Sweden and Finland in NATO, the president of the Kurdish-Syrian party Salih Muslim: “Turkey’s move for a new invasion. The West? It has forgotten us, it prefers to do business with Erdogan” – Il Fatto Quotidiano

“Today is a historic day“. In Brussels, under the effigy of the BornJens Stoltenberg shakes hands with the foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland, Ann Linde and Pekka Haavisto. The two countries have just signed the protocol for entry into the Atlantic Alliance. About 4 thousand kilometers away Salih Muslimto Qamishliin the office of the party of which he is president, the Pyd (Democratic Union Party), has just finished reading the June report on human rights violations in areas occupied by Turkey and its Islamist (and jihadist) allies in the North of Syria. “Violence is normal,” she comments. His people, that of the gods Kurdswas the bargaining chip which allowed the entry of the two Nordic countries into NATO: Recep Erdogan it lifted its veto during the Madrid Atlantic Alliance summit. The reason? The three governments signed a memorandum all for the benefit of the Sultan. Sweden and Finland, in fact, are committed to collaborate “to fight terrorism”lift the embargo on the sale of arms to Ankara and ensure theextradition “More than seventy terrorists” (these are Kurdish refugees from the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the YPG, the Kurdish-Syrian formations that led the fight against Isis, and people close to Fethullah Gülen). Muslim was at the forefront, as president of the Pyd, when the Kurds they were fighting the Islamic State on the ground for the Western Coalition. And so was his son, Shravn, a YPG fighter, killed by ISIS snipers on 9 October 2013. Now he has just been re-elected co-president of the Pyd: “Erdogan’s is a move to receive support for a new invasion of northern and eastern Syria “.

What do you mean?

Turkey has never joined any ceasefire in Northern Syria. Since the occupation of Efrîn in 2018 it has not stopped bombing the Shahba region. The same can be said after the invasion and occupation of Serekaniye and Tel Abyad in 2019. In addition, on the domestic political front, it is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis. Erdogan’s strategy is to shift attention beyond its own borders, to gain consensus: let’s think about the blackmail of Europe with refugees, the sending of mercenaries to Libya, the violation of Greek airspace, the intervention in Nagorno-Karabakh . Now Erdogan has new political sides in NATO. And from the Madrid summit he came out stronger.

By the way, in recent weeks Erdogan has spoken three times about a new operation in Northern Syria. Some sources set the military intervention at the end of July. Are you worried? What are you going to do?

If Turkey attacks us, I believe no one will come to our aid. We depend on ourselves, we have no choice but to resist and defend ourselves. The hope is that the highly unstable international framework, with the war in Ukraine, will not allow Turkey to embark on a new invasion. In any case, we are prepared for a long war.

What do you expect?

Erdogan wants to create what he calls a “security zone”, an area of ​​30 kilometers from Kobane to Qamishli, in which he wants to change the demographics. For our part, I repeat, we will resist.

Let’s go back to NATO. How did you react to the news of Sweden and Finland joining the Atlantic Alliance?

Obviously we are unhappy. The decision reflects the degraded state of democracy and sovereignty of the two Nordic countries, which in fact allow Turkey to intervene in matters relating to their internal politics. Let’s be clear: every country has the right to join any alliance, but this must not come to the detriment of the human and civil rights of the people.

What consequences will this have for the Kurds?

The memorandum, for the details we know, would strengthen the existing war against the Kurdish people. Since its entry into NATO in 1952, Turkey has used every means to repress anyone who opposes its discriminatory policies with massive violations of those human rights and values ​​that NATO should represent. And it did so by hiding behind the slogan of the “fight against terrorism” (the PKK, for the US and the EU, is a terrorist organization, the Ypg / Ypj are not, ed.). In all this, the international powers, in order to protect their economic interests, have always remained passive. And that’s exactly what’s happening now.

Have Sweden and Finland ever funded YPGs? Did they guarantee political support for the PYD?

No, there has never been any funding. As a political party we visited the two countries and met with political parties and civil society organizations. We also met with members of Parliament, but we never had interlocutors with members of their governments. All the meetings were aimed at presenting our plans for building peace in Syria.

Will anything change now?

Sweden and Finland are members of the International Coalition Against Isis. I believe they will continue their involvement in this framework. And I want to add one thing.

You are welcome.

Beyond the agreement with Erdogan, I believe they will not give in to extradition requests so easily. They have their own independent judicial systems, decisions will be made according to their own laws, not those of Turkey.

In case of extradition, what would happen?

I can only guess. Those who have already been extradited are tortured for one or two years, then they are sentenced to life in prison because all courts act on Erdogan’s orders. Some have been sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment.

For the West until a few years ago, when you fought against Daesh, which frightened the world, you were considered heroes. And now?

Western countries are not taking into account the consequences of their support for the Turkish regime. They know that Turkey has jailed hundreds of journalists, politicians and magistrates. And who committed war crimes in Rojava against the Kurds. However, the US and Europe turn a blind eye to all of this to protect their interests. On the contrary, we represent the values ​​of democracy, humanity and freedom. If they are honest, they have to stay with us. This will, in the long run, serve to bring stability and progress to the Middle East.

Do you feel abandoned?

The Kurds have always been. The world is experiencing a great crisis, from climate change to the deterioration of democracy to new conflicts. Ukraine is a prime example of how we need to think about a new political, social and economic paradigm for humanity. A paradigm that forces us to act on ecology, gender equality and coexistence so that our planet and our own species survive. To answer your question: We don’t aspire to be the center of attention of the world, but we don’t want to be forgotten either. Also because, as I mentioned earlier, this would also lead to negative consequences for the West.

Are you referring to the instability of the Middle East?

Exactly. And if I think of Kurdistan, I am convinced that immediate action is needed for a peace solution. The policy of Erdogan’s autocratic regime affects the whole world. As I have already said, if Turkey attacks us, we will have to deploy all our forces. And this will be able to revive Isis, which will have the opportunity to reorganize. It should not be forgotten that the occupied areas in northwestern Syria are a safe haven for radical Islamist and jihadist groups, including Isis. Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi was killed in October 2019 in the Turkish-controlled Idlib province, four kilometers from the border. The same happened with Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, the second ISIS caliph, in February 2022.

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Sweden and Finland in NATO, the president of the Kurdish-Syrian party Salih Muslim: “Turkey’s move for a new invasion. The West? It has forgotten us, it prefers to do business with Erdogan” – Il Fatto Quotidiano

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