ODAK programında bugün Suriye’ye olası askeri harekat ele alındı. Gazeteci Mutlu Çiviroğlu ABD Başkanı Donald Trump’un Suriye kararının ABD’de rahatsızlık yarattığını söyledi.
ODAK programında bugün Suriye’ye olası askeri harekat ele alındı. Gazeteci Mutlu Çiviroğlu ABD Başkanı Donald Trump’un Suriye kararının ABD’de rahatsızlık yarattığını söyledi.
ABD Başkanı Donald Trump ile Türkiye Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arasında yapılan telefon görüşmesinden sonra, Beyaz Saray tarafından yapılan açıklamada, “Türkiye’nin Suriye’nin kuzeyinde uzun süredir planladığı operasyon için yakın zamanda harekete geçeceği hatırlatılırken, ABD’nin bu operasyona dahil olmayacağı, askeri destek vermeyeceği ve “IŞİD’i yenilgiye uğratan” Amerikan askerlerinin bölgeden çekileceği aktarıldı.” İfadeleri kullanıldı.
Beyaz Saray’ın bu açıklamasını Amerika’da bulunan deneyimli Gazeteci Mutlu Çiviroğlu iznews agency’e yorumladı.
Beyaz Saray’ın açıklamasında görünen şunlar; “Türkiye yakında, uzun süredir Suriye için planladığı askeri harekatı başlanacağı söyleniyor. Türkiye bu operasyonu yaparken, Beyaz Saray’ın buna karşı durma gibi bir rahatsızlığı yok. Bu da ABD’nin şimdiye kadar uygulamış olduğu siyasetten vazgeçmiş oluyor. Çünkü bu güne kadar uyguladığı siyaset, “Türkiye’nin tek taraflı adımlardan kaçınması gerektiği” üzerineydi. Son dönemlerde yapılan çalışmalar da, ortak koordinasyon amaçlıydı. Bu çalışmanın amacı, Türkiye’nin tek taraflı adım atmamasına yönelikti. Beyaz Saray tarafından yapılan yeni açıklama, bu siyasetin sona geldiği ‘anlamı’ olarak da yorumlanıyor.” diyen Çiviroğlu, “Amerikan güçlerine verilen emirlere de ‘o bölgeden bulunmayın anlamı çıkıyor’ Türkiye’nin operasyon yapacağı bölgede Amerika’nın askerlerinin olmaması ve çekilmesi gerektiği, bu askerlerin operasyona ne destek verileceği, ne de karşı olacağı anlamına geliyor. Yani taraf olmaması gerektiği söyleniyor.”
Gazeteci Çiviroğlu, Beyaz Saray’dan yapılan açıklamayla ilgili sözlerini şöyle sürdürdü:
“Burada önemli olan şu, operasyon yapılacağı bölgeden bulunmayacak, ama Suriye’den tamamen çıkacağı ibaresi yok. Ayrıca açıklamada operasyonun yapılacağı alan da belirtilmemiş, bu nedenle son zamanlarda açıklamalarda gördüğümüz muğlaklık, burada da bulunuyor. Tam olarak yorumlamak güç, çünkü somut, açık ve berrak ifadeler yok. Türkiye’nin ne kadar Suriye’nin içerisine girecek ile ilgili bilgimiz de yok. Tekrar söyleyim, ‘Türkiye tek taraflı girmemeli’ siyasetinden çark edildiği görülüyor.”
Çivirlioğlu: Daha önce de iznews’e yaptığım açıklamalarda da söylemiştim. Başkan Trump’ın Pentagon ve diğer ABD kurumlarının tavsiyelerine rağmen, kişisel olarak verdiği kararlar var, bu da o kararlardan biri, çünkü Pentagon’un, CENTROM’un diyeceği ‘ABD askerlerinin orada kalması gerektiğini ve Türkiye’nin bölgeye operasyon yapmaması, olası bir operasyonun bölgeyi istikrarsızlaştıracağını, IŞİD’e yarayacağı ve IŞİD’e yaşam alanı sunacağı IŞİD tehlikesinin daha bitmediği’ görüşü var.
