YSP MP Gülüstan Kılıç Koçyiğit questioned the ethics and legality of Turkey's military actions in northeast Syria during her address to the parliament on Wednesday.
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Green Left Party Kars MP Gülüstan Kılıç Koçyiğit questioned the ethics and legality of Turkey’s military actions in northeast Syria during her address to the parliament on Wednesday. “How did the YPG (People’s Defence Units) suddenly become terrorists? It’s because the Kurds didn’t join you in fighting against Assad and the Syrian regime,” she said.
Koçyiğit, who had gone to the border and stood guard during the 2014 Islamic State (ISIS) attacks against the Kurdish majority northern Syrian town Kobani (Kobane), revealed that she was one of the nurses who stitched up YPG fighters who fought against ISIS at Suruç State Hospital. “I am a witness that they were taken to many hospitals in all four corners of Turkey,” she added.
The MP called out the parliament for its silence on the issue, particularly when it comes to the killing of Kurdish civilians. “After this latest operation you initiated, 47 civilians have died, including children. Is the value of Kurdish life so low?” she asked.
The address by Koçyiğit is part of a wave of criticism from Kurdish politicians and others who note the disparity in the Turkish government’s approach to international conflicts and law. While the government has expressed a desire for peace in the Israel-Hamas war and criticised Israeli actions affecting Palestinian civilians, it has concurrently been involved in military operations in northeast Syria since 5 October that have impacted civilian infrastructure. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself has spoken against the cutting off of electricity and water in Gaza, describing it as inhumane and against international laws, while similar actions have been reported in northeast Syria.
Koçyiğit also highlighted the government’s contradictory stance on peace. “Ömer Çelik (spokesman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP) has said, ‘In principle, we are against the killing of civilians’. Then add a caveat to your principle: ‘Except for Kurds’,” she urged.
Koçyiğit concluded her address by appealing to the consciences of her fellow parliamentarians. “When will this parliament speak for the people of Rojava, for the people of northeastern Syria, for the children and women there, who haven’t even thrown a pebble this way?” she said.
The MP’s remarks come amid ongoing military aggression against northeast Syria by the Turkish government, both within Turkey and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). Various international bodies and human rights organisations have also persistently urged for a halt to the military offensive, citing concerns over civilian safety and regional stability.