Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç returned on the prohibition to use Taksim Square as venue for the May Day celebrations. 

Journalists asked vice PM Arınç on what measures the government will take as "especially unions are insisting to be in Taksim Square on May Day".

Arınç underlined that "The topic didn’t come up during our meeting. I personally asked our Internal Affairs Minister about the current situation on this issue. DİSK and unions tied to them would like to create an argument atmosphere, a battle and a scene which would remind past years’ Taksim experiences with disappointing examples."

The vice PM once again made it clear that "There will be no tolerance on major crowds’ demonstrations. […]

Mountain of impunity looms over Kurdistan journalists

A CPJ special report by Namo Abdulla reveals as Iraqi Kurdistan may seem calm compared with much of the Middle East, but the media are vulnerable whenever internal political tensions flare.

Amid impunity for anti-press attacks, including murder and arson, journalists say they must self-censor on topics like religion, social inequality, and corruption associated with powerful officials.

Namo Abdulla tells the story of 32-year-old Rayel editor-in-chief Kawa Garmyane, who had published several reports alleging corruption among Kurdish politicians, particularly those in the powerful political party, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). […]

The Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security has answered the parliamentary question presented by BDP's (Peace and Democracy Party) Batman MP Ayla Akat Ata on a landslide at Darkale at an underground coal mine in Soma district of Manisa on 20 October 2013.

According to the figures of work accidents released by the Ministry, 293 workers lost their life in Turkey between 2010 and 2012. The majority of the cases of workers' deaths was witnessed in the sectors of coal and lignite drawing.

The figures reveal that a total of 130 workers were killed on work in 2010, 119 in 2011 and 44 in 2012. Most of the cases of deaths were lived in Zonguldak province of the Black Sea Region. […]

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş spoke about the course of the democratic resolution process for the Kurdish question in Turkey at the last parliamentary meeting of the party whose all deputies will enter the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

Clarifying the merging of the BDP with the HDP, Demirtaş said the BDP will not terminate itself but will continue its political struggle as a party focusing on local problems. He underlined that “we must get the HDP growing and make it a party of peoples and a common front of all those oppressed”. […]

Today is Children's Day in Turkey, but as the Human Rights Association (IHD) Amed Branch pointed out, for mani kids there is nothing to celebrate. 

The IHD latest figures showed 575 children have lost their life in the conflict environment since 1988, and 205 children have been murdered in the last twelve years since the AKP came to the power.

Four children lost their life as a result of mine explosions in the first ten months of 2013, IHD report said and noted that four children suspiciously died in the same period during which also twelve children committed suicide and five others were murdered as a result of domestic and social violence. […]

Police detained four minors who have opened a banner reading “Berkin Elvan is immortal” and chanted slogans during the events held to mark the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day in Eyüp district of Istanbul today.

High school students were assaulted and detained by police as they opened the banner and started to chant slogans when Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu took the stage to award a prize to students. Two among the students were forcibly taken to a closed space in Feshane. Police closed the doors and allows nobody inside the closed space.

Two more minors were assaulted and detained by police when they chanted slogan as the ceremony continued. […]

Lawyers for Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan have been seen their application to vist their client rejected once again. 

This time the reason given for the refusal was the "state holiday". Today is National Sovereignity Day, therefore authorities in Bursa said a meeting could not be organized.

Lawyers Cengiz Çiçek, Cengiz Yürekli, İbrahim Bilmez and Ömer Güneş applied to Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office for their ordinary weekly meeting which has been rejected since 27 July 2011.

A number of reasons have been given to justify the refusal, from bad weather to problems with the boat to Imrali. […]

The digging of ditches on the West Kurdistan border has ended on 22 April.

A trench dividing South and Rojava Kurdistan, three meters in depth, two meters in breadth and 20-25 kilometres in length, has been dug at the border by Federal Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani's party KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party).

The vigil promoted by people from the Cizîre Canton of Rojava at the South and West (Başûr-Rojava) Kurdistan border which started on 16 April has also ended yesterday.

Protestors had pitched 10 tents where they began a permanent vigil along the border in an area between the village of Girê Sor of Dêrik and the village of Sihêla in South Kurdistan. The trench has been dug between the two villages. […]

25-year-old Arab citizen Hesen Eli Tirkiye was wounded as a result of fire opened by Turkish soldiers at Rojava border on 21 April.

Tirkiye who was wounded at the border with Hecimetre town of Dêrik in Cizîre Canton was hospitalized after the incident. He is reported to be in good state of health now.
On the other hand, the Turkish army is reported to be drawing a 400 meter long wire fence in the mentioned area. Villagers will reportedly stage a demo to protest against the wire fence.

On 18 April, Turkish soldiers opened fire on a group of Rojava citizens as they attempted to cross into North Kurdistan from Efrin. […]

A documentary produced some years ago tells the story of activist, author and one of the earliest modern Armenian feminists, Zabel Yesayan.
Yesayan was the only woman to be blacklisted amongst the group of 300 Armenian intellectuals arrested on April 24th 1915.

She was born on 4 February 1878 in the Silahdar neighbourhood of Scutari (today's Üsküdar in Istanbul). In 1895 she moved to Paris, where she studied literature and philosophy  and she returned to Costantinople after the Young Turk Revolution in 1908. In 1909 she went to Cilicia and published a series of articles in connection with the Adana massacre in April 1909. Between 20 and 30 thousands Armenian Christians were killed in the city. […]

201 days left to the November 9th when Catalan people will vote in a referendum to say whether they want Catalunya to be independent. On Sunday DiploCAT launched its new website, CataloniaVOTES.eu, in English, French, and German, in order to explain the Catalan sovereignty process abroad.