Trump ve Erdoğan’ın iyi anlaştıklarını ifade eden Çiviroğlu, “Geçen yıl Aralık ayında okuyucularınızda hatırlar, Trump’ın ‘çekileceğiz’ açıklaması da Erdoğan’la yapılan görüşmeden sonra olmuştu. Her iki lider arasında bir frekans var. Türkiye’de bunu iyi okuyor. Erdoğan’da son hamlelerini Trump üzerinden yapıyordu. Beyaz Saray’ın açıklamasını da bir şekilde bunun yansıması olarak görebiliriz.”
Trump müttefiklere kızgın
Çiviroğlu: Açıklamanın ikinci bölümünde de Trump’ın müttefiklere sitemi ve kızgınlığı var. “Fransa, Almanya ve birçok Avrupa ülkelerine söyledik, gelin IŞİD’li vatandaşlarınızı alın diye, ama almadılar. Bu saatten sonra Amerika artık bundan sorumlu değildir.” Burada Trump müttefiklere olan kızgınlığı açıkça dile getiriyor. Açıklamanın en ilginç noktası ise, “bu saatten sonra, artık IŞİD’lilerden sorumlu ülke olan Türkiyedir” bunu belirtilirken de, ‘Vergi veren Amerikan halkının artık bu yükü taşımayacağı’ gibi bir ifade kullanıyor. Buradan baktığımızda, Trump kendine ve siyasetine uygun adımlar atıyor. Çünkü Amerika’yı bir müttefikle karşı karşıya getirmiyor. IŞİD belasından da, yükü ülkesinin üzerinden alıp, başka bir ülkeye devrediyor. Bu ülke de Türkiye, şu anda, olası operasyonla, tutuklu IŞİD’lilerin sorumlusu bundan sonra artık Türkiye’de olacak” diyor.
Trump’ın ‘Türkiye ekonomisi mahvedip yok edeceğim’ açıklamasını değerlendiren Çiviroğlu:
‘Dün gece Beyaz Saray’dan yapılan açıklamadan bu yana büyük bir tepki var. Bu karara hem Cumhuriyetçilerden hem Demokratlardan hem ABD kamuoyundan hem de medyadan ve düşünce kuruluşlarından gelen büyük bir tepki var. Tepkinin kesiştiği nokta Kürtlere ihanet edildiği bu kadar bedel ödeyen müttefiklerin yalnız bırakıldığı. Turkiye’nin niyetinin Kürtleri yok etmek olduğu vurgulanıyor. Bu yüzden de Trump’a bu karardan vazgeçmesi çağrısı yapılıyor. Bu kararın İran ve Rusya’ya da büyük kazanım sağlayacağı dile getiriliyor. Özellikle Cumhuriyetçi senatör Luisa Grader, ABD’in yakın döneme kadar BM’deki Büyükelçisi Nikki Haley gibi isimlerin açıklamaları var. Bunların hepsinin yansıması olarak Trump’in baskılara dayanamadığını kararından geri dönerek ve bugünkü açıklamasını yaptığını görüyoruz. Bu açıklama ABD kamuoyunun düşünce kuruluşlarının, medyanın çekilme konusunda ne kadar rahatsız olduğu gösteriyor. | @iznews agency
Turkey’s track record in Syria suggests it might use a U.S.-backed safe zone planned for Kurdish-majority northeastern Syria to fundamentally reshape the region’s demographic makeup, though Washington would likely stand in its way.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has for months threatened to launch a cross-border military operation to drive out the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the area, saying the Syrian Kurdish force is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting for self-rule in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast for more than three decades.
Turkey’s offensive into northeast Syria has so far been blocked by the United States, which armed, trained and backed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), largely made up of YPG fighters, to help it defeat Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. But Turkey and the United States last week agreed to establish a joint operations centre to oversee a safe zone in Syria. Details of the deal have not been revealed, but most observers believe differences remain over safe zone size and which troops would patrol it.
Turkey’s previous cross-border offensives suggest the zone would be less than safe for many of its present, mainly Kurdish, inhabitants. After Turkey seized the northwestern Syrian Kurdish district of Afrin in early 2018, its Syrian militia proxies, the Free Syrian Army, looted houses in broad daylight.
Throughout the ongoing occupation, Turkey has done nothing to prevent documented human rights violations, including the displacement of more than 100,000 native Afrin Kurds.
Turkey also oversaw the resettlement of displaced Arabs from elsewhere in Syria in vacated Kurdish homes. It has even given them residence permits to stay in the region. By doing so, it is creating new demographic facts on the ground in a region that has historically been overwhelmingly Kurdish.
