News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The following is an English-translation of the article “Kobanê milattır“ written by M. Ali Çelebi. It originally appeared in Özgür Gündem.
Almost two weeks have passed since PYD co-president Salih Muslim met the special envoy from the [Turkish] Foreign Ministry, Feridun Sinirlioğlu, in Istanbul on October 5th. Following this meeting contact continued by telephone. However the officials I met with from the PYD have said that the corridor which [Turkey] was to open to allow the passage of volunteers from the Cizîrê Canton and weapons such as anti-tank missiles to Kobanê has not materialized as promised.
Following this critical visit Muslim began another round of meetings which great significance for the history of Kurdistan. If you remember Muslim’s son Şervan lost his life on the Til Ebyad front on October 9th, 2013. Muslim had gone to Rojava to receive condolences and his return [to Europe] was forbidden by the KDP which is run by Mesud and Neçirvan Barzani, who themselves had placed Rojava under embargo in conjunction with Turkey. Just a short time ago, Barzani held a diplomatic meeting around Rojava at the Semalka border-crossing and Muslim received an official invitation from Hewlêr (Erbil). And Muslim flew to Hewlêr together with the Representative of the Rojava Cantons in Europe Sinem Mihemed, Aldar Xelil from TEV-DEM, and Mihemmed Musa from the Syrian Kurds Left Party on October 13, 2014.
Also present at the meeting were representatives of the KDP-Syria, which was formed from the El Parti, the Azadi Parties (the Azadi party run by Mustafa Cuma and the Azadi party run by Mustafa Oso) and the Yetkiti party. There were also people from the KCK involved.
I asked PYD Foreign Relations Officer Zuhad Kobanê about both the visits to both Turkey and Hewlêr. First the expected steps following the Ankara visit: A corridor was to be opened and volunteers and weapons such as anti-tank missiles were to be allowed to pass. No obstacles would be placed on humanitarian aid. ISIS positions close to the border were to be struck per the rules of engagement.
– “Until now there has not been one practical step taken. Now and then they get on the telephone, now and then they don’t. ‘I don’t know where it’s jammed up’ they tell us, ‘we are working on it.’”
-Has the military bureaucracy jammed up?
-“They haven’t taken any steps, these are delay tactics.”
Zuhad says that in practice Turkey has shown that it is waiting for the canton to fall.
He says that if the coalition forces had began to operate from the air earlier and consistently it would not have come to this point. The effect of the outcries and uprisings by people in Europe and everywhere else created a change in public opinion and this placed pressure on the United States which began consistent airstrikes against ISIS positions only as they were entering neighborhoods in the city. Zuhad claimed that before there had been an expectation that Kobanê would fall quickly, saying “they looked and saw that the YPG was resisting and changed their policies.” Zuhad says that countries such as the United States began to think that if a massacre were to take place in the city they would be held responsible.
The Hewlêr Visit And A Common Force
Well Kurds,what was the true nature of the Hewlêr visit? Problems around representation within the KDP-Syria which occupies a place in ENKS have not been overcome. We will see this crisis reflected back depending on Barzani’s influence over these parties. Zuhad summarized these meetings which are giving importance to unity among Kurds thus: “the basic question is the resistance in Kobanê. The resistance in Kobanê has made everyone responsible. If they do nothing they will have a difficult time with history and the people. For this reason the request [for a meeting] came from them.”
Can something like the common formed between the KDP, YNK, HPG, YPG, YPJ and YBŞ in places like Kirkuk, Mosul, and Maxmûr emerge in Rojava?
“We are not against it. Let them come and fight. But don’t let them make it conditional. Going around saying ‘this is mine.’ Everyone has lost martyrs and they have sat on the side and said ‘come on let’s unite.’ Is this how things are done? They did not send us a single bullet. There are so many martyrs and wounded in Kobanê. Let them come and join the resistance and defend their own people. We went their for an alliance, we have our hopes. This is an historical process, let them come but let it not be conditional. Kobanê has become a milestone for the Kurds. All Kurds have rallied around it. Kobanê has affected international policies and has changed them. It has also changed Kurdish politics. This meeting is also a product of the Kobanê resistance. In Kurdish politics there will be something known as history and politics before and after Kobanê.”
As for KRG PM Neçirvan Barzani’s claim that they sent weapons to Kobanê I asked TEV-DEM officials about it. Some weapons have arrived in the Cizîrê Canton however since Turkey has not opened a corridor they are still waiting there. As the ISIS conflagration was growing the HPG saved the KDP’s honor in Maxmûr and Hewlêr, and the YPG/YPJ saved it in Şengal (Sinjar). Let’s see if the KDP can learn a lesson and open a new page.