Turkey recently carried out an operation to evacuate the Tomb of Suleyman Shah to a place near the Turkish border but again inside Syrian territory. Regional conditions, and particularly the escalating fighting around the tomb, made it essential for the Turkish military to take such a step to protect the Tomb and Turkish military guards there against provocative attacks. However, this is a temporary state of affairs, and there is no question of Turkey stepping back or abandoning its historical artifacts.
One of the important factors behind this operation, which has led to much debate in Turkey, was how the operation would affect relations between Turkey and the PYD.
It needs to be made clear that the PYD is a Marxist-Leninist terror organization. It is on the list of terror organizations in Turkey. And the Tomb of Suleyman Shah operation has not altered that fact. Indeed, as presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said in a statement; “In our eyes the PYD is a terror organization. That part of Syria we call Eshme is under the protection of the Republic of Turkey.”
Turkey Is a Friend of the Kurds
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire the Kurds, dispersed between Iraq, Syria and Turkey (or divided into four included the population in Iran) were exposed to various difficulties and oppression. Saddam in Iraq and Assad’s, Ba’ath regime in Syria adopted a policy of eliminating the Kurds. Saddam used chemical weapons to inflict mass slaughter on the Kurds, while Assad refused even to give them identity cards or to recognize them at all. At that time, when the secret state mentality predominated in Turkey, the Kurds were oppressed in the same way as the Alawites, conservatives and devout believers. The advances taken on the road to democratization in Turkey in the last 10 years, however, have improved conditions for the Kurds and all other sections of society.
The Kurds and the Turks have lived together for more than 1,000 years and share common values, culture and most importantly of all, religious beliefs. Their 1,000 years of common history has welded them together. The Ergenekon organization [a secret state apparatus] adopted a strategy of inciting hatred by persecuting the Kurds and of driving Kurds and Turks apart. The PKK also emerged as a product of the secret state and led to the deaths of more than 40,000 people.
Yet even in times of the worst violence, the bonds of love between Turks and Kurds were never weakened. The unity of faith undoubtedly played a great part in that; that unity of belief in turn protected the bonds of brotherhood.
Indeed, during the fighting in Kobane, Turkey admitted more than 200,000 of our Syrian Kurdish brothers in a single night, accommodated them in the best manner possible and protected the civilian Kurdish population with medical and humanitarian assistance.
It Would Be Wrong to Leave the Kurds at the Mercy of the PKK Elements
Some Western circles today make the mistake of regarding the PKK as a representative of the Kurds and as an effective fighting force against ISIL. The fact is that the PKK is only heard of thanks to propaganda and in no way represents the whole of the Turkish people. Devout Kurds are attached to their beliefs and peace-loving people. The PKK, the PYD and their extensions, on the other hand, are atheistic, Marxist-Leninist terror organizations. In other words, the nature of the PKK is at total variance with that of the region. The influence of the PKK on the Kurdish people has been acquired in direct proportion to the weapons in its hands. Its first actions in Turkey were aimed against the Kurds, and it began by eliminating the Kurdish opposition. The PYD adopted a similar strategy in northern Syria, either imprisoning or murdering its Kurdish opponents. A great many of the Kurds who have migrated to Turkey since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war have been fleeing persecution by the PYD.
Therefore, seeking to make a Marxist-Leninist organization the representative of the devout Kurdish people through strategies dreamed up at a desk will spell disaster for the whole region. It would be utterly wrong to abandon the Kurds, who for years suffered under persecution by the Ba’ath regime, to the PKK’S dictatorship of the proletariat now. What the Kurds want is not the despotic governance of the PKK, but a democratic, calm and peaceful way of life. Turkey will play a leading role in building that life.
Protection of the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, and of all the peoples living there – Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Armenians, Jews and others, being able to live decent lives, is one of the foundations of Turkish regional policy. Those who desire peace and tranquility in the region should support, not the PKK, which seeks to build another North Korea in the region, but Turkey, a modern, secular and democratic country.
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