The main regions of Syrian Kurdistan are situated east of the River Euphrates. After the Aug. 7 preliminary agreement between Turkey and the United States to create a safe zone in that area, the U.S. embassy in Ankara said, “that the safe zone shall become a peace corridor, and every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country.”
“The term peace corridor refers to two different animals: for Turkey, it’s the total elimination of PKK cadres in northern Syria; for the U.S., it is a workable solution to make both Turkey and the YPG/PKK avoid clashing,” Mustafa Gürbüz, a non-resident fellow at the Arab Center in Washington. “Unless a paradigm shift occurs on either side, it is impossible to have a long-term safe-zone agreement.”
Turkey frequently talks of its intention to send the majority of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees back to their homeland. This could mean resettling Syrian Arabs in Kurdish-majority areas, as it has done in Afrin, so as to destroy any contiguous Kurdish-majority region on Turkey’s border.
Turkey plans to resettle some 700,000 Syrian refugees in Kurdish-majority northeast Syria following the safe zone’s establishment. This is possibly part of a project to lessen the unpopular presence of Syrian refugees in Turkey and fundamentally change the demographics of northeast Syria in a similar fashion to the Syrian Baathist Arabisation drive of the 1960s and 1970s. That plan sought to repopulate Kurdish-majority areas on the Syrian border with Arabs to separate Syria’s Kurds from the Kurds of Turkey and Iraq, where Kurdish nationalism was on the rise.
The Syrian government planned to remove Kurds from a zone along the Syrian border with Turkey nine miles deep and 174 miles wide. It never fully materialised, though many Kurds were forcibly uprooted and their land resettled by some 4,000 Arab families.
Turkey may well see the safe zone as the first step to building a similar “Arab belt” along the border. The exact size and location of the safe zone is not yet clear. Turkey wants a 20-mile deep zone spanning the entire border while the United States has suggested a much smaller nine-mile deep zone. Turkey remains adamant that the zone should be no less than 20-miles deep and says it will launch a unilateral military operation if it does not get what it wants.
A zone that size would include all of Syrian Kurdistan’s major cities, many of which are close to the Turkish border, and would be unacceptable to the YPG and the multi-ethnic SDF umbrella force.
The United States may convince Turkey to instead settle for establishing the safe zone around the Arab-majority border town of Tel Abyad, where resettled Syrian Arab refugees may prove less contentious in Kurdish-majority areas.
“Kurds see Tel Abyad as a part of Syrian Kurdistan because it is one of the regions where the Arab belt project was implemented and the demographics there were changed decades ago,” said Mutlu Çiviroğlu, a Kurdish affairs analyst.
It is unclear whether the United State will be able to persuade Turkey to make significant concessions.
“The American team was convinced that Erdoğan was going to invade northern and eastern Syria,” said Nicholas Heras, Middle East security fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “There was an air of desperation from the American side during these talks that has not existed before.”
His party’s defeat in mayoral elections in Turkey’s biggest city and financial capital Istanbul shook the president, Heras said. Consequently, Erdoğan views the Syria issue “as a cornucopia that he can use to satisfy the Turkish body politic that he senses is turning against him”.
“The American team believed that Erdoğan was going to invade, push out the SDF from a large swathe of the border, and nearly simultaneously move refugees into the void,” Heras said. “What is really bothering the American side is a belief that there could still be a moment when U.S. and other coalition forces will need to fire on Turkish troops in order to protect the SDF.”
Heras said there had been a quiet war between the U.S. State Department that wanted to give the Turks more room to operate in SDF areas, and the U.S. military that was pushing back hard.
“Neither the Turks nor the Americans have agreed to much, except to keep talking,” he said. “But that is a win for both the U.S. military and the SDF, because the longer the Turks are kept at bay, the less likely Turkey can pull off an invasion.”
Heras doubted the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army would be able to operate in any safe zone, noting that they had “no protection whatsoever from coalition forces”.
“U.S.-led coalition forces in northern and eastern Syria have almost no trust for Turkey’s Syrian rebel proxies,” he said. “If they try to operate in SDF areas, they will be shot.”
Syrian Kurds believe Turkey uses its Syrian proxies in order to shield itself from charges of abuse, Çiviroğlu said. He said he doubted the United States would permit Turkey to alter the demographics of northeast Syria.
