Why does Turkey say PYD is more dangerous than IS?

The Turkish government believes that Western powers first wanted to cause rifts in Turkey through the PKK, and now are transforming the PYD into an effective force under the guise of combating the Islamic State.

al-monitor A Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighter gives sweets to children in Tell Abyad, Raqqa province, Syria, June 16, 2015.  Photo by REUTERS/Rodi Said.

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ypg, turkmen, turkish politics, tel abyad, recep tayyip erdogan, pyd, pkk, is

Jun 22, 2015

The Justice and Development Party [AKP] and the Republic of Turkey have to make a decision: To continue with the solution process with the Kurds means warmer and closer cooperative relations with the Kurds of the region.

The capture of Tell Abyad by the YPG [People's Protection Units], the military wing of the PYD [Democratic Union Party], has altered all balances and analysis of the region. There are assertions that the close air support provided by the US and Western countries to the YPG fighting IS [Islamic State] at Tell Abyad was instrumental in this success.

The West sees IS as the symbol of Islamism in the region. Western decision makers and intellectuals equate Islamism with violence and see it as the true cause of the turmoil in the region. That is why there is an increasing sympathy for Kurdish organizations such as the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] and the PYD.

Turkey, on the other hand, is indecisively tense looking at its choices in the region. A pro-government newspaper's headline saying, “PYD is more dangerous than IS” and an assessment by President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan that “the West is hitting Arabs and Turkmens with their airplanes and settling the terror organizations PYD and PKK in their places” indicate our preferences.

Now most of Turkey’s southern border appears to be under PYD control. Obviously, Western choices have played a role in making this change.

The AKP government, which has engaged in stiff polemics with the PKK/HDP [Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party], has now added the PYD to the opposition camp. Our government’s analysis is this: “Western powers that want to cause rifts in Turkey through the PKK are now transforming the PYD, that is the PKK, to an effective force under the guise of combating IS.”

Really? Can the PYD dominate the our entire southern border? Can the West give a green light to the ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Turkmens from the region?

Are there such omens in the long-term road map? If the West prefers the Kurds as a more secular force against Islamism, what will be the outcome? What will be the reactions of regional realities in the long run?

Turning to Turkey, the AKP and the HDP, which for years have adhered to the solution process as the true pillar of democratization and change and have used similar language, are now in an escalatory process. After the pre-election HDP slogans of "We won’t let you be the president” to Erdogan’s aspirations, we are now witnessing a scenario of HDP supporting CHP-MHP [Republican People's Party-Nationalist Action Party] against the AKP.

The PYD in Syria has secured representation of almost a total majority of Kurds. No matter how the internal balances and futures of Syria and Iraq may change, the Kurdish presence on Turkey’s border is now a reality. The West, more than acknowledging this reality, also sees it as an assurance against IS and Islamist currents.

Turkey, while developing reconciliation plans with its own Kurds by recognizing their rights, cannot maintain a successful political perspective by treating Syrian Kurds as enemies. Here we are talking of a vacillating, indecisive attitude.

What will be the futures of desperate Arabs and Turkmens of the region? What will be the fate of Sunnis who have supported IS in their battles? What will be the solution that will allow the Sunnis and Turkmens to express themselves?

These are still muddled issues. What is clear is the Kurdish reality. There is an evolving Kurdish phenomenon in the region that can’t be separated from developments in Turkey. Just as the HDP now has an 80-parliamentarian power, the PYD, too, has become an influential force in its area.

We must revert to the solution process and a peaceful narrative. We cannot separate it from Turkish domestic politics. 

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