Recent CPTnet stories

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 March 2018 Kurdistan

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 communities. 

 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 flights.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayers for Peacemakers 21 February 2018 Kurdistan

Prayers for Peacemakers 21 February 2018   Kurdistan

Pray for the people living in Afrin, Syria as they face NATO backed Turkish bombings.  Pray that that the Kurdish people in Afrin face the invasion of their homeland with courage.  Pray for the wounded that flood local hospitals and the workers that treat them. 


   

Afrin is a newly formed canton known as Rojava, which is part of Democratic Federation of Northern Syria with a majority Kurdish population. It continues to be bombed by Erdogan, President of Turkey, who launched the Olive Branch Operation on 20 January 2018. Erdogan has claimed that his mission is to secure Turkey's borders from Kurdish militias and he plans to move the Turkish military to Manbaj, Syria after conquering Afrin and the rest of the newly formed Kurdish democratic region Rojava. This operation is bombing civilians and their livelihoods, wiping out hospitals, schools and homes. Recent reports indicate the use of toxic gas in Afrin, where six people have been hospitalized. Afrin Canton's population is more than 500,000 people and it hosts around 120,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have fled the lengthy war in Syria.  Reports indicate that the Turkish invasion and bombing have resulted in the displacement of 17,000 people, numerous deaths and casualties as well as mass destruction that will require decades of rebuilding.  The people of Afrin have been seeking international solidarity to stop another war, while Syria has been struggling with a bloody and protracted war more than seven years. However, there has been too little response and all the international powers have turned a blind eye to the atrocities and the genocide that Erdogan is committing. We ask everyone to help the people of Afrin in these difficult times to stop another genocide and war in Rojava (The Kurdish Region of Syria).

Sign the CPT Iraqi-Kurdistan's petition to Stop the Attack on Afrin 

#AfrinNotAlone 

#TurkeyHandsOffAfrin 

#StopTurkeySaveAfrin

Prayers for Peacemakers, 17 January 2018 Iraqi Kurdistan

Prayers for Peacemakers, 17 January 2018   Iraqi Kurdistan

Pray for members of the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan project, for the activists and communities that the team partners with, and for a miraculous transformation of the forces and powers behind the volatile and destructive political situation, both in the immediate area where the team works and in the wider region.

Please, carry in your thoughts and prayers members of the Iraqi Kurdistan team who have just regathered in Sulaimani to restart their work after a three-week-long recess. The team members needed time to rest, process the impacts of the time of high intensity work and stress and to rebuild their personal lives. Since beginning of January, the team has already engaged in some of the work and communication with partners, mostly from their homes. We are grateful that two CPTers from Northern America experienced a safe travel and successful entry to Iraqi Kurdistan. 

Please, pray for the team partners

- whom Turkish bombs and Iranian rockets continue to target, even in the cold winter weather, and who live in the proximity of the new Turkish military bases;

- the teachers, journalists, and nonviolent activists whom the security forces of the political parties beat, detained, wounded, harassed, as well as families who lost their loved ones, during the recent massive protests demanding political change.

Please, pray for a miraculous transformation of powers and decisions behind Turkish and Iranian foreign military actions. A miracle and a massive world-scale solidarity action might be the only chance to stop the Turkish invasion of Syrian Kurdistan and increased military operations in Iraqi Kurdistan.

 Please, pray for respect to mark the negotiations between the Iraqi and Kurdistan governments about the future relationship between the two, and especially the future of Iraqi Kurdistan’s autonomy. Pray that Iraq would cease its revenge campaign against the people of Kurdistan for the referendum on independence and would truly respect its own constitution. Iraqi Kurdistan must be able to maintain its autonomy and rights, especially in regards to movement of people and goods, as well as economic, diplomatic and internal, regional and international political affairs.   

With loving gratitude for your prayers, empathy and acts of solidarity,

Lukasz Firla, Project Support Coordinator for Iraqi Kurdistan team 

Partners of the Iraqi Kurdistan team: teachers asking for an end to governmental corruption and for their rightful salaries to be
 paid

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: CPT partner Mohammad Salah Mahdi Arrested by Kurdish Secret Police

 

Mohammad Salah Mahdi (right) talking about nonviolent protest on Kurdish TV

On 18 December, CPT partner Mohammad Salah Mahdi was swept up in a Kurdish Regional Government crackdown on thousands of peaceful demonstrators who demanded that their leaders step down because of corruption.  Teachers, like Mohammad, and other government employees have not received their full salaries since 2015.   After many hours of not knowing Mohammad’s location, the team found out the prison where the Asaish (Kurdish secret police) were interrogating him.   As of this writing he is still in the Asaish jail, but family members have been able to visit him.  Mohammad has worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams for ten years, and went through CPT training in 2014.

Currently the Asaish are arresting many activists at their homes in Sulaimani. In Koya, the Asaish invaded a school and kicked teachers in front of the students. In Ranya, people are fighting in the street with weapons. Ten people have died there, including a boy, and more than 100 people injured.  The dead and wounded all over Kurdistan cannot be counted, in part, because of a crackdown on the press.  Asaish entered the headquarters of NRT TV, arrested the staff and shut both the station and website down.  The government has also blocked the Internet for many hours.

Please hold all the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, including Mohammad Salah Mahdi and his family, in your prayers, as they face these violations of their freedom and their dignity.  PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 7 December 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 7 December 2017

Thanksgiving for the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan’s partner – Baste community - who celebrate a new connection to electrical grid after many years of struggle and life under cross-border bombardments. Prayer for the families who had to flee their village Gullala after Turkish warplanes bombarded them for the fifth time in the last month.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team celebrates with its long-term partners, community of Baste, and leaders of nearby communities, that Baste has finally gotten connected to the electrical grid. This connection is what the people of Baste, a well-known ancient "Peace village", enduring for three decades under the shadows of Turkish and Iranian bombs and rockets, have struggled for for many years. Please read more about this great achievement here.

Celebratory meal in Baste