In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Turkey Haunted by Its Ghosts," Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen tells us of the struggle of Turkish Kurds for autonomy and an end to intolerance and discrimination. Writing from Diyarbakır (see why I have highlighted the name of this city below) in southeast Turkey, Cohen informs us:
"The Kurdish question has boiled up again in acute form. Kurdish militias loyal to the imprisoned P.K.K. leader, Abdullah Ocalan, have taken control of a wide area of northern Syria that they call Rojava, defeating Islamic State. Kurdish pesh merga forces are fighting side by side with the United States against ISIS in Iraq. Young Kurds here in the Diyarbakir area have tried to set up autonomous areas within cities, only to be crushed. All Kurds at some level want the state denied them when the Ottoman Empire broke up. They may settle for autonomy but a dream persists.
. . . .
The emergence of Kurds as America’s Iraqi and Syrian allies against ISIS has complicated the critical Turkish-American relationship. President Obama probably needs Erdogan more than Erdogan needs him, a fact that limits American leverage. Still, renewed Turkish-Kurdish negotiation and real Turkish commitment against ISIS are paramount American interests. The impression with Erdogan has been: better a Sunni Islamist fanatic than a Kurd."
"Settling the Armenian dispute and reaching a negotiated settlement with the Kurds must be central Turkish goals before the centennial in 2023 of Ataturk’s state."
Action needs to be taken by 2023, i.e. sometime within the next eight years? Remarkably, Cohen does not even mention what is currently occurring in the city of Silvan in the Diyarbakır Province of Turkey. As we learn today from a Hurriyet Daily News article entitled "Thousands of residents flee Silvan amid ongoing conflict":
"Thousands of residents sought to flee for their lives in the southeastern district of Silvan yesterday, the 10th day of a continuing military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.
A sixth curfew since August was declared in three neighborhoods of Silvan, a town of 86,000 about 80 kilometers from Diyarbakır, on Nov. 3.
. . . .
Up to date, some 10,000 residents have fled Silvan without taking away any of their belongings, Muhittin Kan, chair of Silvan branch of the Union of Associations of Turkish Craftsmen and Artisans, told the Doğan News Agency (DHA) on Nov. 12.
'We don’t know whether they will come back because most of the houses belonging to them have been damaged,' Kan said.
'The town is under fire. Reinforcements are still being sent here. We have been scattered. Craftsmen will not be able to recover even in the next 20 years,' Kan said, noting that around 100 workplaces had been severely damaged.
. . . .
'Silvan has been besieged by thousands of soldiers, special teams and police officers accompanied by helicopters, Kirpis [armored vehicles] and tanks for the last 10 days. We don’t even know how many people lost their lives and how many people have been wounded,” [The Confederation of Public Sector Trades’ Unions] said in a written statement. 'We know from the AKP’s earlier practices where it imposed curfews that very severe human rights violations are being committed in Silvan and even lawmakers are not being let in so as to prevent these violations from being heard.'"
So why does Cohen, writing from Diyarbakır, not even mention the struggle in Silvan, now in its tenth day?
And why does the Obama administration and Europe also ignore this catastrophe? Can you begin to imagine the stink that Obama and his friends would raise if Israel were to encircle and attack a Palestinian city with helicopters, tanks and armored vehicles?
Shame on the West! The Middle East's 30 million long-oppressed Kurds deserve their independence!