Turkey should accept Syrian Kurdish forces' territorial gains: New HDP leader

The new leader of Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party has called on Turkey to end its military operation in the Afrin region of Syrian Kurdistan, and instead resolve disputes through dialogue.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The new leader of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party has called on Turkey to end its military operation in the Afrin region of Syrian Kurdistan, and instead resolve disputes through dialogue.  

Co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Pervin Buldan, who was elected new co-leader on Sunday, told Reuters earlier this week that “Turkey needs to tolerate the achievements of Kurds in Syria.”

“The reasonable thing to do is to find a solution through dialogue, and the only possible solution is through agreement,” Buldan said.

The HDP is already under a massive crackdown by the Turkish government since November 2016, with former co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag both arrested and thrown into detention on allegations of separatism and terror-related charges.

Her comments are likely to concern Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan whose government is investigating remarks she made a day after becoming new co-leader when she voiced her support for civilians in Afrin.

Buldan, whose husband was murdered in 1994 over allegations of funding the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), campaigned for years against extrajudicial killings before becoming a politician in 1999.

“My political identity aside, I have personally fought for the killings and pain to stop,” she told Reuters. “No mother should be given their sons or husbands in a coffin. This is equally important for both sides.”

HDP officials, including the party's new Co-leaders Sezai Temelli (second-right), Pervin Buldan (second-left), and former Co-leader Serpil Kemalbay (middle) salute supporters, Feb. 11, 2018. (Photo: HDP)
HDP officials, including the party's new Co-leaders Sezai Temelli (second-right), Pervin Buldan (second-left), and former Co-leader Serpil Kemalbay (middle) salute supporters, Feb. 11, 2018. (Photo: HDP)

Ankara’s operation against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces, who it alleges have ties to the PKK, has been going on for a month now.

The United States, who has supported the YPG in the ongoing war against the Islamic State in Syria, has called on Turkey to limit its operation but has not officially taken the Kurdish forces’ side.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Kurdistan Region recently returned after visiting the Afrin region to deliver humanitarian and medical support to civilians affected by the bombardment.