What’s happening in Southern Kurdistan?
ERBIL - The street demonstrations which began over the previous days in Southern Kurdistan has been replaced with violence leaving behind 5 people dead and several injured.
The street demonstrations in Ranya located in Sulaymaniyah, Southern Kurdistan began as a result of economic and presidential crisis which has led to violent protests. So far 5 people have died and several have been injured during the protests.
The President of Kurdistan Regional Government Masoud Barzani published a written statement regarding the recent incidents, stating that police forces should take measures against the violent demonstrations.
“Those not acting in accordance with the law will be held liable for their acts. Those acting against the law will also be held liable with the consequences. Police, security forces, and all relevant bodies are requested to exert all their efforts to maintain security and protect the safety of the people and governmental and political parties' properties and institutions. I have also called on all relevant authorities to show restraint and do everything they can to calm the situation. I request all relevant institutions to deal with their responsibilities urgently. Measure should be taken to ensure peace.” said Barzani in his statement.
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has been blaming Goran (Movement for Change) and its leader Nawshirwan Mustafa for the recent incidents and Goran has been accusing KDP for being insensitive about the publics demands. The protests began due to issues with wages and presidential elections in Sulaymaniyah and other provinces where Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Goran are recognised strengthful. It has been noted some institutions connected with PKK have undertaken active roles during the protests.
The President of Kurdistan Regional Government Masoud Barzani’s tenure term ended on August, 20 but this term was extended to 2017 with a mutual agreement. Goran Movement stood against this decision by remarking that the presidents authorities should be limited and that Borzani should be elected in Parliament not by the public.
The 5 main political parties of Southern Kurdistan; Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Goran Movement of Change, Islamic Union Party and Islamic Society Party recently had 9 meetings discussing presidential elections in Sulaymaniyah however they still have not managed to reach a conclusion.
Political parties not agreeing about presidential elections and the economically issues in the area resulted in the protests.
The protestors blocked the high roads in Sulaymaniyah as no conclusion was reached at the end of the 9th meeting. KDP has been blaming Goran Movement for the violence in the area and they believe Goran has organised this to cause chaos and aim to make presidential issue an issue of society.
Kurdistan Democratic Party MP Hayat Mecit published a written statement on the parties official website stating, “Goran is trying to cause conflict in the country. It is the Goran authorities who are organising the demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah and provoking the public. The protests are not related to army issues or presidential issues therefore Goran is trying to link everything to presidential issues. Goran is a party within the government and they have minister just as many as KDP does, but they are constantly acting with an opposition mentality. They are making the public go on streets to cause a conflict and they are worried about the number of votes they will be getting in the elections.”
Mecit also stated that Goran Movement aims to cause chaos in the country with their authorities participating in the demonstrations.
KDP’s Sulaymaniyah President Sait Selim Aga stated that the public has a legitimate interest and Goran aims to cause provocation: “Goran extract anarchism and they are trying to cause a scene of chaos by blocking roads and burning tyres. They are inspiring teachers not to go lessons and doctors not to go hospitals by inviting them to participate in the street demonstrations.”
On the other hand, Goran MP Bahar Mahmut underlined that they made concession on many occasions to find a solution to presidential elections but KDP failed to draw close: “KDP never actually compromised or stepped back. We agreed that public should elect the president on the basis that the authorities are limited. We also expressed that we could meet and discuss about Barzani staying in power for another 2 years but KDP failed to accept any of our suggestions and imposed on their own suggestions instead.”
PUK International Rep Sadi Pire notes that the protests are held regarding the wages and service received by the public, “We support the requests of our citizens. The government should take the publics opinions into account and give their wages as soon as possible.”
Islamic Society Party Leader Ali Bapir invites all parties to make a settlement to end the violent demonstrations and prevent it from getting worse.
Ali Bapir spoke about the violent protests in Sulaymaniyah and its provinces and advised parties to make an act to settle the violence before it gets worse: “The 5 main political party leaders should meet up in order to solve this situation in Kurdistan. The situation may get worse if an agreement is not made.”
Bapir visited Mesut Barzani to advice him underlying that the only option is political parties gathering together to make a discussion, “As the government and political party authorities, we must find a solution to solve this problem. The President, Prime Minister, Parliament Leader and party leaders should debate and negotiate on this matter. Blaming the parties and drawing attention to other aims is not right. The Parliament has been bankrupt, they unable to work and trading has stopped, which has resulted in an increase of poverty. Protesting is a natural right for the public but requests should be presented in a different way. These incidents have resulted in very bad consequences and I hoe that it shall end soon.”
Ekrem Salih, member of KDP in charge of Kelar also shared some interesting information about the recent incidents to the press.
