Feature Article

Turkey resumes war against Kurds with US approval

[TamilNet, Friday, 31 July 2015, 12:57 GMT]
The Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has authorized the state armed forces to carry out air strikes against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ) positions in Southern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), North Iraq (Southern Kurdistan) and Northern Syria (West Kurdistan). On 23 July and 26 July, Turkish war planes pounded PKK bases in North Iraq and South-Eastern Turkey. Whereas Turkey claims to have launched attacks on the IS (Islamic State) in Syria, reports indicate that it is the PKK and YPG/YPJ who are the prime targets of the Turkish aggression. On 21st July a NATO Security Council meeting was called for by Turkey, and the Washington centred defence alliance granted its approval to its allies in Ankara, promising political support for Turkish military efforts. Consequently, on 29th July, the Turkish government annulled the ceasefire with the PKK.

Kurdish sources also allege that Turkish troops are mobilized near the Syrian border in an attempt to initiate ground attacks against PKK in Syria and Iraq.

In a statement, the YPG has accused the Turkish Army of shelling the positions of YPG and allied troops near the village of Zormikhar near Kobane on the 24th and 26th of July.

Garlanding a war on terror to conceal its war on Kurds, Turkey opened its bases in the south of the country to the U.S. led coalition forces under the pretext of joining the fight against IS.

The pro-Kurdish HDP Party has condemned the Turkish aggression against the Kurds.

The HDP won a landmark victory in the last Turkish parliamentary election, partially ending the AKP and Erdogan’s single party majority, and marked the entrance of a Kurdish party into the Turkish Parliament.

President Erdogan’s anti-PKK campaign stirs up anti-Kurdish sentiments to serve the AKP’s parliamentary interests. The HDP forming the single largest constituency of the opposition is also sought to be proscribed by the government for its alleged links with the PKK. Such a move would restore the AKP’s majority within the Turkish parliament.

The sinister manner in which parliamentary politics and electoral democracy is tied up with anti-Kurd violence and racism parallels the state system in Sri Lanka. Consequent ownership over State violence against Eezham Tamils has proven to be a matter of prestige in Sri Lankan electoral politics among various political camps in the Sinhala polity.

HDP chairman Selahattin Demirtas in an interview to the BBC, decried the US – Turkish plan to create a ‘Safe Zone’ in Northern Syria, within the Kurdish homeland as an insidious move to prevent Kurdish self-rule and accused the war against IS as a cover to battle the PKK.

Turkey and USA have agreed to establish the safe zone, and are in deliberations on which Syrian opposition group to support against ISIS and Syrian government forces. Such a scenario could imply that the YPG/YPJ will lose the meagre US coalition support which would then be facilitated to proxies of Turkey or the USA within Syria. Such a development would tilt the military balance against the Kurds.

Within the plethora of opposition groups operating in Syria, Turkey has been supporting an alliance of jihadist groups such as the Al-Nusra Front and the Ahrar Al-Sham.

In September 2014, during the three-pronged IS siege of Kobane in Syria, Turkish forces blocked the border crossing into Kobane from Turkey and vice versa, preventing Kurdish refugees from fleeing into Turkey. Reports showed that while the Turkish military blocked the border for Kurds, the IS were able to access resources across the border; such actions displayed the actual intent of Turkey in the region.

The establishment of a Kurdish self-rule aligned with the PKK in the region is against Ankara and the AKP interests in Syria and Iraq and reflects the Turkish state’s institutionalized violence against Kurdish democratic and national aspirations.

Despite the tactics of Turkey and the onslaught of IS, the Kurdish people’s resistance triumphed and the Islamists were repelled from Kobane. The Kurdish peoples resolve to safeguard their sovereignty and homeland has effectuated a phenomenal defence of the regions in which the PKK aligned YPG/YPJ have established self-rule governments.

As reported in TamilNet earlier, the independent and sovereign politico-military mobilization of Kurds in Syria and Iraq under the YPG/YPJ amidst the bloody civil war in Syria accentuated by geopolitics between world establishments remains a beacon for the oppressed.

For Eezham Tamils and other oppressed people in the present, deprived of their politico-military power and strangled between the rivalling geopolitics between various world establishments, the Kurdish experience in Rojava provides a stark reminder on the necessity of independent and struggle-centric political mobilization for the oppressed.

Only an independent and sovereign political formation among the oppressed can cultivate the national culture and create the political acumen and environment required to articulate and safeguard the principle rights of homeland, nationhood and self-determination.

