News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF/AZİZ KÖYLÜOĞLU/QAMİŞLO) İlham Ehmed, a member of the Executive Council of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) has announced that the Syrian regime will not be allowed to set up polling stations in Rojava for the election it plans to hold on June 3rd. Ehmed said that the Syrian regime does not officially recognize the rights of the Kurds as a people and that Kurds could only make alliances with powers that recognizes them. As the date of the election approaches, Ehmed spoke with ANF about the Presidential elections in Syria, the reasons that the regime is holding them now, and relations between the regime and the Kurds more generally.
Ehmed went on to describe how the Syrian regime is now taking a tactical approach to the Kurds, but has not made any official changes in their policies of the past and thus has no legitimacy as concerns the Kurds.
Thus, said Ehmed, the Kurds would not view the elections as legitimate and would not allow the regime to open polling stations in any areas under Kurdish control.
International Powers Have Legitimated The Regime
Ehmed responded to the legitimization of the Syrian regime by international powers, saying “during a period when the war continues all over Syria, when it has reached a peak, when close to half of Syrians have been displaced, when its cities have been reduced to ruins the Syrian regime is holding elections to establish a new foundation for its legitimacy. The Geneva meetings established such a foundation. Both international powers and the Syrian coalition became helped the regime to restore its legitimacy. Now [the regime] wants to complete this process. In fact its recent large-scale operations are intended to strengthen this foundation. That is the Syrian regime wants to say this to the world: ‘only I can govern Syria and bring stability.’”
Ehmed continued, stressing that the elections would be a vehicle by which the Syrian regime intended restore its international status, saying “the Geneva meetings gave serious support to the election being organized now. After the Geneva meetings many powers adopted new approaches as regards Syria. They saw that if groups affiliated with al-Qaeda could establish its authority that it would constitute a serious threat to themselves. For this reason they searched for an alternative. However no power emerged that could establish a new regime. The Syrian regime, relying on the status it took after the Geneva meetings, is working hard to establish a new legitimacy and the elections are one result of this.”
If The Crisis Continues Regional States Will Jump In
“The Syrian regime’s holding of elections without making any significant internal changes will not affect any change. That is under these conditions fighting will continue after the elections, people will continue to be driven from their homes, have their houses destroyed around them, and most importantly the death will continue. The existing crisis will continue to deepen and if it goes that way there will be a situation where neighboring countries jump in.”
Kurds Are Demanding The Rights That Come From Being A People
Ehmed went on to stress that Kurds are not demanding any rights outside of those which come from being a people, saying “up until now Kurds have asked for the democratization of Syria and the acceptance of their rights that come from being a people. They have made much effort in this regard. They demanded that any regime that will be founded in Syria accept the rights of all the people living in Syria and that they recognize these rights. The Syrian regime wants to hold elections under the existing system. The Kurds in particular will not support a one-sided initiative without seeing any serious approach to the Kurds [on the part of the regime] and without having their rights as a people recognized.”
The Syrian Regime’s Approach To The Kurds Is Tactical
“Over the past four years it has emerged that the Syrian regime has taken up a tactical approach to Kurds as serves their own interests. From the beginning the Syrian regime did not want to open a large front against the Kurds. In fact they wanted to use the Kurds for their own interests. But the Kurds also adopted an intelligent approach in this situation to serve their own interests. And in this period they created their own system, proclaimed their autonomous cantons, and knew best how to serve their own interests from the situation which emerged. The Kurds have always been defending themselves against the regime. The Syrian regime has not taken any positive step as regards the Kurds until now. In fact the Syrian regime continues to create problems about basic Kurdish-language education and is attempting to obstruct it. From this perspective the current Syrian regime will not be legitimate in the eyes of the Kurds and cannot be.”
Kurds Can Make Alliances With Forces Which Recognize Them
“In fact the Syrian regime has been continuously attacking Rojava. There were attacks in which the Syrian army played a part, and on the other hand there were attacks in which they used other gangs. But these attacks have never been been successful. The Kurds have from the beginning taken as a principal a solution which seeks a third way to the Syrian crisis along political and democratic means. They also founded their own autonomous system along these political approaches. Policies made by accusing the Kurdish Freedom Movement with ‘cooperating with the Syrian regime’ are said consciously in order to overshadow our independent approaches. We are the only force in Syria capable of engaging in independent politics. No power can assume to pursue their interests through us. There is only one thing which binds us, and that is the needs and wants of our people. Outside of this nothing binds us. Kurds can make alliances with whoever recognizes the rights of Kurds as a people, and they make such alliances.”
Kurds Will Not Allow The Election To Be Held In Their Own Regions
Finally İlham Ehmed made it clear that Kurds will not allow elections to take place in their regions and evaluated ENKS call for a boycott as a political approach, saying “ENKS has a political approach. We see the boycott of these elections as a liberal approach. Our approach is the official recognition of the Kurds. We will recognize the regime to the extent which they recognize us. From this point of view there is no official recognition. Kurds will not allow the elections to take place in areas under their control and Kurds will not go to polling stations anywhere.”