Muslim: Turkey plans to de-Kurdify Kurdistan

PYD politician Salih Muslim explains in the second part of the ANF interview that the Turkish state wants to expel the Kurdish population from Kurdistan and destroy the Kurdish freedom movement everywhere.

In recent weeks, the Turkish state has massively expanded its attacks on northeastern Syria and Rojava, carrying out targeted assassinations with drones, on leaders of the defense forces, and killing civilians in artillery and air strikes. In the second part of this interview with Salih Muslim, a longtime board member of the northern Syrian Democratic Unity Party (PYD), the politician assesses these attacks and describes possible prospects for the region.

There have been fierce attacks on Rojava and Southern Kurdistan [kr:Bashur] recently. What strategy is the PYD pursuing against this?

Both the PYD and the people in Bashur or in the diaspora know what the Turkish state intends with its attacks. All attacks are part of the same concept, the "collapse plan" [plan adopted by the Turkish state in 2015 aimed at ending the peace process and including a complete annihilation of the Kurdish freedom movement]. The Kurdish freedom movement, the Kurdish people and their leadership are intended to be brought to their knees and crushed. This plan is not limited to one organization or the PKK. Wherever there are Kurds who resist, they are intended to be crushed. Kurdish society is intended to be rendered leaderless and left without a vanguard. That is the plan. All existing structures are intended to be suppressed. Whether in Rojava or all of northeastern Syria, whether in Bashur or in the diaspora, the plan encompasses all areas. This is the context in which the attacks must be considered, and action should be taken on this basis. 

Intensive psychological special warfare is taking place. Arabs who want to go to Turkey are tortured and murdered by Turkish soldiers, while Kurds are let through. What is this all about?

The Turkish state wants to create an area here without Kurds, that is, a Kurdistan without Kurds. And if there are still Kurds here, then they must be under its command. That's the kind of Kurdistan they want, whether in Rojava or elsewhere. He is waging his psychological war everywhere, in northern Kurdistan as well as in the south and in Rojava. Since Rojava is more open to other forces and has resisted, it's a little more violent here.

Many jihadist sleeper cells here have ties to Turkey. Turkey is waging an intense special war through virtual media. Unfortunately, much of that war is being waged by Kurds who have been bought as agents. The point is to drive the Kurdish population out of here and settle another population. The fact that Arabs are not allowed across the border has to do with exactly that. It is made clear to them that they should stay, but the Kurds should leave. That is a long-term plan. As you know, back at the beginning of the clashes in Syria in 2011, camps were set up in Turkey. The Turkish state invited everyone to come to these camps. It tried to take the Kurds away from here and settle a Turkmen, Uighur and Arab population in their place. Now the Afghan population is fleeing and Turkey wants to settle them in Kurdistan. This has already happened in the past and is part of the concept I mentioned.

In Rojava in particular, the special war is also about setting the various population groups against each other. The Armenian population and the Syriacs are survivors of the Ottoman genocide. The Turkish state is waging psychological warfare everywhere; it wants sleeper cells to become active everywhere. It wants the people who are left here to disappear as well.

As you can see, from Shehba to Afrin and from Girê Spî to Serêkaniyê and Til Temir, artillery attacks take place every day. Artillery, rockets and drones are used. This is also for the purpose of displacement. I think the people here have realized this now and they are resisting. In the end, we will win because there is a population here that is confident in their resistance, whether it is Kurds, Arabs or Syriacs. In Til Temir and Zirgan, people are returning to their villages despite the daily shelling.

There are reports that meetings on Kurdish unity are to be held again. According to these reports, a U.S. delegation is in the region with this goal in mind. Are such meetings even possible in view of the lying propaganda of the ENKS, which calls on people to return to Turkish-occupied Afrin?

