Veysi Dag

Turkish Role in Kurdish-Israeli Misrepresentation

The image was taken by the author during the Seherane Festival in October 2023 in Jerusalem!

On October 7, 2023, Hamas, the radical and extremist Palestinian organization that is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States, and many other states, resorted to ISIS-like methods by initiating murderous assaults against innocent citizens in Israel. The result of its bloodshed included the murders of hundreds of children, women, and elders, thousands of wounded and a large undetermined number of hostages. Several civilian infrastructures have been demolished, and their belongings have been confiscated. While numerous state leaders, civil society actors, and individuals in the European states, the United States and the United Kingdom condemned these barbaric acts of Hamas and expressed their solidarity with the Jewish people and the state of Israel, the Middle Eastern regimes in Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, as well as Russia, failed to condemn the terrorist acts of Hamas but called on “conflicting sides” to refrain from using violence and urged them to engage in negotiations.

Iran, on the other hand, has not only publicly supported these terrorist acts but also pushed Hamas terrorists to increase their carnage. The sentiments and solidarity messages of non-state people, including stateless Kurdish groups and individuals who have endured the same level of extreme cruelty at the hands of the Turkish state in Northern Syria (Rojava) and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, have either been overseen or represented by Islamist groups such as HÜDA PAR (Free Cause Party) in Turkey or leftist and Kemalist Turkish parties. Not only have these groups praised Hamas’ carnage of Israeli civilians, but they have also sided with Hamas. In doing so, they identify as “Kurdish” entities or are presented by Turkish social network platforms in relation to “Kurdish” representatives. HÜDA PAR organized rallies in support of Hamas terrorists in Kurdish and Turkish cities and saluted their barbaric acts on various social networking sites. Who are these entities? To what extent do these groups represent the viewpoints of the Kurdish people, who have been subjected to identical barbaric acts by ISIS and the Turkish state?

Evidently, none of the aforementioned groups represent the viewpoints of the Kurdish people, who have been subjected to state violence, persecution, displacement, and deportation since the partition of their homeland by the Turkish, Arab, and Iranian governments. These Islamist and Turkish-leftist groups were fully absent as the Kurdish atrocities reached a climax in 2014, when ISIS committed genocide against the Kurdish-Yezidi population in Kurdistan regions in northern Iraq and Syria. Again, they could not be found when the Turkish government led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Islamic Jihadists initiated multiple invasions in the Kurdish region of Syria, resulting in ethnic cleansing in Afrin and other Kurdish towns. These invasions, as well as the ethnic cleansing that followed them, were praised by the leaders of Hamas. Again, these groups did not exist when the Turkish military, following the public announcement of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan last week, launched its savage attacks on Kurdish civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, water and power stations, dams, and gas fields, killing a high number of Kurdish civilians. None of the aforementioned “Kurdish groups” or Turkish leftists condemned these attacks targeting Kurdish civilians, towns and cities in Northern Syria, let alone organized a rally in solidarity with the Kurds. However, these Islamist and leftist groups have promptly issued statements in support of Hamas terrorism and organized demonstrations against Israel.

As previously indicated, HÜDA PAR, the so-called legal Turkish version of Hizbullah in Kurdistan, has been one of the main groups expressing support and rallying for Hamas terrorism. HÜDA PAR is a hardline Islamist party that is currently a coalition partner of the ruling party of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) and is represented in the ranks of the AKP by four members of the Turkish parliament. In the 1990s, hundreds of Kurdish activists, politicians, and journalists were murdered by Hizbullah in Kurdish territory. However, the Turkish authorities ditched this armed group in the early 2000s by eliminating its leading members who posed a threat to Turkish authorities. However, the ruling AKP government released many of the Hizbullah members from prison who were involved in the assassination of tenths of Kurdish civilians. They are believed to have joined HÜDA PAR. The AKP government has also empowered HÜDA PAR to prevail among conservative Kurdish voters and challenge secular pro-Kurdish parties. Moreover, Turkish authorities in the Kurdish region enable HÜDA PAR to initiate pro-Hamas rallies in Kurdish cities, which are consequently transformed into antisemitic demonstrations, condemning Israel. Participants in HÜDA PAR rallies, according to the Kurdish locals in Diyarbakir and Mardin, are frequently village guards (state-sponsored paramilitary units) and state civil servants in Kurdish regions, as well as Arab and Turkish pro-state individuals who are transported from neighboring cities and cities outside of Kurdish regions. Within this context, HÜDA PAR makes use of Kurdish songs and displays Kurdish symbols, pretending to represent the Kurds in the public squares in their cities. By orchestrating antisemitic and pro-Hamas demonstrations, the Turkish government kills two birds with one stone. It produces and presents a hostile and antisemitic image of the Kurds while at the same time pretending that “Kurds” support Hamas. This renders the Kurdish claims for their cultural rights meaningless and generates the impression that antisemitism is prevalent among Kurds.

