At the beginning of the month Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued their advance against ISIS on the East of the Euphrates, taking the town of d'Al-Sabha in the night of 31st to 1st and then carrying out some fierce fighting against the Jihadists in the Shaitat area for the towns of Abu Hammam and Haijin. On the 4th the YPG, the largest component of the SDF, published a 2017 bulletin reporting 7,027 Jihadists eliminated and 1,397 others been taken prisoner, against the loss of 958 of their own fighters. Among the prisoners were a dozen French women, including the recruiter Émilie König, whose lawyer presented President Macron with a demand for her transfer to France for trial there – a demand that triggered a stormy argument in this country. On the 5th, the FDS announced the taking of Khara'ij or Gharanij, a real fortress on the Euphrates whose capture required a whole week of fighting.
After the setting up of a joint Russian-SDF common command against ISIS, Sipan Hemo, the YPG commander of the YPG was invited to Russia by the Minister of defence. It was from there that he welcomed, on January 1st, the statement by the US Secretary of State that Washington would defend the SDF against any attack by the regime or pro-Iranian forces. The discussions with the Russians also covered the eventual invitation of the authorities of the North Syrian Federation to the “Congress for National Syrian Dialog” planned to take place at Sochi on 29-30 January.
The Damascus regime has been continuing its bombing of Damascus’s Eastern Ghouta, where, according to UNO, some 390,000 civilians are trapped. The Syrian Centre for Human Rights (SCHR) announced on the 8th that over 190 air raids had caused 103 deaths, including 34 women and 24 children. On the 22nd the bombing has caused 219 civilian victims since the start of the month, including 21 in the last two days. The opposition and the White Helmeted First Aiders accused the government of using chlorine (Reuters), which provoked symptoms of asphyxia in 20 civilians. The Syrian Army also recovered about twenty localities around Idlib, the only province still controlled by the opposition, yet labelled a conflict de-escalation area (AP).
However, the most decisive event of the month is the case of the “Frontier Force”, which gave Turkey the excuse it was looking for to invade Rojava… On the 30th December the Kurdish news agency Hawar announced the creation of a new force of 30,000 fighters to control the borders, half of whom drafted from the SDF and the others fresh recruits. This project, confirmed on the 14th by Colonel Dillon, the coalition’s spokesman, was violently attacked by Damascus (“a flagrant attack on national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria”), Moscow (“partition of the country”), Teheran (“interference”), the opposition — and Ankara! The Turkish President attacked the “setting up of an army of terrorists on our borders”, adding that Turkey would have “to kill [this project] in its egg”. Despite the attempts at appeasement by the Pentagon, the Turkish Army had opened by the 15th a passage in their border fence facing Afrin, prompting the PYD on the 17th to appeal to the UN Security Council and on the 18th, demonstrations by thousands of Rojava’s population. On the 19th Turkey began shelling Afrin from Hatay, and the next day, in a televised speech, Mr. Erdogan announced, the launching of land and air operations: “Afrin operation has begun in the field (…). Then it will be Manbij” Baptised “Olive Branch”, the operation involves alongside the Turkish Army a number of rebel groups — mostly islamist or jihadist: PYD denounced “a clear support to the ISIS terrorists” and called on the coalition “to assume its responsibilities”.
Turkey could not have been launching such an aggression on Syria territory without some acceptance by Russia, who controls the Syrian air space. The latter, after declaring it was “concerned” announced having withdrawn its troops from Afrin “to prevent possible provocations and exclude any threat to the life and health of Russia soldiers”. This for the YPG makes “Russsia as responsible for these attacks as Turkey”. An “off the record” source near the Turkish Foreign Office confirmed on the 21st a possible Russian “green light”, probably negotiated during the recent visit to Moscow by heads of the Turkish General Staff and Intelligence Services. On the 22nd the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC — the political expression of the SDF) revealed that just before the attack, Damascus had given the SDF an ultimatun: turn their positions over to the regime or confront Turkey on their own” (Blomberg View). Since the SDF refused, Russia withdrew its air cover. The Damascus regime, despite its threats to “shoot down any Turkish plane adventuring on its air space” has indeed avoided intervening while having it both ways by allowing free passage of military supplies and reinforcements for the SDF.
For the YPG, the only option was resistance: Heve Mustafa, a member of the Afrin municipal council, declared: “We will not allow any Turkish occupation of Syrian territory”. Afrin’s inhabitants, who have been preparing for weeks for the attacks sought refuge in underground shelters when the shelling began (AFP).
Facing this aggression is a region that has only fought ISIS and served as a shelter for a million civilians, many of whom displaced persons, and an international community either indifferent or nursing its relations with Ankara, letting it do what it wants while just expressing its “concerns” without taking any action or even daring condemn. Great Britain, the US State Department and Mr. Mattis have all considered that Turkey had a “legitimate interest” in ensuring the security of its borders, while calling on Ankara to “show restraint”.
France’s slightly different discourse did not result in any more action. The Army Minister called on Turkey to cease an attack that hindered the fight against ISIS and, in the 22nd France asked for a meeting of the UN Security Council. But this, however, meeting in camera, looked like “a meeting for nothing” — no condemnation, no joint statement… On the 24th, Paul Molac, a French M.P. from the government party, asking a question “Are we going to abandon the Kurds?” failed to obtain any condemnation. The Foreign Minister answered he put all his hopes in the meeting called by UNO in Vienna on the 25th. It was the same with the questions asked in the French Senate by Patrick Kanner, president of the Socialist and republican Group, and Olivier Léonhardt, for the European Democratic and Social Rally, asking if the government was going to “ask for the withdrawal of the Turkish Army and the immediate stopping of the intervention in Afrin”: the answers were general and conventional, calling for a “political solution”.
There were some condemnations: the Deputy Speaker of the European Parliament, the Cypriot Takis Hadjigeorgiou, backed by the United Left and Northern Green; in France the Socialist Julien Dray declared on France-Info: “We are only asking for some restraint from Erdoğan’s government while he is assassinating (…) All that is needed by the Kurdish fighters (…) is an air protection zone to prevent the Air Force (…) bombing civilians”. On the 30th, 21 Senators from all parties published a statement calling on the French government to support “our allies the Syrian Kurds” and to “raise its voice and use all its influence in the UN Security Council and in Europe to require the withdrawal of the Turkish Army and an immediate stopping of the intervention (…)”. They added: “It is now time to break the deafening silence of the international community to this aggressive war”.
