Some time ago, Hifzullah Kutum, a research worker at Fırat University in Turkey, was first suspended by the dean and later, on 6 November, arrested on a charge of “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organisation” for having shared the comment on his Twitter account: ‘Şoreşa Îlonê hemû Kurdan pîroz be, Bijî Kurdistan’ (‘Happy September Revolution to all Kurds, Long Live Kurdistan’), writes Ferda Çetin for Yeni Özgür Politika.
The “September Revolution” to which Kutum referred was the armed insurrection launched against the Iraqi government under the leadership of Mela Mustafa Barzani on 11 September 1961.
The post was made against the backdrop of a picture of Mela Mustafa Barzani on horseback.
Neither the content nor the image in the post, which was made the grounds for the arrest, had anything to do with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), either directly or indirectly. The Dean of Fırat University, the prosecutor who requested Kutum’s formal arrest and the judge who granted it, like all who follow contemporary politics in South Kurdistan, were very well aware that this post was written in support of the Barzani family and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
Let’s leave this to one side…
Mesrur Barzani, the Prime Minister of the government of South Kurdistan, made a speech at the ‘Middle East Peace and Security Forum’ held in Dihok (Duhok) on 15 November 2021. In his speech, he made recommendations to the Rojava (West Kurdistan) administration: “In conversations we have had with the Turkish authorities, they have said they have no problems with the Kurds, their problems are only with the PKK. If the Rojava administration cuts its connections with the PKK, Turkey’s disquiet with Rojava will be reduced. If the people of Rojava want aid and a better future, they should cut their connections with the PKK.”
Was research worker Hifzullah Kutum suspended and arrested for having connections with the PKK, for posing beneath their flag, for celebrating the PKK’s breakthrough of 15 August 1984?
In his speech in Dihok, Mesrur Barzani made a point of saying, “Our peoples and our administrations complement each other,” then said, “Kurdistan was divided in the past. Iraq is not defined as one nation. Iraq was founded without the demands of its constituents being taken into account… We will no longer allow force to be used against the people of Kurdistan.”
The Turkish Minister of Defence, answering questions about the Ministry’s defence budget said, “There is no such geographical region as Kurdistan, either inside or outside Turkey.”
In response to the question from Garo Paylan, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Diyarbakır (Amed), asking “Why? Does Iraqi Kurdistan not exist then?,” Akar said, “No, no it does not.”
Is it the Turkish authorities talking to Mesrur Barzani who are lying, or is it Barzani himself?
Mesrur Barzani and his family, and the politicians, bureaucrats and sycophants they protect, think they can keep pulling the wool over the people’s eyes indefinitely by twisting the truth and manipulating the facts. They are presenting the lie that Turkey has no problems with the Kurds, in order to camouflage the collaboration between the KDP and the Turkish Republic.
The administration of Hewlêr feels not the slightest modicum of responsibility or shame for the Kurdish migration to the Belarusian-Polish border. They are as carefree and relaxed as if they did not govern South Kurdistan. They think they can gloss over the issue with flimsy excuses and tragicomic explanations. Like their partner Erdoğan, they search for an external actor to blame. And this actor is generally the PKK.
This is what Mesrur Barzani says: “They are migrating because of Turkey’s attacks on the PKK. Some of them are being exploited by networks from abroad, deceived by people-smugglers.”
Jutyar Adil, the spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government, completes the lie: “A large majority of these citizens are migrating because of the clashes between the PKK and Turkey. Some of them are also those wishing to migrate because of unemployment in Halabja and Sulaymaniya.”
Do you see the creativity (!) in the manipulation? Apparently some of them are migrating because of the PKK, and the rest because of unemployment in Halabja and
Sulaymaniyah (areas under Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK – historically in opposition to the KDP] control).
As if Zaxo (Zakho), Dihok and Hewlêr were gardens of roses. As if the areas under the control of the KDP were safe and prosperous, everyone had employment and opportunities, everyone was peaceful and comfortable (!) and there were no migrants from those areas.
And then there is the truth. And the truth has a determination to come to light. They are so afraid of the truth that they are even closing down their own media outlets.
Even the GAV digital site, belonging to Neçîrvan Barzani [a member of the ruling family and president of the Kurdistan Region], has been closed down because of news about the migrants. The GAV site held a video interview with the mayor of Nizûrê village in the Batufa district of Dihok. Tariq Îsmet, the mayor, explained that 80% of the young people in the village had migrated to Europe in the last year: “We have oil, we have income from oil tariffs. Where does this income go? The young people have no hope for the future, there is too much injustice. In addition, the Turkish state is setting up security posts, and constantly bombing our lands, and people have difficulty living safely and freely.”
The opinion of journalist Mame Shaswar, who has produced important news reports relating to South Kurdistan and is following the migrants on the Belarusian-Polish border, reveals the real reasons for this migration: “If everyone from one country; rich and poor, capitalist and worker, old and young, conservative and modernist, religious and secular, right-wing and left-wing, all migrate together, this means that the administrators of that place are administrating badly. It means that there is no room for a free and just life, promising hope, and worthy of respect.”
Meanwhile, the journalist and academic Kemal Çomani draws attention to another dimension of the migration: “In other countries, people flee from starvation. In South Kurdistan, they flee from injustice and inequality, from the oppressive and thieving regime run by the Hewlêr administration.
Then there are the “deeply patriotic” and the “keenly nationalistic” who will not hear a word against the KDP and Barzani in the matter of Turkish occupation and migration, and think that no-one sees or is aware of the hypocrisy of this.
There are the “Kurdish gentry” who call to account PKK leaders with a price on their heads, asking, “Why don’t you set up a state?”; who hide behind fake cries of, “oh… if only we had a state” whenever they so much as catch a cold; but who cannot bring themselves to ask the KDP and the Barzani dynasty, “Why are tens of thousands of people leaving the lands under your control and fleeing to Europe?”
There are the literate people and semi-intellectuals who remain silent as the lands of South Kurdistan are turned into Turkish security posts and military bases, who use a serious matter like “national unity” to camouflage the KDP’s collaboration with the enemy.
Keep your sneaky trickery, your nasty cunning and your shabby deceptions to yourselves.
You stand out a mile, and yet you are completely transparent.