“I don’t think the U.S. will accept this because this is against international law and it doesn’t solve any problems,” he said. “Also ethically, the U.S. will not accept such a thing in my view because these are the people that have been fighting side-by-side with the U.S. against ISIS.”
Konuşa Konuşa’da Gülten Sarı’nın konuğu, gazeteci ve Kürt sorunu analisti Mutlu Çiviroğlu. Türkiye ile ABD arasında varılan ‘güvenli bölge’ anlaşmasını değerlendiren Çiviroğlu, ‘müşterek harekat merkezi’ kurulmasının, ABD’nin, Rojava’yı Türkiye’ye terk etmek istemediğini ortaya koyduğunu söyledi.
Konuşa Konuşa’yı buradan dinleyebilirsiniz:
Suriyanın İslam Dövləti qrupunun nəzarətindəki son istehkamından evakuasiya edilən insanların çoxunun qrupun döyüşçüləri ilə qohumluğu var. Suriyada ekstremist yaraqlıların dul qalmış arvadları və uşaqları xaricilər üçün xüsusi düşərgədə saxlanılır.
Amerikanın Səsinin bu yaxınlarda Suriyanın Əl-Hol düşərgəsinə baş çəkən müxbiri Mutlu Çiviroğlu oradakı qadınların vəziyyəti ilə tanış olub.
O düşərgədə heç də hər kəs bu işə könüllü, ürəkdən, ixtifar hissi ilə qatılmayıb.Mutlu Civiroğlu
O, düşərgədə qeyri-insani durumun, çirkablıq və qeyri-sanitariyanın hökm sürdüyünü deyib. Uşaqların vəziyyətini açınacaqlı adlandıran Çiviroğlu hökumətləri onları qəbul etməyə çağırıb. Müxbir qadınların, xüsusilə Avropa ölkələrindən gələn qadınların hökumətlərinin onları qəbul etmək istədiyini bildirib.
Adının Ayişə olduğunu deyən azərbaycanlı qadın həyat yoldaşı ilə birgə Suriyaya getdiyini deyib. Həyat yoldaşının Kobanyada öldürülməsindən sonra bu düşərgəyə sığınan Ayişə düşərgədə yaşanan çətinlikləri haqda da danışıb.
Anasının xristian, atasının şiə olduğunu deyən digər bir azərbaycanlı qadın anasının onu qəbul etmək istəmədiyini bildirib.
Mutlu Civiroğlu iki həftə öncə 14 yaşlı azərbaycanlı qızın nənəsinin də iştirakı ilə boğularaq öldürüldüyünü deyib. Qızın günahı isə başını örtmək istəməməsi olub.
Digər qadınlar da vətən həsrəti ilə yaşayır. Tacikistandan olan br qadın oğlunun çəkdiyi ümid dolu rəsmlərini göstərərək, göz yaşlarını saxlaya bilməyib.
Suriya və İraqda həyat yoldaşları İŞİD-ə xidmət edən bəzi qadınlar ölüm hökmlərinə məhkum edilib. İraqda valideynlərinin terrorçular tərəfindən öldürülən uşaqların taleyi narahatlıq mövzusudur.
Məhkəmənin qərarı ilə edam edilən qadınların övladlarının taleyi bəlli deyil.
Lakin yardım təşkilatları düşərgələrdə həyatın kritik vəziyyətdə olduğunu və fövqəladə vəziyyətdən çıxmaq üçün zaman tələb olunduğunu deyir.
As French and US initiatives for intra-Kurdish rapprochement in Syria stall, it seems that piecemeal defections from the Kurdish National Council to the Kurdish autonomous administration in the north of the country are the rule of the day.
A pregnant woman was reportedly beaten to death this week in a Syrian refugee camp housing tens of thousands of people displaced by the war against Islamic State where they live among the militants’ wives and children in conditions described by international agencies and reporters who have visited the camp as harsh, dire, and even apocalyptic.
The woman, identified as 30-year-old Sodermini by ANHA news agency, was six months pregnant, and originally from Indonesia. On July 28, her body was discovered in a tent and taken to a hospital run by the Kurdish Red Crescent, where an autopsy determined she had suffered tremendously before she died.
The Indonesian government said it is investigating the circumstances of her death, and the woman is believed to be among about 50 Indonesian adherents to Islamic State living among about 70,000 people in the camp. It’s not known yet who killed her or why.