In Germany, a controversy has broken out regarding the supply to Turkey (an ally in NATO) of the “Leopard 2” tank — that videos have shown taking part in the attack. Turkey received 354 of them between 2006 and 2011. Norbert Röttgen, President of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Bundestag and close to Angela Merkel, called for the interdiction of delivering arms to Turkey “because of the Human Rights situation and the dismantling of rules regarding the State of Law in Turkey”. On the 25th the head of the German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, announced he had asked NATO to open discussions regarding the Turkish operation. On the 29th Turkey confirmed the use of German tanks in Syria. At the end of the month no decision to suspend the sale of arms had been taken.
The Kurds reacted in Kurdistan as in the diaspora. On the 21st the PKK and several organisations close to it called for “resistance in Turkey to the invasion of Afrin”. On the 22nd Iran’s Kurdish M.P.s protested and criticised the silence of the UN and other international organisations (IFP News). At Strasbourg hundreds of Kurds demonstrated in the 23rd in front of the Council of Europe with the participation of several HDP members of Parliament. On the 26th the singer Şivan Perwer produced a song calling on all Kurds to unite against this Turkish operation. On the 27th a demonstration in Cologne of nearly 20,000 participants was dispersed by the police because of the number of PKK symbols displayed — the PKK is banned in Germany.
In Iraqi Kurdist a leader of the PUK, Mala Bakhtyar, visited the Sulaimaniyeh offices of the PYD on the 22nd to express his support and regretting that geography prevented deploying Peshmergas to support the “holy resistance” of Afrin. On the 23rd a demonstration took place before the UN offices in Erbil and, on the same day, 11 KDP members of Parliament asked for an emergency session of the Parliament, as did Gorran and the Islamic Group (Komal) of Kurdistan (NRT). Asmahan Dawoodi, one of the Representatives of the Syrian Kurdish National Council (ENCS) in Iraqi Kurdistan, despite being opposed to the PYD, attacked a “deal” concluded between “Turkey, Russia and the United States at the cost of Kurdish lives” and called for the Kurds to defend “their land” (Rûdaw). On the 29th hundreds of people demonstrated in Sulaimaniyeh. On the 30th the Kurdish Parliament condemned the attack and called on UNO and the international community to put an end to it. Gorran boycotted the session, demanding more concrete measures: the reopening of the passages between Kurdistan and Rojava, expulsion of the Turkish units present in Kurdistan. The Parliament, nevertheless, did decide to open the passage for medial and humanitarian aid. On the military level, about thirty foreign fighters commanded by a British man from Manchester (Huang Lei, with a Kurdish nom de guerre of Sîpan), who had come to Rojava to fight ISIS, reached Afrin from the Euphrates, crossing areas controlled by the regime. Some small groups of Iraqi Kurds also began to arrive there (Iraqi News).
Prepared by an intense barrage of artillery and a number of air strikes, the Turkish operation involves alongside the Turkish Army, hundreds of rebel (25,000 according to Turkish sources) collected and organised in advance in Turkey. The YPG decreeing a general mobilisation have retreated before them before systematically launching counter-attacks, preventing them from consolidating their gains and even destroying tanks with mobile rocket-launchers. The Turkish Army has avenged this by indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians — the most numerous victims of the operation so far. On the 22nd, for example, the shelling has hit about a hundred targets, including an air base, with 73 planes (a reference to the 72 Turkish troops killed in the “Euphrates Shield” operation). The attackers fought the YPG until the end of the month for the strategic Mount Barsaya that dominates Azaz on the Syrian side and Kilis on the Turkish side. This Mount changed hands several times but, on the 30th remained in those of the YPG. In revenge, the air strikes were intensified — always only making civilian victims. On the 29th the bombing became still more intense, according to the SDF, the Turks launching 700 rockets and shells between the 20th and 29th. On the 27th the Turks used napalm shell around the town of Afrin (VOA). Although the Turkish Army assured on the 30th that they had taken the maximum of precautions to avoid wounding civilians while announcing they had “neutralised 649 terrorists”, the SCHR declared that the Turkish bombardments had killed 68 civilians, including 21 children. According to Ursula Mueller, Assistant General Secretary of UNO for Hunanitarian Affairs, the fighting has displaced over 15,000 people.
Regarding loss of troops, while the Turks announced 5 soldiers killed and 41 wounded, Redur Khalil, the SDF officer responsible for international relations said that the Syrian auxiliaries to the Turks kept surrendering and that the Turks tried to communicate secretly with the SDF to recover for burial the corpses of hundreds of soldiers (VOA). Besides, the SDF declared the death of 43 fighters, including 8 women from YPJ.
Giving his aggression the tone of “a national struggle”, the Turkish President had boasted he would end the attack “in a little time”. However, by the end of the month, Turks and their allies had only taken a few villages of the 381 the area contains — a ridiculous achievement seeing the disproportion between the forces present. The operation has mainly allowed, in domestic politics, to ensure Erdogan’s support by the ultranationalist (virtually fascist) MHP and provided the excuse for a further broadening of the repression, aimed, in Erdogan’s words, at “whoever is opposed to this struggle” (see article on Turkey). Frustrated by the poor military results, the Turkish president has now turned to the town of Manbij, built on a less mountainous territory and to which Turkish troops could advance using Azaz as their base, so bringing him an easier victory... But the problem with this plan is US troops are deployed there… On the 25th, interviewed on the Turkish A Haber channel, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bekır Bozdağ, warned the US that a confrontation between the two countries was possible: “Those who support the terrorist organisation swill be targeted” — language hitherto never used between NATO allies. On the 26th the Turkish President spoke of pushing Eastwards “until the Iraqi border”. On the 27th the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu,demanded that the Americans leave Manbij, a demand rejected the next day by General Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command. Indeed, far from preparing to leave, the US is reinforcing their presence with 3 new bases being installed: one at Tabqa, near Raqqa, the other at al-Tanf, on the Iraqi border — both on land controlled by the SDF.
