- President Hassan Rouhani and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei received Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum. Erdogan accused the Iraqi Kurds of working with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, in orchestrating the referendum. A senior Iraqi source told the New Arab that a three-way summit will take place between Iraq, Iran, and Turkey in Baghdad to discuss the Kurdish independence referendum.
- The central government of Iraq issued new punitive measures against the Kurdistan region in response to the region recently holding an independence referendum. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi headed a meeting with the National Security Council and decided to file a lawsuit against Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials involved in organizing the referendum. The Iraqi government also ordered telecommunication companies in the Kurdistan region to transfer their headquarters out of Arbil and Sulaymaniyah and move into Baghdad. Meanwhile, KRG President Massoud Barzani received the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Salim Jabouri. Both sides agreed that “the negotiations must be conducted on the basis of an open agenda” after the referendum.
- Tens of thousands of people participated in President Jalal Talabani’s funeral on Friday, October 6th. Memorial services took place in the Kurdistan region of Iraq as well as various locations abroad. Officials from the Iraqi government, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and the international community participated in Talabani’s funeral. The KRG decided to mourn Talabani for a week while the Iraqi government decided on a three-day mourning period. The international media also covered the funeral event, noting that Talabani was an instrumental leader in uniting people from different political parties and ideologies.
- The “Wrath of Euphrates” military campaign continued its final stages to liberate Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital. On Oct. 9th, Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, said that Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters were “advancing room-by-room through [the] city center” with seventeen city blocks having been cleared on October 8th and nearly 100 blocks having been cleared the prior week. Around 130 civilians were rescued as the SDF advanced inside the city. In Deir Ez Zour city, the U.S.-backed SDF liberated seven villages and six hills near the city, opening a corridor allowing for 1,500 civilians to escape ISIS. One of the commanders of the liberation campaign of Deir Ez Zour, Rojda Shyar, confirmed SDF advances despite the Syrian regime’s attempts to take the city before the SDF. She said that the “regime’s forces do not have the strength to protect Deir Ez Zour.” The SDF announced the death of six of their fighters in the liberation so far. The SDF’s campaign to liberate Deir Ez Zour, titled “Al-Jazeera Tempest,” began on September 9, 2017 in coordination with and support by the U.S.-led coalition.
- Turkish troops have entered Syrian territory after a deal was struck between Russia, Iran, and Turkey. The deal resulted in the establishment of de-escalation zones. According to the three-way agreement, the Turkish troops will be stationed in Adlib city in coordination with Russia and Iran. Meanwhile, Turkish troops are also getting closer to positions near the Kurdish forces, the People’s Defense Units (YPG), in an attempt to attack the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Aleppo.
- The Turkish Parliament stripped another Kurdish lawmaker, Besime Konca of the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), of her Parliamentarian membership. The Turkish Parliament made its decision against Konca, who represents Siirt, during the first session of the Parliament’s new term. Konca is currently in prison serving a sentence of two and half years after the Turkish government accused her of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation” because of her advocacy for the Kurdish movement in Turkey. The jailed co-chair of the HDP Selahattin Demirtas released a statement on the Parliament’s actions against Konca, saying that “reckless attacks by the AKP-MHP coalition against elected representatives of the people are practices that can only be seen in fascist administrations.” This week, the Turkish government also sentenced HDP lawmaker Chelik Özkan to six years in prison for similar charges as Konca. The HDP seats in the Parliament have decreased from 59 to 54 as HDP lawmakers continue to lose their official status.
- During a new wave of purges against political opponents, the Turkish police have raided several HDP members’ homes in Bursa province. The raids ended with the detention of five HDP members, who work as party administrators. Similarly, police in Ankara raided HDP Assembly Member Ahmet Kaya’s home.
- The U.S. embassy in Turkey suspended all non-immigrant visas to citizens of Turkey. A statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara read: “in order to minimize the number of visitors to our embassy and consulates while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey.” The decision came after Turkish authorities arrested two Turkish staff members of the U.S. consulate. In reaction to the U.S. visa suspensions, the Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs issued the same decision against U.S. citizens and suspended visas for Americans seeking entry into Turkey.