Children have died in the camp, and the International Committee of the Red Cross said recently that, despite the efforts of international NGOs to treat people with war wounds, infections, or who are suffering from malnutrition, the humanitarian needs in al-Hol remain “tremendous.”
Last month, Kurdish analyst and journalist Mutlu Civiroglu visited al-Hol camp and other areas managed by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, the de facto government in northern and eastern Syria. He found al-Hol to be a “ticking time bomb” – dangerously overcrowded, too large for the Kurdish internal security police force called the Asayish to control, and full of children deeply at risk of becoming the next generation of ISIS fighters.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The Defense Post: To start, tell me about the camps. Who runs them? How many people are there –how many women, men and children? How many are believed to be ISIS adherents and their families? How many are civilians?
Mutlu Civiroglu: According to the U.N. over 70,000 people live in al-Hol Camp. UNICEF estimates that more than 90% of them are children and women. Nearly 20,000 of the children are Syrians. According to Kurdish officials I spoke with, in total there are about 30,000 ISIS women and their children from 62 different countries. They are mainly in al-Hol but also in Ain Issa and Roj camps.
The whole of al-Hol camp is very crowded. Over 70,000 people live there. Considering the very hot summer, the camp residents live under very tough circumstances.
We were there one day when it was very hot. The sewage water was outside, on the surface – a very unhygienic environment and invitation for disease and illness. There are not enough doctors or health centers, according to the people we spoke to.
Security-wise it’s very risky because it’s over-crowded, hard to control. A few weeks ago an Asayish officer was stabbed. A 14-year-old Azeri girl was killed because she was not covering her hair, according to the people on the ground. I had to go to the camp with strong protection after this incident. It’s like a ticking bomb. The Kurdish administration runs the camp but UNICEF [the U.N. children’s agency], UNHCR [the U.N. refugee agency], the Red Cross, World Health Organization, and other intergovernmental organizations are there to support them, from what I could see.
Abdulkarim Omar, head of foreign relations in Jazira canton, told me that including Syrians and Iraqis there a total of 30,000 ISIS women and children under their control and around 12,000 are foreigners (muhajirs) and 8,000 of them are children. Of course male suspected ISIS members are kept in prison in different locations. Currently some 6,000 ISIS fighters are under SDF control: 5,000 are Iraqi and Syrian, and the other 1,000 are foreigners from 55 different states.
TDP: How are they separated?
The ISIS families are separated from the rest of the Iraqis and Syrians. There are wires separating them from the rest of the refugee community in the camp, and their location is known by the security and Asayish forces.
TDP: Do they live more or less freely within the camp or are their schedules and movements restricted?
The camp residents were allowed to go out for shopping until recently, but several escape incidents took place, and some ISIS women were taken out by smugglers, so the camp administration recently banned residents from going out. Instead they set up a new market inside of the camp, called Baghuz market. The administration is more strict now.
Their movements have to be restricted because of the killings. I was told the Russian women did that [killing of a 14-year-old Azeri girl] – by Russian I mean women from Chechnya, Dagestan, the Muslim republics of Russia – so their movements are more restricted and security is tightened after these incidents. Some camp residents have complained that because they’re not allowed out of the camp, the prices became more expensive and they’re having a hard time living because things are more expensive now. But they also acknowledge that by the mistake of some of the ISIS wives they’re all suffering.
I was told that kids are encouraged by women to throw stones at the camp officials. This also creates pressure on the security forces to be more careful.
TDP: What is the food and water supply like? Medicine? Sanitation? Are international organisations helping with humanitarian needs?
Based on what I saw I think there is enough water, but because the camp is overcrowded it causes problems especially with the water and in the summer. The Red Cross, WHO and UNHCR are there to provide help in addition to the Kurdish administration. They are also in-camp hospitals and health centers being built and mobile health centers set up by the Kurdish Red Crescent, so I don’t think there is a very desperate need, but because of the large number of residents I’m sure from time to time food and water is becoming a problem. International organizations and the local government are there trying to do their best.
However, Kurdish officials are asking for more support from the international community in terms of medicine, hospitals, water and cleaning materials. They also want countries to take back their citizens so that the population of the camp will be reduced.
TDP: There were some reports recently that some women escaped – do you know how? What is internal security like?
