“Turkey also opposed the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan, and now they are the biggest trading partners and have good relations.” “It is best for Turkey to embrace Kurdish Regional Government in Syrian Kurdistan to prevent radicals from threatening Kurds and Turks. So it is about time for the international community, Obama administration and Turkey to admit that Iraq and Syria are failed states, and thus to allow each ethnic group to go their own way.”Apparently, for the government of Turkey, ISIS, which engages in mass murder, ethnic cleansing, mass rape and sexual slavery, is preferable to the Kurds, who resist ISIS and demand rights and liberties that have been taken away from them by the repressive regimes that rule over them. In the parts of Syrian Kurdistan under the Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party) and its armed wing, YPG (People’s Protection Units), gender equality, a respect for minority rights and secularism are promoted and practiced. The PYD, which rules the Kurdish autonomous administration of Syrian Kurdistan, defines its primary aim on its official website:
“Our Party’s principal aim, at this crucial stage of history, is to ensure and safeguard the peaceful nature of this popular uprising and to prevent any possibility of the transformation of this popular movement into an Arab-Kurdish conflict. Our strategy is to sow the seeds of brotherhood among peoples and to achieve solidarity and equality between them.”With its limited military power aided only by NATO planes and Peshmerga forces, the YPG are fighting against the immolators and decapitators, and trying to protect innocent people who would otherwise be massacred by ISIS. The Kurdish militias — the YPG in Syrian Kurdistan and the Peshmerga in the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq — are the only Muslim forces truly resisting the ISIS on the ground. These Kurdish forces are mostly Muslim; at the same time, unlike the Arab regimes or radical Islamist armies in the region, they are secular and protective of minorities. On one side, there is Turkey, whose membership in the NATO has not prevented it from turning a blind eye to — or even facilitating the traffic of — ISIS fighters who go to Syria by way of Turkish border crossings to slaughter or rape Yazidis, Alawites, Christians and other non-Muslim minorities. On the other side, there are the Syrian Kurdish defenders — both men and women — who have been the most effective force fighting ISIS and the al-Nusra Front. The difference could not be greater.
|[caption id="attachment_42023" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Kurdish women make up a large proportion of the YPG militia fighters who are battling ISIS on the front lines in Syrian Kurdistan. (Image source: Mirava News video screenshot)[/caption]|
“The Turkish government is hostile towards Kurds in Turkey as well as Syria. It fears a strengthening of the Kurdish position in the region. … [I]n autumn 2014 at least 300,000 Kurds have been expelled by IS. At that time, the Turkish government did not speak of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against the Kurds. Quite the contrary, the Turkish government has co-operated with IS.”Actually, it was Syrian Kurds who had been victims of ethnic cleansings at the hands of the Syrian regime, through which the demographic character of the region was changed.  According to the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, other policies of ethnic cleansing and cultural devastation of the Syrian regime included:
- The conversion of all fertile lands in the Kurdish region into public property under the name of a ‘land reform policy’, and housing the Arab tribes in those areas after forcing the Kurds to migrate, by depriving them of property ownership, especially agricultural property.
- Changing the names of all Kurdish cities and villages and replacing them with names that are not historically related to the region. The main objective of this policy is to Arabize and change the demographic features of the region.
- The settlement of Arab tribes, whose lands were affected by flooding, in Kurdish areas.
- Preventing the Kurdish people from celebrating their own festivals, such as Newroz.
- Preventing the Kurds from supporting and communicating with their brethren in other parts of Kurdistan.
- After the Baath party in 1958 led Syria to integrate itself with Egypt in the United Arab Republic (UAR), under Gamal Nasser, “recordings of Kurdish music were smashed in cafes. The publication and even the possession of books written in Kurdish language were offences punishable by imprisonment. Egyptian teachers were sent into Kurdish regions.”
- “[T]he authorities were accused in November 1960 by the inhabitants of Amuda [a Kurdish town] of causing a fire in a movie house that caused the death of 283 Kurdish children. Those responsible for this act were presumably motivated by anti-Kurdish sentiments, the fruits of official propaganda in opposition to Kurdish nationalism associated with Zionism and American imperialism.”
- “[B]etween 1946 and 1957, the Syrian Kurds had no political organization to defend their rights. (e.g. cultural rights.)”
- Finally, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDPS) was founded in 1957. “[O]n August 5, 1960, the leaders of the executive committee of Aleppo were arrested and tortured. The party organization was discovered and within a few days more than 5000 people were arrested and interrogated. The leaders of the KDPS were accused of separatism and finally condemned to prison.”
- One of the most serious violations against Kurds was the census of 1962, in which about 120,000 Kurds lost their citizenship in their own homeland and were registered as “aliens.”
- Syrian Kurds were also exposed to the racist propaganda of the Arab media. A campaign launched by the Arab media sported slogans such as ‘Save Arabism from Jazira’ or ‘Fight the Kurdish Menace’.”
- The teaching of the Kurdish language remained prohibited during the time of Hafez al-Assad, as well. In 1970s, the public school became, for the Kurds, not only a place of Baathist indoctrination, as it was for other Syrians, but also a place of Arabization.
- “With the increase in literate children in the Kurdish regions, a tight surveillance system was established there, following the example of the Turks, by means of ‘spies,’ to stop the children from speaking Kurdish among themselves. Children discovered in flagrant ‘defiance’ could be physically punished.”
- “Though the ban on Kurdish publications had already begun with Adib al-Shiskali’s presidency (1951-54), under the Baathist regime measures of legal coercion were reinforced, obliging Kurdish authors and editors to have their publications printed in Lebanon, and afterwards they could be illegally brought back to Syria.”
- “Two decrees from the 1980s forbade the use of Kurdish in the workplace, as well as during marriage ceremonies and festivities.”
- “In the province of Al-Hasakah, in 1992, officers of the civil state began to more strictly apply the restriction against registering children with Kurdish names, in accordance with decree no. 122.”
- “In May 2000, a little before the death of Hafiz al-Asad, resolution 768 ordained the closing of all stores selling cassettes, videos, and disks in the Kurdish language and re-emphasized the prohibition of using this language during meetings and festivities.”