Turkey US–Kurdish Relations

World Leaders Stand up for Kurds in Turkey, Syria & Iraq

In an open letter addressed the US and EU governments, over 40 world leaders took a stand in support of Kurds in Turkey, Syria & Iraq. Signatories of the letter ranged from German legislators and British parliamentarians to prominent American professors and UN representatives.

Decrying Turkish Bombings

Published with the help of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), which is headquartered in Brussels, the introduction of the letter reads as follows:

We are deeply concerned about the recent developments inside Turkey, Syria and Northern Iraq. It is difficult to understand why the Turkish government is sending forces in response to the bombing of Suruç where 32 left-wing youths were killed, when it is exactly those forces – namely the YPG from Rojava/Northern Syria and the PKK – who took action to save thousands of Yezidi people in [Shingal], and have resisted in the most effective way the terror organization “Islamic State” (IS).

The Turkish attacks on the YPG and PKK positions in Turkey, Iraq and Syria have left international security experts scratching their heads, wondering why Turkey is killing off the most effective fighters against the Islamic State.

In response, world leaders have given implicit support to the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq and Syria, including President Obama, who announced that he would seek to limit Turkey’s airstrikes to IS targets.

Supporting Rojava and PKK

In addition to questioning the validity of Turkish airstrikes against the Kurds, the open letter to US and EU governments touches on the importance of supporting Rojava (the de-facto Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria) and the PKK, both of whom are fostering fledgling democratic structures in a traditionally authoritarian region.

The democratic structures of self-administration in Rojava along with the PKK stand for a society is peaceful, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and based on gender equality. These are exactly the principles that are upheld as international ideals.

The Kurds of Rojava have been called the United States’ “strongest partner in the region,” and the “most effective fighters” in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group. The open letter encourages the US and EU governments to recognize the legitimacy of Rojava, and to stand up against the Turkish government’s escalation of violence. You may see the entire letter below:

Download (PDF, 164KB)

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