I was told the same thing and also read that some people in the Asayish are involved in taking the women out of the camps, but Kurdish officials strongly denied that and said it’s propaganda and their members would never be involved in such a thing because money is nothing for them, and they do this because of their values.
But the way different sources explained it to me is this: The women were allowed to leave the camp before for shopping, and since they all have the black burqa on, they look alike, and when they leave, they never come back because their families arrange a smuggler who is waiting for them in the town. Once these women go out of the camp they change their clothes and they are smuggled out. Since the camp is very large it’s not possible to have 100% control. That’s why the camp administration has now stopped allowing the women to leave for shopping. According to sources it’s arranged by families who pay a large amount of money to smugglers.
Internal security is tight. There are many Asayish forces guarding the camp, and the main gate is also a checkpoint. Before you reach the camp you pass through several checkpoints on the road from Hasakah. After you enter the main gate there’s another gate that’s also well-protected, and visitors are strictly controlled. When you’re inside they give you protection so stabbing incidents won’t happen. With me I think there were four people guarding us.
But again, because of the large area and a huge number of residents it’s not very easy to control the camp, and since you don’t know what’s inside of the tents or what kind of weapons they might have it’s not 100% safe or secured.
TDP: Do the families seem to be repentant?
I observed mixed feelings. Some were defiant; for example an Egyptian woman was cursing us. She was using bad language and was very aggressive towards us, and was chanting pro-ISIS slogans. Also Russian-origin ISIS wives were very aggressive, so you see that they’re very motivated by what they’re doing. Some Turkish ISIS families seemed defiant, but at the same time I saw some Azeri women look very regretful. They seemed willing to go back home.
One Tajik woman showed me drawings by her child, saying her son drew their home and they want to go home. And you see people saying they were deceived, especially Dutch and Belgian ISIS wives, they say they believed everyone was equal but realized that the rich lived better lives, and the emirs paid money to smuggle their families out of Baghuz before the SDF took control, but these women ended up in these camps in very tough circumstances.
They were criticizing Baghdadi, saying he was in Libya living a good life but they are like this [in al-Hol], and they want their countries to take them back. When I pressured ed them, saying they had many opportunities to leave and that they came to Syria willingly, they said they are ready to be in prison in their countries, but at least their children would not live in camp conditions. They hoped even when they are in prison, their families will be able to take care of children. They were well-aware that they might spend long years in prison, which I found very interesting.
Because of the tough circumstances in the camp I think going home is a common desire. But to me the most important thing was that the vast majority of the camp residents are children, and especially children under 12. They are on the dirt, they play in dusty alleys – no playground, no sanitizing, under the sun – I think no child should be living under those circumstances, no matter what their parents did. Children have nothing to do with this, so they need to be given the opportunity to play and be a child, to flourish. They need help to get out of this trauma and be de-radicalized and rehabilitated, and the camp is no place for that. They need expert support and psychological support.
I am hoping that the governments will understand that children desperately need help, because if they stay there they will be brainwashed by their mothers. In a few years these children are going to be core ISIS members, so there’s a danger waiting for societies if these kids are not helped as soon as possible.
TDP: Do you think there’s a realistic possibility of a tribunal? Why in North and East Syria rather than the International Criminal Court, or trials in Iraq for foreigners, as with some French citizens who already have been sentenced? The Autonomous Administration isn’t recognized as a government, so how would sentences or verdicts given by the tribunal have any force in international law?
The Autonomous Administration feels like they’re under pressure because there are thousands of ISIS fighters, their wives and children. It’s a heavy burden for them to carry so they need the international community to help them. Especially after the Turkish statements about a military operation inside Syria, there are concerns that such a move may help these people to flee from the prisons and camps. But so far very few countries have taken back their citizens so the problem remains on Kurds’ shoulders and they feel like they need to do something.
The idea of an international tribunal is a step in this direction to push the international community to do more to share the burden with them.
Currently the administration is not recognized officially but a tribunal can be different. The legal experts in International Forum on ISIS conference agreed that there is a base for establishing a tribunal in Rojava because there is already a judicial system, legal experts, lawyers and with the support of the international community a tribunal could be established and it would be a good way to start to find a solution to the huge problem of post-caliphate ISIS.
Again, there are thousands of fighters under SDF control, many of their wives, and tens of thousands of children and they feel like they need to do something because so far the international community is turning a blind eye to the issue.