In the course of his speeches, Erdoğan’s real project found itself outlined: under the cover of securing his Southern borders it is to annex the region, on a lasting basis, by expelling the Kurds from it and settling there a submissive population — a pure and simple invasion accompanied by ethnic cleaning. Adopting the discourse the Syrian Ba’athists had been using in the 60s, the Turkish President also described the Kurds as new arrivals and promised to restore the region to its “real owners”, the Arabs!
The latest consequence of the Turkish aggression and of the Erdoğan-Putin “deal” that made it possible has been the failure of the Sochi Congress. Finally invited by the Russians despite Turkish reluctance, the PYD Kurds simply declined: how could they take part in a meeting whose political guarantors, Turkey and Russia, had reached an agreement about Afrin above their heads? As for the Syrian Kurdish National Council (ENKS), the Kurdish opposition to the PYD, it had not been invited, the Russians having not appreciated their demand that the Kurdish question be on the agenda… This absence of the Kurds sealed a failure already foreseen by the boycott of the Saudi-backed Committee of Syrian Negotiations (CSN) that represented the main opposition groups, decided given the attitude of the regime at the Vienna meeting. Reduced to the regime’s supporters and the “tolerated” opposition despite the presence of Staffan de Mistura, Sochi showed itself to be another “meeting for nothing”.
The launching of the invasion of Afrin on 20th January has somewhat eclipsed the internal situation there, characterised from the start of the month by repression, mainly directed against the “pro-Kurdish” HDP party and civil society, including journalists and academics. Following the 20th it has further widened and now covers all those who dare protest about a military operation which has sealed the rapprochement between the Islamist AKP and the ultranationalist MHP and offered to a Judicial machine on orders from the President new excuses for incarceration. January began with the sad anniversary of the massacre of Roboskî, where 34 young people (including 19 children) were killed by the Air Force on 28th December 2011 on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. On the 1st, Aycan Irmez, M.P. for Şırnak, presented to Parliament a proposal for an enquiry that was in particular highlighting the concealing of information by the Secret Services (MIT).
The 3rd, another M.P. and Vice co-president of the HDP, Aysel Tuğluk, already in prison for alleged terrorism, was sentenced to 18 additional months by the Kocaeli court for “breaching the law on meetings”. The imprisoned HDP co-president, Selahattin Demirtas, already risking 142-year in prison for “separatism” and “links with the PKK” was inflicted a fine of 15,000 Turkish pounds (3,980 US$) for insulting the President (who had demanded 50,000 pounds). The HDP Member of Parliament for Şırnak, Leyla Birlik, was sentenced 21 months for the same offence. The next day the HDP Member İdris Baluken received 16 years and 11 months for “membership of a terrorist organisation”. This charge has been used against tens of thousands of people, including 10 other HDP Members of Parliament. Furthermore the HDP/BDP Member for Diyarbekir, Nursel Aydoğan received a sentence of 1 year and 3 months, that of Van Adem Geveri 1 year et 6 months and the BDP co-president, Sebahat Tuncel, 2 years and 3 months.
On the 5th, the HDP, denouncing the use of the Judicial machine for political ends, denied any legal validity to these charges “based on unfounded allegations and shameless lies (and) prepared by Prosecutors who have since been imprisoned as suspects (of Gulenism)”. As far as HDP is concerned the objective of all these arrests is to eliminate the HDP from political life and to “destroy a political movement that is the sole hope of democracy for Turkey”.
On the 7th the HDP’s M.P. for Urfa, Osman Baydemir, was detained for 14 hours before being released. On the 9th the HDP Member, Leyla Zana, winner of the 1995 Sakharov Prize given by the European Parliament, was stripped of her Parliamentary mandate by a vote of the Turkish Parliament. She had already suffered the same sanction in 1994 before being imprisoned for 10 years for having added a sentence in Kurdish to her oath of office (in fact repeating the oath in Kurdish). Her use of Kurdish was again criticised when she again took the oath office in November 2015, as well as having altered the wording of the oath and of being too often absent. The Speaker of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, judged this sanction “unacceptable”.
On the 11th the Diyarbakir court confirmed on appeal the sentence of 8 years, one month and 15 days on the HDP Member for Hakkiri, Abdullah Zeydan. This sentence had been quashed three months ago by another court at Gaziantep. Zeydan has been detained since 2016 in the same high security prison of Edirne as is the HDP co-president, Selahattin Demirtaş. The latter, specially targeted by 96 legal proceedings and incarcerated for over a year, was able, on the 12th, to appear in person before Istanbul’s Bakirköy court, charged with “insulting the President”. The judge, in reply to a request that he be released on bail, said the request should be submitted in writing “to be examined in detail” and set the date for his trial at 17th May. The next day the Çatak court (Van) sentenced the HDP M.P. Botan Lezgin to two years prison and a fine of 3,300 $ for having insulted a civil servant during the 2015 election campaign (WKI): Lezgin had criticised the Governor of a district who had threatened the electors failing to vote AKP… On the 17th Selahattin Demirtaş won a little victory — he was acquitted of the charge of insulting the Minister of the Interior… On the 30th one if the principal lawyers, the fomer HDP Member of Parliament for Şırnak, Hasip Kaplan, was sentenced to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days for “terrorist propaganda”.
The lawsuits also targeted journalists and civil society representatives. On the 16th five journalists who had symbolically accepted to be the chief editor of the pro-Kurdish paper (since closed down) ) Özgur Gundem were sentenced to penalties of 18 to 45 months in prison for “propaganda for a terrorist group”. Ragip Duran, Ayşe Duzkan, Huseyin Bektas and Mehmet Ali Celebi were sentenced to 1 year and 6 months while Huseyin Akyol was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months. Lawyers have also paid dearly for doing their work. According to the CHP Member of Parliament Senal Sarihan, 572 if them have been arrested since the start of the state of emergency. Of these, 488 have suffered acts of violence during their detention and 79 were imprisoned. However, in the case of Amnesty International (the arrests last July of those taking part in a juridical seminar of that organisation) its President, Taner Kilic, was released on Wednesday after being charged with terrorism. But there are other hearing yet to come…
Finally, in a speech on the 7th, the Turkish President criticised Boğaziçi University, accusing it of working against “Turkish values”, meaning by that “Islamic values”, which leads one to fear a new phase in the repression of universities.
