“Do you want to be neighbours with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the enemy of humanity or with the secular administration of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Peoples’ Defense Units? (YPG)”, writes Hüseyin Akyol for Yeni Yaşam.
It has been years since several journalists travelled from Turkey to interview Abdullah Öcalan in Damascus. I was one of them: I arrived in Damascus by plane and settled in a hotel. I was waiting for the phone call to meet with him. Meanwhile, I turned on the TV in the room. There were only Syrian channels. I guess there were three channels. The advertisements in-between drew my attention.
There were no ads for cars, homes or electronic devices. In the 1990s, Syria was one of the poorest countries, its national average income did not exceed US $1000-2000. Ten years ago, the country had still not developed substantially. However, the ‘operation’ of the Western imperialists to bring the Syrian administration ‘into line’ with its priorities has caused the death of at least 600,000 people in the country. In addition to this, at least six million people had to flee across borders and, again, six million people within the country, far from their residences.
These numbers are extraordinary, but the Syrian economy has gone back at least 50 years because of the destroyed cities. So who did this? Let’s ask a journalist.
A Turkish citizen born in Syria, Hüsnü Mahalli states: “100 countries have swept into Syria, hundreds of thousands of terrorists moved into Syria via ISIS, and hundreds of terrorist organisations have been founded. Turkey was the key actor during the ten years of conflict. Not me, but the former Prime Minister of Qatar, Haned Bin Casim, had noted this on 27 October 2017, saying: ‘We do everything together with Saudi Arabia, the US and Turkey: weapons and men were sent through Turkey’. Turkey had more than 10,000 military forces in Syria. Turkey supplies all the needs, money and weapons for the Syrian National Army, which was also established by Ankara”.
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It has been years since Western imperialists had to give up trying to change Syria’s regime. However, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government does not – or perhaps, cannot – give up the Islamist fighters in Syria, which it sent to fight in various places. It may no longer be able to get them to fight elsewhere due to the Biden administration in the USA, but they have to control the places that they stay in Syria, because they cannot bring them back to Turkey.
Now, what the public which gets ready for a post-AKP period and especially the leaders of the left and even right-wing parties who consider themselves to be secular have to decide upon is this: ‘Do you want to be neighbours with ISIS, the enemy of humanity, which calls Turkey a ‘non-Muslim’ country or do you prefer to be neighbours with the secular administration of the Syrian Democratic Forces led by the Peoples’ Defense Units (YPG), which has put into practice a peaceful life in harmony with Arabs and different religions and communities in the region?’