The caliphate was ended in March. Western countries are not open to the idea to expatriate their citizens. So the problem is with Rojava, with the Syrian Kurds. The attacks show the gravity of the situation, and since nothing is being done, Kurds and their allies feel like they need to take the initiative.
Iraq is motivated to do that in a way to clear its name that was ruined when it was overrun by ISIS. The Iraqi army fled from ISIS and left it for them. But at the same time, Iraq is also driven by the idea of revenge. Numerous ISIS members have already been executed.
The system in Rojava is more progressive and closer to Western systems and it is a better location for an international court because most of the fight was done in Syria. The caliphate’s heart was in Raqqa. Manbij is where the attacks against the West were planned. Kobani is where ISIS was first defeated and ISIS’s unstoppable advance was first prevented. Baghuz was the last remaining stronghold of the caliphate. They’re all in Syria. And the SDF, YPG, YPJ, Syriac Military Council are there so Syria is more suitable than Iraq considering these people have done the work, they have paid the highest price. These people defeated ISIS.
TDP: Are there plans to help the victims of ISIS?
There are some orphanages for the Yazidi children, de-radicalization centers for Yazidi children and other ISIS children, and some villages for Yazidi women who were not accepted back by their communities, but the resources are very limited in the Kurdish parts of Syria. Finances, expert advice and equipment are limited, so there has to be external support. The West especially should step in because the problem is very serious and requires a joint effort by Kurds and the West, especially the countries that are members of the international Coalition. The camps have the support of the international, humanitarian organizations but mainly Kurds are running them. There are great efforts, but it’s not enough.
TDP: Do you see any sign that the International Forum on ISIS conference has influenced foreign countries to change their Syria policies? Will they leave troops in the north, will they take their citizens back?
Such international forums are good venues to understand what’s happening on the ground and hear what people people on the ground – activists, experts, military and political leadership – say. It’s very important. There were representatives from the U.S., France, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other European countries, as well as South Africa. It’s important that people from different backgrounds come and learn about the situation in Syria, ISIS captives, operations against ISIS families, and also share with the local people what their countries think about it. So it’s a good platform for them, and when these people go back they talk to the public, media and think-tanks. I’m optimistic that they’ll have an impact in their own countries.
I think the countries that have a military presence in northern and eastern Syria will continue; I don’t foresee any significant change in the plans of these countries, specifically the U.S., France, Germany and others. They’ll be there because they all know the ISIS threat is not fully resolved yet. The caliphate is ended but the danger, the ideology is there, the support base is there, sleeper cells are there. CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie and Ambassador William Roebuck’s recent visit shows that the Coalition gives the same importance to Rojava.
The world has almost forgotten Syria. International foreign policy priorities change so rapidly that Syria does not have the same spot it used to have, but ISIS is a global problem and it hasn’t been fully resolved. The resolution needs a global effort. Taking back citizens from Syria is one way of doing that, because the more people who stay there, the more is it is a ticking bomb.
All countries should repatriate their citizens, and they should try these people in their countries. If not, they should support the idea of helping to set up a tribunal in Rojava so that these people can be brought to justice and pay the price for the atrocities they committed. But I think the world is still turning a blind eye, although recently I see more awareness in terms of countries taking back at least the women and children and sentencing them in their own countries instead of keeping them in Syria.
A coalition of opposition groups including Kurds and Republicans are joining forces ahead of a crucial election, which analysts predict may deliver the biggest political upset in Turkey in decades.
The initial poll in March to choose a new mayor to govern Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, secured a victory for the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), but on a margin of just 14,000 votes.
CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu’s campaign was boosted by tactical voting from Kurds and other minorities seeking to oust the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Imamoglu was in office for just 19 days until Turkey’s Supreme Election Council annulled the result after claims by the AKP of irregularities at polling stations.
Now with the controversial re-run just days away, the Kurdish vote has been described as the “golden key” at the forthcoming ballot and CHP, Turkey’s oldest political party, is now considering a series of concessionary reforms that could allow for the teaching of the Kurdish language in Istanbul’s public schools for the first time.
The vote in the mayoral election on March 31 collapsed in confusion, amid a news blackout over exit poll results, with both the CHP and the AKP candidate former prime minister Binali Yildirim claiming victory.
