Turkey’s bombing of Kurds could unleash civil war

By F. Michael Maloof

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with President Obama
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with President Obama

WASHINGTON – Turkey could become engulfed in a civil war if its military doesn’t stop aerial bombing and artillery shelling of Kurdish fighters battling ISIS in Syria, contends a high-level Kurdish official in a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The official, who spoke to G2Bulletin on condition of anonymity, also criticized the United States for not getting Turkey to halt its attacks on the Kurds, even though the minority group has sided with the U.S. against ISIS.

The Turks had agreed to fight ISIS and give the U.S. access to its Incirlik Air Base. However, Turkish F-16s began to bomb Kurdish positions of the PKK, the Kurdish Workers’ Party, as well as fighters for its Syrian counterpart, the Yekineyen Parastina Gel, or the People’s Protection Units.

Asked if the Turkish attacks against ISIS are a cover to attack the PKK in northern Syria, Defense Department spokeswoman Laura Seal recently told G2Bulletin: “I’d refer you to the Turks to discuss their motivation.”

Like Turkey, the U.S. regards the PKK as a terrorist group. However, the Yekineyen Parastina Gel, or YPG, is not on the U.S. terrorist list.

“The U.S. is doing virtually nothing about stopping the Turks from bombing the Kurds, even though [the Kurds] are fighting the same enemy,” the Kurdish official said.

“This development,” the source said, “is leading to a possible civil war in Turkey due to targeting (Kurdish) activists and doing raids” on various Turkish towns to “capture these young kids just because they’re Kurdish and want to have a voice.”

Get the full story, and more, at Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

“If the security situation continues like this, it will even be hard to hold elections in those areas” in November, he said.

‘Homegrown defense force’

According to the Kurdish Project, a non-profit educational effort, the YPG is a homegrown defense force for the Kurdish area of Syria. The force emerged after the civil war in Syria erupted and spilled over into Syrian Kurdistan, now known as Rojava, or Western Kurdistan.

The Kurdish communities in Rojava are drawn from the migration of Turkish Kurds who have fled Turkey as a result of hostilities there between the PKK and the Turkish government since the 1970s. Many of the Syrian Kurds are either PKK members or supporters while the YPG was formed in 2004 by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, an affiliate of the PKK.

The Kurdish source pointed out that the motivation for Turkish military attacks on the Kurds is mainly political.

He said the Turks, especially Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development party, or AKP, have been engaging in hostilities with the Kurds inside Turkey.

The Kurds comprise some 20 million of Turkey’s estimated 82 million people.

Erdogan has called for general parliamentary elections in November in an effort to regain a majority for his party in the Turkish parliament.

The Kurdish source said Erdogan’s resumption of attacks on the Kurds in early August after a two-year hiatus of hostilities is part of the effort to regain a parliamentary majority.

Get the full story, and more, at Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

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