After the 20th, all those criticising the invasion of Afrin were massively targeted. On the 21st a demonstration in Diyarbekir was forbidden and in the afternoon police prevented another demonstration at Kadiköy (a Asiatic quarter of Istanbul), taking in for questioning 7 people (AFP). On the 22nd 35 arrest warrants for “terrorist propaganda” were issued against people who had expressed their opposition to the operation on the social networks — 24 of whom were been arrested. Meanwhile the Public Prosecutor of Van opened an enquiry into 4 HDP members of Parliament who had called for demonstrations and another Prosecutor in Istanbul did likewise for 57 people. The next day 42 people were arrested throughout the country, always on the basis of their comment on social networks, including the local HDP head of Izmir, Cerkez Aydemir (Anadolu). Moreover 19 people have been arrested in the provinces of Van, Igdir, Muş, and Mersin. On the evening of the 23rd there had been 91 arrests made in 2 days, a number that jumped on the 29th when, according, to the Minister of the Interior, 311 people were detained — including several HDP local leaders. On the 30th following the publication of a communiqué by the Doctors Union of Turkey (TTB) mentioning that the Afrin offensive posed “a problem of public health”, 11 members of the TTB including the president, Rasit Tükel, had warrant issued against them and 8 were arrested for “legitimising the actions of a terrorist organisation”. One of the principal associations of doctors in Turkey, with 83,000 members, the TTB indicated that it had received threats after the Turkish President had described on the 28th its members as “traitors”. The Minister of Health asked the judiciary to dismiss its managers.
On the 29th , Leyla Guven, a DTP leader, was arrested for having criticised and called for demonstrations against the operation, and had her period of detention prolonged on the 31st .
On the 30th the German footballer of Kurdish origin, Deniz Naki, who had called for people to demonstrate in Cologne against the attack on Afrin got a life suspension by the Turkish Football Association (TFF) and was punished with a fine of 72,000 $. He is under police protection since the 9th after having been targeted by gun fire while in a car and lives in hiding. Still on the 30th after the HDP had published a communiqué condemning the invasion and criticising the government for its collaboration with the Jihadist militia, one of its offices was attacked by Erdoğan’s supporters, who ransacked the place and wrote racist slogans on the walls.
The State media have counted over 150 arrests and enquiries have been launched against 7 HDP members of Parliament. The AKP line is increasingly approaching that of the ultranationalist MHP. This is lending more and more credibility to an interpretation of the regime as a real “islamo-fascist” one, like that which began to appear during the constitutional referendum campaign last April. The HDP official responsible for external relations, Hisyar Ozsoy, has, moreover described the invasion of Afrin as a means for reinforcing support of the ultranationalist for Erdogan, in view if the next Presidential election campaign. Already, on the 8th, the MHP leader, Devlet Bahceli, had announced that his party would not put up a candidate and would support Erdoğan in these elections. After such an election the new President would take over the major powers attributed to him by the constitutional amendments decided by the referendum, whose validity was very doubtful. However those in power are already simultaneously manipulating both nationalist and Islamist symbols. Thus on the 27th, the AKP Speaker of the Turkish parliament, Ismail Kahraman, described the invasion of Afrin as a Jihad on television. Indeed he was already known for having in 2016 voiced the opinion that any reference to secularism should be removed from the new Constitution. Just as Afrin invasion was being launched, the Diyanet, the country’s highest religious authority, ordered the imams of the 90,000 mosques of Turkey to read, in the course of their Friday sermon, the 48th sura of the Quran, al-Fath, and then have the faithful pray for victory to Turkish arms. This was a measure the HDP fully condemned. The HDP M.P., Nimetullah Erdogmus, who is himself an Islam scholar, pointed out that this sura makes reference to the Hudaybiyyah peace agreement and that to use it in this way was to distort its meaning — those in power are now openly putting Islam to serve the interest of a fascistic project.
During this month, in parallel with the attack on Afrin, military operations were continuing against the PKK in Turkey and in Iraqi Kurdistan. On the 31st of December the creation of 30 rural security zones were announced — in 5 districts of Tunceli province (Dersim) where military operations were planned. On the 7th the Minister of the Interior announced the arrest of 17 PKK militants throughout the country. On the 8th the governor of Bitlis announced a curfew on 13 villages, in preparation for anti-PKK operations — a measure also imposed in the 9th “until further orders” by the governor of Diyarbekir on 69 villages in the Lice and Kulp districts for the same reason, while it was lifted after 6 days on 7 villages of Hizan region (Bitlis). On the 14th the Turkish media announced that 1 soldier had been killed and 3 wounded by a missile at Cukurca (Hakkari), close to the Kurdistan (Iraqi) border. On the 16th the security zones of Dersim were subjected to curfew and all access forbidden. On the 20th the pro-AKP daily Yeni Safak announced the “neutralisation” by the Army in the course of the previous week of 20 PKK fighters during operations in the Provinces of Bitlis, Mardin and Diyarbakir, and in Iraqi Kurdistan, where the Air Force announced on the 23rd having carried out strikes. On the 27th an IED exploded in a dustbin in Diyarbakir without causing any victims. In the night of the 28/29th new strikes were carried out aimed at Qandil, near the village of Dashtewani, and on the 31st ground forces entered the region of Bradost, to the Northeast of Erbil (about 20 km from Soran) blocking access to the peasants. The PKK declared that taking these positions could be the prelude to an attack on a greater scale against Qandil.
At the beginning of January, more than three months after the independence referendum of 25th September no negotiations had yet begun between the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). This is because the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi, who has virtually placed Kurdistan under an embargo by ordering the closure of its airports to international flights, thinks that time is on his side. His conditions for lifting this ban are the acceptance by the KRG of two main points: that Baghdad should control all the Kurdish border posts – including the airports – and that all oil exports should be made solely by the State company SOMO. The Kurds, for their part, would accept at most a joint management of the border posts… Baghdad also demands as a condition for starting talks the cancellation of the referendum’s results, whereas Erbil proposes that they be “frozen”. Mr. Abadi also intends to submit the payment of the KRG civil servants to his own conditions, essentially an audit of the lists, which would allow Baghdad to decide whom to pay. Finally the project of Iraq’s 2018 budget provoked the fury of the Kurds, as it reduces the KRG’s percentage to 12.6% of the budget total, whereas its constitutional share is 17%. Perhaps even more serious, the law never mentions the “Kurdistan Region”, although it is recognised in the 2005 constitution.
