Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 March 2018 Kurdistan
Pray for the family members of the four men who died in a
Turkish airstrike following the Newroz celebration of freedom. Pray that the
protests that spread again over Iraqi Kurdistan remain nonviolent and bring
about the changes the people demand.
Pray that the world not remain silent against the recent Turkish
military invasion into Iraqi Kurdistan that threatens the lives of many
Iraqi Kurdistan’s six-months-long blockade has ended. The Iraqi
authorities have finally lifted the ban on international flights to and from
the region. The first airplanes from neighboring countries began landing again
in the region’s capital Erbil. Sulaimani is still waiting for the reopening of
At the same time, the Turkish military, encouraged by the
silence and inactivity of the international community towards their bombardment
and invasion of Syrian Afrin, which killed hundreds and forced over 150,000
people to flee their homes, invaded the border regions of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Turkish ground forces are about fifteen miles deep within the Iraqi Kurdistan
territory (Sidakan district), building bases and attacking armed groups.
Farmers and shepherds, many of whom CPT partners with, are under great threat.
On 21 March, Kurds and other people around the world
celebrated Newroz, the coming of the New Year and the festival of liberation
from tyranny. On the Newroz night Turkish fighter jets bombarded Sarkan village
and killed four young men: Bezhan Mustafa, Mohammad Ismail, Darbaz Mohammad,
Sherko Mahmud. Two of them were relatives of a close CPT friend. Our hearts are
with their families and friends.
This week, new anti-government protests spread around many
towns and cities of Iraqi Kurdistan. Teachers, medical workers, and other
government employees are asking for the government to pay their salaries. They
march and gather in the public spaces and block roads. In the governorate of
Sulaimani the security forces have taken on a peaceful, respectful approach
even towards people who have set up tents and camp on a major road in front of
the Sulaimani courthouse. We hope that the security forces’ attitude continues
and the government hears and affirms the people’s demands. In other parts of
Iraqi Kurdistan, the security forces have beaten and arrested people, including
teachers and journalists.