since 1 June. Four PKK fighters were killed and a soldier wounded in two clashes at Ovacik, in Dersim province, on 4 June — the first since the PKK announced the end of its unilateral truce. At Elazig, in a second clash, a soldier was wounded by gunfire from a group of Kurds who are said to have taken flight.
On 9 June, three PKK fighters were killed in clashes with the Turkish security forces and eleven gendarmes were wounded. A group of four fighters were hunted down by gendarmerie units in the rural area of Kayaonu, near Adiyaman. Three of them were killed. The semi-official Anatolia Press Agency reports clashes in the region of Bingol. An operation “with air support” has been launched. The police station in the village of Yayla was attacked by rocket fire during the night of 9 June.
On 10 June, a group of Kurdish fighters attacked the residence of the sub-prefect of Gercus, killing two policemen who were on duty. The two security officers were killed outright in the course of the attack, with automatic weapons, which was also aimed at the residences of other officials in this small town in Batman Province.
In an event unprecedented for years in an urban centre, two Kurdish PKK fighters were killed in the course of confrontations with security forces in Bingol town centre on 13 June. The fighters are said to have fired a rocket at a building of the town’s gendarmerie garrison, in the very centre of the town, without causing any human losses. Two of them were killed in the fighting that followed this attack. The next day, three “village guardians” (Kurdish auxiliaries of the Turkish armed forces) were killed at Hatay. A Kurdish fighter and a soldier were killed and two other soldiers were wounded in clashes near the little village of Kacarlar, in Dersim Province. In a second incident at Beytissebap, a soldier was killed and two others, including a non-commissioned officer, were wounded.
On 14 June, in a message published on the occasion of the creation of the gendarmerie, the Turkish Armed Forces Chief of Staff, General Hilmi Ozkok, announced the “determination of the Turkish Armed Forces to pursue, as always, the struggle against the (Kurdish) separatist terrorists”.
On 16 June, a Turkish soldier was killed and two government militiamen wounded during clashes in Sirnak province. In another clash in the province of Mus, two local militiamen were wounded by PKK activists. Five PKK fighters were killed and a soldier wounded during violent fighting in the night of 21 June in Dersim Province. According to the Turkish authorities, some ex-PKK activists are said to have attacked an army outpost in the rural area of Mazgirt and troops then said to have pursued them.
Furthermore, according to the Turkish authorities, three soldiers were killed and three others wounded, on 28 June, in the explosion of a mine in a road near Gurpinar. The remote controlled mine set off by the passing of an army vehicle patrolling the area, about 100 Km from the Iranian border, is said to have been put there by PKK activists.
On 12 June, the People’s Democratic Party (DEHAP) called on the Kurdish fighters of the PKK to resume the cease-fire that they had unilaterally declared five years earlier. DEHAP’s General Secretary, Tuncer Bakirhan, issued an appeal to the KONGRA-GEL President, Zubeyir Aydar, in the course of a Press Conference at DEHAP’s Ankara offices. “Dear Mr. Aydar, President of Kongra-Gel, I urge you to resume the cease-fire to enable dialogue to continue, so that the approaches towards a just and democratic resolution of the Kurdish problem be enabled to gather strength” declared Mr. Bakirhan. He considered that the unilateral cease-fire had been the opportunity for a “great calming down” of Turkish society and had allowed certain positive developments for the Kurds in the social, economic and cultural areas. The DEHAP leader pleaded for peace at a moment when Turkey “is going through historic moments”, referring to the first Kurdish language radio and television broadcast on the public network and the release of the four Kurdish former Members of Parliament, including Leyla Zana, after ten years imprisonment. “The starting of Kurdish language broadcasts on the State radio and television is a most important step, putting an end to almost a hundred years of negation (of Kurdish identity)” declared Mr. Bakirhan, who further considered that the release of the four ex-M.P.s was “harbinger of hope for peace and democracy”.
