Syrian Kurd Salih Muslim, a collaborator of President Erdoğan, has led part of his community into defeat. Today, he is trying to make amends, and has been placed under an arrest warrant by Ankara.

The Western medias treat the events in the Near East state by state. Their readers, who know almost nothing about the history of the region, are not surprised by that, but remain unable to understand this «complicated Orient» which is in a perpetual state of war.

However, the Near East can not be compared with Europe, for example. It more closely resembles Africa, because its frontiers are not based on geographical realities, but on arrangements by the colonial powers. During the last century, the states of the Near East worked hard to transform their populations into true Peoples. Finally, only Egypt, Syria and Iraq have managed to do so.

Over the last five years, the Western Press has therefore dealt with alleged «democratic revolutions» in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria, supposed «Iranian interference» in Bahreïn, Lebanon and Yemen, and «terrorism» in Iraq. But on the ground, to the contrary, all the forces concerned, with the exception of the Gulf petro-dictators, have denounced this interpretation of events and presented a completely different regional view.

For example, let us look at the situation of the Kurds. I could easily explain the situation of Daesh in the same way, but this second example would be even more difficult for my Western readers to admit.

According to the Western Press, the Kurds lead a blissful life in Iraq, where they enjoy almost total autonomy in the context of a federal system opportunely imposed by the United States. They are fighting in Syria against both the Alawite dictatorship of the Assad family and the extremist Sunni oppression of Daesh. And they are being viciously repressed in Turkey. Nonetheless, they form a People which has the right to an independent state in Syria, but not in Turkey.

For the Kurds themselves, the reality is completely different.

The Kurds have a culture in common, but not the same language, nor the same history. To explain this in simple terms, the Kurds of Iraq were globally pro-US during the Cold War, while the Kurds of Turkey and Syria were pro-Soviet. Worried about the strong popular support for the USSR in Turkey, the United States first organised a mass emigration to Germany, so that the Turks would not be tempted to break ties with NATO, then encouraged the repression of the Kurds of the PKK. During the civil war of the 1980’s, hundreds of thousands of Turkish Kurds took refuge in Syria with their leader, Abdullah Öcallan, and were protected there. In 2011, they took Syrian nationality.

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter. No-one mentioned the Kurdish question during the first Syrian war – the war that was aimed at expanding the «Arab Spring» by using the techniques of 4th generation warfare. Everything built up slowly from the second Syrian war, which started with the conference of the so-called «Friends of Syria» in Paris, July 2012.

The declarations by the leaders of the NATO countries suggested that the Syrian Arab Republic would soon be overthrown, and that the Muslim Brotherhood would attain power, just as they had managed to do in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Turkey thus invited the populations of the North of Syria to move into Turkey to shelter from the trauma of the «revolution». In September, Ankara named a «wali» - Veysel Dalmaz. A «wali» is a Turkish prefect, but the term dates from the Ottoman empire and so evokes the oppression by the Sultan. Under the direct authority of Prime Minister Erdoğan, Dalmaz distributed billions of petro-dictators’ dollars to the «refugees».

At the time, everyone noticed the attempt to weaken Syria, but no-one understood the under-lying motivation for this transfer of the population. And yet a close colleague of ambassador Samantha Powell, Kelly M. Greenhill, had published a university article on Strategic engineering of migration as a weapon of war [1], which should have caught the attention. Turkey built new cities to house the Syrians, but curiously, did not make them available. They are still empty. Ankara began sorting the refugees according to their political opinions, and either held them in camps where they could receive military training before being sent back to fight at home, or else allowed them to mingle with the Turkish population, and in this case, exploited them for work.

In the North of Syria, the remaining populations were mainly Christian, Kurd and Turkmen. The latter passed massively into the service of Turkey, and were supervised by the «Grey Wolves», a fascist militia created in 1968 on behalf of NATO. From its side, Damascus created Christian and Kurdish militias to ensure the security of its territory. For two years, all the Syrian Kurds fought under the orders of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Betraying Abdullah Öcallan – founder of the PKK - and his Kurdish brothers, one of these men, the Syrian Salih Muslim, renewed his ties with Turkey, despite the fact that they had massacred part of his family in the 1980’s. On 31 October 2014, he attended a secret meeting with Presidents Erdoğan and Hollande, and concluded a pact with them. France and Turkey agreed to recognise an independent state in the North of Syria, of which he was to become President. In exchange, he agreed to «cleanse» the area by massacring its Christian population, just as other Kurds had massacred Christians for the Ottomans a century ago. He was also obliged to accept the expulsion of members of the Turkish PKK on his territory, while the Syrian Sunni refugees would replace them in the Kurdish areas of Turkey.

