What does Erdogan want from the Kurds in Syria?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against the Kurds


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal critic of any political process that gives rights to the Kurds, a group of people who live in northern Iraq and northern Syria. He accused them of terrorism and called for them to be removed from the Turkish border. In this article, we will take a brief look at the history of the conflict between the Turks and the Kurds, as well as President Erdogan's recent statements.


Erdogan fights the Syrian Kurds


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal critic of the Syrian Kurds, accusing them of supporting terrorism and posing a threat to Turkey's national security. In recent months, Erdogan has escalated his fight against the Kurds, ordering Turkish forces to attack their positions in Syria.


The Syrian Kurds have been some of the most effective fighters against ISIS, helping to expel the terrorist group from its strongholds in northern Syria. However, it also views them as a threat by Turkey, which sees them as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a designated terrorist group that has waged a decades-old insurgency against the Turkish state.


Erdogan accused the Syrian Kurds of being terrorists and vowed to "eliminate them". He also threatened to invade northern Syria to create a "safe zone" that would be free of Kurdish fighters.


The Turkish president's aggressive rhetoric and actions against the Kurds have drawn condemnation from human rights groups and international leaders. Nevertheless, Erdogan remains popular at home, where he is seen as a strong leader who defends Turkey's interests.


Kurdish forces in northern Syria SDF


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal critic of Kurdish forces in northern Syria, calling them a "terrorist" group and vowing to crush them. Turkey has, in recent months, launched a major offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria, which has displaced thousands of civilians and killed hundreds of people. The United Nations warned that the situation could spiral out of control, and called for an immediate end to the violence. But no one has moved to take a serious stance against Turkey.


Autonomous Administration in Northeast Syria


Erdogan is also one of the fiercest critics of the Autonomous Administration in northeastern Syria, which is a model of coexistence, which consists mostly of Kurds and in which Christians, Yazidis, Assyrians, Syriacs and all religions and even atheists live. Erdogan accused the administration of harboring terrorists and vowed to "crush them". In January 2018, Erdogan launched a military operation against the predominantly Kurdish-controlled city of Afrin in northwestern Syria. The operation was widely condemned by the international community, but Erdogan continued his plans to expand Turkish control in the territories where the Kurds live.


Delving into the issue of demographic change in the Syrian Kurdish areas, which the Turkish government has occupied alongside a number of radical Islamic factions, requires studying and understanding its depth and rootedness in the modern and contemporary history of both Syria and Turkey. The process of demographic change that Turkey is implementing at the present time is nothing but a continuation of what the Arab Socialist Baath Party started in Syria, which the Turkish government has implemented in the Kurdish cities in Turkey, especially the cities west of the Euphrates River there.


Since Turkey intervened in the Syrian file, it has been clear that its standing against the Kurdish cause and its thwarting any Kurdish endeavor towards Kurdish rights in Syria is the most important issue for it; From Turkey’s perspective, the solution to the Kurdish issue in Syria is a real threat to its national security, given that any Kurdish supremacy in it can enhance the desire of Turkey’s Kurds to demand similar rights, and the Kurdish border area in Syria is Turkey’s last outlet to the Arab world. After the Kurds in the Kurdistan region of Iraq were able to achieve autonomy and cut the geographical contact between Turkey and the "Sunni" Arabs in Iraq.


The Turkish intervention did not remain diplomatic, rejecting the Kurdish political presence in the Syrian solution negotiations since 2017, and since then Turkey has turned towards direct military operations in the Syrian depth, and it was clear that the Turkish project is integrated in controlling the areas. from the Kurdish presence, expelling the Kurdish population from it, and harboring groups close to the radical Islamic factions loyal to it in Syria.


Since then, Turkey has occupied three main cities in the Kurdish region of Syria: Afrin - Serêkaniyê / Ras al-Ain - Tal Abyad. And it works to expand the circle of occupation of Kurdish cities and towns, implement the process of community rehabilitation in the Kurdish border area, expel the Kurdish population from it and displace them towards eastern Syria, and keep them away from the Turkish border. In order to cut off contact and separate them from the Kurds in Turkey.


Throughout history, the Kurdish people in Syrian Kurdistan have been subjected to various colonial means and operations in order to control them and occupy their minds and land, ranging from physical and symbolic violence to the policy of appropriation represented in Arabic, Turkish and Persian. And systematic Westernization by regimes that oppose any Kurdish political project.