Salih remarked that the incidents in Sulaymaniyah and its provinces are not related to the economic crisis, “The PKK institutions in Kelar and Germiyan, located in the district of Sulaymaniyah, arouse the protestors and have taken steps towards the KDP buildings. There are no teachers or doctors in the demonstrations. They are all young and they attack areas with the directions by political sides. Some protestors in Kelar were shouting slogans in favour of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.”
It has been reported that Rudaw TV studios and other press institutions have also been attacked as a result of the violent demonstrations. Along with this NRT and KNN channels, which are known to be connected with the Goran movement, have also been shut down in Hewler and Duhok. NRT published a written statement stating that KDP directors have shut down their television offices in Hewler and Duhok hence they have transferred their workers to Sulaymaniyah.
In the meanwhile, Kurdistan Democratic Party, Islamic Union and Islamic Society party buildings in Sarezur were attacked.
The protestors attacked and burned KDP’s party buildings in Komel and Yekgirto a couple days ago and once again they are being targeted at. Halabja Province Governor Rep, Fazil Besareti, spoke to Rudaw stating that over the past two days their party buildings have attacked and set on fire. “KDP will destroy the plans of those who are bloodthirsty. We decided to leave our party buildings and we handed them over to security forces,” said Besareti.
KDP’s Sulaymaniyah speaker Faris Nevroli confirmed that some party buildings in the area have been emptied and handed over to security forces. He underlined that this decision was not made because they are weak but to prevent further blood shed.
Neyroli, “They are aiming to cause a scene of chaos. Some parties are using salary crisis as an excuse to encourage the public to attack KDP.
KDP Halabja Rep Bahtiyar Sidik remarked that they emptied 10 party buildings in Halabja as decided by the Political Bureau. He added that the security forces will be liable of any attacks to the buildings form now on.
Goran Movement’s central team also published a written statement regarding the incidents in Southern Kurdistan, remarking that KDP has lost its ability of responsibility.
Goran stated that the public has come to a point of exploding and he made a warning that the situation may get worse. “KDP is carrying out a smear campaign instead out taking the responsibility of solving the issues. Goran remaining within the government as a coalition will increase the trust between parties as well as fulfilling the publics requests. Otherwise, no power can make decisions about Goran’s political position.”
We see KDP’s “Newsirvan Mustafa and its people as the ones liable for these incidents.” A statement was after this explanation, “These words were said in regards to civil war thoughts. KDP has lost its talent of responsibility.”
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) made a statement over the past day, “Our members have been working together to protect Kurdistan land from ISIS but they have been the target by the protestors in Sulaymaniyah and Germiyan. It is clear that the demonstrations were planned and it has now come to this position.”
After the mutual statements, Kurdistan Security Agency Advisor Mesrur Barzani held Goran liable for the attcks against KDP.
Mesrur Barzani condemned the violent attacks and spoke some words of condolences to the families on his social media account.
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, “We are facing different political, economically and civil clashes. We solved our previous problems in different ways but Iraq’s political status and security issues have been loaded on Kurdistan.”
In the presidential crisis meetings PUK stated that KDP and other political parties did not suggest any reasonable advice. PUK also underlined that due to the economic crisis teachers and all other civil servants are not getting their wages paid.
PUK remarked that they support the project organised by the Goran Movement, Islamic Union Party and Islamic Society Party. At the end of the statement it was noted that, “No parties can attack PUK because of the bad incidents.”
Peshmerge Ministry made a statement regarding the recent incidents underlying that people can fight for their rights for peace and justice but in doing this they must not harm policital institutions, police institutions and places open to public/press.
A statement regarding the incidents was also made from Iraq Prime Minister Haydar Al-Ibadi’s office. The Kurdistan Regional Director and the political parties there are invited to made effort to protect the security in the region and maintain stability. The statement also expressed that their sadness for those who died as a result of the violent incidents.
Ibadi remarked that the issues should be solved through a dialogue, laws and a constitution. No violence should be used to maintain peace in the area.
On the other hand, England’s Minister of International Affairs made a statement warning their citizens to not go to Kurdistan’s region unless they have to. The minister also remarked that their citizens should stay away from crowds especially big political crowds.
Protests began in Southern Kurdistan over the recent days due to people’s salary not being paid. 5 people were killed as a result of the protests and several people were left injured. Political party buildings and institutions were the target of attacks.
Over the recent years several different incidents and attacks have taken place in the region of Kurdistan due to Mesut Barzani emphasising on independence. Analysts have examined the recent incidents claiming that they must have a link, the incidents include; USA air forces hitting Syria, the PKK attacks in Turkey, Russia’s air bombardments to Esed in Syria, the Russian aircrafts invasion in Turkey, the civil clashes in Southern Kurdistan and the most recent attack in Anakara.
Some analysts and security experts claim that the chaos incidents in Turkey, Syria and Iraq appear to have a link to USA-Russia equation. (ILKHA)