Kurdish Politician: Syrian Kurds Should Focus on Regime Change, not Independence

05/10/2012  By WLADIMIR van WILGENBURG – RUDAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Veteran Syrian Kurdish Politician Salah Badruddin believes that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is “one of the major tools that will topple the regime in Syria”. Badruddin, the former head of the Kurdish Popular Union Party is accused of by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) of having ties with the Turkish intelligence and the FSA.

In June, the Firat News Agency (ANF), published an article alleging that leaked documents from the Turkish consulate in Erbil showed that Badruddin worked with the Turkish intelligence service and had met with members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). For his part, Badruddin says the PYD is working with the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Badruddin, told Rudaw that whoever disagrees with the PKK, is called a traitor. “In this case all the Syrian opposition working in Turkey, including 100,000 refugees are traitors. That is not right. If they allege that I have ties with the Salahedin Eyubbi Brigade in Efrin, then I would go there and lead them.”

Despite the accusations, Badraddin admits that he has had contacts with the FSA in the past, and that the FSA believes that Kurds should be happy for the recognition they have got from the opposition as part of the Syrian nation.

Badruddin says the FSA is the strongest opposition group in Syria that enjoys popular support. “Not all opposition parties abroad, including the SNC (Syrian National Council) are backed by the people inside Syria. The decision is now in the hands of the FSA and the youth coordination groups in Syria who lead the demonstrations.” He also claims that the Kurdish youth groups in Syria are much stronger than the traditional Kurdish parties. This Kurdish politician does not harbour anti-Turkish sentiments and he believes Turkey will have a role in the future of Syria.

“Why should I be against them and oppose them?” he said. “We should cooperate and work with them. The PKK says the US and UK are imperialistic powers, etc. But they are friends of Syrian people, why should I be against them?”

While many Syrian Kurds are worried about any Turkish interference, Badruddin thinks Turkey cares about the situation in Syria.

“Both [Turkey and Kurdistan Regional Government] are worried about the situation in Syria,” he told Rudaw. “The Iraqi Kurds have ties with the Kurds in Syria and both are working to solve the Kurdish issue in Syria. Not that I am not worried. We do not want Turkey to intervene in Syria. Our conflict is with Assad and not the Turkish government.” Badruddin believes that Kurds should first focus on toppling Assad rather than demanding independence or federalism. “Now it is important to topple the regime. After the toppling of the regime you can struggle for anything you want.”

Badruddin says that Kurds should seek their interests in Syria through democracy and freedom, not through independence.