It is in this context, most unfavourable to Kurdistan that Baghdad proposed, on 1st January, the opening of “technical” discussions through an Iraqi-Kurdish “High Committee” of 7 members, 5 chosen by Baghdad and 2 from Kurdistan, which would propose solutions to the disagreements compatible with the Constitution and would also tackle the procedure for paying civil servants. The KRG spokesman, Safîn Dizayî, welcomed this proposition. On the 4th a delegation of KRG Ministers of Education and Health gave the Audit Committee lists of civil servants coming from the KRG’s biometric system.
Mr. Abadi also knew how to play on the divisions between Kurds by receiving on the 4th in Baghdad a delegation of three opposition parties: Gorran and the Islamic Group (Komal), who had left the KRG in December, and the Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ), recently created by the former Prime Minister Barham Salih (PUK). He promised them the payment of salaries… One Kurdish source described this meeting as an attempt to “divide and rule”.
Several meetings then took place. On the 9th Mr. Abadi ordered the Iraqi Army to resume security discussions with the Kurds. On the 13th the first public meeting since the referendum brought together in Baghdad two delegations led by the Iraqi and Kurdish Minsters of the Interior: then on the 20th Abadi received in Baghdad the KRG’s Premier and Deputy Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani and Qubad Talabani, before meeting them again on the 30th at Davos. None of these meeting helped the situation advance. After the meeting on the 13th the KRG Minister of Transport spoke about a project for agreement over the joint management of the border posts and Airports, the latter supervised by Iraqi civil aviation administration and on the 17th Mr. Abadi described the discussions as being “very satisfactory” while Rûdaw announced that a deposit of 450 million dinars (380 million US$) destined to paying the salaries of the KRG’s civil servants had been placed in a specific account end December by the Central Bank, the decision to actually pay depending on the Prime Minister. Then, in the 20th the government reiterated its conditions: return of the airports, borders and Kurdish oil production under “complete federal authority”. On the 29th another source (Massoud Haydar, a Gorran M.P. and member of the Finance Commission) announced that 250 billion dinars was being sent to the KRG to pay the civil servants of the Ministries of Education and Health whose lists were being audited.
The production of Kurdish oil has provoked much controversial discussion between Baghdad and Erbil. Mr. Abadi declared on the 2nd that Kurdistan had exported in October 450,000 barrels, and between October and December oil to the value of 1,68 billion dollars, i.e. 80% of the salaries of its civil servants (IraqiNews.com). The KRG spokesman refuted these figures on the 4th, declaring that everyone knew that after the loss of Kirkuk the revenues had halved and on the 8th Nechirvan Barzani suggested Mr. Abadi look at the reports of audit by international firms Deloitte and Ernst and Young, who had not found any irregularity from January to June 2017. Contracted by the KRG at the demand of the World Bank Deloitte is now planned to audit the periods 2014-2016 (including those of the period after May 2014, when the KRG started selling, 4 months after it ceased receiving its due share of the federal budget), and will then examine the period July-December 2017. The Iraqi Parliament launched its own enquiry into the KRG’s sales. On the 15th a delegation from the Iraqi Oil Ministry, including the Director of SOMO, arrived in Erbil to discuss a procedure for exporting oil against a part of the Federal budget. On the 24th at Davos Mr. Abadi declared that the KRG had accepted to hand its oil over to Baghdad, a claim that Nechirvan Barzani denied the next day…
Regarding Kurdistan’s 2018 budget, the deadlock remains total. The demands of the Kurdish M.P.s in Baghdad, partly overlapping those of the President of Iraq, Fuad Massum (who had pointed out in a letter to Abadi the unconstitutional drift of the project), were never answered. They had demanded, inter alia, the restoration of the 17% to Kurdistan, in the budget, the mention of “Kurdistan Region” instead of “Provincial Authorities”, a budget for the Peshmergas and the cancelation of the 3.8% reduction in salaries for Iraqi civil servants to finance the Hashd al-Shaabi. However, on the 9th Abadi refused any alteration, demanding that Parliament a vote on the project “as is”. As the non-participation of the KRG in the drawing up of the project also breached in the Constitution, the Kurdish parties refused to vote on the budget on the 17th, hoping to oblige the government to limit its expenditure by law to one twelfth monthly of the annual budget... The deadlock persisted until the 31st and the Kurdish M.P.s decided to boycott future sessions in protest. The International Monetary Fund decided not to grant any loans to Iraq as long as Kurdistan’s share of budget would not go from 6 to 10 billion.
Another factor in the Baghdad-Erbil tension is the situation in the disputed territories, taken over in mid-October by the Iraqi Army and the Shi’ite Hashd al-Shaabi militia. In the mixed Kurdo-Arabo-Turcoman city of de Tuz Khurmatu, despite the partial replacement of the Hashd by the Special Forces of the Iraqi police, the Kurds, targeted in October, declared on the 2nd that they would not return without the presence of Peshmergas to protect them (NRT). On the 8th, after some shelling by mortar fire that caused 12 deaths in the town and provoked the closing of the schools, the Turcoman M.P. Jasim Mohammed Jaafar accused “bands of Kurds” and demanded the sending of Federal troops. On the same day Parliament voted for the creation of a multi-ethnic Enquiry Commission on the events of October. Pending its creation the municipal council, in its meeting on the 10th in the absence of the Kurdish and Arab members, dismissed the Kurdish mayor, Shalal Abdul. On the 13th some anti-terrorist and rapid action units supported by armoured vehicles were deployed in the town where they began a search for illegal arms (Xinhua). On the 14th the interim mayor, Lis Mahmoud, exhorted the displaced inhabitants to return, promising them protection and compensation. On the 17th a member of the Kirkuk provincial Council, Azad Jabari (PUK) declared that the security of Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu should be confided to the Federal Police, under authority of the Minister of the Interior, since the Army had to be deployed to Mosul. On the 31st the Enquiry Commission on Khurmatu was waiting for a vote from Parliament (demanded by the Kurdish M.P.s to give its conclusions more weight) to start its work.
