News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
In an interview with Salih Müslüm published by Özgür Gündem during his second visit to Turkey, the PYD leader discusses the ongoing talks with the Turkish government and leaders of the Syrian opposition, developments in Iran and Iraq, and the progress of the revolution in Rojava more generally. The interview can be accessed in entirety (in Turkish) here. Below are a number of excerpts from the interview which have been translated to English:
On the Talks in Turkey
Muslim: I met with Turkish delegations for two days, and then some individuals for the Syrian Coalition for another two days. With the Foreign Ministry it was more or less the same people, the same subjects: the security problem, the autonomy problem, and aid for people on the border was all discussed. Again there was talk that any claim to autonomy would be a “proclamation of a new government” etc. etc We also explained our project. We explained some of the debates and steps taken on the way to creating an administrative framework. They see it as pretty normal. Unlike what was said in the media – that this or that was said, that this was imposed or that warning was given – nothing like that happened. We spoke as two sides and debated subjects that concern us both. There was nothing imposed, and nothing requested. We are trying to normalize the situation.
On the Relationship with the Free Syrian Army and the Acceptance of Kurdish Identity among Elements of the Syrian Opposition
Muslim: They recognize the existence of the Kurds, but there is no clear voice, no clear representation. It’s not even certain with whom one should speak. There is no level on which representation can take place. If you meet with Ahmed Carba, Carba accepts everything with regard to the Kurds, no matter what that be.
Reporter: For example there was a meeting of 70 Free Syrian Army commanders in Gazıantep, and the Free Syrian Army Chief of Staff, İdris, made some statements against the Kurds. Did these come up on the agenda? Are they condemning the massacre in Til Aran?
Muslim: Of course they are condemning it and saying we sent out a communique saying so. But this communique does not blame anyone in specific, but is just a general condemnation. They give the name of the Al-Nusra front when they make such condemnations. But for them to condemn in general terms does nothing. We want a real change in attitude and less condemnation. A change in attitude that says the Al-Nusra front is not with us and we will work against them. Or else you are sidestepping and leaving them to us. This secret, underhanded support can’t go on.
On Western Support for the Opposition
Reporter: There is millions of dollars of aid coming from the West to the FSA. While it is not coming to Rojava is coming to Al-Nusra. Will any action be taken on this subject?
Muslim: We tell them this but they say “there is no support, we don’t help them. Nothing is given to us.” Because there is no honest responsible person with whom to speak you cannot say anything. They say, “We don’t give anything to Al-Nusra, the aid that comes to us is distributed by foundations.”
On the Developments in Rojava and the Future of Kurdish Politics
Muslim: There is a preparatory committee. There are people from all sides in this committee. They are preparing both documents and mechanisms. There will be debates about these documents. We expect this as do other parties. There should be such a party that it could reduce to a minimum the cleavages among the Kurds or remove them entirely. Relations among the Kurds should be put in order. Kurds should have a voice in politics, and some steps should be taken to emphasize the brotherhood of the Kurds with other peoples. And direction should be given to these relations. This is what we expect.
We thank our people in all four pieces of Kurdistan. They truly demonstrated a good posture for Rojava. They did not leave us alone. For the humanitarian aid we thank them all. For the formation of a Kurdish congress going forward it was a good step. Everyone needs to be behind this. If there is solidarity among the Kurds will always be a part of the balance in the Middle East. If everyone moves with care and works to coordinate their movements with those in the other parts, the entire region will benefit. The Kurds can play a leading role for brotherhood among peoples and democratization in the Middle East. This is in fact our duty – the duty of the Kurds. We should do what is necessary to fulfil this duty, all Kurds should.