Dissidents to control ‘Kurdish card’ in Syria

Dissidents to control ‘Kurdish card’ in Syria

Cansu Çamlıbel ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
The Istanbul-based opposition group Syrian National Coucil (SNC) is trying to secure the rights of Kurds in Syria in order to prevent possible security problems that might emerge in the aftermath of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Basma Kadmani, SNC spokesperson, told daily Hürriyet the group was in contact with Erbil and Ankara in order to take a possible Kurdish problem under control. “We need to reach agreements and arrangements before the end of the revolution and collapse of the regime. We have to have that card under control,” said Kadmani. “There are of course steps that Turkey can take domestically, but then there is a regional dimension. You need the regional partners, namely Syria and Iraq, to deal with the regional dimension,” said Kadmani, adding that there was a possibility of consulting the Iraqi Kurds, too. The Syrian regime is not an interlocutor anymore, the SNC spokesperson said. “The Kurds of Iraq are very important to the Kurds of Syria. They have strong connections with high influence,” said Kadmani, adding that an SNC delegation recently met with President Masoud Barzani in Erbil to discuss this issue.

A road map on the PKK

The SNC was discussing options on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) issue with Ankara, said Kadmani, adding that by determining a road map on the issue they could control the Kurdish card. “We need to have bilateral agreements [pacts of stability between Turkey and Iraq] during the time of transition. Definitely explicit written agreements will be necessary.”

Kadmandi said the Kurds in Syria were not a unified block; they were divided into around 17 parties, and the majority supported the revolution. Some of the Syrian Kurds supporting the revolution seek the right to self-determination but the SNC does not accept radical goals, said Kadmani. Kadmani said that they plan to “recognize Kurds as a national group with linguistic and cultural rights. Any discrimination against the different ethnic groups will be punished.” Also, local governments will be strengthened. Praising Turkey’s role in Syria, Kadmani said the new regime in Syria must be secular.