Other groups include the Turkish Labor Party (TIP), the Turkish Communist Party (TKP), the Turkish Workers’ Party (EMEP), and the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP). According to many Kurdish activists on multiple social network platforms, these leftist and Kemalist parties have not only succeeded in influencing pro-Kurdish parties such as Yesillersol (Party of Greens and the Left Future) and HDP (People’s Democratic Party), but they have also dominated their organizational structures, public statements, press releases, and discourses. While these leftist-Kemalist Turkish groups have consistently remained silent regarding the repression and atrocities of the Turkish states against the Kurdish segments in Iraq and Syria, as well as within Turkish territory, they have condemned the Kurdish demands for self-governance and cultural rights in association with “ilkel milliyetçilik (primitive nationalism)” a term that does not exist in the literature of nationalism. However, these discourses are reminiscent of the official ideology of Turkish states, according to which Kurds are portrayed as being primitive, backward, barbaric, and uncivilized.

In other words, the leftist and Kemalist Turkish parties, as well as the Islamic ruling actors, are aligned in their view to serve the assimilation policy and the official ideology of the Turkish state and misrepresent the Kurdish voices. Thus, Turkish leftist and Kemalist parties and individuals present the Kurds in solidarity with the terrorist organization, Hamas, portraying the Kurds as antagonistic towards Israel. These views are also extensively disseminated on social media sites that misrepresent the Kurds. In contrast, Kurdish individuals and groups that are unaffected by these actors express their opinions in sympathy with the Jewish people, condemning Hamas terrorism and urging Hamas to adopt the Kurdish lesson of peaceful coexistence with the Jewish people and the state of Israel. To put it plainly, the vast majority of Kurdish voices on the social media platforms condemn the terrorist acts of Hamas and its sister organizations, which are inspired by Muslim brotherhood ideologies and supported by the Turkish and Qatari regimes as well as the hostile Mulla regimes of the Iranian state.

The Kurdish-Yezidi people have been subject to genocide and policies by the ruling Turkish, Iranian, and Arab states, which deny the existence of the Kurds. While Hamas, Fatah, and other Palestinian organizations have joined the authoritarian ruling states to denounce democratic Kurdish demands for their self-governance, including the independence referendum in 2017, they have cheered the ethnic cleansing by the Islamic and ultranationalist Turkish rulers in Afrin in 2018, the use of chemical gas by the pan-Arabist Baath regime in 1988, and colonization policies against Kurds. In contrast, Israel has never been involved in any form of oppression toward the Kurdish people. On the other hand, the Jewish people have shared a common experience of statelessness, persecution, displacement from their ancestral homeland, pogroms, and exile with the Kurdish people for thousands of years. Kurdish groups on various social network platforms make reference to these shared experiences and identify as ancient Middle Eastern people with the objectives of the Jewish people to live in harmony with multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities in their traditional homeland in the Middle East. In this sense, the views shared by the Islamic and left-wing Turkish parties on social network platforms on behalf of Kurds are manipulated by antagonistic governments or political bodies of the Turkish states that dominate the Kurdish homeland, organizational structures, political views, and social relations, as well as exploit the Kurdish resources for their own privileges and power consolidation. Thus, Kurdish organizations and individuals have expressed on multiple social platforms that they join Jewish people in mourning the sufferings that were inflicted on them by Hamas terrorism. They do this in solidarity with the Jewish people and the state of Israel.

About the Author
The author is a research fellow at the Political Science Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, working on the governance structures of the Kurdish diaspora community in Berlin and the structures of the Kurdistani Jews in Jerusalem.
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