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Western media played a big role for Kobani

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ergulen@gmail.com

Let’s be clear: Kurds are not terrorists! Kurds are fighting against terrorism. Kurds have been victims of terrorism for decades, and right this minute they are being attacked by Islamic extremists. ISIS only targets Kurds because Kurds are friends of the West, and unfortunately western countries didn’t want to acknowledge this until Kurds came under threat during this horrible ongoing conflict. Now the US and European countries realized the importance of Kurds for a better Middle East and are helping Kurdish forces to defeat the ISIS, because their people and media asked them to do it… This shows that Kurds should keep telling their stories and spreading their voices to the western world more than they did before. It will help Kurds a lot.

The Western world has always ignored Kurdish struggle. Yes, they have supported democratic movements, and human rights, but that’s all. Kurdish issues aren’t limited to democratic developments and human rights. They mean more than what western countries assume, as current circumstances and changes in their policies reveal. Kurds have been demanding and fighting for their identity and existence in their home, Kurdistan, which in accordance with the wishes, judgments, and logic of the West, has been divided politically between four countries since the Ottoman Empire dissolved.

Kurds have never given up demanding and fighting for their rights. They demand not only rights for themselves, but also for other religious and ethnic minorities and oppressed people such as women, the working class, and any other groups who suffer for lack of freedom. These are so-called western values that Kurds have been fighting for, but western countries have never come forth to support Kurdish struggle until Kurds were attacked by ISIS.

They preferred to collaborate with the states that control Kurdistan. The European countries and the United States have been perfectly content to deal with Turkey. Plus, they’ve had the South Kurdistan Regional Government since Saddam was removed. However, Kurds are not only in “northern Iraq”/South Kurdistan. Kurdish struggle still takes place in Iran in what is called “Eastern Kurdistan,” in Turkey in what is called “northern Kurdistan,” and in Syria in what is called “West Kurdistan” or Rojava, where Kobani is located. Western countries put Kurdish parties on their lists of “terrorist organization” and ban them.

The PKK is one of the parties that is illegal in both the US and the EU. Today there is a big debate surrounding this. Will the US and the EU keep seeing Kurds as terrorists or will they remove them from these lists? Even though Kurds have never fought against western countries and have always valued their democratic systems, these attitudes towards Kurds have never changed, except in certain situations.

Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK who started the peace process with Turkey and keeps working at it despite the fact that the Turkish government has done nothing to offer a solution, was abducted in 1999 by the US and handed over to Turkey. Turkey was always a good friend of the West. They always had more to offer the US and the EU than Kurds did… The Kurds offered access neither to power nor oil. But then something changed slightly…

Turkish President Erdogan gave a speech a few days ago warning the US not to support the Kurds in Rojava. As it turned out, Turkey and the US ended up deciding to support Rojava. Now I want to ask: Why did they wait and let ISIS kill hundreds of people? Why didn’t the US stop ISIS on the first day as they did in front of Arbil, another Kurdish city located in South Kurdistan, an autonomous region closely allied with the US? They could have stopped ISIS before they destroyed the city and drove more than a hundred thousand people from their homes.

I have some of the answers to my questions: First of all, the Obama administration did not want to get involved in the Syrian civil war by protecting Kurds. They saw this aggression as part of the civil war in Syria. But they were wrong. Thank God the American people and media did not continue to frame this genocide the way they wanted to. And yesterday the US carried weapons and humanitarian help to Kobani in order to stop ISIS. The US air strikes helped Kurdish forces a lot. ISIS seized American weapons in Mosul and are using them against Kurds in Shengal (Sincar) and Kobani. They have also been targeting non-Muslims…

So, it was very important that American people and media showed their support to the Kurdish forces struggling against ISIS, prompting their government to action. Otherwise the Obama Administration would concern themselves only with their relation with Turkey, who have never cared about Kobani and who meanwhile have been carrying out air strike against Kurdish forces. The American media and people put pressure on the Obama administration and they started to carry out more air strikes than they did in the first weeks, during which period ISIS was never effectively targeted.

Afterward, the Obama administration forced the Turkish government to allow the Kurdish forces to be transferred from Arbil to Kobani. The route they use requires them to pass through Turkey. Although the South Kurdish Government is a good friend of Turkey and did not even recognize the Rojava cantons until last week, choosing instead to protect and preserve their friendship with Turkey, the opening of this passage would never have happened if the US had not taken it upon themselves to convince Turkey.

So, my point is that Kurds are one of the best friends the West has and therefore they should support Kurds. The most important thing for Kurds to do is to present themselves and their intentions to the American and European people directly. That would help matters a lot. Hope this helped too…

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About Ergulen Toprak

I am a reporter based in New York. I cover stories for Turkish and Kurdish media. My articles are mostly about the Kurdish and Turkish societies in the U.S. Most of them are feature stories, interviews and opinions that related the Kurdish issue and Turkish politics. My articles are being published in different languages, Turkish, Kurdish and English. https://myreportsny.wordpress.com/ Gazeteciliğe 2000 yılında başladım. Ankara ve İstanbul'da uzun yıllar çalıştım, Diyarbakır, Erbil'de de zaman zaman bulundum. Avrupa'da da çok sayıda konferans ve gezilere katıldım. 2011 yılından beridir New York'tayım. Daha çok siyaset ağırlıklı yazıyorum. Haberlerim üç dilde, Kürtçe, Türkçe ve İngilizce olarak yayinlaniyor. Bazı haberlerimi buradan takip edebilirsiniz. https://myreportsny.com/

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  1. Pingback: Chobani’s founder Ulukaya donates $700 million to refugees | MyReports - September 22, 2015

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Ergulen Toprak

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