How Kobane placed a dark cloud on the peace process in Turkey

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Bash­dar Pusho Is­maeel

Out-gunned, out-num­bered and lack­ing fire­power, it was the tenac­ity and willpower of the Syr­ian Kur­dish forces that pre­vented an over­run of the Kur­dish town of Kobane on the Turk­ish bor­der and a likely mas­sacre un­der the hands of the Is­lamic State (IS).

As the town of Kobane faced a dire threat un­der the hands of IS, the sit­u­a­tion was made more dif­fi­cult to stom­ach for the Kurds on both sides of the bor­der, with the pres­ence of Turk­ish troops and their heavy ar­mory on the bor­der.

The re­luc­tance of Turk­ish pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan to in­ter­vene in Kobane, even as he pre­vi­ously vowed to pre­vent the fall of Kobane, puz­zled and drew wide­spread anger amongst the highly sus­pi­cious Kurds in Turkey.

More­over, wide­spread pro- tests cross Turkey high­light that it isn’t just Kobane that is at risk of fall­ing, it also the ten­ta­tive peace process that only re­cent brought a halt to almost 3 decades of con­flict.

Ul­ti­mately for Turkey, com­ing to the aid of the YPG forces and the Demo­cratic Union Party (PYD) which is af­fil­i­ated with the PKK, would be akin to bail­ing out and fight­ing along­side the PKK.

Turkey con­tin­ues to see Kobane as a PKK ver­sus IS bat­tle and not a Ji­hadist bat­tle against or­di­nary Kurds. It sim­ply does not dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween PKK or IS who they deem on equal foot­ing.

That stance not only demon­strates the frag­ile na­ture of the peace process and Kur­dish-Turk­ish re­la­tions, but that the cli­mate for real peace amidst strong mis­trust and an­i­mos­ity is lack­ing.

Turkey has set a num­ber of pre­con­di­tions be­fore join­ing the fight against IS, which in many ways is un­der­stand­able, in­clud­ing the need for a longterm plan in Syria if and when IS can be de­feated and a no-fly zone, but this can­not be at the ex­pense of ig­nor­ing a per­ilous hu­man­i­tar­ian plight on your door step and to sta­tion a huge force on the bor­der, with the blood­shed in clear sight, and then do noth­ing only adds to the fire.

Ei­ther way, as the Kurds have shown, they are more than ca­pa­ble of de­feat­ing IS if their fight­ers are al­lowed ac­cess and weapons at the bor­der.

Turkey could have sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced its hand with the Kurds in Turkey if it had seen the bat­tle against the Kurds in Syria as a fight against the part­ners of their na­tion.

On the con­trary, it has long seen the au­ton­o­mous Syr­ian Kur­dish en­claves as a threat and has of­ten ac­cused the PYD of col­lud­ing with the Bashar al-As­sad regime, as the Kurds re­fused to join the Free Syr­ian Army (FSA).

What­ever the po­lit­i­cal stance, re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion or na­tion­al­ity when it comes to avert­ing a hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe dif­fer­ences must be put aside.

The US and Western pow­ers sup­ported the Kurds in Iraq at their time of need in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing cru­cial arms, and support for the Syr­ian Kurds, as an ef­fec­tive force in the war on IS, should be no dif­fer­ent.

Above all, it would be a real tragedy if the peace process ended in Turkey after the painstak­ing jour­ney to reach to this elu­sive junc­ture.

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