Bedran Çiya Kurd, co-chair of the AANES Foreign Relations Department, criticized a recent statement by the US State Department spokesperson who denied that the deportation of refugees from Turkey to Afrin constitutes a demographic change. Çiya argued that the statement was politically biased and did not reflect the reality on the ground.
In a strong denunciation of the recent US State Department statement, Kurdish Bedran Çiya, co-chairman of the Foreign Relations Department of the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria (AANES), condemned Turkey's actions in Afrin (Efrîn) on Friday, accusing the State Department of a questionable stance on the issue.
The disagreement centers on a statement made by Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, during a press briefing earlier this week on Turkey's continued expulsion and settlement of Syrian refugees in the former Kurdish areas of northwestern Syria. When asked if Turkey's intentions were to change the demographic composition of Afrin, Miller responded in the negative, emphasizing the United States' gratitude to Turkey for hosting and supporting millions of Syrian refugees.
In Çiya's view, Miller's response was "unfair" and contrary to the reality on the ground. Çiya argued that Turkey's refugee expulsion plan aims to eliminate the Kurdish presence and is nothing more than a blatant demographic operation, especially in Afrin.
Çiya recalled the incident at the United Nations General Assembly, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented a map outlining the forcible expulsion of three million Syrians. The co-president said that the main aim of this map was to change the demographic composition of the region and eliminate Kurdish identity. He also noted the creation of dozens of settlements on the land of Kurdish civilians in Afrin, which he said was part of Turkey's ongoing occupation and demographic change operations.
Turkey has stated its intention to return to Syria more than one million displaced Syrians currently living in Turkey and settle them in buildings it has constructed in areas under the control of Turkish forces and allied Syrian armed groups.
"While we stress the need for the safe and dignified return of all Syrians to their areas of origin from which they have been displaced for more than ten years, we believe that what Turkey is currently doing against Syrians by forcibly displacing them is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and the rights of refugees," Çiya said.
Çiya also called on the United States to reassess its position on the issue and take a stronger stance against Turkey's practices. He stressed that it is urgent to end the demographic change operations in Afrin, as well as the incessant bombing by Turkish drones, which have a devastating impact on the stability and security of civilians.
At the same time, the Youth Council of the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party launched a campaign to counter the Turkish government's "special war" policies, with a particular focus on the treatment of imprisoned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.
The Youth Council of the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party has launched a campaign to counter what it describes as the Turkish government's "special war" policies - a term they use to describe certain strategies they believe are aimed at "making communities, especially youth and women, passive and exploitable".
At the heart of their concerns is the treatment of imprisoned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan, but the campaign also encompasses wider issues. These include what the Youth Council perceives as attempts to weaken Kurdish youth by promoting drugs in Kurdish majority areas, environmental degradation and the imposition of patriarchal views, cultural assimilation and other ideological influences.
Ömer Görünmek, representative of the Youth Council of the Green Left Party, shed light on the motives of the campaign. He explained that, in their view, the "special war" is a strategy that lacks clear rules and moral considerations. Görünmek suggested that such tactics can be used to shape social perceptions and attitudes in a particular direction.
Περιέγραψε περαιτέρω λεπτομερώς τις προθέσεις του Συμβουλίου Νεολαίας να ευαισθητοποιήσει σχετικά με αυτές τις πολιτικές, οι οποίες πιστεύουν ότι καταστέλλουν τις φωνές και τα δικαιώματα ορισμένων κοινοτήτων. "Από το 2015, το κράτος έχει υιοθετήσει στρατηγικές τις οποίες ερμηνεύουμε ως μέρος αυτής της προσέγγισης "ειδικού πολέμου". Η εκστρατεία μας αποτελεί άμεση απάντηση σε αυτές τις αντιληπτές στρατηγικές", δήλωσε ο Görünmek.
After the June 2015 elections, which deprived the government of an absolute parliamentary majority and saw the entry of dozens of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party MPs into parliament, the Turkish government abandoned the peace process and returned to war policies.
A major point of contention for the Council is the treatment of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. "There are concerns about the tactics of the state, especially with regard to Abdullah Ocalan. While some may see İmralı Island Prison as merely a detention center, for us and those who share our view, it has a deeper symbolic meaning," he noted.
Furthermore, Görünmek stressed that these policies are an attack on Ocalan's vision of a new way of life. "We will deal with every young person affected by drugs, prostitution and other social ills. We will establish our presence on the streets, claiming areas where the influence of the state is evident. Our goal is to raise awareness and fight these policies at every step."
"There are those who have come to see prostitution as a normal way of life. Our aim is to change this perception. We will sit down with every young person, engage with families and try to establish a healthier, positive lifestyle as opposed to these special war policies," he explained.
In conclusion, Görünmek highlighted the broader objectives of the campaign. "Our aim is to work with communities, raising awareness of issues that we believe are part of this 'special war', from drug abuse to wider social concerns. Our ultimate goal is to foster a more informed and engaged community," he added.
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which faces the threat of being shut down by the Constitutional Court, secured its presence in the May elections by having its candidates run for parliament on Green Left Party lists.