Forced Evictions and Destruction in Villages in Turkish Kurdistan

published in MER199

This document is excerpted from a longer report by the Netherlands Kurdistan Society, Forced Evictions and Destruction of Villages in Dersim (Tunceli) and the Western Part of Bingöl, Turkish Kurdistan, September-November 1994 (Amsterdam, 1995).

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From the Editors

published in MER199

From June 4-14, tens of thousands of officials and experts from around the globe will gather in Istanbul for the Second UN Conference for Human Settlement (Habitat II), the last of the global UN summits. The non-official NGO gatherings should take the occasion to scrutinize how the attending states have addressed the right of their citizens to adequate shelter.

The Destruction of Iraqi Kurdistan

by Isam al-Khafaji
published in MER201

Less than five years ago, the US-led coalition against Saddam Hussein established a “safe haven” in Iraqi Kurdistan following Iraq’s brutal suppression of an uprising against the regime during March-April 1991. The mood among the majority of Iraqi Kurds was highly optimistic: A certain measure of self-rule had been forced on the central government in Baghdad, a goal for which they had been fighting for almost half a century.

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The Demise of Operation Provide Comfort

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER203

The evacuation of several thousand Iraqi Kurds from northern Iraq by the US military in December 1996 constituted the last gasp of Operation Provide Comfort. This operation was launched in the spring of 1991, in the wake of the Gulf war and Kurdish uprising against Baghdad, as hundreds of thousands of Kurds, fleeing Iraqi depredations in the valleys below, escaped to the high mountain ranges that mark the Iraqi-Turkish border. In October 1991, the Iraqis withdrew, freeing the Kurds to carve out an autonomous region. This territory was nominally protected by an allied Military Coordination Center based in the Iraqi border town of Zakho and by allied fighter jets and AWACS planes patrolling the no-fly zone above the thirty-sixth parallel from the US airbase at Incirlik, Turkey.

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Deep Traumas, Fresh Ambitions

Legacies of the Iran-Iraq War

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER257

The seeds of future war are sown even as parties fight and, depleted or on the verge of defeat, sue for peace. The outcome is rarely stable and may be barely tolerable to one side or the other. This rule holds true for the two belligerents no less than for their respective sponsors, keen to protect their strategic interests. Ambitions thwarted are merely delayed, not abandoned; new traumas incurred are entered into the ledger for the settlement of what is hoped one day will be the final bill.

The PKK and the Closure of Turkey's Kurdish Opening

by Alexander Christie-Miller | published August 4, 2010

At a community hall in Diyarbakır, a majority-Kurdish city in southeastern Turkey, a shrine is draped with the illegal flag of the Kurdistan Workers Party, otherwise known as the PKK. On top of the flag is a framed photograph of Özgür Dağhan, a young man who died fighting for the outlawed rebel group. Looming above, a poster shows the grinning visage of the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, whose organization’s war with the Turkish state has so far claimed more than 40,000 lives. Since the PKK canceled its one-year ceasefire on June 1, scenes such as this one are once again common.

Iraq’s Kurds Have to Choose

by Joost Hiltermann | published July 30, 2008

Kurdish parties have become kingmakers in Baghdad , and they know it. As no federal government can work without them, they are pulling every available political lever to expand the territory and resources they control, trying to build the foundation of an independent Kurdish state. But even more than territory, they need security. If everyone acts quickly and wisely, that understanding could help resolve one of the Iraq war’s thorniest issues.

A Precarious Peace in Northern Iraq

by Quil Lawrence | published October 1, 2009

On a stifling August afternoon in 2008, just as Iraq was recovering from the worst of its sectarian civil war, the Arab and Kurdish parties allied with the United States came to the edge of an ethnic bloodbath whose consequences for Iraq and the region would have been every bit as frightening. The trouble started when the mayor of Khanaqin, a predominantly Kurdish city in the Diyala province along the Iranian border, received a frantic call from a police station beyond the Alwand River on the west side of town. “They told me that the Iraqi army was on its way,” said the mayor, Muhammad Mula Hassan. “No one had informed me. A minute later we heard that the Iraqi army was surrounding Khanaqin.

Harbingers of Turkey’s Second Republic

by Kerem Öktem | published August 1, 2007

On July 23, the day after the ruling Justice and Development Party won Turkey’s early parliamentary elections in a landslide, Onur Öymen, deputy chairman of the rival Republican People’s Party (CHP), interpreted the results as follows: