ABDULHAMIT – PYD’s record sheet?

PYD’s record sheet?The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has been terrorizing the Middle East region, has caused a change in the views of the world toward the developments in our region. Because of ISIL, the brutal attacks by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who murdered thousands of people in Syria, were at least partially overlooked.

Another change observed in the region because of ISIL is about the Kurds. Those who defend Kobani against the brutal attacks of ISIL are now considered to be freedom fighters.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdistan Workersand#39 Partyand#39s (PKK) extension in Syria, has gained legitimacy in international media and diplomatic circles.International actors including the US indirectly recognized this sub-state structure as a legitimate actor in regional affairs by extending arms support.

Turkeyand#39s objections — that the PYD is no different from the PKK and that its authority in the region cannot be considered legitimate — are now meaningless because of the developments on the ground. Eventually, Turkey had to comply with the requests to open a corridor for Kobani and to allow a transit passage for northern Iraqi forces to Kobani in support of the PYD.

However, despite such gestures, the Kurds in different parts of the region reacted against Turkey because of its initial reluctance. People chanted, andldquoBiji Obamaandrdquo (Long live Obama) during the passage of peshmerga fighters through Turkish territory.

Besides, people were murdered during the protests held because of the ISIL attacks in Kobani.Violent protests in the eastern parts of Turkey made the governmentand#39s authority contestable and undermined its image.

In addition, Turkey has been severely criticized because it failed to appreciate the tragedy in Kobani the international media depicted PYD forces — and particularly female militants — as heroes whereas they criticized Turkey, arguing that it has been a bystander to the tragedy in Syria The image that told this story was the picture of Turkish tanks facing Kobani but failing to take action. However, the PYD did not want Turkish troops inside Kobani they were even opposed to a buffer zone along the border The Kobani incident caught Ankara unprepared.

Ankara, obsessed with the removal of Assad from power, extended support to opposition forces it was likely that the ISIL was able to exploit this support. The Kurds and the world attributed Turkeyand#39s stance in Kobane to its relation with ISIL.

It was also argued that Ankara would be pleased with the elimination of the PKK by ISIL in predominantly Kurdish areas in SyriaPresident Recep Tayyip ErdoIan made a statement that astonished everybody, arguing that the PYD was no different to ISIL at a time when the fall of Kobani was a strong possibility and Turkeyand#39s allies were already talking to the PYD — which was fighting ISIL — and supplying it with arms. In addition, the PKK — a twin organization of the PYD — was ErdoIanand#39s partner in the settlement process in Turkey.

The Kobani incidents showed that the settlement process was fairly internationalized. It is no longer possible to resolve this problem without considering developments in Syria and Iraq because of the delay in taking proper moves in this process, so Turkey has to take some steps, even if reluctantly.

The PKK leadership, aware of Turkeyand#39s desperate moves, has raised the bar in the talks. It even claims that the Turkish ministers begged them for a solution.

There is no doubt that the ISIL threat and Kobani incidents polished the image of the PYD in the world, but there are a lot of reasons to believe that this sub-state actor would rely on fairly antidemocratic means in the parts where it might become influential. The councils the PYD and its allies have created in three different regions in Syria and its 97-article constitution concerning a human rights declaration, courts and security units imply that they are seeking extensive power and influence.

However, a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on human rights violations in the regions under PYD control in Syria raise some serious concerns. The report depicts grave violations including arbitrary detentions, mistreatment in prisons, kidnapping and murder The report further states that the PYD recruits child soldiers and police officers.

Speaking about the report, HRW Middle East Deputy Director Nedim Houry says: andldquoThe regions under Kurdish control and domination enjoy relative peace but there are still some serious human rights violations.andrdquo When supporting the settlement and the PYD against ISIL, the current influence of this organization in Syria and its stance vis-andagrave-vis its opponents should also be considered.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman