Commend Turkey for Reversing Hostility Towards Syrian Kurds


Target: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey

Goal: Commend Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for embracing dialogue with the Syrian Kurds

While Turkey has previously distrusted the Syrian Kurds’ Democratic Union Party (PYD), due to its links with the violent Kurdish liberation party, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), it has recently decided to pursue talks with PYD leader Salih Muslim and even promised to provide his people with humanitarian aid. Please commend Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for reversing his country’s hostile stance towards Syrian Kurds by choosing to opt for dialogue and collaboration instead of violence.

It is praiseworthy that Turkey has decided to put aside the concern that a new Kurdish autonomy on its border would potentially aid the violent Kurdish resistance that has historically plagued its own state.The PKK, or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, has been active in carrying out acts of violence in Turkey for over three decades and the Turkish government is not to be blamed for having misgivings about their local Kurdish rebels potentially having a powerful supporter just across the border.

The move to negotiate with and even offer humanitarian aid to the Syrian Kurds is a marked change from Turkey’s initial hostile response to the Syrian Kurds gaining a higher degree of self-rule within the conflict-riven state of Syria.After Bashar Al-Assad’s forces abandoned the Syrian Kurdish areas in the midst of war last year, Turkey was outraged by the Kurds’ effective establishment of self-rule as the PYD, or the Democratic Union Party, took the reins of administration into its own hands.Afraid that the Syrian Kurdish party would potentially aid the Kurdish resistance on its own soil, Turkey refused to meet for high-level talks with PYD leader Salih Muslim.Denouncing the PYD as terrorists, it threatened to send troops into Syrian Kurdish territory as a preemptive strike against anticipated acts of terror.While the country did not make good on that threat, it did tolerate the invasion of its foe by Al-Nusra, an Islamic militant group linked to Al-Qaida, by allowing its forces to transit through Turkish territory.

If Turkey’s dialogue with Muslim Salih serves to establish a relationship of trust between the country and the emerging autonomy from across the border, then perhaps Turkey can recognize that the Syrian Kurdish population deserves a certain measure of autonomy within the Syrian state.The Kurdish people in Syria have the right to learn their own language in schools and to allow their native culture to thrive instead of letting it be trampled upon by the majority Syrian culture.They have already taken many steps to make their territories reflect their cultural identity.Street signs that were formerly written in Arabic are now in Kurdish and schools are openly teaching the ethnic language.It is wonderful that the Syrian Kurds can put an end to the history of their language being suppressed.


Dear Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey

We would like to commend you for changing your state’s approach to its relations with the Syrian Kurds.Although it is understandable that Turkey would view this ethnic group’s shift towards greater self-administration as a threat given the tumultuous history of militant Kurdish resistance on its own soil, it is heartening to see your country treating the Syrian Kurds as a partner in dialogue and not as an enemy.

Turkey rightfully seeks to avert a situation in which the Syrian Kurds would aid their Turkish brethren in launching violent attacks on Turkish soil.By embarking upon a path of negotiation with the Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim, perhaps the Turkish state can neutralize what it sees as a threat to its security by developing a relationship of trust that would lead to peace and collaboration instead of war and mutual hatred.

Both sides may yet succeed in accomplishing a mutually beneficial solution where the increased autonomy of the Syrian Kurds, including the newly-won rights to use their ethnic language in the contexts of administration and education, would not interfere with Turkey’s need to prevent the Kurds from waging war against their country.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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