At Kirkuk the interim Governor, Said Rakan al-Jabouri, is still accused of having resumed the policy of Arabisation. A Provincial Councilor, Kaka Rash Sadiq, showed in a press conference an illegal order ordering the return of Arab tribemen to villages of Daquq and Sargaran. At Sargaran the Mayor, Luqman Hussein, accused Baghdad of supporting the Arab tribal chiefs seeking to expel the Kurds from several villages. On the 23rd, an order of the Governor based on a law of the Ba’athist period, giving the residents of the “Kurdistan” and “Newroz” quarters of Kirkuk seven days to leave, was annulled after the strong reaction of the Kurdish M.P. Mohammed Othman. Other pressures are being exerted on the daily lives of Kurds in the city, including murder by shooting. On the 16th the organisation New Media declared that 178 journalists had been obliged go into hiding or to flee because of threats to their lives, while the directors of some of the 500 Kurdish schools of Kirkuk, run by the KRG Ministry of Education and having almost 100.000 pupils, testified that Iraqi police and security officials pulled down the Kurdish flags flying over their schools and even jailed some of them.
The appointment of a new Governor by the Provincial Council would bring some improvement to the situation of the Kurds in Kirkuk. KDP and PUK were able to agree on a candidate. After Rizgar Ali, proposed by the PUK but rejected by the KDP, who accused him of being a member of the group who “sold” Kirkuk to Baghdad, agreement was reached on the 9th on Khalid Shwanî, a former PUK M.P. in the Baghdad Parliament and a member of the PUK Political Committee. However the appointment required a meeting of the Provincial Council, whose interim Speaker tried at least 4 times to convene it: the KDP Councilors, fearing for their safety, refused to return to the city. For the legislative elections in the province, the different Kurdish parties, except for the KDP, met on the 7th to discuss the setting up of a common list. The KDP refused to hold meetings in an “occupied” town then announced, on the 15th that it would boycott the elections in the province so as not to “legitimise the military occupation”.
Besides, although the Iraqi Prime Minister has proclaimed the defeat of ISIS on 9th December last, the group continues its attacks in the province, taking opportunity of the security void that followed the withdrawal of the Peshmergas: it had claimed the assassination last December of a Colonel of the Iraqi police and his son and could be behind certain anti-Kurdish kidnappings previously attributed to Hashd… On the 14th the interim mayor of Tuz Khurmatu announced a joint anti-ISIS operation of Peshmergas and Iraqi soldiers on Mount Hanjira, near the town. On the 15th after a double attack in Baghdad that caused 27 deaths and 64 wounded, Abadi renewed his promise to “dismantle the dormant Jihadist cells”.
Some elements of relaxation in the Erbil-Bagdad tension can indeed be noticed. On the 8th the Iraqi Minister of the Interior, Qasim al-Araji, put an end to enquiries aimed at those responsible for the security of Kirkuk and Khurmatu who took part in the referendum, claiming – according to a Kurdish MP – not to have been aware of the legal proceedings against them. He also promised to have the payment the salaries of the Kurdish police — suspended since October - restart… He also ordered the return of Kurdish Frontier Guards transferred to the South of the country back to their previous posts. On the 27th the KRG Minister of Health, Rekawt Hamarashid, declared having received from the Iraqi Health Ministry 11 lorries full of medicine and expecting other loads in 2018 (Rûdaw). But all this does not change the general landscape, which remains in deadlock. However Mr. Abadi may, perhaps, be obliged to become more flexible because of his bad position for next elections: the great “Victory Alliance” he had announced on the 14th collapsed in two weeks with the withdrawal of the Hashd al-Shaabi militia… Furthermore one of the biggest Sunni Arab block in the Iraqi Parliament, the “Coalition of Iraqi Forces”, demanded on the 17th the postponement of the elections by at least one year, until the return home of the people displaced by the war against ISIS. Kurds and Shi’ites, on the contrary, want to stick to the planned date — which had only been agreed after several stormy sessions. The date for the provincial elections has yet to be decided.
The situation regarding Iraqi elections is hardly any better on the Kurdish side. The KDP/PUK had called for a single united list of all the Kurdistan parties, but a meeting on the 11th could not reach any agreement and the Kurds will arrive to the polls divided. On January 1st Kurdistan Electoral Commission confirmed being able to organise General Elections in the Region for mid-April (Rûdaw). Gorran demanded an audit of the electoral register that the KRG accepted, and that could allow cleaning up to 100,000 names in duplicate or of deceased people. On the 5th, despite internal disagreements the New Generation movement elected as president during its 1st Congress its founder, Shaswar Abdulwahid. On the same day the president in office of the PUK, Kosrat Rasoul, returned from Germany, where he had been receiving medical treatment for the last 2 months. On the 10th Barham Salih was elected as the Head of the CDJ, swearing to fight corruption. On the 11th January, the last day for registering alliances with the Iraqi Electoral Commission, Gorran,the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), and the CDJ announced their alliance, named Nîshtîman (“Country”), which willbe led by the former Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament, Yousif Mohammed (Gorran). Nîshtîman will field candidates in Kurdistan and in the disputed territories, including Kirkuk. The Islamic Union of Kurdistan (Yekgirtû), will stand alone in front of the voters. Yekgirtû announced it was withdrawing from the KRG because of the absence of any response to its demands for reform. After the failure of their project of a broad coalition of all the Kurdish parties, the PUK and the KDP will make joint list but disagree about the date. If the PUK accepts the one set last November by the Erbil Parliament, 20th September 2018, that is four months after the Iraqi elections, the KDP would prefer to advance it before the other’s, hoping for a bigger turnout. On the 21st, New Generation asked for a fast and final decision as to the date, warning that a report would trigger another crisis and that it then would call to strike. The PUK has set the date of its Congress on 5th March but has not succeeded, despite many meetings, in electing an interim leadership charged with carrying the party till this time.
It is to the honour of the Kurdish Parliament that, in this difficult context, it voted an amnesty that allows the release (after a case by case enquiry) of more than 1.000 of the 6.000 detainees of Kurdistan jails (excluding those found guilty of terrorist crimes or murdering women) (NRT).
Last, on the 29th, the Iraqi Parliament lifted the sanctions against the banks of the Kurdistan Region but not the ban on international flights...
