Category Archives: Democracy

In the KRG: Accountable or Unaccountable President? That is the Question

By Sardar Aziz: The history of the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament dates back to the early 1990s. It emerged after the central government’s withdrawal from the region and the emergence of a de facto Kurdish state. For most of its history the parliament has been a vehicle for ‘strong men’ to rule the region – without…

Massoud Barzani’s Controversial Presidency

By Harem Karem and Kamal Chomani: President Barzani’s two terms in office ended in 2013, although he has managed to cling on for two more years after striking a shady deal, exploiting a loophole in the system, with his so-called strategic partner, the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan). Barzani’s presidency was revived by Hero Ibrahim…

South of Kurdistan Needs Strong Parliamentary System, Not Presidential Rule

By Arian Mufid: In August it will be time to elect the President of Kurdistan. Back in 2013 all the parties in the Kurdistan parliament passed a vote of confidence in Masud Barzani, re-electing him as President. The issue of whether Barzani should once again be re-elected, after his term expires, is hot topic of…

International Support for Kurdistan: Hard versus Soft Assistance

By Goran Abdulla: The offensive by the barbaric Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) might have provided what is going to probably be a missed window of opportunity for Kurdistan region of Iraq (Kurdistan) to establish the seeds of a state with clearly defined borders. A host of economic, political and military factors…

Turkey Bans American Writer

Press Release, March 9 2015, Ankara: According to Reporters Without Borders, Turkey has dropped to number 154 out of 180 countries in its 2014 Press Freedom Index. Foreign journalists in Turkey have been silenced through fear of losing their residence permit or actual deportation and banning.   These bans often come without explanation. Dr. Amy L….

Türkiye, Amerikalı Yazar Ülkeye Girişini Yasakladı

Basın Bildirisi, 9 Mart 2015, Ankara: Sınır Tanımayan Gazeteciler örgütüne göre Türkiye, 2014 Basın Özgürlüğü Endeksi’nde 180 ülke arasında 154. sıraya düştü. Türkiye’de bulunan yabancı gazeteciler, oturma izinlerinin iptaliyle, fiili sınır dışı edilmeyle ve girişlerinin yasaklanmasıyla korkutulup susturulmakta. Bu yasaklar çoğunlukla hiçbir açıklama yapılmadan konulmakta. Ülkeye girişi yasaklanan son gazeteci, Mount Ararat Trek turizm şirketinin…

Amerikalı Yazar Türkiye’ye Girişi Yasaklandı

Dr. Amy L. Beam: Amerika’da bir söz vardır: “Vereceğin ceza, suça uygun olsun”. Türkiye’de çok uzun süredir bu özdeyişin tam tersi geçerli: Önce ceza geliyor, ardından suçlama. Son yıllarda Türkiye’de gerçekleri söylemek en büyük suçlardan biri haline geldi. Ama cezalandırma her zaman gizli bir şekilde gerçekleştiriliyor: Ya “oturma izninizin süresi doldu” gibi sıradan bir nedene…

American Writer Banned from Turkey

By Dr. Amy L. Beam: In America they have a saying: “Let the punishment fit the crime.” In Turkey, for too many years, this adage has been reversed: first comes the punishment, then comes the accusation. Truth-telling has become the leading crime in Turkey, but it is always disguised, either as something mundane like “overstaying…

Regulating the Media in Kurdistan: Mission Impossible or Ignorable?

By Harem Karem & Kamal Chomani: In 1898 Miqdad Medhet Bedirxan launched the first Kurdish media outlet, a newspaper called Kurdistan. More than a century later the Kurdistan Region’s (KR) media is in chaos, lacking a clear structure, identity or mission while also being too parochial, politicised and subject to manipulation by political parties and businessmen. The…

Returning to Dictatorship

By Rizgar Anwar Abdullah: After the end of direct European imperialism, a kind of autonomy was given to various tribal groups within the new Independent states, and the power in each of those states, including economic power, was controlled by a family or a tribe with absolute force. And that’s without any regard for the indigenous…

Democracies or Islamic States in West Asia?

Dr. Jan Best de Vries: Democracy is neither a guarantee for individual happiness nor is it perfect. However, as a polity it may bring political stability, long-lasting peace and economical prosperity to a country, because all its inhabitants have equal rights and, being certain of their constitutional rights, can freely choose their own representatives in…

Kurdish independence dream might turn against free press and democracy

By Kamal Chomani: This is the text of a speech today by independent journalist Kamal Chomani to a meeting held at the Swedish Parliament about human rights and press freedom, organised by Swedish MP Amine Kakabaveh, the 17th February Group and the NINA center: Thank you so much for this honor. I feel terribly humbled to address…

People-run debates before General Elections

Shwan Dizayee

By Shwan Dizayee : Watching the Europe Debate on British television last night made me think, are people really listening? Do Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg themselves know what they are saying, or is it all a rehearsed pantomime fuelled by the motive of securing seats in the 2015 General Election; whichever it is, one…

Denise Natali: Kurdistan seems to be following rentier states’ path

Interview by Mohammed Hussein: Dr. Denise Natali – Senior Research Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Washington DC – talks about the problems of Kurdistan-Turkey oil contracts, rentierism and chances that an oil dependent economy can lead to dictatorship. MH: What is wrong with the (Kurdistan-Turkey) oil contract and pipe,  and why…

Murders of an ‘unknown’ kind in the ‘Other Iraq’

By Shenah Abdullah: You must have come across articles, books, blogs, advertisements, pictures and stories about the ‘Other Iraq’ where oil is ever flowing, the cities and towns are safe and secure, the people friendly and welcoming and the economy booming like never before under the leadership of the Kurdistan Regional Government—headed by Kurdish officials…