DEHAP, that states it wants to defend Kurdish rights by peaceful and democratic means, has never before directly called on the PKK to put an end to armed struggle. Mr. Bakirhan, moreover, reminded the Turkish authorities that his party “still expected a general and unconditional amnesty” for the PKK fighters.
For his part, on 30 June, Aubeyir Aydar, President of Kongra-Gel, called on the United States to encourage Turkey to dialogue with the Kurds. “We ask America to base its relations with Turkey not on the destruction of the Kurdish movement but on encouraging it to dialogue so find a solution to the Kurdish problem” he declared. Zubeyir Aydar considered that a “rapprochement” between Ankara and Washington risked affecting the Kurdish cause. “It is not good for the Kurds and for the region because it will not lead to stability but to more violence” he added. “We are not a terrorist party, but a force that is struggling for democracy and peace. We have repeatedly proposed to negotiate with the Turkish government to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question but Ankara has always refused to follow up our appeals” stressed Kongra-Gel’s President.
Finally, Mr. Avdar called on the United States “not to help Turkey exterminate Kurdish activists in Turkey. This help will not solve the problem nor put an end to violence in Turkey. On the contrary, it will accentuate the sufferings of the Kurdish people”.
• THE US CONGRESS APPROVES A $25 BILLION PACKAGE FOR IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
On 2 June, the US Senate and the House of Representatives’ Finance Commission approved a $25 billion package called for by US President George W. Bush to cover military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the first months of the 2005 financial year. The Senate voted by 95 votes for with none against to add these $25 billon to the defence budget for 2005, thus bringing this budget up to $447 billion. The Senators did not, however, give George W. Bush all the latitude he wanted. Whereas the White House tenant asked for the power to use these $25 billion at his own discretion, after simply informing Congress, the Senate only authorised him to spend $2.5 billion without accounting to Congress for the expenditure. Furthermore, the House of Representatives’ Finance Commission approved a package of $416 billion for the Pentagon, including the $25 billion for Afghanistan and Iraq. Of these 25 billion, it authorised $22 billion for specific programmes and only authorised George W. Bush to transfer one billion without full accountability. He would be able to transfer 2 billion, but for that he would need Congress agreement. These $25 billion are intended to cover military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq for the first part of the 2005 budget, which begins in October. All in all, the US Administration could ask for $50 billion just for these two countries.
• JALA TALABANI, WHILE ON A VISIT TO ANKARA, DENIES A NEW YORKERREPORT THAT ISRAELI AGENTS WERE OPERATING IN IRAQI KURDISTAN
The Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani, denied a report in the American press that Israeli agents were in Iraqi Kurdistan to set up operations against Iraq. “This information is completely mythical” he declared on 21 June, on his arrival at Ankara, where he had discussions with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. “I invite those who have reported this to come and see for themselves” added Mr. Talabani, who is head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) that governs Iraqi Kurdistan jointly with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). According to an article by US journalist Seymour Hersh, which appeared in the 20 June issue of the weekly New Yorker, some Israeli agents were operating in Iraqi Kurdistan and are said to have already carried out incursions into Iran to examine nuclear installations. These agents, amongst who are members of Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service, are said to have trained Kurdish commandoes, according to this magazine. According to the New Yorker, the Israeli Embassy in Washington has denied this information, but it has been confirmed by an unnamed senior CIA officer. On 22 June, the Turkish press reproduced the New Yorker article and recalled that news to this effect had been in circulation for several months. According to the daily Radikal, the Turkish Intelligence services (MIT) had informed the government of these Israeli “secret activities” in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ankara has asked for explanations from the Israeli authorities, which denied them, according to the paper.
