Following on HGP’s election success last June, the security situation in Turkish Kurdistan has deteriorated with such violence that the peace process, initiated by Ocalan and the AKP in March 2013, seems seriously jeopardised.
At the beginning of the month the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), considered to be the PKK’s “urban wing”, had already threatened resort to arms if Turkey continued building dams in the Kurdish region. The Southeast Anatolia Project (Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi or GAP) was drawn up in 1970 and envisaged building 22 dams in the Tigris and Euphrates catchment areas so as to irrigate 1,7 million hectares (over 4 million acres) and provide 746 MW of electricity from 19 hydro-electric generating plants. This project, which would reduce the flow of these two rivers, has already been a source of conflict between Turkey and Syria and Iraq in the one hand but also between the Kurds and Ankara. The former have accused Turkey of seeking to depopulate the regions involved, which are essentially inhabited by Kurds, as part of its policy of forces displacement of population and destruction of villages, as in the 90s.
Since the GAP project is not new, the KCK threat of renewed fighting if more dams were built should probably be considered a reaction by the PKK hard liners, seeking to take control of the peace negotiations, which have so far favoured political rather than military solutions to the Kurdish question. On 13 July, the Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, made a press statement in reply stating that the building or roads and dams would continue and that his country “would not submit to the PKK’s threats”.
This atmosphere of provocative overbidding can only put the HDP in a difficult position, called on to distance itself from the Kurdish guerrillas or be prosecuted for “organic links with the PKK”. On 18 July Recep Tayyip Erdogan directly challenged the HDP, through a press conference given on the day of the end of Ramadan festival, calling on it to “sever all links” with the PKK. “A branch that has succeeded in obtaining representation in Parliament should do its best (to sever links with the PKK) whereas it apparently maintains an indirect link, if not a direct one, with this terrorist organisation”.
The already bad post-election climate was dramatically darkened by the suicide attack that occurred on July 20 at Surüç, a Kurdish village near the Syrian border. This attack caused 33 deaths and 104 injured. It took place in the garden of the Amara Cutural Centre, and was aimed at over 300 volunteers from the Federation of Young Socialist blubs and the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) who had come from Western Turkey from Kurdish Town to take part in the reconstruction of Kobanî. The terrorist blew himself up at midday just as the volunteers were ending a Press Conference.
The first suspicions regarding tho was behind this attack were, naturally, directed at ISIS, whose murderous attacks have multiplied in Syrian Kurdistan, especially at Kobanî during the previous month. The Surüç attack could have been an extension, across the border, of the fierce fighting taking place in Syria between ISIS and the Kurdish PYD. However, the Kurds’ anger was also directed at the AKP government who are accused of having been in collusion with ISIS over the last two years so as to crush the Kurdish cantons in Syria. Kurdish demonstrations broke out spontaneously throughout the country, supported by part of the Turkish Left and the Gezi Park protest movements. However, in Turkish Kurdistan, there were armed actions that again inflamed the scene. Te night immediately following the suicide attack, the PKK, at Igdir, barred a Motorway and opened fire on the security forces, while at Cizre masked demonstrators attacked a police building with home-made explosives and also opened fire on security forces. On 21 July a police station in Istanbul was fired at by persons unknown, but without causing any casualties.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, once again denied that his government had any agreement with or support for ISIS and mentioned a suspect from Adiyaman. A Turkish official, speaking to Reuters news agency off the record, had told of “solid proof” that enabled identifying the attacked as a man of about 20, from Adiyaman Province, who had travelled to Syria the previous year. “He was active in a group in Syria linked to ISIS. We know that he went to Syria illegally. We were unable to keep track of him during that period”. According to this official the terrorist might also have been linked to the initiator of the attack that hit Diyarbekir on 7 June last.
However the flaw in this trail is the fact that this attack has never been claimed by ISIS, as it usually does.
At the same time the AKP government has launched a dragnet throughout the country, arresting over 500 people who, according to Davutoglu, have links with ISIS. However the overwhelming majority of them have links with Kurdish or extreme Left activities not Jihadist . . . Access to social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have also been, once again, blocked in Turkey to hinder calls to demonstrate though this seems to have had little effect. Thus, on 22 July nearly 800 people gathered in the Kadiköy quarter, on the Asian bank of Istanbul to attack the Suruç massacre as well as at Şişli, on the European bank. Most of these demonstrations were repressed using tear gas and water canons.
