Syrian Kurds are not our enemy

Syrian Kurds are not our enemy

It is indeed important that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) took back Jarablus from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with the support of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and during this operation our soldiers had no casualties. Thus, our neighborhood relations with ISIL have ended and this is surely a good thing. 

The “integrity” of our borders is debatable; extremist militants were able to enter and exit these borders as they wished for years. Nevertheless, it is better than being neighbors with ISIL.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said this operation was not only against ISIL but also against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Democratic Union Party (PYD), which want to establish a “Kurdish corridor” on our southern border all the way to the Mediterranean. This is because Turkey’s biggest concern for the moment is the formation of a Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria as in northern Iraq and for it to opt toward the formation of a state like in northern Iraq. 

In the past, you know, we were against such business in northern Iraq too, but as you can see, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani was paying an official visit to Ankara on the same day the Jarablus operation was launched. He was greeted like a foreign leader. 

Let us note that we may oppose something today, but that does not mean we will continue opposing it tomorrow. 

Along the Syrian-Turkish border there are Kurds and Arabs living on both sides, and we should not forget the Turkmens either. All of them, with the Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs living in the villages and towns on our side are relatives to each other. When the borders were drawn by Western imperialist powers, they found this suitable and now families and tribes are separated. 

As a matter of fact, those living on the southern part of our Syrian border are our “brothers.” They are related to citizens of the Republic of Turkey; they intermarry. 

However, the leaders of our state have kept distant from the 2 million Kurds living in Syria, because it is the PYD - that is a branch of the PKK – which is ruling them now. 

As a matter of fact, while Kobane was under siege by ISIL and before the PYD had set up cantons and gained regions there, in other words, while the “peace process” was ongoing, there was no problem. 

Their leader, Salih Muslim, would come and go and maybe received financial aid from the discretionary fund.  
Shall we call it that when the “peace process” was put into the refrigerator, Muslim was also “frozen?” 
Foreign policy, if it is based on reality, can be successful. We have seen where a foreign policy based on dreams has taken us. Because of this it is better we have a sound base. 

Just because our state administrators want so, the 2 million Kurds living there will not move to Stockholm. Those 2 million Kurds living there are not our enemy. 

We may be experiencing problems with the PYD now but the road to a solution is not threatening them with weapons but to sit down and talk and search for a solution.  

Let me re-write it: The relatives of the Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens living there are citizens of this country. Protecting their rights is also protecting the rights of our own citizens. 

Free Aslı Erdoğan 

A very well-known quote goes, “If the first button of one’s coat is wrongly buttoned, all the rest will be crooked.” It is a matchless sentence explaining the policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). It could not have been explained better if we had written dozens of pages. 

The quote belongs to Giordano Bruno, a thinker who was prosecuted by the inquisition. 

He was burned to death in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori Square. Those who have visited Rome must have seen that at the place he was burnt, there is a giant sculpture of him. Those who burned him, even though centuries have passed, are damned to this day. 

What made me remember Bruno is that writer Aslı Erdoğan is still in jail pending trial. 

I have known Aslı for at least 20 years. 

She is a person who would have no association with terror and the only reason she is in prison today is that she wrote at the closed daily Özgür Gündem what she knows and what she thinks. There are no politics in her pieces; she does not praise terror or crime. She is an important writer, she has a writer’s sensitivity, she sees things the majority avoids and she writes about them because her conscience tells her to do so. 

Those who deem this treatment of Aslı Erdoğan proper have the same mentality as those who tied Bruno to the stake and burned him. 

Today, Bruno’s sculpture is still standing at the place he was burned; we all know his ideas, we read him. Aslı Erdoğan is also a writer whose pieces will be read even after hundreds of years. Those who jailed her will not be remembered in 50 years, let alone 100 years…