Turkey in flames by the demonstrations of the Kurds – One dead from police gunfire
By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
The strong reaction of the Kurds brought statements Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that the Kobani is “close to falling” in the hands of the jihadists. The Turkish President said that air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) do not work, but refrained from saying whether his country would help the Kurds.
“Throwing bombs from the sky is not going to put an end to the terror. The terror will not stop with air strikes, as long as we do not cooperate for a ground operation”, Erdogan said addressing Syrian refugees during a visit to the refugee camp Gaziantep.
The Kurds in Turkey are protesting – Chaos in SE Turkey
One Kurd was killed and another one was injured by police gunfire
Erdogan may be bargaining with the United States the overthrow of Assad, in order to involve his country to ground operations against the IS, but the Turkish Kurds who constitute 20% of the population are up in arms and protesting in the streets, clashing with security forces.
They demand from Ankara to open its borders, so that the help they are sending the Kurds of northern Iraq to reach Kobani.
In southeastern Turkey there is chaos. In Diyarbakir, in the cities of Van and Hakkari, thousands of Kurds clashed with men of the gendarmerie, who were trying to prevent the protests.
Latest reports indicate that in Mus, a Kurd was killed and another injured by police gunfire.
Members of the PKK set barricades, lowered turkish flags from public services, and set on fire a bust of Kemal Ataturk. In many areas of southeastern Turkey, the prefects have imposed a curfew during the night.
In Istanbul and Ankara dozens of protests are taking place, with the police launching a manhunt. During the night, members of the PKK set an urban transport bus in Istanbul on fire by tossing Molotov cocktails.
Why are Turkey’s Kurds reacting?
The Kurds exhibit such a strong reaction, because Kobani is of strategic importance to them. It is the third largest Kurdish city in Syria. The 300,000 Kurds who were living in this city have family ties with the Kurds of Turkey. The distance separating them is about 800 meters.
“The Kurds are trying to protect the land on which they live. They are trying to protect the regime they created for their autonomy. Their resistance is fair and lawful. They are protecting their homeland. Even if Kobani falls, this land will still be Kurdish”, says the political analyst of the newspaper Radikal, Oral Çalışlar.
If the militants of Islamic State take the city, they will have secured control of a large area located along the turkish-syrian border, weakening the Syrian Kurds who were aiming at creating an autonomous Kurdish region similar to that in northern Iraq.
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is imprisoned on the island of Imrali, stated that if Kobani falls, the peace process between Kurds and Ankara will be terminated.
The Kurds “suspect” that Erdogan is bargaining with the United States, delaying an intervention against the jihadists, to whom he previously was sending weapons.
In this way, he plans to weaken the Kurds in northern Syria, since it will be dominated by the Islamic Army, and thus remove the Kurdish vision for an autonomous region, as they say.