Elif Ronahi, a member of the Kurdistan Communities Union’s (KCK’s) Presidential Council, spoke to Medya Haber TV regarding Turkey’s ongoing aggression in northeastern Syria during an interview commemorating the anniversary of the incidents that took place in Turkey between 19-25 December 1978. Kurdish Alevis and others refer to what happened in this period as the “Maraş massacre,” during which significantly more than 100 people, mostly Kurdish Alevis, were killed.
“What Turkey has developed as the Operation Euphrates Shield is genocidal by its very essence. No matter what they claim about this operation being only about Jarablus and al-Bab, the real target here is the whole Euphrates basin that also includes the Rojava line from the north,” she said with regard to Turkey’s wider plans and its consecutive military operations in northeastern Syria following the ‘Euphrates Shield’ in 2016 and 2017.
“This is what they wanted to do in Kobane, this is what they wanted to do by the occupation and invasion of Afrin. The third phase of this has been done by this operation called Euphrates Shield. The deep-rooted aim here is destroying Kurds.”
Ronahi stressed that by placing families of ISIS fighters in certain Kurdish-populated regions, Turkey aims at demographic change.
“Through the hands of massacres, what they did and still do is demographic, economic and cultural change. The Maraş massacre is carried out one more time in another form, at another level, by ISIS with a deeper and more comprehensive approach,” she said.
Ronahi shared the example of families and relatives of ISIS members being transferred from Syria to Turkey’s southeastern city Maraş (Mereş). “This is no coincidence,” she said.
“Their so-called discourse, ‘People flee from war, Turkey welcomes them,’ is a lie. By transferring these people here, they want to evacuate the Kurdish-populated regions in the southwest.”
Settling far-right people from other ethnicities in Kurdish-Alevi populated regions in Turkey related to the fact that locals in Maraş are Alevis, but it’s not only about them being Alevis, she emphasised. “That region they aim to evacuate and all Kurds living on that line, they aim to ethnically cleanse,” she said.
“Especially our people living in northern Kurdistan in the border of Turkey are targeted with such an approach. The essence of this state is that it has constructed itself as a fascist regime, based on massacres of Armenians, Assyrians and Kurds.”
She went on: “One by one, group by group, Turkish fascists and supporters of the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] are made to settle in these regions. By settling these people here, they want to commit new massacres in the future.”
Ronahi appealed to the Kurdish people around the world, saying, “Not only our people living there, but all our people living in metropoles, and throughout Europe should see and be aware of this fact.”
Ronahi emphasised the leading role of Kurdish women in defending Kurdish identity against the genocidal policies of Turkey. “One exists only with their communities. Once one is detached from their communities, they metamorphise. I really believe that Kurdish women will play their leading role to prevent that,” she said.