KRG: Support Kurds, not Turkey



We are not a pitiful people but not one year passes by without a great injustice or tragedy occurring to the Kurdish people. Most recently, the Turkish state launched airstrikes against Rojava, an autonomous administration of Northeastern Syria, marking an ongoing invasion that has caused the deaths of 80 civilians in the first week and displacement of 300,000 people, according to Rojava Information Center.

Unity among Kurds is vital in the face of these grave attacks and we therefore call on Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region, to reconsider his statement at a panel held by Hewler-based Middle East Research Center (MERI) where he expressed that Turkey does not have problems with Kurds in Syria, but only with the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and that the latter was a threat to the Kurds in Syria. This was widely reported in Turkish media in an effort to legitimize its illegal invasion in Rojava.

We would like to highlight the fact that Mr. Barzani is referred to as President of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government by the Turkish media when the official name is indeed Kurdistan Regional Government. The state of Turkey has contrary to what it is stating indeed a problem with Kurds, be it in Syria, Turkey or Iraq and the avoidance of using the name “Kurdistan” is just one, small example.

The Turkish invasion has caused the deaths of several civilians, not PKK fighters. It has caused the displacement of several thousand Kurds, again, not PKK fighters. On October 18, Amnesty International announced the results of their investigations of alleged war crimes committed by Turkish armed forces and local, allied groups and found overwhelming evidence of war crimes.

The Turkish military offensive into northeast Syria has wreaked havoc on the lives of Syrian civilians who once again have been forced to flee their homes and are living in constant fear of indiscriminate bombardment, abductions and summary killings. Turkish military forces and their allies have displayed an utterly callous disregard for civilian lives, launching unlawful deadly attacks in residential areas that have killed and injured civilians.

– Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

The report describes several first hand accounts of massacres committed by Turkey and allied Syrian groups.

That is why we stand disconcerted by Mr. Barzani’s statement. We had hoped for the Kurdish president to stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people in Rojava, not with the Turkish state that for decades has repressed and stifled the Kurdish community in Turkey and now seeks to impose the same oppression in Syria.

One purpose of the Turkish invasion was to “ensure Syria’s territorial integrity”, an issue that did not seem vital to Turkey when Islamic State was in control of large swathes of Syria and once again highlights the true objective of the Turkish invasion.

The people of KRG have carried out their own response to the Turkish invasion where the government has failed to do so: by boycotting Turkish goods.

“We can’t reach the front lines to fight the Turkish government with arms, so our weapon is a boycott of Turkish goods,” said Hamid Banyee, an Iraqi Kurdish singer and one of the boycott organisers, according to AFP.

Mr. President, stand in solidarity with your people, not its killer.