A pro-government news outlet in Turkey has accused the U.S.-backed Democratic Union Party (PYD) of attacking other Kurdish groups in Syria and promoting communist ideology.
The Turkish government considers the PYD and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), to be the same as the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has been deemed a terrorist group by the U.S., Turkey, and some of their allies.
Citing local sources, the news outlet Daily Sabah, which is pro-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AK), reports that the PYD attacked the Kurdish National Council (ENSK) office in Syria’s Hasakah province on Monday.
“Sources also said that the Rojava Youth Union (YCR), the PYD’s youth branch, attacked the offices of the student branches of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (S-KDP) in Qamishli, threatening to close down the offices if they do not apply for permission from the so-called ‘federation’ run by the PYD,” claims Daily Sabah.
“The YPG has recently increased attacks and threats against other Kurdish groups in Syria, according to Abdulhakim Bashar, a Kurdish member of Syria’s opposition High Negotiation Committee (HNC) and a member of the National Council of Syria (KNCS),” it adds.
In an opinion article published by the New York Times on Monday, Saleh Mohamed, co-president of the PYD, spoke against his group’s exclusion from the United Nations-brokered negotiations to end the conflict in Syria.
Turkey has been a staunch opponent of the PYD’s participation in the peace talks.
The U.S. supports the YPG’s fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and has at times described the group as the most effective fighters on the ground against the jihadist organization.
The European Union and the United States, both of whom could have pushed for our inclusion, have their own incentives to placate Turkey, including its cooperation with Europe’s response to the refugee crisis and a need for Turkish support in the military campaign against the Islamic State. We understand the demands of realpolitik, but the exclusion of [PYD-controlled] Rojava from the U.N. talks is shortsighted and unjust.
Turkey has tried to legitimate its opposition with propaganda falsely depicting Rojava as an ethnic project for Kurdish dominance that aims to divide Syria. They have spread grotesque accusations of “ethnic cleansing” by Kurdish forces, reports not supported by more measured analyses, for instance, those by the U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria.
The pro-Turkish government Daily Sabah quotes Vahdettin İnce, identified as “a Kurdish intellectual and author,” as saying that the YPG is attacking other Kurdish groups because it wants to create a homogeneous Kurdish identity.
“The PYD attempts to establish a one-type mentality, which does not tolerate any other than themselves. Such an attitude also is in the interest of the Syrian regime,” İnce told Daily Sabah.
“The PYD creates a perception that Turkey is against the Kurds in northern Syria while the PYD itself oppresses other Kurds, particularly conservative ones, as it promotes a Soviet-type Stalinist ideology. In the long run, such an exclusionary attitude will fuel ethnic clashes in the region,” he added.
Russia also supports the PYD.