Barzani or Öcalan?

Published 07.11.2014 02:00

Kobani has become a litmus test. It revealed who looks at the Kurdish issue from which standpoint, who conspires against whom, who works hand in glove with imperialist forces while "refusing" their own people's forces, who favors a democratic framework and who prefers a uniform society instead. Only a look at how the peshmerga fighters went to Kobani is enough to see this. If the real concern was to save Kobani from the terror of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), to create a democratic ground in Rojava - the Kurdish-populated area of northern Syria - would there be so much tension?

The world is asked to come and save Kobani, but peshmerga forces - who are of the same people as the inhabitants of this town - are not wanted in Kobani. Nothing is said about U.S. bombing and gunfire, but the number of peshmerga fighters to be sent by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) becomes a matter of debate. Isn't there something strange here? It's time to ask this question openly: Is the real concern of the PKK and Democratic Unity Party (PYD) to save Kobani or to establish an unchallenged system in Rojava that they have acquired? Just like Kemalists, they want to be the sole and exclusive owner of the regime they established. This is the whole point. And they do this by abusing the victimization of Kurds.

If that wasn't the case, would they haggle over how many peshmerga fighters to accept and even say, "They had better provide weapons but not come." Let's just say that you don't trust Turkey's Kurdish policy, but what's the problem with the KRG? See what the PKK leader, Sabri Ok, said despite the Duhok agreement, which was signed on Oct. 22 by Kurdish political parties in northern Syria to defend Rojava: "We will not surrender to feudal leaders." He meant KRG President Massoud Barzani. In the style of politics represented by Ok, however, there is not as much space for plurality as even in that of the "feudal leaders." The Rojava experience has showed that. Not a single political movement except the PYD was allowed to exist there.

Now let's have a look at the KRG in Iraq, which was founded by those feudal leaders whose fighters the leaders of the PKK and PYD leaders don't want to see in Kobani. Despite all kinds of economic and political obstacles created by the central government, every party participates and competes in the elections. And on Nov. 2, the KRG declared the Turkmen language, which is not recognized by the central Iraqi government, one of its official languages. In spite of its many imperfections, the "feudal leaders" are on a democratic track.

The PKK and PYD offer a seemingly "modern-secular" but "authoritarian and uniform" system under the name of cantons or democratic autonomy - in other words, the 2014 version of Kemalist, Stalinist Baathism. Let's put it this way; they fear the prospective "plurality" expected to emerge in Rojava after the arrival of peshmerga fighters and the Free Syrian Army. Western media outlets deliberately ignore this fact. What matters for them is not the democratization of the region, but their own interests.

If the PKK and its supporters had somehow grasped the essence of the reconciliation process and renounced violence, Rojava would have evolved in a different direction. They misjudge Ankara's approach due to that authoritarian standpoint. Turkey aims now for a Turkish-Kurdish alliance through politics and is undergoing a paradigm shift for this purpose. If Ankara had been uneasy about the Kurdish presence in Rojava, would it have allowed peshmerga forces to transit through its territory and support the PYD? Would it have been the first to offer the PKK - as PKK leader Mustafa Karasu disclosed - to open a corridor?

Having established good relations with the KRG, why should Turkey avoid building similar relations with Rojava, which has connections with the PKK with which Turkey is conducting the reconciliation process? This means there is another problem. This is not the Kurdish presence, but the "authoritarian and uniform" structure of the PKK and PYD and its violence-prone approach. The real question is: Who will represent Kurds after their emergence on the global political scene - Barzani or imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan? That's why the PYD does not want peshmerga fighters in Kobani. Who do you think will win? Barzani, who always produces solutions or the PKK, which always creates problems?

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