In the midst of ongoing Israeli attacks on the beleaguered city of Gaza, Kurdish voices on Turkish social media platforms are drawing parallels between the destruction in Gaza and Turkish military operations carried out in 2015-16 against Kurdish-majority cities in the country’s southeast.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and government officials continue to condemn Israel’s relentless air and ground assaults on Gaza, following the 7 October Hamas attack. Erdoğan recently said, “Israel has now become a country of baby killers, committing war crimes in front of the whole world. Western countries are merely spectators, watching all the brutality from the sidelines.”
These strong statements from Erdoğan and the Turkish government have been viewed as hypocritical by Kurdish opposition circles within the country, due to Turkey’s on-going military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq. Critics have argued that Turkey’s condemnation of Israel contrasts sharply with its own actions in the region.
Furthermore, images from the recent ground operation in Gaza are now prompting social media users to recall the large-scale military operations conducted by Turkish forces in Kurdish-majority cities in the country’s southeast after the breakdown of peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2015.
Users shared footage from 2016 depicting Turkish soldiers in Nusaybin (Nisêbîn) district of Turkey’s south-eastern province of Mardin (Mêrdîn), drawing parallels between Israel’s attacks on Gaza and Turkey’s past military actions.
During the curfews that started in Nusaybin on 1 October 2015, 24 civilians, including sick and disabled residents, lost their lives.