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Kurds must unite for a federation in Syria, Kurdish politician says

By Rudaw 7/3/2016
Mustafa Jamal. Photo: Rudaw.
Mustafa Jamal. Photo: Rudaw.
Mustafa Juma, a leading member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDPS), says that a federal system in Syria will ensure Kurdish rights. Juma, who was the leader of the Syrian Kurdish Azadi (freedom) party until it merged into the KDPS with three other groups in April 2014, called on Turkey to have good relations with Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan). He sat down for an interview with Rudaw in Copenhagen.

Rudaw: How does the Syria truce help the Kurds in Rojava?

If the ceasefire ends in success and the conflict gets solved, a dialogue can start. It will be good for the peoples of Syria, so they can all get their rights. For the Kurds it is good if they are accepted in the negotiations and their rights are secured. Not only the Kurds, but also other groups, such as the Assyrians, the Druze, etc. There are six ethnic groups and six religions in Syria. But unfortunately the ceasefire didn’t start well and it is possible that it fails and the problems get worse.

How has the truce affected the Kurdish parties like yours to resume political activities and be part of the Rojava administration?

We continue our political work in Western Kurdistan (Rojava), as always. But whenever our work goes very well the Democratic Union Party (PYD) jails our friends. And militarily, PYD does not allow our Peshmergas to enter Western Kurdistan.

What do you think is the solution?

The PYD must allow our Peshmergas to enter so we can together defend our people. PYD should accept that we can become a support for each other, but they don’t accept. They are controlled by Qandil (in Iraqi Kurdistan where the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) maintains its miitary base.

The PYD says that your Peshmerga can enter, but under command of the Peoples’ Protections Units (YPG), because an area cannot have two armies?

We also say one area can’t have two armies. Therefore, we say a new alliance should be formed, something like The National Kurdish Army, where we support each other.

Did you participate in the Geneva Talks?

The Kurdish National Council (KNC) participates and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDPS) is part of the KNC.

What is your view about how the outside world views other Kurdish parties in Syria?
There are many parties in Western Kurdistan. But there is war in Syria right now. PYD, YPG and their women’s wing,YPJ, are fighting in this war. Therefore, of course their names are mentioned. We can’t enter, since our Peshmerga are not allowed. They (PYD) only want their name to be mentioned (in the international media) and they only want themselves to be there. That is wrong.

What do you think of the new talk of federalism for Syria, as the Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani has proposed?

President Masoud [Barzani] did a good thing when he suggested a federation. We should accept a federation. We should support each other in creating a federal Syria. The Kurds must unite for this goal.

Why federation and not an independent Kurdistan?

Federation could be the first step for the Kurds towards getting their own rights, including independence. Kurds will achieve their own rights in a federal system. In the future, through a referendum, we can ask people what they want, for example independence. In a federal system people should also have the right to decide their own destiny.

This might mean every group will get to keep the area it is in at the moment?

We do not know yet. Now it seems that there will be three main regions in Syria: Alawites, Kurds and Sunnis. Additionally, there are other groups like the Druze, Assyrians, etc. They don’t have their own large homogeneous regions. Their rights must also be guaranteed in the constitution of a federal state.

Who will control the Sunni region? Will it be the Nusrah Front or ISIS?

ISIS is not going to stay there. We hope it will be controlled by moderate and democratic Arab groups.

Has the regime in Damascus tried to contact you to bring you to its side in the Geneva talks, or have there been other such efforts?

No, there has been no such contact.

Do you have good relations with the Saudi-led coalition?

The KNC, which we are part of, has no direct relations with Saudi Arabia. But we are part of the opposition, which has relations with the Saudis.

How do you think Turkey will react to a federal Syria with a Kurdish region?

Turkey is not positive about a Kurdish region in Syria. But Turkey should accept the Kurds’ rights in Syria, and also in their Turkey. They should have good relations with the Kurds in Syria, because the new federal region will become a neighbor to Turkey. Having good relations with the Kurds will be an advantage for Turkey. They should see the Kurds in Syria as their friends, not enemies.


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kurt basar | 8/3/2016
He says " Kurds must unite for a federation in Syria", hello, they should have done it a long time ago, but how are you going to convince those poor believers of the Arab camel driver & his religion? which is the biggest enemy & torred the Kurds to the hundred pieces last 1400 years? At the time of the Persians, people went to the Ka'ba-i Zardusht for to purify themselves and made their high priest Kirder & persian priest wealthy and now these days, they go to the Kaaba in Mecca for to stone themselves & make the Arab Saudi's rich, but the Kurds who knew themselves always went to lalish valley for to be with the almighty's love and his angels. It is going to take a long time for the Kurdish awaking unless the Mr. Barzani give up his Aggade (fiefdom) and become true leader of the Kurds by inviting every Kurdish leader to the his house.
Biji Kurdistan | 8/3/2016
Mustafa Juma should stop acting like the rift between the KDP-S and the PYD was solely the fault of the PYD. Both sides have jailed each others members and fighters, so they should both share the blame. I'm all for a unified Kurdish front in Rojava, but both KDP and PYD need to work together to equally share power,as to avoid resentment. Kurdish unity and solidarity will give us a chance to prove to the whole world and to our Kurdish brothers in Iran and Turkey that Kurds deserve a nation and are willing to unite to achieve this goal. We shouldn't squander it over political squabbles and pointless blame games.
bebegun | 8/3/2016
Think of the greater good and incorporate those peshmerga into YPG, let PYD run the show if that's what it takes to get a federal region, put party politics aside for now. Once things stabilize start to work to reform Rojava peacefully like Gorran is doing here in Bashur, it might take a decade or two or even ten, but that's better than brakoji and bloodshed.
cinavir | 8/3/2016
wolf and lamb never becomes friends and hang out together. Turkey, iran or iraq will never be friends of kurds. it is only kurds who can help each other locally and it is also good to have good relation with usa,russia and isreel to get protection from iran,iraq and Turkey. I am also suspicious of other thre wolves of germany, france and uk. they might think they may not get a satisfactory piece of cake in the middle east. They may resent usa and Russia to get all the cake. so they may try to undermine midle east peace talks by using Turkey.
Gharib Hassan
Gharib Hassan | 8/3/2016
National Kurdish Army would be key to success have all Kurdish military and fighters under one commend not many different sub groups. Only way Kurdistan is going to happen is if we all stick together as one and not let nations steer us to fight and hate each other its only going to weaken us and keep a smile other their faces. One army One Nation One common goal and that's to put Greater Kurdistan on the map once and for all Kurdish people

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