• STRASBOURG: THE EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS COURT FINDS TURKEY GUILTY OF MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR EXPELLED KURDS TO RETURN TO THEIR VILLAGE AND OF “INHUMAN AND DEGRADING TREATMENT”
On 29 June, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) found Turkey guilty of having expelled fifteen villagers from their home in Kurdistan because of the State of Emergency then in force in the region and of having prevented than from regaining possession of their property. This decision is the first on the impossibility of expelled Kurds to return to their village. Some 1,500 similar petitions have been filed with the Court, about a quarter of those filed against Turkey. The European judges unanimously considered that Turkey had violated the petitioners’ right to protection of property and respect for family life. In 1994, the petitioners had been expelled from Boydas, a village near Hozat, during clashes between the security forces and PKK partisans. The villagers were refused any access to their property until last year, “had been deprived of the resources with which they had earned a living” the Court pointed out. Moreover, the Turkish authorities “did not provide them with any alternative living accommodation”. “The authorities had a primordial duty and responsibility to ensure conditions —and to provide the means — that would allow the petitioners to return home, of their own free will, in safety and dignity (…), or else voluntarily to settle in another region of the country” the Human Rights judges considered. Finally the court pointed out that a Bill on “compensation for damages resulting from terrorist activities or of measures for fighting terrorism” was at present under discussion in Ankara, but that this Bill “was not in force” and that in consequence it “offered no remedy to the petitioners’ grievances”. On 1 June, the European Human Rights Court had found Turkey guilty of destroying the house of a citizen of Kurdish origin during operations by the security forces, which had set fire to houses in Akdoruk village in 1993.
The Court had granted the 71-year-old petitioner, who attacked “the official policy regarding the treatment of people of Kurdish origin”, the sums of 36,500 euros damages and 15,000 euros costs. The soldiers, furnished with a list of names, had set fire to a number of houses, including that of Abdullah Altun, all of whose property, including his livestock, was reduced to ashes. The Court had sentenced Turkey on the grounds of violation of Article 3 (forbidding inhuman or degrading punishments), Art. 13 (the right to effective recourse) and Art. 1 (protection of property) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Furthermore, on 22 June the European Human Rights Court found Turkey guilty of “inhuman and degrading treatment” of two men, arrested in 1995, for their relations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Abdulrezzak Aydin and Abdullah Yunus, had been arrested in April 1995 during a police operation against the PKK, banned as a terrorist organisation under Turkish law. At the end of their initial police detention, no signs of violence were recorded but, a few days later, in the prison where they were being detained pending trial, the doctors observed that they were both suffering from bruising and oedema of the testicles and pains in their legs. The complaints both men files against the policemen responsible for their initial detention had been dismissed and the legal proceedings against the two petitioners for aid to an armed gang are still pending. The European Court considered that the Turkish government had not been able to provide “a plausible explanation either for the contradiction between the two reports nor for the origin of the injuries observed on the bodies of the two petitioners, which by all accounts could only have occurred during their detention”. “Such a situation reveals a failure of the State in its obligation to protect all persons in a situation of vulnerability and detention, in particular by police officers” continued the judges, who considered that there had been a violation of Article 3 (forbidding torture an inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court also sentenced Turkey to paying each of the petitioners 20,000 euros damages.
• KIRKUK: THE IRAQI PRESIDENT SAYS HE IS OPPOSED TO ANY CHANGE IN THE ETHNIC COMPOSITION OF THE CITY.
On 22 June, the Iraqi President, Ghazi al-Yawar, said he was opposed to changing the ethnic composition of the oil producing city of Kirkuk, which went through a forced Arabisation under the Saddam Hussein at the expense of the Kurds. “Kirkuk must be a city of peaceful co-existence and the new Iraq will not force anyone to leave their home” declared Mr. Yawar, who visited the city accompanied by the US Civil Administrator, Paul Bremer. The interim President, who comes from the major Arab tribe of Chammar, reacted violently to a demand by the city’s Kurdish Deputy Governor, Hassib Rouj Bayani, who is responsible for the displaced persons issue, who had recommenced “driving the foreigners from the city”. “I reject this sort of description — they are, after all, Iraqis! Your proposals are too hard and I cannot accept them” Mr. Yawar replied during a meeting with city officers. Under the Saddam Hussein regime, thousands of Arabs were encouraged to settle in this oil-producing city, claimed by the Kurds who, today, are demanding the departure of the Arab colonists. This issue has created a permanent state of tension in the city, where armed clashes between members of the two communities have increased. For his part, Mr. Bremer raised the question of the reconstruction of the city, indicating that a package of $500 million had been allocated to 90 projects in the areas of electricity, water and roads. The two-hour visit was surrounded by strict security arrangements provided by US forces and Iraqi police.
