Voices from the Middle East: the Kurdish struggle

Good evening L. M. , as you know in this last period a new clash between Turkey and Syria aims to hit the Kurdish population stationed along the border. What do you think about the situation?

In 2014, as a result of the heroism and efforts of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Koban was liberated from terrorists in the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane, which became Turkey’s target in 2019. The main idea almost in all of Erdogan’s public speeches is to protect Turkey’s borders and to get rid of Kurdish military forces from those territories, which are backed by the United States, France. The  operation carried out by Erdogan, which has also attracted the attention of civil society “Olive Branch” has to be noticed also. After  the most brutal operation of 2018 against the Kurds in the Syrian city of Afrin, whose main goal was to eliminate the Democratic Union (PYD) and the People’s Defense Union (YPG), the world accused Turkey’s government in genocide of Kurds,but still, Erdogan’s main goal is to “clean” the border of Kurds, which he is calling the terrorists,because of their connection with PKK.The fact is that today Turkey is still continuing agression and uses military forces against Kurds as he is scary of their future independence in  Syria and in Turke by the chain. In 2019, Turkey continued to conduct a series of operations against Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojawa, resulting in uprisings by the Kurdish population living in Turkey and explosions in several cities and the involvement of civilians in the conflict. The last decade of the third large-scale military operation by Turkey against Kurds “source of peace” to which Turkey has still own border guards. Kurdish military units have been presenting a kind of shield against the Islamic State for both Turkey and the whole of the West since 2014, and in fact not only do not allow terrorists to expand, but also destroy them. The conflict continues today and Turkey says an escalation in this war of attrition will be inevitable in the near future, which is likely to be a source of controversy for Turkey as one of the member states of the military alliance with other member states in NATO.

How do you rate the withdrawal of American troops? Was it a strategic mistake that gave courage to Erdogan? Or in any case would the context have been outlined as it is today?

Actually, United States helped Kurds when there were fighting with terrorists because after “9/11” America’s main global goal became to save the world from the biggest danger of our century.Kurds were the only people who was ready to risk and fight with such a huge power.Obama’s administration wasn’t ready to interfere in a new conflict in the Middle East region, as Obama started withdrawal from countries he wasn’t ready to help Kurds an the militay forces.Trump and his administration became the only power who helped Kurds from Syria to liberate cities from terrorists.Last year, Trump leaked the Kurds Now they have to face the Turkish army one on one. Trump reaffirmed his campaign promise to end the unpopular foreign wars. Like, America is above all, before Rojava 7000 miles, and this is not its business. Trump, contrary to the Pentagon and the State Department, surrendered the Kurds, apparently deciding that friendship with Erdogan is more important. Just like with Afrin last year. Because of such game with Kurds that Trump played, ethnic cleansing of Kurds is still continuing and Kurdish military foces are trying to survive with such an strong rival as Turkey.

The Kurdish people, not endowed with their own state and territory – are mainly divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran. Could you better explain how this fragmentation affected the history of the kurds?

The territories of Kurdistan have become the subject of controversy for the two strongest Muslim states in the region; Iran and the Ottoman Empire eventually redistributed territories, which played a crucial role for Kurdistan and its future history. The Kurds had established principalitiesin the Ottoman Empire. These pincipalitiesexisted for several hundred years before the founding of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were able to dominate them, but during the empire’s existence, the Kurds still retained government. In both cases, the creation of autonomous units was not allowed by any empire, as this action would lead to the strengthening of Kurds in the region and the adoption of a political force that would threaten other surrounding states. This situation continued until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and when the Kurds were given a chance to create an independent state, world politics faced a number of challenges, which led to the low political status of the Kurds in modern times. Kurds were trying to reach the independence and have their own state,that they are still trying to do, but all the countries around are not ready for a new force and economically rich opposite country.

Can the creation of an internationally recognized Kurdish state be considered pure utopia? Or are there margins for continuing to work on a feasible scenario in the coming years?

To be internationally recognized it’s not enough to have just big population and strong military forces.Geopolitical situation of Middle East today is not ready to accept new state.Also, for the country the most important from my opinion I think is economy. The founding fathers of the United States had a financial system developed by Alexander Hamilton that made it possible for the United States to advance economically. However, in the case of Kurdistan, despite the statements of the leader of the Kurdish separatists and the founder of the Kurdish Workers’ Party, Abdullah Ojalan, the economic system proposed by him is weak and cannot be justified if a united state is created; Consequently, the economic situation of neighboring countries, which have been developing over the years in the fields of economy, tourism, healthcare and other areas, will not be able to cope. As a result, the key questions about Kurdistan’s future economy  that has the biggest meaning in Kurdish people’s case with neighbor countries, remain unanswered today.So in the near future it’s hard to imagine strong government with strong sovereignity and economical system that will ensure further economic progress.

You stay in Georgia with your family, but you have some kurdish acquaintances in Turkey, are you in contact with them? How do they present you the latest updates?

Yes, I have so many friends there. All the Kurds who are coming from Turkey are against independence. Their opinions are based  on the modern time where Turkish people and government don’t discriminate or exclude Kurdish people. None of them justifies the actions of their government and they know that Turkey is too rough againts Kurds, but nevertheless does not want the independence of Kurdistan in the region, as it will cause aggression by other states and a new conflict in the region.

How is the Kurdish community in Georgia? Is it integrated with civil society?

Kurdish people are living in Georgia more than two centuries and it  means that Georgia was one of those country which accepted Kudish  people and was vey hospitable against them.Kurds and especially Yezidis are completely integrated with civil society that is merit of Georgia’s multicultural and very diverse environment. People from Georgia are the closest nation for Kurds living in Tbilisi or other cities. Yezidis are also actively participating in different religious or cultural events. Religious-cultural center of Yezidis is the place where Yezidis can pray and study language and more about their culture and religion.

In this context, Russia immediately showed great activism, how do you place this important actor on the chessboard?

President Erdogan said a Turkish operation against Syria ‘s government forces was “inevitable”; Russia responded by promising Syrian troops its support, although it expressed hope that a de-escalation of the conflict was still possible. Russia has a good chance to fight againt US and become one of the important geopolitical players in the Middle East. Russia and Turkey are sometimes fighting, and sometimes they are friends in Syria. The main reason of such relation are spheres of interests that both country has in Syria. Russia reaches to save its military bases in region and don’t let Turkey , Syria or US occupy them.

The EU in struggling to take sides in this situation and to intervene decisively; from the geopolitical point of view, how do you interpret this silence?

The European Union is an organization that, as in the case of NATO, will not cross the step without America. While Russia and Turkey are participating in the conflict, European Union, even with huge quantity of Kurdish immigrants in its counties, won’t interfere in such an global hot point. In the near future, nothing could force EU to spend their resources on a new conflict.

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