What does Shengal say about the withdrawal of PKK guerrillas?
After the occupation of Afrin, Turkish President Erdoğan is now threatening to invade Shengal. The Ezidi population believes that the PKK is just an excuse for the Turkish state to invade and annex the region.
On 3 August 2014, with the invasion of the Shengal by Islamic State, the Ezidi people were left to another genocide, the 73rd Firman (decree of genocide). Because the Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) left the population of Shengal defenseless to the barbarism of the IS and fled in a night, the IS henchmen pitched the Ezidi people into a massacre the next morning. Those who saved themselves fled to the Shengal Mountains. On the way children and the elderly died of thirst. Those who could not get out of the city were brutally murdered by the IS. Thousands of young Ezidi women were abducted and sold, abused and raped in ISIS slave markets. The Ezidi civilian population trapped in the mountains hastened PKK guerrillas to the rescue together with YPG / YPJ fighters who saved tens of thousands of people from certain death.
The Turkish regime led by Erdoğan threatens again to march in Shengal after the occupation of the northern Syrian canton of Afrin. Air raids by the Turkish army on southern Kurdistan areas, including Shengal, have been increasing for some time now. The PDK leadership has not commented on this so far. However, the Iraqi central government has warned Turkey against invading its troops into its territory. Iraq will not allow on its soil any presence of any forces that carry out military operations, officials said.
Last week, the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) said that the conditions had changed since 3 August 2014 and security has been maintained in and around Shengal as Ezidis are now an organized society capable of defending themselves. Therefore, the guerrillas will withdraw their forces from Shengal.
Our colleague Selami Aslan, correspondent for the Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) and currently in South Kurdistan, spoke to residents of Shengal about Erdoğan's threats and the withdrawal of the Kurdish guerrillas.
The goal is another genocide and annexation of Shengal
The Ezidis are deeply grateful for those who saved them from the IS massacres. They believe that the presence of HPG and YJA Star guerrillas is not the reason to invade the Shengal. Rather, Turkey with Ottoman mentality intends another genocide of the Ezidi people and an annexation of Shengal.
“Nothing has changed since the Ottoman Empire”
Elyas Qasim Çûkê (47), a member of the Democratic Council of Shengal, says Erdogan's threats are nothing new. "All 73 firmans issued against the Ezidi people were descended from the ancestors of Erdoğan, the Ottomans. That's why it's not new to us. Also in Cizîra Botan and all Kurdistan firmans of genocide were issued for. The whole world knows that the IS was created by them.”
“We have changed and will not bow to attacks”
Çûkê emphasized that the Ezidis have changed and will not bow to the attacks. "Before Erdoğan makes threats against us, he should know that we are no longer the Ezidis we once were before the firman. We know our history. We are aware of our historical reality. We are an ancient people that has accomplished its political and military organization and are at a level where we can fight rather than bow to firmans. Erdoğan's problem is not only the Ezidis, but all the Kurds."
'We regret their withdrawal, but ...'
Çûkê says that they regret the decision to withdraw the guerrillas from the Shengal, but the ideas of PKK Chairman Abdullah Öcalan are already deeply rooted throughout the Ezidi homeland. "The freedom fighters everywhere defend those peoples who are oppressed. That is what we have learned from them. Tens of thousands of soldiers and Peshmerga left us alone and fled. IS committed a great massacre. It was the Freedom Guerrilla who rushed to help us and saved us. To attack a movement that is the bearer of hope for all nations is for me one of the greatest sins. That's how we Ezidis think. Today they may leave Shengal, but their ideas are with us. Although we regret their withdrawal, Ocalan's ideas are now in Êzidxan. "
“Their ideas sprout in Shengal”
According to Evîn Qasim, aged 20 and a member of the Sinûnê Women's Council, Erdoğan's threats are to eradicate the Ezidi and Kurdish people. "PKK’s retreat does not change the fact that we identify with their ideas, their spirit and their beliefs. Ideas of the guerrillas sprout in everywhere in Shengal. Especially in the organization of the Ezidi women they have done pioneering work. We will always be grateful to them.”
“We have given them our word: we will get united”
Salim Sedûn Hesen (60) from the Religious Committee of Sinûnê Council says the Ottoman tradition is the basis for Erdogan's threats against Shengal. He criticizes that the international public remains silent in the face of this. “The residents of Shengal promised the guerrillas a unity. To this end, they will do anything, said the 60-year-old man.
“They want to occupy Shengal like Afrin”
"We are not worried about Erdoğan's threats, because we now have a military and organized force ready to fight," are the words of Co-Chairman of the Borik Council, Feysel Reşîd. He also emphasizes that Erdoğan intends to occupy Shengal like Afrin.
“Although the guerrilla fighters of the HPG and YJA Star are mentioned as the reason for the threats, the plan behind them is to occupy Shengal. They want to do what they did in Afrin here as well. We are definitely aware that any attack against Shengal is due to the traditional firman mentality regarding the Ezidis. The guerrillas came to save us from the genocide and have helped us a great deal with our own organization. They will always be in our hearts."