Quite independent to the peaceful demonstrations of civil society, the PKK started a cycle or reprisals with the assassination, at Ceylanpinar, on the Syrian borders, of two policemen shot down at their homes. In a communiqué claiming these murders, the PKK stated that the two men had “cooperated” with ISIS and that it was also a “punitive action” to “avenge” the Suruç victims. However, a week later, on 30 July, a KCK official questioned by the BBC Turkish service, denied any direct PKK involvement in these assassinations — probably because this action, too much like an extrajudicial execution, had been strongly criticised. According to Demhat Agit, the KCK spokesman for international questions, there are some independent PKK units. There are local forces that have organised themselves and are not affiliated to it. “We have no problem about accepting responsibility for things we have dome. When something is dome by the PKK or by the HPG (People’s Defence Forces — i.e. the military wing) we can explain and carry out our self-criticism”.
During the night of 23/25 July, Turkey launched a series of air strikes at PKK positions in Iraqi Kurdistan, something it had not dome for several years past, while both Erdogan and the PKK announced that the peace process was over. .
In an interview with the Turkish paper Radikal on 28July, the co-President of the HDP talked about the escalation of violence and the future of the peace process as well as the conditions for its initiation before the degradation of the political climate, for which he held the AKP and above all Erdogan to be fully responsible.
This, questioned about the accusations made by the Prime Minster that the PKK had not kept its “promises” of withdrawing from Turkish Kurdistan, Demirtaş pointed out that Abdullah Ocalan had hoped, at the start of the discussions in 2013, that the withdrawal shouls be “rapid” to avoid “provocations”, because there was an agreement with the Turkish State that is law would be passed that the fighter be not harassed by the Army or security forces during their withdrawal from Turkey.
Demirtaş recalls that the Minister of Justice of the time, Sadullah Ergin, had personally confirmed to him that the Bill was being drafted. Murat Karayilan, then head of the PKK, had also assured the BDP delegation (the party that had preceded the HDP) that the withdrawal would take place as soon as the law was passed.
“The withdrawal was planned to take place 45 days after the passing of the law and, trusting Ocalan’s word, Karayilan had planned the withdrawal to take three months. The withdrawal had already begun and we were told that the government was satisfied with this. It was then that Bülent Arinç, the government spokesman stated at a press conference: “Let them go to the devil! They can withdraw to wherever the want!”. This had shocked the people in the Qandil. Mountains, but they had no stopped the withdrawal. But they then saw that the State was building bunkers and asphalted roads in the areas from which they had withdrawn and asked themselves why these bunkers were being built in the mountains while they were leaving them. The withdrawal was slowed but not stopped”.
Ocalan thought that the fighters would be rapidly transported out of Turkey by bus or lorry and Karayilan’s three-month withdrawal plan had dissatisfied him. It was apparently Erdogan who had prevented the Minister of Justice from putting the law to the vote: “Together with the Minister [Sadullah Ergin] we had all done everything necessary for this law, but erdogan had blocked it all. We returned to Imrali, where Öcalan insisted on the necessity of this law, but we saw that it would not be passed. However, despite this, Ocalan stated “I want the troops to withdraw” to which Erdogan replied let them bury their weapons and withdraw””.
Subsequently, when the meetings that preceded Ocalan’s March 2015 call for disarmament took place, the HDP delegations proposed a document covering the points considered necessary for the negotiations and the disarmament: “The government rejected our draft and presented another that called for disarmament and nothing else (…). Nevertheless we sent a delegation to Qandil that conveyed the government’s proposals to the PKK leadership (…) who said: “No. This document does not cover the points raised at Imrali, we have the minutes of those meetings and they are not in this document. If they make such a call we will not observe it (…)”.
Our delegation conveyed this to the government and we told them “Come, we will prepare a proposal with which everyone can agree”. So we went ro Imrali with a delegation from the State. We showed the two documents to Ocalan and he proposed the consensual Dolmabahçe text, made public on 28 February. The government delegation met with the President of the Republic (…) and presented us with text that was confirmed by the President of the Republic”.
According to Demirtas “every stage, even the protocol, was all confirmed by the President of the republic. He was involved in the process from the start to the finish, so it is he who changed his mind (…) because he saw that the opinion polls predicted increasing voting intentions in favour of the HDP while the AKP was losing many. We heard people deeply involved in the AKP say “If it\s not to our advantage why do it?”.