* * *


Western geopolitics and Turkish interests:

The Turkish airstrikes against YPG and HPG/PKK in Rojava in North Western Kurdistan and Southern Kurdistan on the 23rd of July follows a period during which Kurdish forces have gained foothold in repelling the IS out of Kurdish areas to the North of Syria and Iraq.

As a result, the IS have suffered several set-backs at the hands of the YPG led forces.

Thus the current weakening of the PKK–YPG alliance, the only force resolved to combat the IS, will only be favourable to the IS against the Kurds.

The Turkish aggression and NATO’s approval, illuminates the workings of hypocrisy in the international community in which the definition of terrorism and humanitarian concern is conditioned by the interests of international and regional establishments.

On 20th July a IS suicide bomb attack in the Kurdish region of Suruc in Southern Turkey killed 32 youths, predominantly Kurdish youth and Turkish leftists who were on route to Kobane to help rebuild the city.

The Suruc attack, the role of the Turkish authorities in suppressing solidarity to Rojava, and the Turkish aggression towards PKK led to Kurdish protests throughout Turkish cities and town.

The Turkish court banned circulation of images from the Suruc massacres and prohibited anti-Islamist demonstrations, while anti Kurd/PKK protests are given a free reign. Furthermore the authorities are sweeping through the country in an effort to imprison Kurds under the pretext of fighting the PKK and terrorism. In an act of vengeance, the PKK assassinated two Turkish police officers near Suruc.

Surprisingly in the aftermath of a terrorist attack targeting Kurds in Turkey resulted in the state’s decision to attack and persecute Kurdish fighters and activists in three countries. Such a coordinated attack in the wake of ongoing battle between the IS and Kurds, is evidently driven by an agenda pursued by Ankara and its international allies to dismantle the Rojava self-governance and to neutralize the influence and popularity of the PKK.

While publicly displaying an image of fighting the IS and ‘terrorism’, the US-led coalition has only provided tactical airstrikes since last year, while the PKK and its allies the YPG/YPJ have been leading the battle against the Islamists on the ground since 2011.

The USA has also until recently provided military and financial assistance to Islamist groupings vowing to fight Assad. It was earlier known that the Al-Nusra Front and the IS were under the patron of Turkey during the 2013 attacks on Western Kurdistan where several massacres were carried out against Kurdish civilians.

Despite USA’s rhetoric, Washington has granted Turkey the permission to carry out its military actions, which in effect targets the PKK and YPG. While being allied with the Kurdish fighters in Syria in fighting IS, USA retains its pro-Turkish character by maintaining the terrorist proscription of the PKK.

Such a double standard might be difficult to grasp unless one accounts for the geopolitical dynamics in the Middle-East and the designs of international and regional establishments to gain and maintain their interests.

The US axis of powers deceived the LTTE and Eezham Tamils in the form of a Norwegian mediated peace process, which later revealed its ultimate designs in tilting the political and military balance in favour of the Sri Lankan state and its genocidal military solution to the Tamil national question.

The IS had until 2014, free reign in organizing and consolidating in Syria and is alleged to have used neighbouring Turkey as a rear base.

The US axis and its Saudi and Turkish allies were involved in channelling resources to a range of groups to topple the Iran allied Assad regime.

The IS consolidated its power among the Syrian opposition and eventually fought sections of the Western supported Free Syrian Army.

In addition to fighting other opposition groups and the Assad regime, the IS has since its formation taken keen interests in carrying out ethnic cleansing and genocidal measures against the Kurds. Such an agenda is compatible with the Turkish state’s structural interests concerning Kurdish rights and political power. In such terms, the IS and Turkish authorities find a common nemesis in the Kurds and their national political mobilization.

The ultimate designs of the USA are to topple or destabilize unfriendly regimes and allies who are a liability for US interests in the Middle-East.

A regime change in Syria following the model in Libya is thus a major priority, yet the Kurdish peoples efforts in mobilizing military and political power independently through self-rule governments, has arguably complicated the geo-politics of the USA, which in the region is aligned with that of Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Within these dynamics, the interests in disintegrating Kurdish power in order to subjugate their sovereignty seem to prevail among regional and world hegemons.


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External Links:
YPG: Gen. Comm: Statement Regarding Attacks by Turkish Army Against YPG and FSA Positions Near Kobani
Reuters: Turkish jets hit PKK targets in Iraq after soldiers killed: sources
BBC: Kurd leader attacks Turkey's 'safe zone' plan for Syria
Ekurd Daily: U.S., Turkey not decided yet which Syrian rebels to support in border area
NATO: Statement by the North Atlantic Council following meeting under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty

 

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