Leader of Britain’s Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: AFP
The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party discussed his foreign policy intentions regarding the Kurds in an interview at the Chatham House on Friday, saying that Syria and any settlement in the Middle East must include recognition of the rights and needs of the Kurdish people.
Jeremy Corbyn said that he had visited all parts of Kurdistan over the years and witnessed that the “Kurdish people have been very, very badly treated.”
Corbyn also disagrees with Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds. When asked by a reporter if he would “condemn the genocide which is going on against the Kurds in Syria and Turkey,” Corbyn replied, “I would be very strong with the Turkish government on its treatment of Kurdish people and minorities and the way in which it’s denied them their decency and human rights.”
Regarding the use of military action by Turkey against the Kurds, Corbyn stated, “If arms are being used to oppress people internally in violation of international law then they [arms] simply should not be supplied to them.”
When asked if his foreign policy would do anything to renew the peace process in Turkey to ensure that the Kurds are represented in the UN-sponsored Geneva talks aimed at ending Syria's civil war, Corbyn stated that, “If you suppress somebody’s identity, which is what has happened with the Kurdish people, then you actually end up with the danger of a much greater conflict later on. It is a question about recognizing people’s language and their identity which I think is an important part towards peace.”
The peace process between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) collapsed when fighting resumed in mid 2015. Turkey also considers the the ruling Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria as an extensin of the PKK, a named terrorist organization by Turkey, and therefore it opposes the PYD from taking part in the Geneva talks.
The labour leader is an anti-war campaigner and has been adamant about his opposition to the use of nuclear weapons. Current Prime Minister Theresa May and the Conservative party believe that if he were to be elected into power, it would put Britain’s security at risk.
"I will do everything to protect the security and safety of our people and our country.” Corbyn said in response to her accusations. “The best defense for Britain is a government actively engaged in seeking political solutions to the world's problems," he said in a speech in London as reported by Reuters.