Questioned about the deaths of the policemen at Ceylanpinar and Adiyaman, Selahattin Demirtas replied: “war has an internal logic that we civilians cannot understand. If we do not act against this internal logic of war, that seems absurd and painful to us, we will be unable to prevent these deaths. (…) They should not have been killed — no one should be killed. I cannot find any excuse for this (…) If I had known that these provocation were going to take place I would have gone to the funerals of these policemen, I would have kissed the hands of their relatives. Condemning these actions is not enough — negotiations are needed to stop this bloodshed”.
Questioned about the political actions envisaged by HDP following these events Selahattin Demirtaş issued a call for calm and for a ceasefire by both sides.
In the first few days of July the YPG forces controlled the whole of Girê Spî (Tell Abyad) after driving the ISIS forces out of it. A week later, however, on 6 July, the Syrian Centre for Human Rights (SCHR) announced that ISIS had regained the locality of ’Ayn Issa, some 55 km from Raqqa, which had fallen to the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on 23 June.
On the same day, ISIS launched a counter-offensive in the neighbourhood of Hassaké. This failed because the Kurds, in their counter-attack advanced against “the ISIS positions and at the expense of the regime”. According to the SCHR, on 7 July the YPG controlled the majority of the town (a third of whose population is Kurdish): “The YPG controls 70% of Hissaké, ISIS 10% and the regime 20%”, whereas before the ISIS offensive the YPG had only controlled half of Hassaké. The reason is that, in repelling ISIS the YPG also its forces in areas previously controlled by the Syrian Army, though without any fighting.
These Kurdish military successes, both in Raqqa Province and at Hassaké, have revived the Turkish hostility to the Syrian PYD. Ankara has again suggested setting up a buffer zone from which the Coalition would exclude the Syrian Air Force. However, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, reiterated his country’s opposition to Ankara’s proposals, citing the uselessness of such a measure and the difficulty of carrying it out.
A buffer zone run by the Turkish Army would mainly target the YPG and prevent the Kurds from setting up the autonomous area in Syria demanded by the PYD. The Turkish President constantly states his formal opposition to a “Kurdish State” on its Syrian borders, despite the PYD’s assurance that it is not seeking independence of the Kurds from Syria
Mid-July the PYD informed the media that the Turkish Army was deployed along the Syrian border and warned Ankara in an official communiqué:
“Any military intervention in Rojava will have local, regional and international repercussions and will contribute to further complicating the political situation in Syria and the Middle East as well as threatening international security and peace”. The PYD also called on NATO to dissuade Turkey from any such intervention.
The Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, denied, for his part, any plan of invasion at this moment: “It is true that we have taken precautions to protect our borders. If anthing happens on the other side of the border that threatens Turkish security, orders have been given. But do not expect Turkey to enter Syria tomorrow or the next day”. (Kanal7 TV).
In the event, a border incident with exchange of fire by the Turkish Army did take place on 23 July — but against ISIS, not the YPG. A Turkish soldier was killed in Kilis Province and two others were wounded when a border post in the North of Aleppo was attacked. The Turks are said to have reposted with heavy weaponry, killing at least one ISIS fighter.
The next day, on 24 July, Turkey launched some air strikes against ISIS positions in Syria while Turkish tanks shelled some villages held by the Kurds omn the other side of the border as wellas positions held by the Free Syrian Army — although the latter is supported ad armed by Ankara. According to the YPG, four FSA fighters were wounded as well as several civilians in the village of Zurmikhar, near Jarablous. The shelling was resumed on 26 and 27 July and the YPG sustained heavy fire to the West of Girê Spî (Tell Abyad). The Turkish authorities, however, denied having deliberately aimed at the YPG forces.
At the same time Turkey finally allowed the US and Coalition air forces to carry out air strikes in Syria from the Incirlik base and launched a series of air strikes against the PKK bases in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Despite the Turkish shelling, the YPG has continued its advance towards Raqqa and has taken the town of Sarrin, to the Northeast of Aleppo, thus cutting an important ISIS route of communication and supply, the M$ motorway that connects Raqqa to Aleppo Province. According to the manager of the SCHR: “Sarrin was also used as an ISIS base against the Kurds in Aleppo Province, wheich means that these attacks will probably diminish.
At the same time, but at the other end of the country, the YPG, allied this time with the Syrian regime’s Army, launched a final offensive and succeeded, after a month’s fighting, in driving ISIS completely out of the town of Hassakeh, which has a Kurdish majority population, and held since the start of the conflict by both the Syrian Army and Baath militia and the YPG.
ISUS has no longer any presence in Hassakeh, except in the Zuhur district and has been driven out of the Southern outskirts of the town. According to the SCHR, 287 ISIS fighters were killed, including 26 under age soldiers, killed both by fighting on the ground and Coalition air strikes.