• KUWAIT RE-ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH IRAQ.
On 29 June, the day after the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq, Kuwait announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with that country, broken since the Emirate’s invasion by Saddam Hussein’s Army in 1990. Following on “the United States’ transfer of powers to an interim Iraqi government” … “the State of Kuwait announces the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the sister Arab Republic” stated the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman in a communiqué. Kuwait “will later accredit an Ambassador” to Baghdad, he added, stressing that this initiative testified to “Kuwait’s concern for cooperation with Iraq in the interest of both brother countries to consolidate the foundations of security and stability in the region” of the Gulf. The Emirate, that had served as bridgehead for the US and British forces invading Iraq in March 2003 to overthrow President Saddam Hussein, has established good relations with the Interim Iraqi authorities that have replaced the Baathist ex-dictator. In greeting the transfer of power, the Kuwaiti Prime Minister, Sabah Al-Ahmad al-Sabah repeated that the re-opening of the chancellery had been “delayed for security and not for political reasons”. But, so as to express his good intentions towards the new authorities in Baghdad, he stated that the border issue, which was the origin of the invasion of the Emirate in 1990 “was closed” since the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council in 1993. By deciding to re-establish relations with Baghdad, that it had hitherto made conditional on the return of security in Iraq, Kuwait has immediately followed the lead of the United States that, on 28 June, re-established their diplomatic links with the country, broken off by Saddam Hussein in February 1991 during the first Gulf War.
- Hamit Bozarslan. Histoire de la Turkie Contemporaine (A History of Contemporary Turkey), coll. Repères, La Découverte, Paris 2004, 123pp.
- Iraq, an 1. Un autre regard sur un monde en guerre. (Iraq, Year 1. Another look at a world at war). Directed by Pierre Rigoulot, and Michel Taubman, published by éd. Du Rocher, (Jean-Paul Bertrand), Paris 2004. See particularly: Ismail Kamandar Fattah: “The war, sole way for the Iraqi people out of the Republic of mass craves” pp 183-4; Kendal Nezan “Things seen and heard in Iraq” pp. 221-226. (in French).
- Seymus Dagtekin, A la source, la nuit. (The night at the source) pub. By éd. Robert Lafont, Paris 2004, 203 pp. 18 euros
- Sheerin Ardalan, Les Kurdes Ardalân, entre la Perse et l’Empire ottoman, (The Ardalan Kurds, caught between Persian and Ottoman Empires), Coll. Société d’Histoire de l’Orient, Geuthner, Paris 2004, 226 pp., 29 euros.
- Etudes Kurdes, a six-monthly research review, N°6, January 2004, publ. by Fondation Institut Kurde de Paris and éd. Harmattan, 158p. 14.50 euros
- Guiseppe Campanile, Histoire du Kurdistan (History of Kurdistan — Storia della Regione Kurdistan), Naples 1818, translated into French from the Italian by Thomas Bois, Special splement of Edudes Kurdes, publ. by Fondation Institut Kurde de Paris and éd. Harmattan, Paris April 2004, 140 pp.
- Kurdische Studien, a six-monthly research review, 3rd Year, N°s 1 & 2, Berliner Gesellschaft zur Fordering der Kurdologie e.V. Berlin 2004, 267 p., 12.50 euros.