If honest, the U.S. should actually protect Kurds from PKK, YPG

Published 11.01.2019 01:05
Updated 11.01.2019 08:00
A woman and her children stand in the ruins of a house damaged by PKK terrorists clashing with security forces in the predominantly Kurdish town of Silopi, southeastern Turkey, January 19, 2016.
A woman and her children stand in the ruins of a house damaged by PKK terrorists clashing with security forces in the predominantly Kurdish town of Silopi, southeastern Turkey, January 19, 2016.

I really don't understand what is wrong with the U.S. administrations. Are they kidding us or do they think that we are stupid? As U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton headed to the Middle East in a rush to do damage control after Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria, there is obviously a lot on the table to talk about like countering Iran. But the main problem for them, just like Lindsey Graham, a U.S. Republican senator who was the subject of my last column as he shocked us with his U-turn, has been the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, and its armed wing in Syria, the People's Protection Units (YPG). They are all counting on U.S. objectives in Syria starting with preventing the Turks from "slaughtering the Kurds." Of course, they mean the PYD/YPG. They do not only misrepresent the PKK and its Syrian offshoot as "the Kurds," but they also use words such as "slaughter," which is false, mean and disrespectful.

In particular, John Bolton's false accusation against Turkey, claiming that we never fought against Daesh, was the last straw. As President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed, Turkey was the first country to deploy ground combat troops to fight Daesh in Syria. Turkey secured the notorious terror organization's access to NATO's borders and prevented their ability to carry out terror attacks in Turkey and Europe. For Daesh, Erdoğan was the "treacherous Satan" and the real threat as Daesh was representing itself as a so-called Islamic state. Bolton is now accusing Turkey, but actually he should be thanking us.

YPG violence in Syria against the Kurds

The PYD announced in 2014 that they founded three cantons "Afrin, Kobani and Jazira" and alleged that the territory they captured would be a federal region called "Rojava." Actually, the Assad regime retreated from those areas in the north of Syria, leaving the PYD in control to oppress the Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens in this region and prevent them from joining anti-regime opposition groups. At least 300,000 Kurds had to flee to Iraq and no fewer than 200,000 fled to Turkey since the YPG was as ruthless against the Kurds as Daesh and the Syrian regime.

The YPG monopolized power in those regions, and as a matter of fact, it saw the Syrian civil war as a new chance to start its terror attacks in Turkey. The PKK resumed its attacks on Turkey in 2015, breaking the cease-fire which was a part of a peace process initiated by the then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is the first leader in the country to dare that. The PKK has got more courage from the U.S.-led coalition's support to its Syrian offshoot, the YPG. The PKK did not hide its intentions and declared that the Syrian civil war would be carried out to Turkey many times.

Today, Western media will not talk about the human rights violations, including torture, rapes and other acts of sexual violence against all people in Syria committed by the YPG. Because Washington does not care about torture such as "the burning of and threats to burn genitals with cigarette lighters," forced migration, arrests and the arbitrary killings of others. All they care about is the PKK's Syria branch, which they keep referring to as "the Kurds," in a way that ignores and insults millions of Kurds who have never accepted the terror group as their representatives. According to the people in Washington, the goal is just to protect the YPG, and all the rest can go to hell.

The PYD cut off all other Kurdish activists' voices, and the U.S. ignored it. Hundreds of Kurds were arrested as political prisoners. According to Kurdish activists, 150 people were abducted by the YPG alone. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), there was quite a lot of torture, maltreatment and killings in the prisons of the YPG. Assassinations of many other Kurdish leaders never stopped until they got total control. Those were all ignored by the Americans. U.S. ignorance gave them more courage and they did not stop. The U.S. did not even try to stop them.

And the recruitment of children? A 107-page HRW report, namely "Under Kurdish Rule: Abuses in PYD-run enclaves of Syria," documents the use of children by the YPG, which is a violation of international law, among many other abuses. Did the U.S. care about that? Of course not.

PKK violence in Turkey against the Kurds

Let me give just one example of what they recently did in Turkey when they got the idea of carrying the Syrian civil war into Turkey. On May 12, 2016, after the PKK decided to withdraw from the peace talks with Turkey and resumed warfare, 13 Kurds were killed in a blast detonated by the PKK on a road near Dürümlü in Diyarbakır. The PKK said in a statement that the bomb exploded by mistake, because the bomb-loaded truck was going to Diyarbakır, as if 15 tons of explosives heading to a highly populated city was normal. Some of those explosives were hidden under the ground during the peace talks giving the clue that they never had an intention of making peace, while the rest were carried through the Turkish-Syrian border from the YPG stocks delivered by the U.S.-led coalition.

