Destruction of Kurdish cities and towns

Months ago I highlighted how Kobane had been saved from Daesh by destroying it instead.

Today I'd like to highlight the destruction caused by the Turkish military's campaign against the Kurds / the PKK:*







(this RT* video is from March 2016)

The not-really-young-any-more generation may remember how the West looked the other way when 'our' bad guys did their thing in Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia - all for the epic struggle between First World and Second World blocs during the Cold War.

One may now wonder why are we looking the other way today? Is there any comparable epic struggle in which 'our bad guy' deserves to get a free pass on whatever he does? The German press sure turned against Erdogan since the ludicrous libel case, and very overtly so since the counter-coup. Yet the war in the Kurdish regions of Turkey still doesn't get much attention, nor does it seem to get it in the anglophone world. (My observation of French newspapers is infrequent, so I can't tell for sure whether the French pay attention.)

I understand that at least the smarter ones among the top politicians hold back due to diplomatic etiquette and geostrategic considerations, but none of this should apply to the media. Maybe German newspapers fear to lose Turkish readers? That would be foolish, for they might gain Kurdish readers and the Erdogan fan group among the "Turks" in Germany can be expected to read Turkish newspapers, if any.
Maybe it's really as simple as Turkey not being an established 'evil' country and access to the war zone being difficult (and dangerous) for reporters.

Anyway; I expect historians to be very critical of what's happening in the Kurdish regions of Turkey this year, and to draw parallels to the passive toleration of Cold War atrocities.


*: I assembled multiple links to largely eliminate possible distortions by special interests.


  1. I suspect there is a shady deal, Turkey will turn a blind eye on the western support for the Kurds in Syria and Iraq and the West will ignore how the Turks deal with the spillover of that support.

    Most reports I have seen place the Turkish gendarmerie as the main force, and they lack heavy weapons.

    1. They have deployed M60 tanks and artillery against resistance in cities and towns since late 2015 at the latest.


      The Turkish security forces are said to have lost 600-900 troops against PKK already. This is not policing.

  2. First, I share the first sentence written by Madner.

    - Some French news




    Some conflicts make more news than others = some humans lives are more expensive than others; sadly, it depends on how full is the victim’s bank account/ nationality.

    From time to time, there are pacific Kurdish demonstrations on the Place de la République in Paris. Often people wonder what it is, as they do not recognize the flags, anyways.

    I don’t know if there are independent Commissions (UN, Red Cross…) that have investigated the conflict, circumstances and casualties? But, some NGO have already stated that there is ‘a disproportionate use of force’ (see below: jus in bello).
    Should the force be used in the first place? No.

    - Legal questions

    I am no lawyer, so I am not competent to answer them:

    One of the big issues is that the PKK is considered a ‘terrorist organisation’ by the EU (including Germany and France), NATO (including Germany and France), USA, etc. (the richest and most powerful minority of the World); but not by the UN, Russia, China, India, etc. (the poorest majority of the World).

    1. Is there Genocide according to the CPPCG of 1948?
    2. Are there crimes (of war/against humanity) from the part of the Turkish authorities?
    3. Is it a civil war, international conflict or a mixed one?
    4. Are PKK fighters terrorists or freedom fighters?

    - Jus in bello

    I am also no military/political expert, so I am not competent to answer those questions either:

    During the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Israel defended itself against criminal allegations by quoting the International humanitarian law (jus in bello = Law of war):
    “Where a civilian object is used for military purposes, it loses its protection as a civilian object and may become a legitimate target.”

    So, according to that rule, if Kurdish forces are using civilian buildings as a battleground, they willingly accept to become a legitimate target, and put in danger the real civilians.

    - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948

    There are about 30 millions Kurds in the region. Erdogan is becoming the Turkish Putin, Kurds are removed from Parliament, ‘Stalinist purges’ etc. (do they make a nice couple besides their disputes?)
    Would an internationally recognized state be a solution? Some say ‘yes’.
    Sooner or later Kurds will have their own state.
    Would you destroy a NATO member for such a solution? And probably make of Turkey a Russian Ally?
    Then, who is your next ally you are willing to sacrifice for humanistic values?

    These questions are irrelevant from the point of view of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, because the UDHR does not care about temporary political and military alliances.

    It is always the poorest that pay the dearest price.

  3. Frankly, I expect that a Kurdish state will appear in former territories of Syria and Iraq, and be recognised by some countries, though not Turkey.
    Its security against Turkey will be a major question and it will seek allies, but may not find any except maybe Armenia which in turn may offer a supply channel to Russian arms.
    The Turkish government is rather going to commit ethnic cleansing than to accept a loss of territory to a Kurdish state.

    1. I am certainly not qualified to answer the questions you raised.

      Kurdish forces are besieging Aleppo in their sector, and they do not seem to be willing to remove their lock on the City?
      Even less, to turn their guns towards Assad’s terrorists.
      Civilians are dying there, babies are dying…
      Daesh is doing nothing.

      The siege is snail-shaped and we will try to break thru and break their backbone.
      We will sneak thru Daesh lines.
      We will see how determined are the fighters. I don’t know?
      (European fighters fight Jihad to the last, Arabs, I don’t know?)
      It would help if we could take down those planes.

      That is why Erdogan is so repressive: Aleppo.
      It is not about Kurds as such.

    2. Not true. Look at blog list on the left, the current ISW blog entry.
      An icon of the map about the Aleppo situation literally is shown on this blog...

  4. The Kurdish block was cruical for the closure of the Aleppo a couple of days ago. The counteroffensive is more to the south now.

    1. The encirclement ring does not include Kurdish controlled areas and a Kurdish controlled area is part of the pocket. So what do you write about here?

  5. The Kurds cooperate with the SAA in Aleppo, so that part isn't part of the pocket, but part of the ring.

    When the SAA took the Castelo road, the opposition demanded from the Kurds access to defend the block to the east of the Kurds. However, the very same part was used to shell the Kurdish block.

    SAA and SDF cooperate or tolerate each other in at least 3 cities, 2 where the Kurds are stronger and Alepo.

    1. Look at the map. Regime forces' areas suffice to complete the encirclement on their own.

  6. Yes, but this was the map before the offense.


    Without the Kurdish - SAA cooperation, it would have been a lot harder for SAA to close the ring.

    The opposition blames the Kurds for the encirclement, and the Kurds at the moment have free supply from SAA areas.