After President Tayyip Erdoğan’s phone call with US President Joe Biden on 23 April, Turkish armed forces launched their campaign on the Metîna, Avaşîn and Zap regions as part of the “Claw Operations” in northern Iraq. The operations have been aiming at targets belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to the Turkish Ministry of National Defence.
As the clashes intensified, the Kurdistan Regional Government also issued a statements regarding the operations. Mesrur Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, considered the issue “a problem between the PKK and Turkey” in a 28 April statement he shared with Al Jezeera TV.
Commenting on the statements of the Kurdistan Regional Government authorities, Tülay Hatimoğulları, Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) MP for Adana, said: “These operations only jeopardise the existence of the Kurdistan Democratic Party [KDP]. They seem to be unaware of this fact, but the Turkish regime uses hostility against the Kurds to maintain its rule in Turkey.”
She continued: ”The attacks coincided with the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The repeated message of genocidal politics which was sent to the rest of the world over the bodies of the Kurdish people… Turkey has been carrying out similar operations for nearly 40 years. Ongoing attacks against the Kurds are a process of genocide, their efforts to deprive and destroy the Kurdish people are similar to the Armenian Genocide.”
According to Hatimoğulları, the Kurds have an organised society and the experience to resist against such attacks. ”The Kurds are fighting for their own freedom and identity in the four parts of Kurdistan. They are struggling to achieve a democratic constitution in order to be seen as equal citizens in those countries,” she said.
The HDP MP also underlined that cross-border operations mean more than a “tactic” for Turkey. “This is a concept,” she said. ”Looking back at the last 40 years, we see that the solution to conflict has not been sought through peaceful and democratic methods. On the contrary, we see the policies of war, violence, conflict, assimilation and forced displacement.”
She continued: “Very recent exemples took place in northeast Syria. In many cities, such as Afrin and Kobane, the Kurdish people have been forced to migrate.”
Hatimoğlulları stated that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) continues to pursue neo-Ottoman policies in the region, along with anti-Kurdish policies. “If we finish Qandil, this problem will be solved,” is Turkey’s logic, according to her. “However, they persistently try to ignore the main point which is that the Kurdish question is not about Qandil, it is about Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran all at once; it is about the demands of the Kurdish people living in Turkey, in Rojava [North and East Syria], in Iraq and in Iran,” Hatimoğulları said.
She added: “They manipulate to create a perception about the operations and to legitimise these operations in the eyes of public opinion. We have experienced similar situation in Syria when they launched an operation in several cities in Rojava and Afrin, saying that they were attacking ‘terrorists’ in order to gain a legitimate ground in the society. However, they were actually attacking civilians; they have organised operations against civilians in residental areas.”