Kurdish demonstrators rallied in almost every major city in Turkey, protesting the 14th anniversary of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s arrival to Turkey in 1999 after a military operation led by the U.S. Local businesses except pharmacies and bakeries were reportedly kept shut in Diyarbakir, Mardin, Urfa, Batman, Sirnak, Van, Hakkari, Agri, Mus, Kars, Igdir, Adana, Mersin, Osmaniye and Hatay provinces. In Istanbul, a masked group attacked a commuter bus with molotov cocktails, police reported. In Diyarbakir province, thousands of demonstrators launched a protest walk, which was intervened by the police.
http://www.bianet.org/english/crisis/144428-turkeys-kurds-protest-ocalan-arrest-anniversary

Tens of thousands protest 15 February conspiracy in Strasbourg
16 February 2013 / Mesop
Tens of thousands people across Europe have gathered early Saturday in the French city of Strasbourg to mark the 14th anniversary of the capture of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), on 15 February 1999. Kurds coming from different European countries started to gather at Rue de Nancy as of early morning hours for the march which is organized by FEYKA (Federation of Kurdish Associations in France). Demonstrators will also call on the French state to shed light on the execution of three Kurdish politicians, Sakine Cansiz, a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), fidan Dogan, representative of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) in Paris, and Leyla Saylemez, member of the Kurdish youth movement, in Paris on 9 January. French police has taken intense security measures in the area. Some buses were stopped and searched before entering the meeting area.
http://www.mesop.de/2013/02/16/tens-of-thousands-protest-15-february-conspiracy-in-strasbourg/ <http://www.mesop.de/2013/02/16/tens-of-thousands-protest-15-february-conspiracy-in-strasbourg/>
 
Kurdish protesters clash with Turkish police
16 February 2013 / Press TV
Kurdish protesters have clashed with police in Turkey during demonstrations marking the 14th anniversary of the arrest of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.  The clashes broke out in several southeastern provinces and in the city of Istanbul on Friday.  Police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse protesters in two towns in Hakkari province, while in Mardin three demonstrators and a police officer were injured in clashes.  Security forces also arrested dozens of protesters in Sirnak and Sanilufra.  Demonstrations were also held in Istanbul, in which protesters set two buses on fire.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/02/16/289161/propkk-kurds-clash-with-turkish-police/
 
Erdogan Seeks Kurdish Allies For New Turkish Constitution
13 February 2013 / Al Monitor
All four political parties represented in the Turkish parliament want a new “civilian” constitution to replace the one imposed by a putchist military 31 years ago. The problem is that the same four parties that agree to “no’’ on the September 12 military constitution cannot agree to “yes” on a new draft constitution. There are two main reasons for the discord. The first is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s desire to replace the Turkish parliamentary regime with an executive presidential regime on his own terms. A proposal for Erdogan’s “à la carte” authoritarian presidential system has been submitted to the parliamentary Constitutional Reconciliation Commission.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/kurds-turkish-constitution-akp-chp-mhp-factions.html

Turkey meddling in Syria stirs clashes with Kurds: Analyst
17 February 2013 / Press TV
Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian crisis will backfire by putting Ankara at the risk of a new series of violent confrontations with its minority Kurdish population, a political analysts tells Press TV.  Since Ankara opened the lid to the conflict in Syria, the crisis has been “dragging [Turkey] in, in a very direct way,” William Jones from the Executive Intelligence Review weekly newsmagazine told Press TV in an interview.  He described the prospect of new clashes with Kurds as “a definite threat to Turkey,” which Ankara can only contain through “the use of police and military force.”
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/02/17/289367/ankara-opened-pandoras-box-in-syria/
 
 
COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

What does Öcalan want?
16 February 2013 / Hurriyet
Friday, Feb. 15th, was the 14th anniversary of the capture of Abdullah Öcalan, the founding leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). On that date in 1999 he was forced to leave the Greek Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in a joint operation between the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Four months earlier in October 1998, following an ultimatum by the Turkish government, endorsed by Egypt and Iran, Hafez (the father of Bashar) al-Assad had to end his long stay in Syria. After spending months on the run between European capitals such as Athens, Moscow and Rome, he was brought to and jailed in Turkey on Feb. 16, 1999. For the last 14 years he has been in a room that is slightly larger than 11 square meters.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/what-does-ocalan-want.aspx?pageID=449&nID=41243&NewsCatID=409
 
Another Kurdish Initiative in Turkey: Is Peace Finally Achievable?
15 February 2013 / Informed Comment
The last year saw a significant escalation in the armed conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish insurgency (PKK) fighting for autonomy. 2012 was the most violent year since the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. At least 541 individuals lost their lives, a significant increase from the previous years. As the meetings between the representatives of the Turkish government and the insurgents came to an end in summer 2011, the Turkish security forces and the PKK militants engaged in frequent skirmishes. The gains of the Syrian Kurds led by the PYD, an affiliate of the PKK, further aggravated the threat perception of the AK Party, which has been in power since 2002. The Turkish government responded by sponsoring Islamist Arab militants that who engaged in heavy clashes with the PYD militia for the control of Ras al-Ayn (Sêrekaniyê) since November 2012.
http://www.juancole.com/2013/02/another-initiative-achievable.html
 
STATEMENTS

International Initiative Press statement: Somersault alaturca – Play it again, Sam! 15 February 2013. http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/statement-somersault-alaturca-play-it-again-sam/
 
See also International Initiative’s Freedom for Ocalan campaign statement:
http://peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/14-years-too-long-freedom-for-ocalan/

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