If the Turkish state continues its attacks, the people of Afrin and the Kurdish freedom movement will continue their resistance. This resistance will shake the regional and global balance of power in their foundations.
The Rojava Revolution of July 19, 2012 has reached a global significance. Every day of the last five years has brought important developments in this smallest part of Kurdistan. The gangs of the Islamic State (IS), the balance of power in the Syrian civil war, the plans of the global and regional powers and their activities in the region have brought the revolution of Rojava and Syria on the agenda of world politics. In view of these developments, the anti-Kurdish policies of the Turkish state and its interference in developments in Syria and the region have become even more important.
WHY DID TURKEY START THE INVASION OF AFRIN?
In a political boom in which the Syrian civil war and the chaos there appeared politically solvable, the Turkish invasion of Afrin has a special significance. I was in the first days of the attack of the Turkish state against Afrin in the Medya Defense Zones. That said, I was together with the guerrillas in the mountains. In particular, with the leadership of KCK, PKK, HPG, PAJK, KJK and YJA Star, I have conducted reports assessing historic developments and the political process. With the beginning of the attacks of the Turkish state on Afrin, I traveled to Southern Kurdistan and from there to Rojava to Afrin. I learned a great deal there, from theoretical explanations, diplomatic-political and military developments, to observations of social reality and its evolution.
The Kurdish freedom movement successfully overcame the difficult situation in 2017 and started the year 2018 very well prepared. This is shown by the events themselves. At the end of 2017, the results of a meeting of the PKK Party Council were announced, explaining how to start the year 2018. The plan of the highest authorities of the Turkish state to destroy the PKK and even extinguish their name, has failed. The PKK has effectively steered developments in all parts of Kurdistan. The Turkish state was also unsuccessful against the guerrillas in Bakur (Northern Kurdistan), and as the PKK had previously stated, it has also taken initiative because of developments in Southern Kurdistan. In Rojhilat (East Kurdistan), a well-prepared fight was given together with the peoples of Iran and this laid an important foundation for the struggle for the Democratic Nation. The developments in Rojava have focused on the perspectives of the Kurdish freedom movement on a democratic Syria project that has become a solution model for the chaos in Syria through the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.
The Turkish state sees these developments as a threat to its existence and has therefore sought to renew its anti-Kurdish alliances in order to put an end to the achievements in Bashûr (Southern Kurdistan). Turkey allied itself with Iraq and Iran and attacked Kirkuk in order to minimize the profits of Southern Kurdistan. When the population of Southern Kurdistan took the political initiative and put pressure on the Turkish state and its collaborators in Southern Kurdistan with the many days of ongoing insurgency, the Kurdish freedom movement also gained the role of a force of initiative in Southern Kurdistan.
In Rojhilat as well, the Kurdish freedom movement has shown that it pursues a policy based on regional dynamics and democratic change instead of external interventionism. And in northern Kurdistan and Turkey, where democratic politics is under the repression of the Turkish state, it has motivated the population. Despite the prevailing repression, the Turkish state suffered a massive military defeat against the guerrillas in Bakur. The Kurdish freedom movement has become visible, not only in Kurdistan, but also as a solid political actor in the Middle East. The local, regional and global forces were compelled to observe the Kurdish freedom movement and to consider all steps in this direction in all their steps in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, ie in Kurdistan.
WHAT DOES THE KURDISH FREEDOM MOVEMENT ANTICIPATE IN THE REGION?
A concrete expression of this is that the Kurdish freedom movement is a massive obstacle to the forces that wanted to use the situation created after the referendum in Southern Kurdistan to destroy Kurdish achievements. Otherwise, after the “termination” of Kirkuk, a similar operation would have been extended to Silêmanî (Sulaymaniyah) and Hewlêr (Erbil). And also in the developments in Iran and Rojhilat, the attitude of the Kurdish freedom movement changed the course in the sense of the peoples of the region.
All plans for Rojava, northern Syria and even Syria as a whole took shape according to the behavior and position of the Kurdish freedom movement. The Kurdish freedom movement is undeniably the focus of resistance and the basic dynamic of resistance to AKP-MHP fascism in Turkey and has not allowed the Erdoğan dictatorship to become institutionalized. In this situation, in order to regain the initiative that had already been lost in early 2018, Turkey targeted the Kurdish population of Rojava and chose what they considered the weakest link, Afrin. Billions of dollars in bribes were previously paid to the international forces. With Russia the purchase of S-400 air-to-air missiles, with France the purchase of the Airbus, with Italy the purchase of attack helicopters and with Germany the purchase of tanks was agreed. Turkey was granted permission to use Syrian airspace by making economic concessions to Russia and signaling that it was moving closer to its anti-US and NATO position. After such a preparation then followed the military attack.