This plan has a long history – it had been drawn up by Ahmet Davutoğlu and his French counterpart Alain Juppé, in 2011, before Turkey’s entry into the war against Libya, and before the events in Syria. It was publicly assumed by the Pentagon in September 2013, when Robin Wright published in the New York Times the map of this future state and the area which was going to become Daesh’s Caliphate. The first state was of course to be named «Kurdistan», although it was nowhere near the territory of the historic Kurdistan as specified by the King-Crane Commission (1919) and recognised by the Treaty of Sèvres (1920). The second state was to be named «Sunnistan», and would straddle the borders of Iraq and Syria, definitively cutting the «Silk Road».

This plan pursued the objectives of Sultan Abdülhamid II, the Young Turks and the Lausanne Treaty (1923) – to create a Turkey which would be exclusively Sunni, and to expel or massacre all other populations. It was precisely in order to prevent the realisation of this plan, and to condemn those who already begun to implement it by massacring the Armenians and the Pontic Greeks, that Raphaël Lemkins created the concept of «genocide» - a concept which thus applies today to the responsibilites of Messrs. Juppé and Hollande, like those of Messrs. Davutoğlu and Erdoğan.

Please do not make any mistake about what I am writing – however much Paris and Ankara want to create an exclusively Sunni Turkey, the majority of Sunnis are equally opposed to the idea. And it is for this reason that we are witnessing such a ferocious repression, both in Turkey and in Daesh’s Caliphate.

In July 2015, the Erdoğan government sent Daesh to commit an attack in Suruç (Turkey), killing both Kurds and Alevis – the local equivalent of the Syrian Alawites – who were expressing their support for the Syrian Arab Republic. This event destroyed the truce of 2009. Simultaneously, the Turkish government cut off food and support for a carefully-selected part of the Syrian refugees. This was the beginning of the execution of Turkey’s part of the plan. And the beginning of Turkey’s descent into Hell.

In August, Turkey pushed the Syrian refugees who had no more resources to flee to the European Union. In October, in Syria, Salih Muslim’s men attacked the Assyrian Christian communities and attempted to «Kurdicise» their schools by force, while in Turkey, Erdoğan’s AKP destroyed 128 political bureaux of the pro-Kurd HDP and more than 300 small Kurd-owned businesses. The Turkish special forces massacred more than 2,000 Turkish Kurds and partially destroyed the towns of Cizre and Silopi. Though our readers may have followed these events as they occurred, the Western medias have not mentioned them, and are only just beginning, one year later, to speak about the martyrdom of Cizre and Silopi.

With the help of Massoud Barzani - the «life-time» President of Iraqi Kurdistan - Salih Muslim imposed obligatory conscription for young Syrian Kurds in order to swell the ranks of his troops and create a reign of terror. In this case too, the Western medias never mentioned it, preferring romantic evocations of the creation of the state of Rojava. Nonetheless, these young Syrians revolted en masse and joined up with the Syrian Defence Forces.

In September 2016, President Erdoğan announced that Turkey was going to naturalise some of the Syrian refugees who had stayed in his country - those who support the plan for an exclusively Sunni Turkey. They would be offered apartments which were built four years ago and which were ready for them.

Trapped between the jaws of his personal ambitions and the solidarity of his troops with their Turkish brothers, the collaborator Salih Muslim turned against Ankara, who issued an arrest warrant against him in November. After having received the Secretary General of NATO, Président Erdoğan announced that he intends to «renegotiate» the Lausanne Treaty. He also intends to annex some Greek islands, the North of Cyprus, a part of Syria and Iraq, and create, in 2023, the 17th Turko-Mongol Empire.

Already, the Turkish army is gnawing away at Syria (Jarabulus) and Iraq (Bashiqa). When Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi warned Turkey about this act of war, President Erdoğan arrogantly retorted that al-Abadi was «not on his level» and told him to «stay in his place ». Questioned twice before the Security Council, Turkish ambassador and ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu responded that his country acts for the good of its populations, and that Iraq has no right to evoke international law, nor complain.

On a battlefield, finally, there can only be two camps, not three. The current war opposes Turkey on one side, which intends to divide its populations according to their community and ensure the supremacy of one over all the others. On the other side, the Syrian Arab Republic, which defends peace and equality by mixing the communities.

Which camp are you in?

Pete Kimberley
Noravank Foundation (Armenia)

[1“Strategic Engineered Migration as a Weapon of War”, Kelly M. Greenhill, Civil War Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1, July 2008.