Diplomacy needed for Kobane

14.10.2014 Vatan
Translated by: Turgay BAYINDIR /
Orjinal Metin (tr-9/29/2014)

About 10 years ago, I came to the US capital as the Washington DC correspondent for the newspaper Vatan and lived there for two and a half years. In those years, when they talked about Kurds in the US capital, they only meant Iraqi Kurds. The Kurds from Turkey did not have any noticeable activity. The fact that Kurds lived in Syria was not even known. For this reason, the Kurdish Conference organized last year by BDP and this year (last Friday) by HDP reveals how far the Kurdish Political Movement (KPM) in our country has gone in the last 10 years.

It is difficult to estimate at the moment what kind of outcomes it will lead to; however, in its general outline, it was a successful conference. The Americans who are interested in the issues of the region had the chance to get first-hand information particularly about the most pressing issue, the Kobane resistance. The conference was also heavily attended by Iraqi Kurds. Thanks to the conference, representatives from two competing Kurdish movements from different regions of Kurdistan had a chance to discuss vital issues together. Lastly, the conference also brought HDP followers from different states of the US together. Especially during the reception dinner, I witnessed that the Kurdish Political Movement in Turkey has attained a serious potential in the US. I observed that the HDP followers in the US, even though no less politicized, were, compared to the ones in Europe for example, calmer, more moderate and they put more emphasis on lobbying and diplomacy.

Relations with Erbil

However, it is certain that they are far behind Iraqi Kurds in terms of lobbying. When looked at from this angle, it is strange that the KPM is still experiencing problems in their relationships with Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government when there are very pressing issues on the agenda such as the war against IS(IS) in Iraq and Syria in general, and Kobane in particular.

As I attempted to underline in my talk during the conference, Qandil is trying to fight on three fronts at the same time: First of all, of course, there is an ongoing life-and-death battle against IS(IS). Secondly, they leave an open door for the possibility of ending the cease-fire and consequently the resolution process. Lastly, they do not seem keen on smoothing their relations with Erbil, that is, the Kurdistan Regional Government.

This much is a fact: the real power of the KPM is people. In Turkey, Syria, Qandil, Europe and in other continents, people who believe in this movement have made various sacrifices, including even risking losing their lives when necessary (and it becomes necessary often).

Need for a new language

In this regard, there is definitely some degree of legitimacy in the comparison we see in the statements by KCK/PKK of the Kobane resistance to the Soviet resistance based on human life against Nazi Germany during the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II. However, with regard to the phenomenon of IS(IS), and particularly with the offensive siege of Kobane, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the human factor alone might not be sufficient in present day wars. There is definite need for heavy artillery and military intervention by the international coalition in order for the Kobane resistance to be successful and in order to prevent further massacres by IS(IS). Therefore, PKK/KCK needs to device new strategies to obtain these necessities beyond the strategies they have been pursuing so far that are clearly not working for them.

To put it more clearly, if they employ a more diplomatic language instead of the aggressive/fighter language and display a more approachable attitude to bargains and compromises, it might be possible and easier to meet the needs of the fighters in Kobane. From our discussions with HDP administrators, I had the impression that they learned a lot on this issue from the Washington trip.




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