The demonstrations against the regime that started on 28th December reached Teheran and Meshad (the 2nd largest city in the country) a few days later, and also reached Kurdistan where the three Kurdish parties, the PJAK, the KDPI and Komala called for all to join in. Many videos published during the weekend of 30/31 show demonstrators confronting the security forces in the streets of Kurdish towns and villages. At least 9 demonstrators lost their live during the demonstrations in Teheran, Ispahan and in the towns of Kurdistan. According to the opposition the number of people detained is more than a thousand. According to the Vice-Governor of Teheran, 450 arrests were made in 3 days in this town alone. In Sineh (Sanandaj), Kermanshah and Dehloran, many people went out in the streets confront the police. According to local sources the Army killed 2 demonstrators at Sine and wounded 75 others. At Kermanshah the demonstrators attacked the police HQ and clashes continued all through the night. On the 3rd, after 6 days of demonstrations that caused 22 deaths and led to hundreds of arrests, the pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) were deployed in the three provinces of Hamadan, Isfahan, and Lorestan, while the Kurdish parties repeated their support of the protests and called on the international community ti support the “legitimate claims” of the population. From Syria, the National Council of Syrian Kurds (ENKS) also made a declaration of support, which was joined by the Kurdish administration of Rojava.
Still on the 3rd the KDPI announced that its Peshmergas had killed at least 6 members of the Iranian Security Forces in the Province of Western Azerbaijan. The pasdaran confirmed the loss of 3 fighters and, on the 6th the Minister of Information, Mahmoud Alawi, threatened during their funerals the “counter-revolutionaries” with severe reprisals. The deployment of pasdaran was not enough to stop the demonstrations and on the 5th there were still many protesters in the streets of Teheran, Ispahan, Tabriz, Kermanshah and in the provinces of Arak, Kashan, Tabriz, Qezwîn, Nishapor, Rasht and Takistan…
On the 9th, after over a week of demonstrations, the regime deployed its security forces in most of the protesting towns, where the tension remained high, and arrested over a thousand demonstrators, especially students. The Kurdistan Association for Human Rights has published the names of 43 Kurdish students detained and of at least one Kurdish student from Kermanshah who has disappeared. Some leaders have tried to throw the blame for the causes of these troubles on foreigners, accusing the CIA and the opposition groups refugied in Iraqi Kurdistan for organising these demonstrations — accusations rejected by the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The fate of many jailed demonstrators has aroused anxiety till the end the month: on the 14th, it was rumoured that 2 demonstrators had been tortured to death in prison. Saro Ghahremani, 24 year old, died in Sanandaj prison, and Ali Poladi, 26 years of age, died in Chalus prison, in the North of the country. Accompanied by members of the Intelligence Service, the pasdaran continued their campaign of arrestations against Kurdish activists and demonstrators. With hundreds of them already jailed, new arrests took place in Kermanshah, Orumiyeh, Mahabad, Sanandaj, Mariwan and Bokan, circulated. The KDPI and the Komala published a common appeal to the international community and Human Rights defenders to react. However the concern is not just about the arrested demonstrators. The repression also continues to affect political prisoners arrested before the start of these demonstrations, like Zanyar and Luqman Muradi, two cousins, arrested in Merivan in July 2009. Accused of involvement in the assassination of the son of the Imam of Merivan, they risk being executed at any moment. The 16th a singer for Kurdish weddings, Payman Mirzada, originally from the Orumieh region, was sentenced to 6 months in prison for having sung pro-Kurdish nationalist songs during a wedding in December 2017. On the 26th, the International Network of the Human Rights of Iranian Kurds issued an alert concerning Ramin Hussein Panahi. Wounded by a bullet and arrested on 23rd June 2017 at Sanandaj after having met with some citizens to inform them about Human Rights, Panahi was denied any medical treatment. Falsely accused, according to his lawyer, of having pulled out his weapon, he was sentenced to death on 25 October 2017 for “acts against national security” and “membership to Komala” by the “Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj”. He is in danger of immediate execution. After 124 days and 23 demands to different branches of government (from pasderan to Secret Services) his family still does not know where he is nor his state of health. In reply to repeated demands for information by his family the authorities have arrested and sentenced to 5 or 9 years jail several of his relatives. On 26 October 2017 Ramin’s mother and sister were informed by the authorities that he was waiting for his execution, and that they would be informed after it was carried out. On the 29th his lawyer, Hossein Ahmadiniaz, announced his intention of appealing.
After the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Kermanshah province last November, causing 620 deaths and 12,000 injured and considerable damage to infrastructure, a new quake of a magnitude of 4.4 hit the same province on the 6th at 18:22 hours, injuring 21 people. The worst affected area was Sarpole Zahab, alreadyshaken by the November quake. Then on the 11th a supplementary quake of 5.6 magnitude took place on the Iraqi side, West of Mandali. These fresh shocks increased the distress of the region’s inhabitants, who felt abandoned by the authorities. On the 19th a M.P. for Kermanshah, Farhad Tajari, declared in Parliament that “sixty-seven days after the shock (of November) only 40% of the people hit by the earthquake have received any shelter, [and those received are] makeshift and quite insufficient against the cold”. According to local doctors, 5 children of under 4 months and a young girl of 17 have died of the cold and sickness between November and beginning of January in the village of Nawafar. In Kermanshah, according to the Kurdish Association of Human Rights, several displaced people following the earthquake, including a child of 2 years, have died through lack of government aid.
On the 9th the governor of Western Azerbaijan, Mohammed Mehdi Shahriari, announced that the kolbars (Kurdish trans-border porters) would receive a “smart card” (i.e. with chips) in order to allow the regularising of their semi-legal work. As this covers 50,000 of the 70,000 kolbars, this will replace the existing license, introduced in 2016. The kolbars, an expression of the generalised poverty of the Kurdish provinces, are regularly taken as targets by border guards and police and killed... Two of them again died during January, one shot by border guards while in his vehicle near Sardasht, the other killed in an avalanche...
While the demonstrations of the first week of the month were taking place, the NGO Human Rights Activists News Agency published its report for 2017, which presents a picture of the repression in Iran for this year. According to this document, 446 people were executed in 2017, including 31 in public executions, 50% of these executions being linked to drugs.
The Turkish President’s visit to Paris on 5th January could not have come at a worse moment: indeed, it was on 9th January 2013 that the 3 Kurdish activists Sakine Censiz, Leyla Şaylemez, Fidan Dogan («Rojbîn») were assassinated — and this even as discussions were taking place between the MIT and the PKK in the context of a “Peace Process”. This visit coming at this very time and Mr. Erdogan’s reception at the Elysée appeared to many people as provocations. The French Communist Party denounced in a communiqué “a new outrage both to the families of the victims and to the Kurds, who are suffering a pitiless and murderous war, and the M.P. for the Unsubdued France (“La France Insoumise”) Jean-Luc Melanchon declared in a tweet that the Turkish President was “not welcome in Paris”.
