Germans demonstrate in solidarity with Kobane

Throughout October, there have been various demonstrations in solidarity with the tragic situation of Kurds in Kobane. The high point of this was the organization of nation-wide demonstrations scheduled for the 1st November. People in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Hannover or Frankfurt came out into the streets to protest. Approximately 25000 participated at these nation-wide demonstrations organized by Kurdish organizations.

Demonstrations against the IS, violence between Kurds, Turks and Chechen and the Islamic law

In several Austrian cities Kurds have demonstrated against the violence of the IS and for an international intervention to save their countrymen in Kobane. During some of the mentioned demonstrations people were seriously injured (for example in Bregenz, the capital of Vorarlberg). According to Austrian newspapers Muslims with Chechen or Turkish origin were attacking Kurds; however, there are also reports, which are accusing Kurds for acting violently against Chechens or Turks.

At the same time the Austrian government tries to stop such developments by redesigning the Islamic law. However, the leader of the Austrian Muslim community, Fuat Sanac, criticizes the efforts of the government; according to him the government is not interested in a dialog with Muslims, it rather wants to control the Muslim community.

Beside the Kurdish demonstrations, members of the green party have demonstrated in front of the Turkish embassy in Vienna. They accuse the Turkish state to not do enough to save the Kurds in Kobane; and to not do enough to fight the IS.

Britain has ‘historic responsibility’ to defeat Islamic State, says Kurds’ security chief

July 13, 2014

Britain has a “historical responsibility” to provide military support to Iraq’s Kurds to fight Islamic State jihadists; their security chief has told The Telegraph. Masrour Barzani called on the West to make a “decision to eliminate Islamic State for good”. He warned the Kurds’ Peshmerga fighters lacked modern weapons to counter the extremists’ captured tanks and armoured vehicles and without help they faced defeat. Britain’s responsibility for drawing up the borders of the modern Middle East meant the UK had a duty to back them in the face of sweeping advances by Islamic State forces, he said. The chancellor of the Kurdish region’s Security Council spoke as British and American military officials proposed a helicopter airlift to rescue tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees trapped on a mountain as they fled the extremists’ ultimatum to convert or die.

Up to five RAF Chinook helicopters arrived in Cyprus on Wednesday, poised to join a rescue mission. The Pentagon announced that more than 130 American military advisers had arrived in the region to draw up a rescue plan. But Mr Barzani said Britain should still do more. He said: “Britain was responsible for drawing the map of the Middle East. We are the victims of some of the mistakes in the past. They have a historical responsibility. They have to do much more than they are doing.”

Unless the Peshmerga received heavy weaponry soon, they risked being unable to defend their territory and 1.2 million refugees, including minority Christians, and seeking sanctuary from the jihadists’ onslaught. Mr Barzani said: “Islamic State has tanks, they have armoured vehicles, American-made Humvees: they have much more firepower in their possession. Unless we have similar or better firepower it will be difficult to defeat them.”

Kurdish defences had been seen as the last bulwark against the jihadists in northern Iraq, but collapsed last week. The onslaught brought Islamic State within 30 miles of the oil-rich Kurdish town of Erbil, and allowed them to take Sinjar on the border with Syria, sending tens of thousands of civilians fleeing to the mountain range outside the city.

Military sources said an airlift appeared to be the leading option, but the biggest problem was the sheer number of trapped people and the difficulty of securing the landing sites. One military source said: “After the first wave of helicopters, and once everyone knows where they are landing, you will have every man and his dog turning up. If that’s not controlled, it will be a nightmare.”

Heightened Tensions Between Turks and Kurds in Netherlands

26 October 2011


Tensions between Turks and Kurds in the Netherlands have heightened since 19 October when 24 soldiers were killed by the Kurdish separatist movement PKK in southeast Turkey. During a demonstration against the PKK in Amsterdam protestors attempted to force entry to a Kurdish cultural center holding a memorial for victims of the recent earthquake; grafitti and an arson attempt have targeted a Turkish mosque in Arnhem. In response to messages circulating online calling Turks to come to Amsterdam to protest, Turkish and Kurdish organizations as well as the municipality and the police published a press release against demonstrations, for fear of possible riots. An emergency decree banned gathering in the Museumplein, proposed location for the demonstration, from 14:00-24:00 on 26 October. On 27 October Kurdish organizations asked authorities for protection from “aggression by Turkish rioters”.


Interview with Selçuk Şirin: “Turkish Youths Have Multiple Identities”

In a recent study about the political identities of Turkish youths, Selçuk Şirin finds that Kurdish youths feel more discriminated against than other Turkish youths, whereas young Armenians in Turkey do not feel more political pressure than Turks of the same age. Jan Felix Engelhardt spoke to the New York-based professor of applied psychology about his findings

Selçuk Şirin: “Young people in Turkey are not buying into this split idea of left vs. right, or Islamists vs. Secularists”

Mr. Şirin, for your study “Research on Identities of the Youth” you conducted in-depth interviews about political identities with approximately 1,400 18-25 year-olds. What kinds of political identity did you investigate?

Selçuk Şirin: What we were trying to do is to understand identity as a social construct. In the context of Turkey, where we have political parties or political groups that only explain or describe their own identity in opposition to others, it is very difficult to find people who have multiple identities.

However, I was delighted when my research showed that young people in Turkey are not buying into this split idea of left vs. right or Islamists vs. Secularists. Young people in Turkey have multiple identities. They combine patterns of political identity like religious identification, the degree to which one feels part of the Turkish nation and the feeling of belonging to what we call the “secular movement” or “Atatürkism”.

In all three areas, we measured the participants’ degree of identification, not by asking them “either-or” questions, like “Do you have a Muslim identity or are you a Kemalist?”, because that is that kind of question that has created the current situation in Turkey: “Are you this or that?” In reality, people say “I like Atatürk and I also feel like a Muslim.” Young people in particular don’t see identity as an “either-or” question.