Sunday, January 15, 2006


And now, a little business to take care of.

1. Juanita at Neshumah posted an entry recently on Jews of Kurdstan and created a link to some Jewish Kurd music. I forgot to mention this earlier from following the bird flu developments, so I apologize to all, especially Juanita.

2. Vladimir at From Holland to Kurdistan has an extremely important entry on Roj TV's efforts to assist Kurds of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan with information in Kurdish language about bird flu. I have already seen what might be called public service announcements on Roj about bird flu. If there were ever a better argument for the continued existence of Roj TV, I don't know what it would be. It is already clear to those of us who support Roj, that the availability of Kurdish-language information presented from a Kurdish perspective is absolutely necessary.

3. More information comes out regarding the bird flu outbreak in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. From Bloomberg:

The current wave of lethal bird flu in Turkey that has infected at least 18 people began in mid November, more than three weeks before an initial report, the World Organization for Animal Health said.

Outbreaks of the H5N1 avian influenza virus affected birds as early as Nov. 21, Huseyin Sungur, a government veterinary official, said in a Jan. 12 report to the Paris-based organization. The report was posted on the organization's Web site yesterday. Turkey, in a statement on Dec. 27, said outbreaks began on Dec. 15 in Igdir province, bordering Iran.

The delay in reporting the outbreak highlights the need to improve early detection and reporting systems to help contain infections. Authorities are concerned outbreaks among birds create more opportunity for human infection and increase the risk of the virus changing into a form that is more contagious to people. Such a virus could touch off a pandemic similar to the one that killed as many as 50 million people in 1918.

So the Ankara regime knew of bird deaths on 21 November. Why the delay of well over a month? Why did the Ankara regime allow the Kocyigit children to serve as mine canaries? The answer comes from an earlier report by The Telegraph:

Ahmet Elnazik, 27, who has three relatives in hospital with the suspected virus, said: "If the media hadn't done their job the authorities might still be trying to fool us with talk of pneumonia. It's because we are poor and that we are Kurds that we are being treated like second-class beings."

4. More bird flu deaths among the Kurdish population are likely. A four-year-old girl admitted to the hospital in Amed with possible bird flu, died on Friday. Tests are being done to confirm whether or not she died of bird flu. The authorities are saying this death was due to bacterial infection, not virus, but since they have no credibility, I want to see what the test results confirm.

AFP is carrying a similar report.

In the meantime, another child from Dogubayazit is in the hospital in Wan with confirmed bird flu.

The boy's 12-year-old sister died today and it is suspected that she died of bird flu, as AP reports:

Turkish authorities sought to determine whether a 12-year-old girl who died Sunday was the country's latest victim in a bird flu outbreak among humans.

The girl had been in contact with sick birds and her 5-year-old brother, who is seriously ill, has tested positive for the deadly strain of the virus, the Health Ministry said.

Preliminary tests on the girl, Fatma Ozcan, came back negative for the deadly and virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu, the ministry said. But authorities suspected the virus caused her death and were conducting further tests.

The Turkish government still has not decided what to do about compensation either, and it looks like poor Kurds are going to become double victims, in this report, also from AP:

Because of the risk, Health Minister Recep Akdag has insisted raising birds in backyards must "history," and the sooner Turks learn that, the better.

Yet the state has not come up with a long-term plan to compensate people for what could be a painful upheaval, other than to pay a basic market rate of $3.70 for delivering a chicken or a duck to authorities, $11 for a goose and $15 for a turkey.

No rules have been drawn up for the post-crisis period, and it was unclear if people would be banned from raising poultry altogether or be allowed to keep birds in enclosed spaces like coops to keep poultry from mingling with wild fowl - a costly prospect for poor families.

In parts of the east, where raising birds in backyards is a way of life for nearly every family and a means of surviving for some, many scared residents have vowed off poultry, but don't seemed to have grasped the implications.

"We won't eat them, and we won't raise them," said Ahmet Inanc, 35, in the Seslitas village outside of Dogubayazit, where bird flu has claimed the lives of the three siblings. "If we don't raise chickens and don't die, it will be better for us."

Many believed Turkey would look after them.

"The state will take care of us," said Kahraman Duman, 56, who on Friday gave up seven geese, eight chickens and a turkey to men in white protective suits who would bag, bury and disinfect them. "It's OK if it's forever."

But one official rounding up poultry in Seslitas on Friday seemed to doubt the government would come through.

But the government is already thinking and planning what to do with the country's poultry industry, from

Meanwhile Agriculture Ministry sent letters to four institutions asking that efforts should be exerted to ease problems of poultry sector which suffers from bird flu cases in Turkey.

The ministry also sent a letter to State Minister for economy Ali Babacan noting that long-term low interest credit should be granted to companies in the poultry sector.

In fact, the government has already set up a committee to save the poultry industry, and the deputy prime minister has given the committee a week to make recommendations to minimize loss to the industry:

Poultry sales in Turkey have dropped by 70 percent since bird flu was reported in humans earlier this month, according to Kemal Akman, head of the union of poultry producers. The industry is set to suffer losses amounting to $30 million per month, Akman told the Hurriyet newspaper before a meeting of government ministers on Saturday.

After the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Abdulatif Sener said the committee had a week in which to make the recommendations to minimize losses.

Nothing can be done to minimize the loss of life already suffered in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, but when will something be done to minimize the suffering that is going to continue? It's time to start grasping the implications of this problem of the private raising of poultry, particularly in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, before famine follows in the wake of plague.

Let no one be fooled either. The official who doubts the government's commitment to helping the people it occupies is correct. I hope Roj TV will take the lead in addressing this question among the people.


Wladimir van Wilgenburg said...

Great post again Rasti. I have more info about Avian Flu programme on Roj TV. I will report it later.
I now posted some more positive news. I have exams, so I don't have enough time.

Biji Rasti.

Nobody's Favorite said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date on what is happening with the situation in Turkey and the birdflu, Mizgin.

Also Vladimir`s article is excellent as well, though I have little time to comment or post here in Patzcuaro, Mex. Can't even get an English paper here, boo hoo.

It never seems true that no news is good news!