BY SETO BOYADJIAN, ESQ.
Kurdistan has always been on Erdogan’s mind. In fact, it has been on the minds of every single Turkish leader since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.
Kurdistan constitutes one of two nightmares that constantly visit Turkish leaders and policy makers – the other being the Armenian Cause. In this context, Turkey is caught in a virtual hellish world of its own making where each one of these nightmares causes equal amount of anguish to Turkish rulers.
Unfortunately for Turkey, the question has never been how to get out of these nightmares like a mature and modern country guided by the concept of justice in its fairest and most decent meaning. Rather, the question for Turkey has been how to stifle the just voices of the Kurdish and Armenian people whose very existence is causing these nightmares.
In case of the Kurdish people, Turkey has been waging an outright war against Kurds within Turkey – by sending in the Turkish army and air force to kill them; by engaging the Turkish government to deny their basic human rights and cultural identity; and by treating them as “mountain Turks” in an effort to erase their ethnic heritage. On the other side of the Turkish border, the Kurds in Syria and Iraq have been subjected to Turkish disdain and persecution in all subtle means available to the successive Turkish governments.
In case of the Armenian people, Turkey has been waging a different kind of war against Armenians of Armenia and the Diaspora – by implementing a state policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide; by continued occupation of Western Armenia; by forcing its “gag rule” on powerful countries such as the United States to keep silent on issues pertaining Genocide and Armenian rights; by blockading the Republic of Armenia in an utter violation of international law; by denying the people of Nagorno Karabakh their lawful right to self-determination; and by supporting Azerbaijan in its policy of aggression against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Now, Turkey is exploiting the IS created conditions to the maximum to advance its policy of hostility toward the Kurds in the area.
The ongoing onslaughts by the Islamic State (IS) against Kurdish people and Kurdish townships in Syria and Iraq are providing Turkey with additional ways and means to carry on its fight against the Kurdish nightmare. A closer look at the situation on ground in Syria and Iraq reveals that Turkey is the main culprit behind the arming and training of IS elements and its insurgent surrogates. In legal parlance, Turkey is both accessory before and after the fact to the tragic fate of townships such as Kobani.
There is a specific objective in Turkish complicity with IS and its affiliated bands. As Middle East expert Michael Lüders put it in his televised analysis a few days ago, “Turkey is secretly cooperating with the Islamic State,” because Turkey wants “the Kurds to suffer a major defeat.” To weaken and to demoralize the Kurds in northern Syria and Iraq, Turkey is covertly aiding and abetting these terrorist elements.
Turkey’s designs in collaborating with IS aims to achieve other objectives beyond Kurdish defeat. According to Michael Lüders, Turkey hopes that “the conflict will evolve into a larger one,” so that the “international community will wage war against Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian President,” as well.
But, be that as it may, at this point in time the Turkish aim is to weaken the Kurdish people and deal them a heavy blow by their defeat at the hands of IS. Threatened by the advancing IS forces, the Kurds of northern Syria and Iraq have now become easy preys to Turkish objectives.
However, as recent developments indicate, this Turkish effort against the Kurdish people has ceased being restricted to the Syrian and Iraqi regions. As of the beginning of this week, Turkish government has expanded its effort to Turkey proper, this time against its own citizens of Kurdish origin.
Last Monday, Turkish jets bombed Kurdish areas in the southeast of Turkey. Turkish Air Force jets hit Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in Daglica village in the southeast. Turkish helicopters attacked PKK positions near Geyiksuyu village in eastern Turkey.
These attacks against PKK and other Kurdish positions come in the wake of Turkish government’s refusal to allow Turkish Kurds to join their brethren in their struggle against IS forces besieging the Syrian township of Kobani.
Turkey isn’t even batting an eye over the tragic plight of Kurds in Kobani. It is sitting tight and watching the maiming and killing of Kurds at the hands of IS militants. When Kurds in Turkey want to do something to assist their brothers and sisters across the border in Syria, Turkey is not only prohibiting them; it is also sending in its jets and helicopters against them.
It should be, but this is not ironic. This is pure Turkish policy against its century-old Kurdish nightmare. It is no different from Turkish blockade of Armenia, after decimating and deporting the Armenian people from their ancestral homeland of Western Armenia.
Yet, despite the ongoing hostile Turkish policy against the Kurdish people, Kurdistan will endure and continue to remain on Erdogan’s mind. Just as the Armenian people and their cause, they will continue to be on Erdogan’s mind.
Kurdistan and Armenian Cause are stubborn nightmares. They will not go away. Turkey has to learn to live with them … or it has to start changing itself on the side of justice.