Ahead of voting, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which has seen its relations with the ruling AKP deteriorate over the war in Syria and a renewal of the armed conflict in the Kurdish majority southeast of the country, took the radical step of withdrawing its own candidates from the mayoral race in Istanbul and in six other cities. Instead it urged its supporters to vote CHP.
Research by the Ankara-based economic think tank TEPAV suggests around 80 percent of the HDP supporters, close to a million voters, switched sides accordingly.
Now in a second round in which every vote counts, the Kemalist CHP appears to be shifting position on its historical antipathy towards the issue of Kurdish rights.
Imamoglu has told a Kurdish news channel “Kurdish language and songs are a part of Turkey’s societal unity.” While the veteran leader of the CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, similarly told Turkish television that learning and receiving education in mother tongue is an individual’s “essential right.”
In a move that surprised many Kurds, CHP members also spoke out against the result of mayoral elections in the southeast of Turkey, where successful HDP candidates in five districts were removed from office and replaced with AKP runners up. While last year, former CHP presidential candidate Muharrem Ince visited the HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas at his prison cell in Edirne, where Demirtas is serving a four-year term over the party’s alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
This new conciliatory tone from Republicans has been cautiously welcomed by Kurdish voters. Mutlu Civiroglu, a Washington D.C.-based Kurdish affairs analyst, says ideologically the two political parties have much in common. “By nature CHP is (HDP’s) closest partner, but because of the disagreements over the Kurdish question, they have always distanced themselves. But now both sides feel equally victimized by the government and the Kurdish vote has the power of change.”
Istanbul-based analyst Gareth Jenkins describes the current coalition as a marriage of convenience in the harsher political climate. “There is a sense that the HDP is being squeezed out of the political space completely, that the Kurds can’t get their message across any other way.”
He cautions “CHP has always been seen as the main suppressors of Kurdish identity…the party still has a long way to go to convince the Kurds that it has changed. They don’t just have to win the trust of Kurds, they also have to persuade them to go out to vote.”
Others in the Kurdish movement see HDP’s endorsement of the Republicans as a leap of faith that may not pay off. They point out that it was CHP parliamentarians voting in favour of AKP legislation to lift immunity from prosecution for lawmakers that led to the jailing of Demirtas and his party colleagues.
Ibrahim Dogus of the London-based Centre for Turkey Studies says the current alliance “is fragile… it remains to be seen if this strategy will bear fruit, but a renewed CHP victory in Istanbul on the back of HDP support would be difficult to ignore, likely forcing CHP to deepen its engagement with Kurdish issues.”
However Civiroglu sees a possible turning point, particularly on the contentious issue of Kurdish language provision. “The (Istanbul) municipality has a lot of power, a huge budget and 16 million residents. It can promote services, whether that is language teaching in Kurmanji or Zaza, supporting cultural and social activities for Kurds…it’s really a test case.”
With the next vote on June 23 and opinion polls neck and neck, electioneering in Istanbul is intense, particularly in the predominantly working-class districts of Esenyurt, Buyukcekmece and Beylikduzu, with large Kurdish populations that voted CHP in March.
However analysts warn the focus on minority and floating voters misses the bigger problem for the AKP, namely the growing disillusionment with the party among its traditional support base; poorer, conservative Turks who have been hit hard by the worsening economic outlook.
Gareth Jenkins says whether the AKP wins the Istanbul mayoralty or not, the second election will prove a decisive moment for modern Turkey after two decades of AKP rule. “What we have seen in the past six months is an irreversible decline (in the AKP), the only question is the pace at which it is happening. Many younger members are aware that the grounds for the re-run in Istanbul are spurious and the party has been discredited.”
He predicts that “If the second election is fair then Imamoglu should win. But the real concern for the AKP is how any future opposition government will act. Will they do to AKP what the party itself has been doing to its own opponents over the past two decades? That is their fear.”
(Cover: Supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu wave Turkish national flags during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul, Turkey, March 28, 2019. /Reuters Photo)
The Turkish troops constantly harass the local, and the only way to return peace and stability is to transfer the land under control of the Syrian government.
Suriye’de çatışmalar hafiflerken, yolsuzlukla mücadele, ekonomi ve siyasetin yeniden inşası gibi sorunlar gündeme gelmeye başladı. Bu dönem halk arasında “ülkeyi bekleyen ikinci savaş” olarak tanımlanıyor.