KCK's Bayık: Turkey has lost in Syria - PART II
KCK's Bayık: Kurds in Syria will either be completely crushed, silenced, murdered in massacres and suppressed - which is out of the question - or the Kurds’ existence, identity, culture, self-government and political will have to be recognized.
Evaluating the Raqqa operation and the developments in Rojava and Northern Syria, KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) Executive Council Co-President Cemil Bayık stated that the Turkish state bet on the wrong horse in Syria.
Bayık pointed out that if there is going to be a new Syria, that will be based upon the character of the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation. Either Syria will continue as before, or the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation that accepts the Kurds’ self government within local democracy will be recognized.
KCK Executive Council Co-President Cemil Bayık answered ANF's questions on the developments in Rojava, Northern Syria and Kurdistan. Second part of the detailed interview is as follows:
Do you believe Turkey can be permanent in the region?
Turkey has already lost in Syria. All political observers make this assessment. By allowing them to take some areas in Jarablus and al-Bab, Turkey has been stopped. In a way, they have also given a responsibility to Turkey: You are now there, you are responsible when there is ISIS or other groups’ activity there. This much is clear: In time, Turkey and other forces will continue to clash in this area. And Turkey will impose itself. But these impositions have no chance of success. Because their position is not strong. Turkey planned to make the imposition through taking Manbij, that way they would be influential in the Raqqa operation. After they would take Manbij, as they expanded their territory, they would say they won’t leave those areas until PKK’s branch PYD is neutralized. In a way, they would negotiate smothering the Rojava Revolution and dissolving the rights of Kurds in return for leaving the area. That is how they handled entering Jarablus and al-Bab. They would take those places and resort to blackmail. But the influence of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the coalition forces and others not wanting Turkey has voided their plans of negotiating in this manner. Turkey is no longer in a negotiating position to be able to say “If you don’t smother the Rojava Revolution, if you don’t crush PYD, if you don’t eliminate this or that.. we won’t leave..” over al-Bab or Jarablus. They will impose themselves for a while longer and cause problems. They were to gain grounds by playing a role in taking Raqqa, to prevent the democratization of Syria. But they weren’t successful. But they will continue to pose an obstacle to the democratization of Syria and achieving peace and stability in Syria. Until they themselves are democratized, they will continue to cause trouble because they are afraid of Syria’s democratization. In this aspect, Turkey will always have an approach of trouble-making in the coming period of creating a new Syria. But these approaches will put Turkey at odds with several forces. And that will weaken Turkey diplomatically and politically.
Do you agree that the Kurds have reached a point of no return in Syria? Will it be correct to say that Kurds won’t be excluded in the new Syria from now on?
For sure, there have been fundamental changes in Syria. Syria is not the old Syria anymore. The current regime can try as they might, but they can’t recreate the old Syria. There are Islamic masked gangs allied to Turkey, however much they try they can’t turn Syria into the oppressive, status quoist country that put pressure on the Kurds and other peoples. The democratic revolution developed in Northern Syria starting in Rojava has changed a lot of things.
"THE MOST IMPORTANT REVOLUTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST TOOK PLACE IN ROJAVA"
Without a doubt, there has been a revolutionary struggle that developed under the influence of the Leader’s line of thought, but has it been completely in line with the Leader? It can be seen that there are serious shortcomings and gaps. But the most important democratic revolution of the Middle East has taken place in Rojava and Northern Syria. On the other hand, Syria has experienced a complete overturn. In this sense, it is impossible to put the Kurds back in their old position. It’s not an issue of going back to the way things were, the topic of discussion now is what will the Kurds’ position be. This is the subject that will be fought over. As such, Russia has seen that the Kurds won’t go back to the same position, and has presented a project, a draft constitution to continue their relationship with the Kurds. There is a cultural autonomy proposal that removes the denial of Kurds. It is understood that this is not just Russia’s project, it also belongs to the regime and Iran with its ties to the regime. Maybe they took it as a tactic for a period of time, but they have put forth such an approach that is based on cultural autonomy in the Kurdish issue. There will still be a central government in Syria, but Kurds will achieve certain rights as well. It is understood that a cultural autonomy, the issue of cultural rights that is within the system and controlled by it, where the local democracy isn’t strong and the Kurds don’t govern themselves has been accepted, or the Syrian regime is not far from accepting this. The draft constitution Russia presented expresses this. Because Russia is constantly in contact with Syria and Iran. They put forth this cultural autonomy project after seeing what these powers will and won’t accept, through discussions and checks. Russia has seen that a Syria where Kurds are denied and have no rights like before isn’t possible anymore.
But this isn’t an approach that will solve the Kurdish issue in Syria. In a way it doesn’t express full democratization. A system where Kurds can govern themselves, that includes local democracy and self government isn’t accepted. And that means not accepting democratization and a democratic Syria. Because if Syria is going to be democratized, there has to be local democracy. Local democracy has to present itself somehow. Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Chechens and Syriacs have formed the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation together and shown what kind of local democracy and democratization they want. In there, every region will govern itself. There will be autonomous zones within the federation. Now there are cantons, presumably it will evolve into autonomous zones instead of cantons in the federation. The issue isn’t whether the point of no return has passed for Kurds. Kurds are past this, they won’t be governed like before anymore. They will either be completely crushed, silenced, murdered in massacres and suppressed - which is out of the question - or the Kurds’ existence, identity, culture, self-government and political will have to be recognized.
If there is going to be a new Syria, that will be based upon the character of the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation. Either Syria will continue as before, or the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation that accepts the Kurds’ self government within local democracy will be recognized. There can be no Syria where the self government of Kurds is not accepted. Or, if there is going to be democratization, this will be based on the local democracy developed in the form of the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation. In this sense, nobody can exclude the Kurds. How the political struggle in Syria will end, will there be a reconciliation or conflict, what shifts will occur in the power balance, these will become clear in time. But in any case, excluding Kurds in Syria is not possible any more. In this sense, all are trying to pull the Kurds over to their side instead of excluding them. They are trying to make the Kurds accept their project. There are such efforts. Rather than the exclusion of Kurds, there will be a struggle for to what extent the Kurds will partake in the general balance of Syria. We think the Kurds don’t have an issue with which side to take part in. We believe that the policies and approaches of the Kurds will create grounds for reconciliation and be a fundamental reconciliation point in the creation of the new Syria.
The Kurds have built a democratic system in northern Syria, in Rojava that is in the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation. And they built it with Arabs, Syriacs, Turkmens and Chechens. They have created a model for Syria and the Middle East. In this model, all peoples govern themselves. There is a democratic administration and all peoples have a place in that democratic administration. No group’s rights are being trampled. A democratic system has been founded on the basis of all peoples having their rights recognized. And that has emerged as a model for a solution. While the rest of Syria is knee deep in blood, an island of stability based on the fraternity of peoples, a democratic system has emerged as a reality. This will be there for not only the Democratic Northern Syrian Federation, but for Syria in general as well. Kurds will take part in the democratic system along with other peoples on the basis of local democracy, while protecting their own rights everywhere based on local democracy.