An open letter to the Turkish Embassy in Croatia

Otvoreno pismo turskom veleposlanstvu u Hrvatskoj

As of  February 13 2016, the Republic of Turkey has launched a series of attacks on military positions held by the Syrian Kurds (namely the YPG) in northern Syria, especially on the Menagh airbase which the Kurdish forces liberated on February 10 from the terrorist, Al Qaeda affiliated, Al Nusra Front. Furthermore, both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have undertook concrete steps towards preparing for a ground invasion of northern SyriaTurkey by massing troops on the border, and Saudi Arabia by shipping their military hardware to Turkish bases. At the same time, Turkey is conducting a terrifying war against the Kurds in southeastern Turkey as well, acompanied with various attrocities.

That escalation of the situation in Syria is saddening; however, such Turkish tactics are a constant in the Syrian Civil War. Turkish policy in the last few years has been one of division and hypocrisy. Its prime objective in the region is to destroy Kurdish progress. Its secondary objective is to remove Bashar al Assad from power. To accomplish those two objectives, Turkey will stop at nothing.

Turkish war against the Kurds has its roots in the guerilla activity of the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party) in south-east Turkey from the late 70's, and their aim to establish at the least a Kurdish autonomy, and possibly even a Kurdish state spanning through parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran where they constitute a majority of the population. The Kurds are the world's biggest nation without a state, although one (albeit only a partial one) was promised to them at the post-World War One Treaty of Sevres. Their modern fight for a national state has employed a variety of guerilla and terrorist tactics, and the Turkish response was a wholesale destruction of property and a blatant disregard for civilian deaths.

Although the PKK and Turkey entered a peace process between 2013 and 2015 with PKK promising a complete cesation of guerilla presence in Turkey, that process was stopped after Turkey stood by and allowed the Islamic State to destroy Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish city near the Turkish border. The situation in Turkey escalated with numerous Kurdish riots to which Turkey responded with military force, bombing the PKK forces in both Turkey and Iraq. The Syrian Kurds led by the YPG militia managed to repel Islamic State forces and since then have been the most effective democratic force in the fight against the Islamic State. Turkey, on the other side, alarmed by the Kurdish advances in Syria, and troubled by the increasing revolt of the Kurds in Turkey, engaged in aiding islamist factions and the Islamic State forces in Syria. Turkish officials have repeatedy denied such allegations, but according to the research paper written by David L. Phillips from the Columbia University, backed by a wide array of sources, Turkey has provided military equipment, transport, training and logistical assistance to ISIS, offered medical care to ISIS fighters, supported ISIS financially through buying oil and assisted ISIS during the battle of Kobane against Syrian Kurdish forces.

Given the Turkish position that it will not, under any circumstances, allow an autonomous Kurdish territory in Syria (most probably out of fear that such a territory would be a moral, diplomatic, military and logistical boost to the Kurds in Turkey), their latest interference in Syria is anything but unexpected. The Turkish attack on the most progressive force in the Syrian Civil War, coordinated in part with the islamist terrorist group Ahrar al Sham,  is a disgraceful escalation of tensions, only days after it blocked the Kurdish participation at the peace process. In a time where the whole world is looking up to the region to unite in the fight against the Islamic State, Turkey is still waging its ruthless war against the force which has done the most to stop ISIS advances. Such a shameless, selfish policy of undermining democracy and aiding terrorism must come to a stop.

Workers' Front