In an interview to the paper Al-Monitor dated 3 July, Masrur Barzani, son of Masud Barzani, and director of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s secret services described the general situation on the Kurdish front against ISIS.
There are some Ups and downs. ISIS’s advance has been stopped and it has been defeated on several fronts. We have liberated a vast area, principally to the West of the Tigris, including Rabia and Zumar. Some areas South of Erbil, near Makhmour and Gwer, and to the Westand Southeast of Kirkuk have also been liberated. We have also taken Jalawla, Saadiya et Khanaqin. All in all this makes nearly 20,000 Km2. Unfortunately we have lost 1,200 Peshmergas since last August and nearly 7,000 have been wounded. But ISIS has also suffered and nearly 11,000 of them have been killed on the front, both by our forces and by Coalition air strikes. For a while we though that is was in the decline, but the fall of Ramadi and of Palmyra have given it an edge in terms of logistics and morale. This has sent a clear message to the peoples under its control: “We are able to reorganise ourselves and launch attacks”. They are not all that easy to defeat.
Masrur Barzani says, however, that he is convinced that ISIS can be defeated, that it is just “a matter of time”. The problem, however, is that, apart, from the Kurds, no one else “is doing enough against them” and that the Coalition is not reactive enough and too slow at carrying out its actions. Thus we are still waiting to see the Coalition training new anti-ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, while ISIS will use this time to recruit more fighters. This raises the question of knowing haw determined the Coalition really is about beating ISIS “as soon as possible”.
Questioned about Turkey’s lukewarm attitude to taking part in this struggle with in the Coalition and Masud Barzani’s “disappointment” when, in August 2014 Turkey did not provide any help when Erbil was threatened by ISIS, Masrur admitted that he had also “expected more from Turkey”. He said he was concerned at the deterioration of the situation in Syria — but also about that odf the Peace process in Turkey. “What we hope for is the defeat of ISIS, that the peace process be achieved and that the problems of the Kurds in turkey be resolved once and for all”.
Commenting on Turkey’s hostility to a “Kurdish State” on its Syrian borders, Masrur Barzani considered that an “Islamic State” on those borders would be even more worrying.
Regarding the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, he does not see that iraq is a “feasible project”.
“It is time that the world realised that a system that has failed needs to be reviewed. Repeating the same mistakes and believing that this will give different results is crazy. This is exactly the case with Iraq. How many times have we tried to support a strong and united central government? It never worked. Kurdistan is controlled by the Kurds, the Sunni Arab regions by ISIS and the Shiite regions by the Shiite forces and the People\s Mobilisation Units. Prime Minister Al-Abadi has made great efforts to sort things out, but the Iraqi Government must accept this reality and seek other solutions. We are not pushing for a forcible separation ¿ we are in favour of a divorce by mutual consent”.
In his opinion, the Independence of Kurdistan must not depend on the defeat of ISIS, since no one can say when that will take place. Moreover, ISIS’s fall will not necessarily mean the end of terrorism, which “will take other forms”. An independent Kurdistan, however, could ease that defeat since the Kurds could then make their own agreements and arm themselves without going through Baghdad with all its present difficulty in being equipped.
The issue of Sinjar and the tensions between the KRG and the PKK/YPG in the Yezidi region gave Turkey the idea of offering itself as a mediator between the KDP and the PYD. Masrur ironically stressed that Ankara came “a bit late” on the scene to play a role in Sinjar — the role would have been much greater if Turkey had intervened actively against ISIS in August 2014. He also pointed out that “Sinjar is Kurdish territory inside Iraq and that the PYD is a guest there, just as were our Peshmergas when they went to support Kobani, and that they then returned. What the people of Iraqi Kurdistan want to see is that foreign fighters go back where they came from (…). The PKK has no role to play in Sinjar. They must withdraw and they must do so, because the people of Sinjar must determine its own future, which is in Iraqi Kurdistan. Would the PKK like it if a political party fro Iraqi Kurdistan meddled in the affairs of Diyarbakir or Mardin?”
Questioned about the PKK’s presence in Qandil, Masrur Barzani considered that they should also leave and that this was one of the reasons why the KRG ardently supported the peace process in Turkey.
This term of “guest” and the hope that the YPG and PKK leave Sinjar and Mount Qandil brought a reaction from the PKK and Demhat Agit, the KCK’s spokesman, declared a few days later that his movement would not leave Iraqi Kurdistan, stating that this request was from the Kurdistan Democratic Party and not from the Kurdistan Regional Government. He added that the KCK did not see “any differences between the North and South parts of Kurdistan”.
