The Turkish state has threatened to invade Syria in order to create what it calls a ‘safe zone‘.
Turkey already invaded Syrian Kurdistan in both 2019 and 2018 and recently invaded northern Iraq. In all these cases, Turkey has said its invasions and military actions are to protect itself from the Kurdish population who is seeking their own homeland.
The Turkish President Recep Erdogan said:
“We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30km deep safe zone we established along our southern border.”
The Kurds, who make a up a significant minority within Turkey and are the majority in the south-east of the country have long fought for their own homeland which covers northern Iraq, northern Syria and south-east Turkey. The Turkish regime has however fought against this, resulting in a bloody war that has killed over 30,000 people in the last 40 years. The Kurds in Syria and Iraq, who bravely fought and helped defeat ISIS, have greater autonomy in these countries, while in Turkey they are still persecuted, and their political parties and culture banned.
Turkey’s invasion of Syria in 2019 resulted in 200,000 people being displaced and human-rights groups noted that Turkish forces had intentionally starved and halted water supplies to Kurds living in the area.
Turkey is currently controlled by a far-right authoritarian regime under Recep Erdogan who has combined religious fundamentalism with hyper-nationalism. Under Erdogan the state in Turkey has attempted to end democratic procedures and shut down opposition parties. Journalists are regularly imprisoned, and the country now has per-head of population more journalists imprisoned than any other country.
Turkey has also been involved in military conflicts by-proxy in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan in which it has funded Islamic Jihadi fighters that have been accused of mass-rape, torture and beheadings.
Turkey is also currently refusing to put in place economic sanctions against Russia, despite being a NATO member, and is even attempting to block Finland and Sweden from joining the defence pact due to what Turkey says are the Scandinavian nations’ sympathy towards the Kurdish people.
Both Sweden and Finland are currently holding meetings with Turkish officials to end this impasse.
[Based on reporting by: The Jerusalem Post]