Kurds. Nation, which has been settled within the territory of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Last years and conflicts in the Middle East have made Kurds more known around the world.
Kurds and its forces have been one of the main powers that helped other nations and militias fighting against ISIS „defeat“ this terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. Kurds have been fighting together with USA, Iranian, Iraqi and Syria forces during the whole conflict in Iraq and Syria. Their protective behavior and willingness to help the whole region have become more famous also because of the integration of women into the army. It was Kurds who stayed at specific locations even though they were left there alone as other military units were fighting in the main cities.
Kurds and their underground and secret units, and moreover their non-governmental organizations and charities have been helping to stop incredibly cruel activities of ISIS and to start stabilizing the region not only in military and political perspective but also in terms of healthcare and other needed support.
Unfortunately, their desire to establish at least a bit of autonomy in Syria changed their position as co-fighter. Last few weeks and few months have shown that as the conflict in the region is under control and almost at the end, it will be probably forgotten what they have done so far.
It is commonly known that Turkey is very clearly and directly against Kurds who are settled not only in the territory of Turkey but in general in the region. As Syria is not a stable state and is not able to function as a sovereign and independent state, Turkey has got a chance to show its power and disrespect, and to start changing its interest and desire into real action. It has started immediately after the USA announced its plan to lower the number of its forces in Syria. Since then, Turkey has done several steps against Kurds.
Firstly, president Erdogan announced his plan to establish a so-called safety zone that would be along the border with Turkey. The main purpose would be to help refugees to come back to the region. However, the safety zone is in the main territory of Kurds. Even though Syria and also other states have not approved this step and have not perceived it as an appropriate and reasonable decision, Erdogan has been continuing with his plan to practically extend its territory and to put Kurds into danger.
His last decision has spread fear and uncertainty across the whole world. Turkey has decided to move military techniques and army to Syria and start to fight against Kurds which are, from Turkey’s perception, connected to Kurd’s terrorist organizations operating in Turkey. This decision was followed by Trump’s announcement of leaving Syria and passing the space to Turkey, which has been highly criticized even from his copartners in the USA.
Something similar already happened in 2018 and was not followed by many reactions from Nato or OSN. However, this step and movements have started changing the discourse and perception of the whole situation in Syria. Nato already made a common statement about possible exclusion of Turkey from Nato and about applying economic sanctions on Turkey. In addition, Donald Trump has changed his rhetoric and position and has condemned Turkey’s activities.
Despite these announcements and decisions, Turkey has not changed its plans for the operations and has been continuing with military movements. Kurds would have at least a little chance if Syria‘s government helped them. Kurds have been trying to find a mutual agreement and a way of cooperation with the Asad regime, but the partnership is very fragile and Asad’s government has been very busy with managing security within the whole state and start rebuilding the political and social system.
9.10.2019, Turkey has started with its direct military attacks in Syria territory against Kurds, which are based on aerial attacks supported with artillery. This act is globally perceived as an act of aggression and violation of international law about sovereignty and autonomy of another state.
There is an extreme risk of another war and potentially genocide as we could see in the case of Yazidi in Syria and Iraq, but furthermore, it could cause a rise of another migration wave. In my opinion, the community of global actors and other states in the Middle East should reconsider Turkey’s position and start acting against its behavior which is dangerous to the whole security situation which can definitely influence the political discourse on a global level and has an impact on global society.
Written by Tereza Novotná