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The Kurdish Situation Report: September 21st, 2015

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The Kurdish Situation Report is a weekly update on the latest news coming from the four Kurdish regions in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. The Kurdish Situation Report is co-produced by the Washington Kurdish Institute and The Kurdish Project.

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Kurdish Region of Turkey (Bakur or North)

cizre curfew lifted

The Kurdish-majority city of Cizre, after the forced curfew was lifted.

The Turkish Radio and Television Council (RTÜK) has suspended the broadcast of around 40 channels on Kurdish broadcasting platforms Digi Medya and Güç Medya. The suspension was predicated on the broad claim that the platforms “do not obey broadcasting rights.”

The co-mayor of Turkey’s Cizre district, Leyla İmret, has been removed from her post by the Turkish Interior Minister. The co-mayor of Edremit district in the majority-Kurdish Van Province was also removed from her post. In total, Turkey’s Ministry of the Interior has suspended seven mayors in the last month.

A British-led delegation of international observers has arrived in Turkey to visit Cizre, the Kurdish-majority town that has been under siege by Turkish security forces since the 4th of September. The delegation is responding to a call from the Kurdish Women’s Council (KJB) for international observers in an effort to bring the crisis in Cizre and across Turkey’s southeast to international attention.

Turkish warplanes resumed airstrikes on Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) positions in Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey’s multiple airstrikes were in retaliation to two attacks that claimed the lives of several Turkish police officers, and wounded two more. The attacks on the police officers occurred in the Kurdish-majority province of Hakkari, and were claimed by the PKK.

Iraqi Kurdistan (Bashur or South)

masoud barzani extension presidential term limits

Iraqi Kurdistan discusses KRG President Masoud Barzani’s term limits and power.

The constitutional debate over the presidency of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continued this week. KRG President Masoud Barzani has already served the maximum two presidential terms– at four years each– and was given a two-year extension in 2013. Timeline:

  • September 15th: Iraqi Kurdistan’s main Kurdish opposition parties (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Gorran, Islamic Union, and Komal) agree on two final proposals to be sent to the Kurdish-majority  Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
  • September 16th: KDP holds a meeting to discuss the two proposals presented by the main Kurdish opposition parties.
  • September 17th: The five major parties meet for the 7th time. Dr. Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff to the KRG President, spoke to the media and urged them to play a more responsible role in reporting.
  • The five parties will meet again on Monday, September 21st. It will be the eighth meeting between the five parties to discuss the details of the proposals, which include the following options:
    • If the president is elected by the general population, then the presidency will be more symbolic, and he/she will be given less political power.
    • If the president is elected by the KRG parliament, then the president will retain more political power.

Between September 12th and 13th, Peshmerga units and the Kurdish Counter Terrorism Group reportedly captured seven villages from ISIS, and detained 35 ISIS members in Daquq district, south of Kirkuk. These villages were captured in coordination with the United States Department of Defense, which reported ten airstrikes in the same area.

Kurdish Region of Syria (Rojava or West)

pyd congress

Kurdish PYD holds its 6th Annual Congress in Syria

A historic meeting between Brett McGurk, Ambassador and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, and Salih Muslim, head of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria took place on September 16th. The historic meeting marked the first time a US official met with the PYD co-chair, and was hosted by KRG President Masoud Barzani in Erbil. The three officials discussed ISIS, and the partnership between the United States-led coalition and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

The 6th Congress of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took place this past weekend in the town of Rimêlan in the Kurdish region of Syria. Attendees of the 6th Annual PYD Congress included 300 guests representing all political parties and organizations from across Europe and Kurdistan, including representatives from Kurdish parties in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. It was the biggest Congress of the PYD since its conception in 2009.

Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat or East)

bijar kurdistan iran

Town of Bijar in the Kurdish region of Iran.

The Iranian regime executed another Kurdish activist in Tehran last week. Rawoof Hosni, who was originally from Sena, was charged of murder, although the charges were suspect.

An IED exploded in the Kurdish-majority town of Mariwan. News outlets reported that two civilians were injured.

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