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Kurds under attack on all fronts

Monday 8 April 2024, by Mireille Court

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In the northern Kurdistan region of Iraq, known as Bashur to the Kurds, close to the border with Turkey, war has been raging for several years now, and has intensified in recent months.

Turkish troops, backed by the KDP’s (Kurdistan Democratic Party) Pershmerga, are battling the PKK’s (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) armed wing, the HPG (People’s Defence Forces), in the hope of eradicating the PKK’s presence in the region. The Baghdad government, under pressure from Turkey, has just banned the PKK in Iraq, without consulting its parliament. A major stake in this attempt to eliminate the Kurdish forces is the pipeline linking the oilfields of Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey. As the pipeline crosses this region, it is no longer operational and the oil has to be transported by road, which obviously increases costs.

Fierce repression

Western Kurdistan, Rojava, the de facto autonomous region in northern Syria, is under constant attack, with aerial bombardments mainly targeting infrastructure, but also assassinations, targeted by drones, of officers of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) or leaders of the women’s movement. There are constant attacks on the oil wells in the Derik region, and the Deir Ezzor region is under attack both from Iranian militias in the pay of Bashar al-Assad, who is dreaming of getting his hands on this resource that is vital to his economy, and from Daesh, which is still active in the region that was its last stronghold until the capture of Baghouz.

The Autonomous Federation of Northern and Eastern Syria also has to contend with the resurgence of Daesh, which carries out numerous car bomb attacks, most recently in Raqqa.

In Iran’s Kurdistan region, the Rojhilat, repression has been fierce since the riots that followed the death of Jîna Amini; Kurdish activists have been imprisoned and hanged one after the other.

Nationalist pressure against the Kurds

In Bakur, Turkey’s Kurdistan region, municipal elections were held on Sunday 31 March, which R.T Erdogan had made a national issue, particularly in Istanbul, his "jewel" as he calls it, a jewel he lost in 2019 with the election of Ekrem Imamoglu, of the nationalist and Kemalist social democratic party, the CHP (Republican People’s Party). At the time, the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), a Kurdish party with a broad far-left base, did not put forward a candidate to help elect Imamoglu, as part of an "anything but AKP (Justice and Development Party)" campaign. Since then, differences within the HDP (which became the DEM (Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party) following threats of a ban) have changed the position somewhat, with the DEM putting forward candidates, but often in a symbolic manner, as in Ankara. In Ankara, the DEMs fielded the very popular Gültan Kisanak, the mayor of Diyarbakir, who had been removed from office and imprisoned for 17 years by the government for her alleged links with the PKK. Unfortunately, the opposition’s victory in the major cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir does not mean that nationalist pressure will diminish.

It is against this backdrop of attacks on all fronts by our dear Kurdish allies - so precious when Daesh commandos were attacking the Bataclan, among other places, and whom they alone had stopped by taking Raqqa and paying an enormous human price - that the French government is expelling young Kurdish activists, like Firaz Korkmaz sent back from France to be handed over to his Turkish torturers.

4 April 2024

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.


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