“Solution to the Kurdish issue is the key to stability in the ME"
Yusuf: There is a very serious Kurdish issue and a related democratization problem in Turkey. The solution to the Kurdish issue is the key to stability in the Middle East. The US can encourage a solution, or even be an intermediary.
Northern Syria Democratic Federation Executive Council Co-chair Foza Yusuf stated that President Erdoğan, head of the Turkish state which builds its strategies over anti-Kurdish sentiment and turns it into a reason d’etre, expects his path to be supported in his meeting with the President of the United States and said: “Whatever results he can achieve that can be counted in for anti-Kurdishness, he will consider it a plus, but in essence he will lose again. Unfortunately, Turkey has entered a certain path and is headed towards the cliff. But if there is a miracle and they change course, the outcome will be different.”
Northern Syria Democratic Federation Executive Council Co-chair Foza Yusuf spoke to the ANF.
There are claims that the Turkish state will enter Idlib, and that Idlib has been given to Turkey in Astana. What do you think is the situation?
It is very hard for a force that is the cause of the crisis to be a force for solution. From the start, Turkey has played a role in deepening the crisis, and it continues to do so. They carried out this mission of theirs through the support they provided to ISIS, Al Nusra Front and their variations. Later, they thought that wasn’t enough and they devised the invasion plan called “Euphrates Shield”.
For us, the Astana Agreemnt opens a new path of invasion for Turkey rather than serving stability and peace in Syria. Like they attempted to create a zone to suit their interests in Jarablus, Azaz and Al Bab, Turkey is planning to include Idlib in this concept directly. The Astana Agreement is a way in for this goal of Turkey.
Therefore, there is no need to mask the Turkish state entering Idlib with any other name. They will be there as an invading force, and they will carry out the practices they have implemented in the zones under their invasion now. They will not refrain from anything, from changing the demographic structure to Turkification, from ethnic cleansing to pillaging.
It is useful to remind everyone that the US and Russia turning a blind eye to the Turkish state entering Syria over Jarablus was truly a serious strategic mistake. The same thing happening again in Idlib today will only further the mistake.
The Syrian issue is a comprehensive issue. The Turkish state which has been given a place as a solution partner will be presented as the guaranteer of stability in some regions, and then they will turn and conduct aerial attacks on those who fight against ISIS. This paradox cannot be reasonably explained.
The will of the peoples of Syria, of the people who live on these lands, was not present in Astana. The Northern Syrian Federation is completely out of that process. As a result of this, if the development and quality of Astana continues like this, it will not be a platform for solution but the problem itself.
The Turkish state has long been threatening Efrîn, and they occasionally attack it. How will the current Astana Agreement and the balance they are attempting to create now affect Shehba and Efrîn?
The Turks entering Idlib is a great threat agaist Efrîn. Turkey has built ts policies on anti-Kurdish sentiment and that situation continues. They are doing all they can to nullify our democratic project here. They have almost put all of Turkey on the market. Such a state directly entering Idlib will mean the deepening of the current crisis and it will become a new war. This is true for Shehba, Efrîn and Idlib.
What is the significance of Tabqa’s liberation by the SDF and Raqqa now entering the horizon for being liberated from the invasion for the peoples of Syria?
Tabqa’s liberation and the 4th phase of the Wrath of Euphrates operation starting is important. It is a great success in the military sense, and it is quite important in the political sense as well. Look, the SDF turns over the places they liberate to the assemblies. It has been this way from Sheddade to Manbij. And, these asssemblies are not based on ethnicity. They are a model that encompasses all the constituents of the city in which everybody can find representation. This model is an example for the future of Syria. Now Tabqa will have this, and Raqqa too after its liberation. This will give hope to the people in the rest of Syria and show them the power of a solution.
Everybody can see the war between SDF and ISIS but the political and social organization before, during and after the operation and the democratic model is ignored. The true revolution is happening in the social sphere. It is successful, because it is pluralist, inclusive, democratic and society-centered. The implementation in Tabqa and in Raqqa afterwards will especially draw a road map for the whole of Syria.
Erdoğan will meet with President Trump in the US. Coincidentally, Masrour Barzani is in the US at the same time. Do you think Turkey will find what it’s looking for?
The Turkish state is quite disturbed by the latest decision of the US, and so are their allies.
Turkey, building its strategy over anti-Kurdish sentiment and turning this into a raison d’etre, is still reading the situation with the World War I and II and their outcomes. They approach the ongoing World War III with the same perspective also. But many things have changed. Turkey has changed, and so has the Middle East and the world, and the Kurds in the center of these changes and their role have changed themselves. Now Turkey is in a chaotic rut, because they are going against the zeitgeist. If they had accepted the solution perspective presented by the Kurds, it would be very different, and they would have prevailed along with the Kurds. But they still aren’t up for that. And thus, their loss is inevitable.
Erdoğan has the expectation that his path will be supported in his meeting with the President of the US. Whatever results he can achieve that can be counted in for anti-Kurdishness, he will consider it a plus, but in essence he will lose again.
Of course it is not a coincidence that some Kurds are there as well. We Kurds can protect our own interests based on our own strength and alliances with principles. Embedded collaboration will not serve them either. Unfortunately, Turkey has entered a certain path and is headed towards the cliff. But if there is a miracle and they change course, the outcome will be different.
I must also say this, great responsibility and a huge role falls on the US’s shoulders. There is a very serious Kurdish issue in Turkey and a problem of democratization in line with that. The solution to the Kurdish issue is the key to stability in the Middle East. And it is a comprehensive issue, it encompasses four parts and it is directly relevant to four states. In this sense, the US can encourage a solution, and even act as an intermediary. This would be the best option for Turkey as well.
Meanwhile, at a time with such intense developments, the efforts for Northern Syrian Democratic Federation continue. What level have these efforts reached?
As you know, the population of Syria is not homogenous in sense of religion or ethnicity. The political and administrative model to best suit Syria’s geocultural situation is a democratic federation.
It is an ideal solution not only for Kurds, but for all ethnic and religious identities. We are not talking about an absolute, frozen mold. We are answering the current need. As people develop, models also develop and change. For the current situation, we have a project for a solution, and we argue that this is relevant for all of Syria. Because the problem is structural, palliative formulas won’t bring about a solution. Only trying to manage a crisis with another crisis doesn’t have a sensible solution it can reach. The peoples who live in Northern Syria and the political will created here has brought forth a significant experience with the democratic autonomy entering its 4th year, and we are advancing on this path.
We came to some decisions in the meeting we held in December, 2016.
- Prepare an Election Act
- Prepare the laws to determine the principles of organization for administrative regions and zones.
These laws have been prepared. Soon we will reassess them in the Assembly, and right after that we will attempt to organize the federation. If we want stability and not fragmentation for Syria, we must reach a system that will be based on and will include everybody’s rights, language and identity, and allow for everybody to express themselves freely. For us, the most suitable model is the Democratic Syrian Federation and this is a model that can be achieved all through Syria. If it is, it can be an option for solution for all of the Middle East.
The greatest guarantee for the peoples is the togetherness of the peoples. At the same time, our greatest guarantee is organizing our self defense and our defense systems in a strong manner, and institutionalizing and deepening our system in the most democratic way possible.