When Europe recovers from the shock and grief of the attack on the French journalists in Paris, I hope they will also realize that they have the wrong people on their terror list.
The European Union and NATO have listed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as a terrorist organization. They have closed down PKK TV stations more than once and persecuted its members in different countries for years. But when was the last time the PKK or any Kurdish party bombed a European city, killed a journalist or called for the death of Jews and Christians?
Since the 9/11 attacks and growth of Islamic radicalism, Western countries have dramatically increased their budgets for national security and intelligence and they have gone to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Mali. They have established various police and anti-terror forces, and tap telephones and emails in order to stop the next terrorist attack.
But none of that budget increase, surveillance or forces are to counter Kurdish terrorism. I don't think Europe has spent a dollar on the imaginary Kurdish terrorism, as opposed to the real Islamic terrorism. Yet, they have the PKK listed as a terrorist organization and they wonder whether or not it should be removed from the list.
Treating the PKK members as terrorists has separated many families from each other. Their immigration and asylum cases are regularly rejected in Europe, US and Canada. They are threatened with deportation or left in limbo for years.
These governments do not have any proof that PKK members are terrorists, nor have these Kurds shown any terrorist intentions. They are treated this way only because the organization is on the blacklist.
This is not only true for the PKK. Until recently, the Kurdistan Region’s two main parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) were also on the US Tier-3 terror list.
Throughout decades of armed struggle, the PKK, PUK and KDP have almost acted like a state and treated their prisoners with respect and sent them back to their families safe and sound. They have never bombed a city, nor have they exploded car bombs in crowded markets.
On the other hand, all kinds of radical jihadis who have every intention of evil, of imposing Sharia law in Europe or of killing every non-Muslim, come to Europe and receive asylum, citizenship and every right. Because they do not belong to an organization like the PKK, they are not considered terrorists and they easily hide their true motives until it is too late.
That same way, the EU General Court ruled last month that Hamas should be removed from the terror list: this is an organization that fires rockets in broad daylight into a sovereign state, one that runs children’s TV shows on hating the Jews and how to behead them – an organization that is proud of its terrorism. But the same court refuses to remove the PKK from that list.
The attack on the French journalists, the killing of the British soldier in London and the Dutch filmmaker should make Europe, US and Canada rethink their position and policies. They should remove the PKK from the terror list immediately and welcome it as an ally in the fight against terrorism.
Thousands of French police officers and anti-terror squad are mobilized to find the Muslim attackers. Other European countries are tightening their security everywhere. But that is what the Kurds are doing everyday at no cost to Europe.
Every Islamist militant the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) kills in Kobane could be one of the Paris attackers. The YPG and Peshmerga have killed hundreds of diehard Islamists in Syria and Iraq, many of them holding European passports. If these militants were not in Syria or Iraq they would be in Europe killing journalists and cartoonists.
It is obvious that the Kurds are fighting Islamic extremists to defend their own land, but this is where the Kurdish and European interests merge. It is time for Europe to know who the real terrorists are, to know that the Islamist militants of Kobane, Shingal and Paris are all the same.