We are talking about Kurdish unity. At the very least, the Kurds should be in solidarity and draw a common line, green lines and red lines. It should be clear that one does not do the enemy any service and does not get involved in his games. There should be a common position on this. Unfortunately, it is not so. So far, some forces do not consider Turkish fascism as an enemy. They fall for Turkey's deceptions and console themselves with tactical games that it is against the PKK or against the PYD. However, this does not correspond to reality. We have seen this in Afrin and in many other places, and we see it in Southern Kurdistan. It is not about the PKK, it is not about the PYD. It is about the fact that a certain plan is being implemented here. There should be no more Kurds here, because the Turkish state thinks that if the Kurds don't wake up today, it could happen tomorrow and cause it problems. Some Kurds here are still falling for this. It may be that there are a few people in the ENKS who have recognized Turkish fascism as an enemy, but they do not have the courage to stand against this enemy and stand up for unity. They have no confidence at all. This lack of confidence is tantamount to defeat. If you decide to resist, you do so with the means at your disposal. You must never give up.

We see this in Bashur as well. Why are they [the KDP] helping the Turkish state? For their own benefit, for a few million dollars... This is a question of dignity for the Kurdish people. You have to realize that. Some of them have become prisoners of Turkish fascism. They can no longer make their own decisions. They stand up and say there will be no war among Kurds, but they do exactly the opposite. This means that the power of decision is no longer with them. We have to free them from this captivity. That is our responsibility. That's the way to look at it.

We don't believe that the ENKS is acting freely. A few of their personalities are in this kind of captivity and cannot tell the truth. So far, they comment on everything that happens here according to the wishes of the enemy. They see what is happening in Afrin and stand up and say that the people should return to Afrin. So why did the people flee? The reason is the Turkish occupation.

If you really want people to return, then the reasons for their flight must be eliminated. The occupiers must leave. Propaganda is being spread by some people that houses and villages have been built there for the people. However, the people do not want that, they want to return to their own houses. Their houses have been occupied. From Damascus to al-Gouta, from all corners of the world, the Turkish state has brought in people and settled them in their houses and given them their fields. Without the occupiers leaving, the people will not return. The Kurds from Afrin say this quite clearly. They declare that if they return, it will be to their homes. Even if they live in tents or ruins in Shehba, they will stay here. They say, "At least then we didn't give in to the occupation and mercenaries." The propaganda of the ENKS is a very wrong thing. It would be better if the ENKS would stop doing it.

And ENKS should return to the conversations. That's what we're trying to do. However much he wants from us, we will approach him as much as possible. That is our perspective. We always advocate dialogue. However, I do not deal with it personally. The Parties of National Unity (PYNK) have a commission for it, but I am just following what is happening. I think the talks could start again. The U.S. is here trying to negotiate with both sides and bring them closer together. If they really want a rapprochement and a solution, they will have to accept some facts. If you insist to this day on not calling Turkey an occupier, then it becomes clear that you don't want a solution. If one says that the Autonomous Administration must be subdued, then it means that a solution is not wanted. Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs are celebrating the third year of self-administration of Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and Tabqa. If one wants to participate here with a clear policy, then it is possible. But if you want to destroy everything, then that is unacceptable. I think new talks will start soon.

In Daraa and other areas of Syria, there are also debates about autonomy. What influence does the Democratic Autonomy model in northeastern Syria have on the country as a whole?

When we built this model from 2013 to 2015 and when we expanded the Autonomous Administration in 2018, we always considered this model as a model not only for our region but for all of Syria. It can be applied throughout Syria. Syria is a mosaic because of its ethnic and religious diversity. Bringing this mosaic together is possible through autonomy based on the philosophy of a democratic nation.

This model is not only valid for Syria, but for the entire Middle East. In every country here, there are population mosaics, whether in Syria, Turkey, Iran, wherever you look. The Democratic Nation philosophy is the only solution. Now people are seeing this model in practice and dealing with it. The same is true in Daraa and Suweida. There are also people in Latakia and some other places who think this way. We are having many talks and trying to convince people. The Syrian Democratic Council (MSD) is made up of different parties, including people from other regions. They see every day how the model works. That is why everyone is longing for this project. Our project is for all of Syria. I think the future will be in favor of this model. No one else has a viable project either.