The site offers a calendar that counts down until the morning of November 9th, when the referendum is to be held and an ample collection of documentation and videos that explain the process, including one with the President of the Catalan government himself. […]

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said at a parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday that he would not allow May Day gatherings at Istanbul's central Taksim Square, and urged parties and unions to celebrate the May Day at certain areas eligible for public rallies designated by his government.

Responding to unionists who have recently called for May Day gatherings at Taksim Square and put emphasis on the square's importance in the social and political history of Turkey, Erdoğan defended that any persistent push for Taksim cannot be reconciled with goodwill or good intentions.  

According to Erdoğan, "Those who insist on celebrating it here [in Taksim Square] are just saying: 'I am ready for clashes". […]

Tomorrow, 23 April, is "Children's Day" in Turkey. But for many children this is not a country looking after them.

Indeed, according to the figures provided by the Justice Ministry, there are 2000 children in Turkish prisons.

Most of these minors have been arrested during social demonstrations.

Children jailed in Turkey live in apalling prison conditions. The violence especially Kurdish children experienced was dramatically shown by the Pozanti Prison case, in 2012.

Reports in the press about rape and sexual abuse of Kurdish children and juveniles held in the Pozanti Children’s Prison near the city called Adana, have revealed an important number of outrageous events. […]

Erdal Doğan, a lawyer in the case of Hrant Dink and Zirve massacre, spoke to ANF Zeynep Kuray before the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Lawyer Doğan underlined that the Armenian diaspora has been demonized before Turkey's society for years, and put emphasis on the need for the elimination of this perception.

The diaspora is made up of Anatolians who were forced to leave these lands, Doğan explained and remarked a bridge could be built between the Armenian diaspora and the HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party). According to Doğan, the establishment of dialogue between the diaspora and the HDP would help to eliminate prejudices for such a meeting and to unite people once again. […]

A blast bomb was thrown at the house of Leyla Anık, member of the municipal council of Mardin's Dargeçit district, last night.

The bomb attack was carried out soon after Anık went into her house last night. The explosion caused damaged inside the house.

Police came to the scene and took a statement down after the bomb attack whose perpetrators are yet to be identified.

Speaking about the attack, Leyla Anık said the blast bomb was thrown inside the kitchen just as she turned the lights on after entering the house. Anık noted that she didn't see anyone after the incident in the panic of the attack targeting her. […]

The BDP-HDP delegation will finally visit Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan on Saturday. The visit was supposed to take place last week but theTurkish authorities postponed it.

It will be the first meeting with the Kurdish leader since the local election on 30 March.

At the same time lawyers for Öcalan, have applied once more to the Bursa authorities to obtain permisison to visit their client. The application was made by lawyers Cengiz Çiçek, Cengiz Yürekli, İbrahim Bilmez and Ömer Güneş.

Öcalan'lawyers have been denied meeting with their client since 27 July 2011. […]

Elizabeth Gawria, deputy of the executive council head of Aljazira canton, has said that "trenches between South and West Kurdistan are wall dividing brothers".

Gawria was speaking after having participated to the vigil against the ditches. She was with the protestors on the border and wanted to send a message to South Kurdistan government asking them to stop the digging of ditches.

Gawria also stated that "due to the continuous attacks by armed groups against Rojava people, we were assuming the relation with South Kurdistan was a good relation and we were expecting help from our Kurdish brothers and not more attacks". […]

Mahmoud Othman, independent MP of the coalition of Kurdish blocs has stated that it would be difficult to hold free, transparent and fair elections under the current circumstances in Iraq.

Othman said that there are no requirements and conditions for holding free and fair elections, in the absence of equal opportunities among the political blocs and added that "there are major reasons for this, including the deteriorating of the security situation in Baghdad and most of the provinces of the country. Plus, the census has not being carried out and the law of parties and organizations have not yet been passed". […]

The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Co-Presidency has released a statement against the ditches simultaneously being dug by the AKP and South Kurdistan governments on Rojava border for some time now.

The KCK pointed out that the digging of ditches aimed to break the democratic will of the people of Rojava where - it noted - Kurdish, Arab, Armenian and Syriac peoples have declared democratic autonomy by means of their own will and organized struggle, thus setting a leading example for all the oppressed ethnic and belief groups in the Middle East. […]

The vigil in Strasbourg calling for the freedom of Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan is now on its 667nd day. Groups from different countries in Europe take turns to spend a week at the vigil, which is continuing in front of the Council Of Europe in Strasbourg.

This week is the turn of a group of 5 Kurds from Den Haag in Holland. The vigil, for Öcalan and all political prisoners in Turkey, is part of the Campaign for the Freedom of Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan and begun on 25 June 2012.

Since then tens of thousands of leaflets headed "The freedom struggle of the Kurds and who is Öcalan?" have been distributed and thousands of signatures asking for the release of the Kurdish leader and political prisoners have been collected. […]

A human chain, on Monday, was the last action to protest the ditches being built on the border with Rojava. Hundreds of people join in along with Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Mardin MP Gülser Yıldırım, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Mardin Provincal Co-chairs Reşat Kaymaz and Hasibe Mengilkaon, co-mayors, NGOs representatives and Peace Mothers Assembly members.

The human chain comes after days of protest by citizens of Rojava against the decision by the Kurdistan Regional Government led by the KDP to build the ditches.

Mardin Provincal Co-chair Reşat Kaymaz renewed his call to KDP to give up from its dirty politicies towards Rojava and remarked. […]

SANA news agency says a pair of mortar shells hit near the parliament building in central Damascus, killing five people

Syria's state-run agency added that the mortars struck some 100 meters from the parliament in the Salihiya area of the Syrian capital on Monday.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack came the day the government announced that presidential elections will be held on 5 June. […]

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