Turkey saw Afrin as easy prey. It was thought that one could take Afrin within three days or a week and drive the Kurdish population out of the region. Then the society, the media and the military were prepared. But the first ten days of the Afrin resistance overturned all the plans of the Turkish state. The US and NATO were silent on the attack so as not to lose Turkey to Russia. Russia had given Turkey support to remove it from the US and NATO. The Arab countries were silent and Iran reacted. When the resistance of Afrin unfolded and withstood 30 and then 40 days against the attacks, first the local Arab forces, then the USA, NATO and Germany and “calculating” Russia also started to criticize the Turkish invasion on Afrin, albeit tentatively. The UN called for the implementation of a ceasefire in Syria. But the Turkish state, and especially the Bahçeli-Erdoğan team, cannot be so easily deterred from their invasion plans. For if Erdoğan and Bahçeli were to stop the war against the Kurds for a day or two, they would be at an end. They know that.
IF THE INVASION CONTINUES, SYRIA WILL BE DIVIDED AND RUSSIA WILL LOSE
So what will happen now? That’s the question everyone is asking. As the Turkish state continues its invasion, the people of Afrin and the Kurdish freedom movement will continue their resistance. This resistance will shake the local, regional and global balance of power in the foundations. The Kurdish freedom movement warns the important actors and structures, “no one should make false calculations”.
The Kurds are not interested in the status quo of the class and nation states of the 19th and 20th centuries and their leadership. There are 40 million Kurds, and they are a force that determines the political and social balance in the major states of the Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Those who believe that they are discovering weaknesses in one part of Kurdistan, attacking there and believe that they could destroy the status and achievements of the Kurds, are advised to look at Kobanê, Shengal, Raqqa and Makhmur. The states with the largest armies in the world, which have the NATO members and the Western states behind them and form alliances with the states that hold Kurdistan as a colony, are also setting an example today. The Turkish state needs to analyze the situation in Iraq and Syria well. A Turkish nation-state system based on the denial of Kurds has no place in the region or in the world.
Moreover, the Kurds are not the same as they were at the beginning of the 19th and 20th centuries. They have the military, economic, political, diplomatic and social power to protect their status and their future. Whoever attacks which part of Kurdistan will experience a political force of all Kurds with a national and democratic consciousness and a similar military force. That a region looks like a weak area does not mean that the Kurds will lose. The Kurds do not focus on relationships that are focused on class, nation, or local powers. Instead, they are building a broad national unity and a democratic community with the peoples they live with. It is useful to interpret the resistance of Afrin, which has been going on for 44 days, in this sense.
INTERPRETING THE RESISTANCE OF AFRIN WITH THE REALITY OF THE REGION
Taking the anti-Kurdish policy of the Erdoğan-Bahceli dictatorship as a basis and interpreting the special war reporting of the Turkish state as well as the nationalist hysteria within society with “fear”, one serves fascism and submits to it.
Instead, the Turkish state and the Erdoğan-Bahçeli duo experience their weakest and worst moments, both in person and in the state structure. They try to prolong their lives with the help of soldiers, police and jihadist gangs. Russia, with its support for Turkey, is an inexperienced child given the reality of the Middle East. Russia is in the process of squandering its influence in the region, which is having a hard military battle in Syria, with the use of Turkey. Because Russia prefers Turkey and Syria for its advantages. This is something neither the Kurds nor the Arabs have overlooked. Therefore, any solution in Syria, no matter on which basis, will not produce good results for Russia. In relation to the US, the situation is similar. The US and Russia can become more powerless than any local tribe as superpowers in Syria. In particular, the belief that Kurdish dynamics can be sacrificed to the system of destruction and denial of Turkey brings with it the possibility of a complete collapse in Syria for both the US and Russia.
DOES RUSSIA SUPPORT IS AND AL-NUSRA IN AFRIN?
To pass over a fascist force such as al-Nusra, which pose a global threat with the Kurdish war, and to balance Iran and the Shiite axis with Sunni Islam and Turkish fascism, will lead to undesirable results. The consequences will sweep Russia, the US and Europe as well. This is because of the fact that with the occupation Afrin, the Turkish state wants to open an area to the IS, al-Nusra and other gangs and build up a Salafist small state from Afrin to north Idlib and along the Jarablus-Azaz line. The Turkish state cooperates in this field with organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as with structures such as IS and al-Nusra. Although Russia knows best about relations between the Turkish state and IS/Al-Nusra, its silence is an interesting feature. Russia is not only planning to play Turkey against the US and NATO. At the same time, Russia uses the gangs operating in the region under the guarantee of the Turkish state. On the other hand, Russia, which fights against ISIS and Al-Nusra in Idlib and Ghouta, has shared a common position with these groups in Afrin. And the future of this policy is dark. Russia’s policy is creating a new balance of power in the region because of the risks it poses to Iran, the US and the peoples of the region.
In summary, in this chaotic area, the Kurds are the force that trusts in themselves. They refer to themselves both militarily and ideologically. The Kurdish dynamic has created successes with its alliances, which have an effect on the entire region. They interpreted the contradictions down to the smallest detail and positioned themselves accordingly. Therefore nobody should make false calculations concerning Afrin and the Kurds.