Speaking at a Press Conference also held on the 5th, Sylvie Jan, representative of the “National Coordination of Solidarity with Kurdistan” declared: “This State crime must not be forgotten. On March 15 and 16 in Paris, a session of the Permanent People’s Tribunal will be held to examine the war crimes committed by Turkey between 2015 and today after the end of the “Peace Process”. The lawyer representing the families, Antoine Comte, stated that “The case is not over” and demanded that France follows the procedure “to the very end” so as to identify the paymaster of this triple assassination, since the participation of the Turkish Secret Service, the MIT, is proven. Nursel Kiliç, representative of the Kurdish women’s movement in Europe recalled that the investigation file contained elements incriminating the Turkish State and thus the Prime Minister at the time: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The day after, at the very time the Turkish President was in Paris, a demonstration in memory of the 3 activists brought together more than 10,000 people demanding the truth and justice for their assassination. On the 7th in Diyarbakir, during its regional Conference, the BDP, Kurdish component of the HDP, also paid tribute to the 3 women by having one minute silence, adding to it a tribute to 3 other Kurdish women assassinated in January 2015 at Silopi by Turkish Security forces, Sêvê Demir, Fatma Uyar and Pakize Nayır. Wounded by shots, they could not be taken to hospital despite the demands of the HDP and died from lack of medical treatment a few days after the commemorations for the 3 activists killed in Paris 2 years earlier.
On the very day of the anniversary of the triple assassination in Paris of 9th January the PKK showed a video of the operation that enabled the capture in August 2017 at Dokan, in Iraqi Kurdistan, of 2 MIT officers. It especially broadcast a second video in which the two officers speak – and declare that the assassination of the 3 activists in Paris had been planned by their Service and approved “at high level”. According to one of the 2 officers, Erhan Pekçetin, such a decision that could lead to diplomatic tensions, could not have been taken by the MIT directors alone, and must have required an agreement at political level…
On the 11th a plaque paying tribute to the 3 activists was unveiled at 147 rue Lafayette, the place where they were as assassinated. Amongst those present were Helen Bidard, Assistant of Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, whom she was representing, Rémi Féraud, Senator and former Mayor of the 10th district of Paris, and Alexandra Cordebard, his successor. Hélène Bidard tweeted: “We will continue to demand that justice be given, together with their families and with the associations of the Kurdish Movement”.
Since this 2013 assassination, more threats of attacks aimed at public figures of the Kurdish movement in Europe have been revealed.
Jean-Paul Tillement, Au Kurdistan irakien avec les réfugiés de la plaine de Nineveh, (In Iraqi Kurdistan with the refugees in the Nineveh plain) 93 p., Fiacre, 2017, et À la rencontre des chrétiens de Syrie, Carnet de voyage à Pâques, du 4 au 12 avril 2015 (Meeting the Syrian Christians. Traveler’s Easter notebook, from 4th to 12th April 2015), 79 p., Fiacre, 2016.
Jean-Paul Tillement, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and consultant in pharmacologic research, visited Kurdistan and, previously, went to Syria in a fact finding mission, about the Eastern Christians who had suffered considerably from the ISIS Jihadist organisation (Daech in Arabic, in both cases acronyms for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”). He reported in both works, which he came to present at the Kurdish Institute of Paris, on the way the Christians tried to pursue their lives in the camps where they had had to settle after fleeing the jihadists. He reports in particular the way Father Najeeb had managed during the night of 7 to 8 August to save some precious manuscripts from his library by loading them in a truck with which he Left Mosul some hours before the arrival of the Jihadists. He also tells of his visit to Yezidis at Lalech, and of the one he did to the Parliament of Kurdistan in Erbil. In general, he gives his vision of Iraqi Kurdistan. In the second book he gives a travellers notebook of a journey and sojourn in Syria, mainly in Damascus, accompanied by about thirty other volunteers. The trip was organised to observe on the spot and make known in France and in Europe the situation of then various Christian Churches of the country. Both books also provide an introduction to the activities of the charity “SOS, Oriental Christians” (SOS, Chrétiens d’Orient), with which the journeys were organised, and whose co-founder Pascal Blanchard wrote the two prefaces.
Olivier Piot, Le peuple kurde, clé de voute du Moyen-Orient (The Kurdish people, Keystone of the Middle East), Les petits matins, 2017
Olivier Piot is a special correspondent and author of many articles about the Middle East and Africa in Le Monde Diplomatique, Géo and Le Monde. He had already published with the same publisher in 2012, with Julien Goldstein as photographer, a book about the Kurds, Kurdistan, la colère d'un peuple sans droits (Kurdistan, the fury of a people without rights) with a preface by the former French ambassador Bernard Dorin. The two authors drew up, in the course of their stays in different parts of Kurdistan spread over the period 2000 and 2012 a state of daily reality of this people “bearing witness to its economic and political problems, the multiple discriminations to which it is subjected and to the denial of its identity”.
In Le peuple kurde, clé de voute du Moyen-Orient (The Kurdish people, Keystone of the Middle East), with a preface by the former French consul in Erbil, Frédéric Tissot, he explains from the start that it is not up to him “to write a new history of the Kurdish people” but rather, on the basis of the Kurds’ present situation, to try to bring a long-term perspective to the recent evolution of the Middle East. The Kurdish people finds itself, indeed, at the heart of the upheavals that have been shaking the region for almost a decade. Hence the idea of the “keystone”, this architectural element that keeps up a building but is also the key to its instability — if it gives way everything collapses… The aim is to help the reader to understand better the recent situation, to sketch the future — especially in one of the last chapters “The Kurds in the reconstruction of the Middle East”.
We can only welcome the idea of placing at the end of the work a translation into Turkish of the summary, of the preface and the conclusion. Concerning the translation into Arabic of the same elements, that follow the Turkish text, it was unfortunately not inserted in the book with a software that manages Arabic characters properly, which gives a text barely readable (Arabic letters isolated and displayed in reverse order). Let us hope for some web access to a corrected Arabic summary or even a new edition to overcome this defect.