Leader of Muslim Brotherhood Opposes Kurdish Entity in Syria

22/09/2012 RUDAW0 By ADIB ABDULMAJID – AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s secretary general, Mohammed Riad al-Shaqfa, emphasized his party’s rejection of a Kurdish entity being established in Syria. In an interview with the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, Shaqfa revealed the Muslim Brotherhood’s worries regarding developments in the Kurdish areas of Syria, and stated that there is no such a thing as a “Kurdish region” in the country.

“There is no one single purely Kurdish area in Syria and the Kurds are a minority in northeastern areas since they live with other components of Syrian society there,” Shaqfa told Cumhuriyet.

He added, “We clearly oppose the ambitions of establishing a Kurdish entity in Syria.”

Most research estimates Syrian Kurds make up between 12 and 15 percent of the population in Syria. However, Shaqfa claims, “The Kurds in Syria do not constitute more than 5 percent.”Shaqfa’s statements angered many Syrian Kurdish activists and politicians, and caused controversy between the different revolutionary forces in Syria. Massoud Akko, a prominent Syrian Kurdish activist and member of the Syrian Journalists Association (SJA), told Rudaw on Thursday that the statements by the leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood went too far.

“This is not the first time for Riad al-Shaqfa to issue such flawed statements about the Kurds,” Akko said. “Neither Shaqfa and his group nor any other opposition party know the precise percentage of Kurdish people in Syria.”

He added, “The Kurdish population … should be based on the results of research, not by issuing baseless statements in this regard, because there was never a neutral or official census concerning the Syrian Kurds.”

“My advice to Mr. Riad al-Shaqfa and his entire group is to read more about the Kurds before issuing any statement; otherwise, it would be better for them to shut up,” Akko concluded.

According to Akko, such hostile statements by opposition leaders against the Kurds reinforce the divisions in Syria. “Shaqfa and his group reveal their hostility to the Kurdish people, and that doesn’t serve the revolution and its goals. I think that such a position represents a serious danger to the future of the Kurdish people and their issue in Syria, in the case that the Muslim Brotherhood rules the country someday,” Akko said. He continued, “They should review these shameful statements and attitudes which basically spread a spirit of hatred between them and the Kurdish people.”

Regarding the establishment of a Kurdish entity in Syria, Akko stated, “That is one of the legitimate rights for Kurds in Syria according to all the international conventions and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. The Kurds are a nation and it is their legitimate and unquestionable right to be an independent entity and enjoy their sovereignty on their own land.”

However, Akko noted that none of the Kurdish factions have demanded that an independent Kurdish entity be established in Syria, and that their ultimate demand is for a decentralized federal state as is found in Germany, Switzerland, the U.S and the U.A.E.

An alternative demand is the right to a self-governed Kurdish region where the Kurds can enjoy an autonomous administrative rule, a right they have been deprived of for decades under different Syrian governments. Akko argued that a Kurdish state is a right, and any denial of this by any party or opposition faction is unacceptable and should be condemned by all Kurds. “The main question remains whether it can be implemented, because this issue is relevant to the geopolitical circumstances in the region,” Akko said, also noting the importance of international support towards reaching this Kurdish ambition. “Anyway, nothing is impossible,” he concluded. “Where there’s a will, there is a way.”