Saturday, September 22, 2012

Angelina Jolie in Erbil and Baghdad, Rioting in Bingöl, Kurds Rounded Up in Denmark: Kurdistan Update, 16-22 September 2012


Killing of 18 Turkish Police, Military Prompts Anti-Kurdish Riot in Bingöl.  In southeastern Turkey’s Bingöl province, in the Kurdish region, eight police officers were killed by a landmine on September 16th, and nine were injured.  Also in Bingöl, on September 18th, a Turkish army convoy of over 200 soldiers was attacked by Kurdish rebels armed with rockets, killing 10 and injuring more than 70.  On September 21st, a non-Kurdish mob in Bingöl, angry over the violence, attacked the local offices of the pro-Kurdish but mainstream Peace and Democracy Party (B.D.P.).  The mob hurled stones, sticks, and furniture and had to be dispersed by riot police with water cannons.

The anti-Kurdish mob in Bingöl this week.
5 Killed in Other Kurdish Violence across Turkey.  Four Turkish soldiers were killed by remote-controlled bombs in Turkey’s southeastern Hakkari province, it was announced September 15th, in an area near the borders with Iran and Iraq where fighting with the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) has approximated civil war in recent weeks.  Five were wounded in the incident.  A regional public prosecutor in Tunceli province, Murat Uzunwas shot in the head as he entered his apartment building on September 19th and died the following day in the hospital.  The P.K.K. claimed responsibility for the killing.  Then, on September 20th, security forces near Diyarbakir, the notional Kurdish capital, in southeastern Turkey, defused a bomb found on a bridge near an airport, causing the cancellation of flights as the situation was investigated.  Police suspect the P.K.K.  The group is also suspected in the torching of a school in Hakkari province on September 21st.  There were no injuries in that incident.


Angelina Jolie Visits Syrian Refugees, Urges Iraqi Kurds to Keep Borders Open.  The United States actress Angelina Jolie visited northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region this week, and on September 16th she visited refugee camps and urged the Kurdistan Regional Government’s prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, as well as other officials, to keep borders open so that refugees from Syria’s civil war can seek refuge in the K.R.G. area.  Jolie is a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (U.N.H.C.R.).  Over a quarter-million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries since the civil war began.

Angelina Jolie visiting with Kurds in Baghdad

Iranian Kurdish Dissident Survives Assassination Attempt in Sweden.  The deputy head of Iran’s dissident Kurdistan Freedom PartyHossein Yazdanpanah, told Kurdish media this week survived an assassination attempt in Sweden last month, which he blames on Iranian agents.  But it wasn’t the first time.  “Since 1991,” he says, “the Iranian government has tried to kill me more than 10 times.”  During his stay in Sweden, visiting friends, three masked men tried to break into the house where he was staying, he said.  Despite the masks, Yazdanpanah conjectured from hair and skin tone that the men were from Lebanon and Somalia and had received paramilitary training in Iranian camps in Syria.  (That’s a lot of information to glean from merely, say, part of a wrist or an earlobe!)  Swedish police are apparently investigating the incident.

Hossein Yazanpanah, assassination survivor

Danes Bust 8 Kurds on Terrorism Fundraising Charges during Probe of T.V. Station.  In Denmark this week, authorities arrested eight people who are accused of raising and distributing money for a terrorist organization, in this case the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.).  Danish authorities made the discoveries during an investigation into Roj TV, a Kurdish television network based in Copenhagen.

Flag of the P.K.K.
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  Look for it in spring 2013.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]

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