International news media groups, which have had an intriguing reputation for overlooking PKK terror and violence, reported the horrible explosion as if it was just an accident and the PKK had no role in this tragedy. However, the PKK was bolder. In the statement in question, the terrorist organization accused the civilians who lost their lives in the explosion of trying to stop the truck from entering Diyarbakır. Accordingly, those civilians were "state collaborators" – a term that is commonly used by the PKK to define the Kurds who resist them. The explosion left a crater 5 meters deep and 35 meters wide on the road. If the explosives were to be successfully transferred, imagine the size of the explosion that would have been carried out in the city of Diyarbakır. The remains of the 13 Kurds, who heroically stopped the truck, were collected in bags and buried. No bodies, no body parts, just 60 kilograms of blood and fluid were left from the 13 victims of the PKK, a violent terror group which argues that it is the one and only defender of the Kurdish cause.

The PKK has used the same methods for more than four decades. In 1984, the secessionist PKK began carrying out warfare against Turkey. Its terrorist tactics have resulted in hundreds of civilian and military deaths. But I reiterate that I am not talking about how many Turks they killed for now as it looks like no one cares about that after so much worldwide PKK propaganda. But let me give some examples of the killing of Kurds by the PKK since the foundation of the terror organization.

The horror and terror of just one year

Let me just talk about one year for today. It was 1992. In mid-March, PKK members hanged three people in the southeast of Turkey, which is mostly populated by Kurds; bank notes were stuffed in all of their mouths. That was a common signal of the PKK that the terror group considered the victims state collaborators. On May 28, the PKK killed three Kurdish civilians, Hüsnü İşlek, Zubeyir Uçak and Celal Kaya, in a village in Bingöl province since they refused to cooperate with the PKK. Village residents were forced to watch the executions. The goal was to give a lesson. On May 29, the body of a village guard Hüseyin Aksoy, who was a Kurdish man kidnapped by the PKK, was found hanged on a utility pole on the road between Cizre and İdil. PKK militants executed another Kurd, Mehmet Daşdelen, in the village of Başkale in the Digor district of Kars on June 2 that year, alleging that he was a Turkish government supporter.

On the very same day, the body of another Kurd, Abdurrahman Ay, a member of the Motherland Party (ANAP) in the Turkish Parliament and a member of İdil's town council, was found hanging from a telephone pole in the Alakamış village; he was strangled with a rope. On June 20, the body of Hamit Üren, another Kurd, was found hanging from a tree in the Uludere district of Şırnak. And the PKK never hesitated to take responsibility of those killings. If someone really cares about what the PKK really did, and how its Syria, Iraq and Iran branches copied its way of horror and terror, it is easy to find several reports, even in English, written by independent human rights groups.

Would you like me to stop or continue with what happened in 1992? The PKK killed 14 Kurdish villagers, nine of which were children, and wounded eight others in raids in the villages of Seki in Batman province and in Güroymak in Bitlis province on June 22, 1992. In late June, the terror group killed five Kurds, including a member of the village guard, in an attack on the Elmasırtı village in Bingöl province. On June 26, the PKK killed 10 Kurds at a mosque in Diyarbakır; 30 PKK members drove men from the mosque, tied their hands and shot them with automatic weapons. On July 27, PKK militants stopped a bus near the Mazıdağ district of Mardin and killed a 55-year old Kurd, Kadir Kaya, whose son is a village guard.

The PKK raided the Aşkale village in Ağrı on Aug. 17 and executed 30-year-old Mahmut İncekaya, just because he did not support the PKK. The body of Kurdish Abdurrahman Akkuş, who was kidnapped by PKK militants on Sept. 9 from Yüzbaşılar village, was found hanging from a utility pole in Iğdır. A leaflet on the body stated that Akkuş had been killed "as he was an informer and a supporter of the state."

In late September that year, the PKK killed 29 people, including many women and children, in Cevizdalı in Bitlis province. The bodies of two Kurds, Nevzat Çiftçi and Ahmet Altınhan, both aged 22, were found in a field between the Danalı and Çevrimova villages in the Beşiri district of Batman on Oct. 8; they were killed by the PKK on charges of "betraying the organization."

I found some of that information in very old reports during my research on human rights groups' websites such as the Helsinki Watch or the HRW. However, it is quite disappointing to see that those human right organizations have the habit of neglecting the PKK and its branches' violence. Planting mines, assassinating people, kidnapping children, years long abductions and detentions, drug trafficking, and much more. Everything that the terror group is involved in is dirty.Of course, no one claims that the Kurds have not been repressed in the past. It dates back to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The Kurdish language, Kurdish schools, Kurdish publications, Kurdish associations, Kurdish names and Kurdish music were banned. However, President Erdoğan lifted those bans after the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power. He was the one who started a peace process aiming to stop violence. Even the former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone said in 2012 that the PKK did nothing to help Kurdish citizens; on the contrary, they killed more Kurds than everyone else. However, those concrete facts are now like dust and sand for the Americans.

That's it for now but I will continue to write about the PKK's violence against the Kurds and others.

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