This refusal to distinguish between the Noth and South of Kurdistan was shared by Turkey that, in the night of 24/24 July resumed air raids on PKK bases in Qandil and Duhok Province casing two civilian casualties and violating an air space. That was still, theoretically, Iraqi.
The air raids continued on 26 and 27 July, Ahmet Davutoglu affirming that these operations would only stop when the PKK had laid down its arms. The Turkish Prime Minister also stated that, when informed of the military operations against Qandil President Masud Barzani had assured him or his “solidarity”. This improbable statement was immediately refuted by a communiqué from the Kurdish President, which, on the contrary, made the point that Masud Barzani had immediately called Davutoglu to express his displeasure. The Kurdish President had, on the contrary condemned the attacks on the PKK, which has caused civilian victims, adding that the PKK should fight far from places inhabited by civilians. Finally Masud Barzani called on Turkey and the PKK to resume the peace process saying: “years of negotiations are worth more than a single hours of war”.
The Kurdish Institute has learnt with sorrow of the death in Paris of the great Kurdish painter REMZI, at the age of 87 following a long illness.
Born in 1928, at Kirikhan, in the Province of Antioch (Antakya), as a well-known Kurdish family, the Raşas (Rasha), he early showed an interest in painting, which became the great passion of his life. His first works were displayed in Kirikgan, Antalya and Iskenerun (Alexandretta) in 1947. In 1946 he was admitted to the Istanbul Academy of fine Arts, at that time run by Leopold Levy, and he graduated in 1953. He then went to settle in Paris, at Montparnasse, the quarter where painters, artists and writers of a variety of origins lived. In 1965 he set up his studio in Alesia where he painted still lives, portraits and scenes of everyday life until the last few years.
His works have been displayed in many galleries and museums such as those of Carnavalet, of Montparnasse, Dourdan, the National Museum of Laon and the City of Paris’s Museum of Modern Art.
In 2012, a retrospective of his works from 1946 to 2006 was organised, first at the Istanbul Santral then at Diyarbekir, where it enjoyed a great success.
A essentially universal painter, Remzi was very attached to his Kurdish identity. He was a member of the France-Kurdistan Association before becoming one of the founders of the Paris Kurdish Institute. Of a supportive, welcoming and generous nature, he helped a number of young Kurds in their careers. His death evoked great feeling in the Kurdish community and his many friends of diverse origins.
His funeral took place on Friday 31 July 2015 at 4 p.m. at the Montmartre Cemetery and was attended by his family and many friends.
For reading during your summer holidays, here is a list of books about the Kurds that we recommend that were published in the first six months of 2015.
Us et coutumes des Kurdes, (Kurdish customs and ways) by Mahmoud Bayazidi that came out on 4 March and published jointly by L'Asiathèque and Geuthner. It is translated into French by Joyce Blau and Sandrine Alexie, with a preface by Kendal Nezan. Mahmoud Bayazidi’s book describes the Kurdish people’s social organisation, values and traditions in the 19th Century.
“From times immemorial the Kurds have inhabited a strategic and greatly desired region at the junction of empires. Heirs of a rich cultural tradition, they have often and unhesitatingly taken up arms to defend their lands, their way of life and their values. Today they seem, more than ever the essential agents of the region’s stability.
This book bears historic and first class witness to this, describing in simple language the Kurdish people’s social organisation and traditions: the structure of their villages and families, the role of women, the code of behaviour — particularly when at war — the conduct of their major festivals and ceremonies and also issues regarding their religion and beliefs. It describes the Kurds’ traditional values and enable one to understand the historical basis of their pugnacity, which is to much admired (and feared) by neighbouring peoples.
Translated from the Kurdish (kurmanjî) by Joyce Blau and Sandrine Alexie, this document by the mullah Mahmoud Bayazidi (1797-1859) is the first secular document written in this language as well as one of the rare testimonies from inside the Kurdish life style that details both those aspects of which the writer approves and condemns.
Joyce Blau is an Emeritus Professor of Paris’s National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisation, where she ran the Kurdish department for thirty years. A member of the Paris Kurdish Institute’s research team, she has written many books and works on the Kurds’ language, literature and civilisation.
Sandrine Alexie is a writer and translator. An author of novels about a mythical Kurdistan, mediaeval and contemporary, she has also translated Amned Khanî’s Mem and Zin, a masterpiece of classical Kurdish literature”.
