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Embarassment for Erdogan: He Wanted a Supermajority, and He Got a Minority چاپ ارسال به دوست, Los Angeles, California, USA   
 Embarassment for Erdogan: He Wanted a Supermajority, and He Got a Minority
June 7, 2015 9:35
The ruling party in Turkey, President Recep Tayip Erdogan's AK Party, came up short of a majority in today's Turkish elections, while a Kurdish party won official - and substantial - representation in parliament for the first time.
It's a big loss for Erdogan, and a big step back for his personal stature and his attempt to weave more Islamist elements into Turkey's political fabric. His party had a strong majority of the seats in parliament for the last 13 years, having won between one-third and half the vote; Sunday he won 42 percent of the vote but is a bit short of a majority, meaning he will scramble to form a coalition - or call new elections if a government isn't formed in time.
(Turkey's parliament works on proportional representation, but does not seat parties that get less than 10 percent of the vote, so the parties above 10 percent get a bigger share of seats than they do of the vote - hence, Erdogan's party held a solid majority of seats despite getting just 49 percent of the vote last time around.)
Compare this result - having to form a coalition - with what Erdogan had hoped to do: Over the last couple years, he had talked up the possibility of rewriting Turkey's constitution to include an executive presidency, giving the president - currently himself, in a role without many formal powers - a great deal of influence. He needed two-thirds of parliament to change the constitution, and seemed to hope that with the right combination of economic growth, patronage politics, and fear-mongering about violence from the opposition that he could get it. Now, he could still form a coalition to govern, but he's about a hundred seats away from the goal he'd aspired to.


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A big win for Kurds at the White House چاپ ارسال به دوست
vokradio.Los Angeles, California, USA   

A big win for Kurds at the White House

The Kurds have made a conscious effort to step back from a damaging feud with the United States over weapons shipments.

15 May 2015 08:40 GMT

Barzani meets with Obama and Biden during his official visit to Washington [Getty]



michael_knights.jpgMichael Knights

Michael Knights is the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He specialises in the politics and security of Iraq. He has worked in every Iraqi province and most of the country's hundred districts, including periods embedded with Iraq's security forces.



From May 3-8, Washington DC hosted a high-powered delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). KRG President Massoud Barzani was flanked by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, National Security Chancellor Masrour Barzani and Minister of Peshmerga Affairs Mustapha Sayyid Qadr, among other KRG ministers and officials.

In the three years since Barzani's last White House visit, a lot has changed. Back then, just six months after the withdrawal of US forces, Iraq was a bad memory that the Obama administration wanted to forget. Today Iraq is the key theatre of the war against the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

As important, US-Kurdish relations had frayed badly since Barzani's June 2012 visit. Washington had refused to back a cross-sectarian May 2012 effort, led by Barzani, to oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. 

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World famous artist highlights emergence of Kurdish women as warriors چاپ ارسال به دوست
vokradio.Los Angeles, California, USA   
May 13, 2015 


In the 1960s when he was starting on the path to international fame, Kurdish artist Zuhdi Sardar did a series of works on Kurdish women highlighting their beauty. Decades later, he has renewed the work to draw attention to another aspect of Kurdish women: their emergence as freedom fighters.


“My reason for renewing this work now is motivated by the recent emergence of Kurdish women as freedom fighters and warriors in the mainstream media,” Sardar told Rudaw at Gallery 800 in Los Angeles, where his five-piece series is on exhibit.

“I wanted to show another dimension of Kurdish women and their mythologized beauty as well,” he said.


In the fight against Islamic State (ISIS), women fighters have taken a frontline role, especially in Syria, where Kurdish forces have their own all-women wing.

The roots of Sardar’s original series, which sold out when he first showed it in Baghdad, is based on Kurdish mythology and the story of where Kurdish women get their looks.


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Iran: Kurds in Mahabad protest against authorities چاپ ارسال به دوست
VOKRadio, Los Angeles, California, USA   

 Iran: Kurds in Mahabad protest against authorities


by: Sarbaz Yousef and Jiwan Saman

May 8, 2015 

ARA NEWS: Erbil, Kurdistan Region – Thousands of Kurds took to the streets on Thursday in the city of Mahabad, northwestern Iran, to protest against an Iranian officer who sexually harassed a Kurdish girl causing her to commit suicide, locals reported.

Local activists reported that the Kurdish girl, Farinaz Khosrwni, 23, who was working in Tara hotel in Mahabad, has committed suicide after an Iranian intelligence officer tried to rape her.

“She threw herself from the hotel’s balcony on the fourth floor, for fear of being captured by the Iranian officer,” the sources said. 

Activists on social networking sites have shared the news in the city and called for a campaign of mass protests across Mahabad. Thousands of Kurds protested in front of the hotel and burned it. 

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New York Times: Riot Erupts in Iran’s Kurdish Capital Over Woman’s Death چاپ ارسال به دوست
vokradio.Los Angeles, California, USA   

  New York Times:

Riot Erupts in Iran’s Kurdish Capital Over Woman’s Death



MAY 7, 2015


TEHRAN — Furious over the unexplained death of a chambermaid, ethnic Kurds in an Iranian provincial capital rioted on Thursday, apparently setting the fire that roared through the hotel where she had worked. Police officers used tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to news accounts, witnesses, and images posted on social media.

The anger, which appeared to have been smoldering for days in the city, Mahabad, spread over the mysterious circumstances surrounding the fate of the chambermaid, Farinaz Khosravani, 25, who on Monday plunged from a fourth-floor window of the city’s only four-star hotel, the Tara, Kurdish news media reported. Mahabad is the capital of West Azerbaijan Province, and its population is mostly Kurdish.

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