PYD declares autonomy, seeks recognition from int’l community / Critical Kurdish Statements

Zaman – 30.1.2014 – (…)According to leading Kurdish politician Sedat Yurtdaş, the PYD aims to show the international community who is effective on the ground in Syria. He also adds that in the upcoming days, the PYD will move towards a process of preparing a constitutional arrangement in order to demonstrate that it controls the northern areas of Syria juristically and logistically. Yurtdaş notes that the PYD’s sole aim is to sit at the negotiation table with the upper hand. – İbrahim Güçlü, a Kurdish writer and politician who established the Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR), believes that the developments in northern Syria are a game of the Baath regime.

According to Güçlü, the PYD will cooperate with the Syrian regime to prevent a democratic system from being established in Syria in the future and added that in Rojava, other Kurdish groups besides the PYD were in favor of a federal system in Syria and against the declaration of autonomous regions by the PYD.

Nihat Ali Özcan, a security analyst from the Ankara-based Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), maintains that until an exact solution is found to resolve the Syrian crisis, the international community should get used to the declaration of autonomous regions by Kurds and potentially other groups. He also added that until a new Syria is created, it will be hard to fully understand developments in the conflict-torn country.

The declaration of democratic autonomy in the Kurdish-majority regions in the north of Syria comes amid accelerated efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis. In December, PYD leader Saleh Muslim noted that Syrian Kurds are looking to establish three separate autonomous federal states in the country’s north.

Muslim also confirmed that a commission was in the process of preparing a constitution for the northeastern and northwestern regions of Syria, which have a Kurdish majority. “The [Syrian] Kurdistan region will be divided into three autonomous provinces: Kobani [center], Afrin [west] and Qamishli [east],” he said.

Syria’s Kurds make up around 15 percent of the population and are mostly concentrated in the northeast and northwest of the country along the Turkish and Iraqi borders.

Declaration of autonomous areas a plan to divide Kurds

Güçlü considers the unilateral moves of the PYD as a plan to create divisions among the Kurds in Syria. He has also stated that the establishment of administrations in Cizîre and Kobani were the result of a deal between the PYD and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Yurtdaş noted that the geographical fragmentation of the Kurdish areas in Syria was the greatest problem facing Kurds, adding that whether or not the Syrian regime collapses, Kurds would have significant territorial gains.

Yurtdaş also added that the Kurds’ priority should be to solve issues among themselves, and that the efforts of Leyla Zana, an independent pro-Kurdish deputy from Diyarbakır, are going in the right direction, trying to find solutions to the problems among Kurds.

To keep upper hand in bargain, PYD chooses to declare autonomy

Özcan believes that in order to strengthen its hand at the bargaining table, the PYD has chosen to declare autonomy and that Turkey’s policy will have an impact on the developments in northern Syria in the upcoming days.

The PYD presence in northern Syria is a source of concern in Turkey because of the group’s links to the PKK. Ankara is also wary of moves toward autonomy that could encourage further demands for autonomy among its own Kurdish population.

Yurtdaş noted that from the very beginning, Turkey has been pursuing a wrong policy in Syria. “Turkey’s plan to create a buffer zone from Kurds has turned into a canton,” said Yurtdaş.