Mourir pour Kobané, (Dying for Kobani),by Patrice Franceschi, published in April 2015, recalls the dramatic and terrible siege of Kobani by ISIS and the fierce resistance of the Kurdish fighters.
“Unlike Danzig, that was once abandoned to Hitler, Kobani symbolises a real resistance — that of the Kurds to this new totalitarianism: an ultra-sectarian Islamic absolutism, undoubtedly the greatest barbarity born of the beginning of the 21st Century. For the ISIS Jihadists, haunted by the hatred of everything different to themselves, the very idea of democracy must disappear for ever. The latter, however, is at the heart of the Kurdish revolutionary movement in Syria, which is fighting ISIS to enable the following essential values to live: individual and collective freedom, equality of men and women, secularism, respect for minorities and economic justice. Two diametrically opposed visions of man and of the world are in conflict in this narrow strip of the Middle East.
Mourir pour Kobané published on 9 April 2015 by Équateurs publishers, is an account of the author’s two years of comradely association with the Syrian Kurds. A committed, grass-roots account that lives up the man, voluntarily steeled to experience it bodily. Over and above any theories, o what has to be said, he wants to show and make understood the gripping daily lives of a people fighting without flinching for values that ire the same as ours.
A war that, like the one over Danzig, concerns all of us.
Patrice Franceschi has long been interested in and supported the cause of the Kurds and Christians in Syria. With the emergence of ISIS and the genocide being carried out by fanatics, this struggle has become a humanitarian urgency. This book is a mixture of things seen and a call to the conscience of humanity and of the French people’s in particular. Patrice Franceschi brilliantly describes the Kurdish fighters as 21st Century epitomes of Joan of Arc, handling the pen as a weapon. Rarely has anyone written such a moving document about these Kurds dying while the west remains indifferent…
Long-time a fierce defender of the Kurdish cause, Patrice Franceschi divides his life between writing and adventures. He is the author of several adventure novels, republished by Point Seuil. His memoirs have been published by Arthaud, with the title Avant de passer la dernière ligne droite (Before entering the home straight). He is a member of the group of maritime authors and of several documentaries. Last but not least, he is the captain of a mythical schooner La Boudeuse”
La question kurde à l’heure de Daesh, (the Kurdish question in the period of ISIS) published on15 May 2015 by éditions du Seuil, by Gérard Chaliand and Sophie Mousset, is a profound analysis of the Middle Eastern borders being attacked by ISIS and the energetic resistance the Kurds are providing against it in the field, to the extent that the so-called “Islamic State” is, today, being force to retreat.
“With the unexpected irruption of the ISIS fighters into North Iraq, the fall of Mossul, the long siege of Kobani, in Syria, the Kurdish question has once again come into the spotlights of international news since the summer of 2014. The Kurds, 80% of whom are Sunni Moslems, then appeared as one of the rare regional forces determined to fight Jihadism. However, divided between rival movements (KDP, PUK, PKK, etc) and between Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran, their contradictory voices remain hard to decipher.
In this synthetic and illuminating work, the authors who have regularly stayed in Iraqi Kurdistan over the last fifteen years and know the States covering the Kurdish region, question and discuss the sources of this very original nationalism, which has seem the Kurds fight for recognition of their identity and even their independence. They thus enable us to grasp the trends and outcomes of the Kurdish question that is henceforth at the heart of the Middle Eastern inforno.
Gérard Chaliand, a specialist in international conflicts is particularly committed on favour of the Kurdish community and author of thirty works on geopolitical issues including Vers un nouvel ordre du monde (Towards an new world order) (with Michel Jan, Points Essais, N° 746).
Sophie Mousset is a writer and photographer.
Finally published on 29 May 2015 by éditions l’Harmattan, is Yann Gabriel Appéré’s Tchurück. This is a novel, whose hero is a young Kurd from Mahabad, whose life is completely disrupted by the proclamation of the Kurdish republic and the ensuing repression.
“Tchurück is born in Mahabad in the Kurdish community of Northern Iran. At 14 years of age he leaves his hometown to study at the Baku Army school. This is in 1946, the year in which the Kurdish leaders of the region proclaim the autonomous region of Kurdistan. The violence of this period, the assassination of his father and the military conflict with Iran make the youth unable to return home. He follows the road through Georgia, not knowing where it will lead him, across post-war Europe to Paris.
Yann Gabriel Appéré was born in the Paris region. After a career as negotiator of loans for developing countries with a public bank, he devoted himself to literature and is already the author of six books”.