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MSD co-chair says PYD's Ocalan ideology not same as being PKK

By Rudaw 15/2/2017
The YPG has been the main protection force in Rojava. Photo: AFP
The YPG has been the main protection force in Rojava. Photo: AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Ilham Ahmed, a co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (MSD), disagreed that groups in Syria embracing Abdullah Ocalan’s ideology equates to belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in an interview with the Washington Kurdish Institute.

“When the people embrace Ocalan’s ideology, this does not mean that PYD [Democratic Union Party] is part of the PKK,” Ilham said in an interview published this week. “They are two different organizations, and each party has its own administrations and the decision-making bodies.”

Ocalan founded the PKK in 1978, participated in the 1980 Turkish coup d’etat, then sought refuge in Syria until 1998, from where he was expelled, and ultimately captured by Turkish authorities in 1999 in Kenya. The PKK is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union.

“In the 1980s, the PKK had a presence in Syria. Throughout those years, the founder of the PKK, Mr. Abdullah Ocalan, stayed in Syria and had constant communication with the various peoples of Syria including Arabs, Syriacs, and Kurds,” Ahmed added.

The MSD, established in 2015, is the political arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a multi-ethnic force primarily comprised of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). 

The US-led coalition to defeat ISIS has relied heavily on the effectiveness of SDF ground fighters, including supplying Arab elements of the force with armored vehicles last month; whereas, Turkey views the YPG and PKK as one in the same.

Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that he would support his troops continuing to back the Free Syrian Army (FSA) after al-Bab, turning 140 kilometers southeast to Raqqa, where SDF forces, supported by the US, have imposed a crescent-like siege on the city.

“There will be no stop after al-Bab. There might be a problem of communication there. The capital of Daesh is not al-Bab, but Raqqa. The ultimate goal is to cleanse a 5,000-square-km area,” Hurriyet Daily News reported Erdogan as saying, adding that Daesh [ISIS], the YPG, and PYD needed to be removed “from the region.”

The PYD, Democratic Union Party, is the dominant political party in northern Syria.

An American weekly magazine, The Nation, published an article this week which referenced YPG and PYD’s attempts to “Kurdify” parts of northern Syria through forced conscription, ideological indoctrination and the eviction of Arabs.

“A six-month investigation shows that the militia, reportedly under the strong influence of Iran and the Assad regime, has evicted Arabs from their homes at gunpoint starting in 2013 and subsequently has blown up, torched, or bulldozed their homes and villages,” the article stated.

YPG’s spokesman Redur Xelil dismissed the accusations on Tuesday in a 10-point response on Twitter claiming the group has freed more than 30,000 square-kilometers from ISIS, provided protection for hundreds of thousands unarmed civilians, and provided security for opposition and pro rallies.

Rudaw has reported on the four-month detention of eight Kurdish National Council (ENKS) by PYD officials in the YPG-controlled city of Qamishli, who were released last week due to “unsubstantiated evidence” after they failed to align with PYD doctrine.

The ENKS condemned the arrest of its members and accused the security forces in Rojava, known as Asayesh, of torture and mistreatment of the prisoners. The Asayesh has denied the allegations. 

“They tied my hands and legs and beat me for three days. My health deteriorated while in Takana Prison but they did not allow a doctor to see me,” ENKS member Ghays Ismail told Rudaw after he was released.


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Muraz Adzhoev | 15/2/2017
"When the people embrace Ocalan’s ideology, this does not mean that PYD [Democratic Union Party] is part of the PKK". But who are those people that "embrace Ocalan's ideology"? What has Ocalan's so called "ideology", forcefully promoted by PYD-SDC "decision-making" body in the "North Syria cantonal federation", to do with the national rights of the Kurdish people to autonomous sovereignty or sovereign independent statehood of Western Kurdistan? Absolutely nothing, because PYD-SDC are actually anti-Kurdish organization led by PKK.
bain | 15/2/2017
Correct, some of those who started PYD were former members of PKK otherwise there's no connection, in fact they disagree on many issues. The Soviet and China were both communists but followed different branches and became rivals, even went to war at one point. PYD looks out for the interest of Rojava Kurds and that should be their priority.
a kurd fed up with greek moves | 15/2/2017
there is ONE IDEOLOGY = is bullshyyyyyyyyyyt
duroi | 16/2/2017
The discord between Turkey and PYD is a "made in Turkey" problem and Turkey is digging itself deeper into the hole by leaving the peace process with PKK and jailing HDP. Turkey had the same problem with Kurds in Iraq before resetting those relations to a cordial one. If US and its allies help the Kurds to overthrow the Iranian regime, The Kurds in Iran will be happy to exchange the Turkish regions in Iran with Kurdish regions in Turkey. For this win-win Chalduran II strategy, Turkey needs to change its hostility towards the Kurds in Turkey and stop shooting itself in its foot by turning historical cordial opportunities into new threats in the region, at the cusp of 500th anniversary of Chal-duran.
Kurdo | 16/2/2017
Muraz Adzhoev you as a Ezidi should know how islamized KRG is now, the party that you support the most (PDK) left your Ezidi on Shingal when Islamic State came. I am against Islam and pro-Kurdistan, i am pro-Ezidi. I am for PKK of course.

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