Salih Muslim: If Turkey insists on war, we will defend ourselves

Turkey is trying to evade the bilateral agreement on a safe zone in northern Syria in order to establish a "Turkish belt" using the example of the Baathist Arabization policy, according to PYD politician Salih Muslim.

Despite the implementation of the trilateral agreement between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US and Turkey on a "security zone" in northern Syria, the Turkish government in Ankara insists on the occupation of self-governing areas of northern and eastern Syria.

In an interview with the Etkin News Agency (ANHA), Spokesman for the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim explained that Turkey wanted to establish a "Turkish belt" in the border strip and thus implement the Arabization policy of the Baath regime in the Kurdish areas of Syria, valid after 1965, according to its own ideas. "The intentions of the Turkish state are no secret. But that is now a problem of the US and the International Coalition," said the Kurdish politician.

Muslim recalled that the International Coalition has started to install a ‘security mechanism’ instead of a ‘safe zone’ trick presented by Turkey under the pretext of ‘border security’. He continued; "There are Turkish observation posts in the border strip. So nobody will be able to cross the border. But even with this, the Turkish state is not satisfied because it wants to invade the area and create a Kurd-free region. This is of course unacceptable. In our opinion, Turkey should finally break away from these ideas."


Rojava has never presented a danger to Turkey and is not hostile to the neighboring country, stressed Muslim and added that they mainly wanted them to protect the border instead. "There has been agreement on the safe zone between Turkey and the US. The SDF agreed with it and have already taken practical steps to implement the agreement. Nevertheless, the Turkish state is now looking for ways to evade the agreement. This is not our problem, but a problem of the US and the Coalition," explained the PYD politician.


After seizing power in Syria in 1963, the Ba'ath Party decided to build a 350-kilometer-long, 15-kilometer-wide "Arabian belt" along the border with Turkey in order to change the ethnic structure in favor of the Arab population. As part of the Arabization project, dozens of new villages were built and thousands of Arab families from Raqqa and Aleppo were settled in the area in the early 1970s. Kurds were expelled or deported from their ancestral homeland, had their lands expropriated and awarded to the newly settled Arabs. The regime also deprived the Kurds of their citizenship and Arabized all Kurdish place names.

"The Turkish government wants to create a similar situation now. A section of the population consisting of hired jihadists is reportedly meant to settle in areas that are not theirs. Can that ever be accepted? We are in favor of having every Syrian return to their hometown anyway. But the answer to the question of why Turkey wants to move people from the south of the country to its own border is clear to all," said Muslim.


Turkey is currently governed by a coalition made up of the AKP, MHP, the Ergenekon and the Hizbul Contra. It is a "war coalition" which, however, would collapse in the slightest prospect of peace, says Muslim.

"This equation is fact. Erdoğan will risk everything to survive, no matter how bad the consequences might be for him. Possibly, pressure from the International Coalition could lead to the collapse of this war alliance. That should not be ignored.”


Should there actually be an attack on Rojava, as Erdoğan last signalized a week ago, the population will defend in any case, emphasizes Salih Muslim. No one would fold his hands and surrender himself to death.

"Peace always wants two sides, but war only one. Only when the other side is ready to be circumspect and act for the good of the people can problems be overcome. But if Turkey insists on war, we will defend ourselves," said Muslim.