“Washington’s help and contribution to the Turkish state and to Erdoğan’s dictatorship is not limited just to keeping silent and turning a blind eye,” writes Ferda Çetin for Yeni Özgür Politika.
The Turkish army is bombing southern Kurdistan. It is occupying the land and establishing bases.
It is bombing Rojava continuously, both from the ground and from the air.
It is bombing the Makhmour Refugee Camp, which is run by the United Nations.
Yazidis of Sinjar, who have suffered 74 massacres, are surrounded by the Iraqi army’s tanks and armoured vehicles.
These areas are without a doubt controlled and overseen by the United States.
No power could take any action in these areas without permission and approval given by Washington.
As such, it is the U.S. government that gives this permission to Turkey and to the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Back when Donald Trump was president, and James Jeffrey was U.S. Special Envoy for Syria, Jeffrey visited Ankara on 22 July, 2019 to talk with Turkish officials about a safe zone in northern Syria. He had been meeting with Syrian Kurds at the same time, discussing the same issue.
James Jeffrey announced to the public that in order to prevent Turkish pressure, the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would withdraw 15 km away from the Turkish border with their heavy weapons, and that the US and Kurdish forces would provide protection with joint patrols afterwards.
During these developments on the field, Washington and Ankara signed an unprecedented ceasefire agreement: Two states that are on the same side as NATO allies, not at war with each other, signed what they called a 13-point ceasefire agreement.
This agreement was supposed to prevent Turkey from occupying Rojava, and it would guarantee that no attacks were carried out on the people living in that region. From day one, Turkey did not comply, and continued to bomb Rojava.
The United States did not react to these attacks in the slightest, neither under Trump, nor since Joe Biden took office. The attacks still continue, unabated, while the United States is still supposedly responsible for and guarantor of Syrian air and land space.
So, does Washington lack power, or is the despotic caricature called Erdoğan too strong?
It is not just Rojava that is under attack. Iraqi airspace, which is under U.S. control, is also open to armed and unarmed Turkish drones and fighter jets. They bomb the Makhmour refugee camp and Sinjar as they please. They have occupied swathes of Iraqi soil.
Washington’s help and contribution to the Turkish state and to Erdoğan’s dictatorship is not limited just to keeping silent and turning a blind eye. It also prevents countries such as Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation from protesting against Turkey over its attacks and occupation.
This week, the Iraqi army laid siege to Sinjar with armoured vehicles and large numbers of troops: The very same army that had fled alongside the forces of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) when the Islamic State attacked Sinjar on 3 August, 2014.
Could it be that the President of the United States, the U.S. government, and U.S. coordinator for the Middle East, Brett “Friend of Kurds” McGurk have all forgotten about this?
The answer to this question lies in the statement made in August 2020 by Joey Hood and David Copley, assistant secretaries of State for the Middle East. Hood said:
“If you could have the Kurdistan Regional Government, the federal government in Baghdad, and Turkey working together with advice and support from the United States and other coalition countries, you could see that maybe a place like Sinjar could be cleared out of militias, including the PKK, and you could put a civilian administration in there that would work for the people and be accepted by the people so that Yazidi IDPs, victims of genocide could actually return home, which they can’t do safely and voluntarily right now. And we are talking to all parties about this at a high level.”
“We’d like to see Turkey and Iraq work closely together to address concerns about the PKK’s presence in northern Iraq. It’s important to respect Iraqi sovereignty. It’s also important to recognize that Turkey has legitimate security interests.”
Iraq and the KDP signed a Sinjar agreement on 9 October 2020, within the framework of a plan laid out by the United States and the United Nations. The agreement did not include representatives of Kurds or Yazidis, and instead, made the very forces that abandoned the Yazidis in the face of massacre responsible for Sinjar’s security again.
The United States knows very well that there are no PKK members left in Sinjar. But still, the Biden administration wants to implement the Sinjar agreement that was devised under Trump.
Biden continues Trump’s policies, and McGurk continues Jeffrey’s.
The United States still continues with its policy to separate Kurds and the PKK, despite these policies being invalidated at every level.
The United States cannot eliminate the PKK’s reputation, legitimacy or its mission of political progressiveness by simply adding it to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations. But this listing provides the justification, cover and support for the Turkish state’s unlawful disregard for human rights and brutal tyranny.
And the United States cannot make an example and a model administration for Kurds out of the KDP and the Barzani family, which act as a crutch for the Turkish state and the Erdoğan dictatorship, in this day and age.
PKK executives have stated on various occasions that they do not harbour any animosity against the United States or any other country, and that they are open for dialogue with all.
However, former and current U.S. governments, have continuously supported the Turkish state’s and Erdoğan’s government’s policies of denial, assimilation and genocide against the Kurdish people.