Turkish FM claims US, Kurdish YPG are 'Marxist atheists'

President Erdogan and his government officials stir up religious sentiments targeting Kurdish parties with the Parliament's Speaker describing the offensive on Afrin as "jihad."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The United States is supporting the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria because they share the same “Marxist, communist, atheist ideology,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

Cavusoglu was criticizing the US for its mild objection to Turkey’s weeks-long attempted invasion of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).

During a seminar on foreign policy at the Istanbul Yildiz Technical University, he expressed anger at Washington’s calls for restraint to prevent civilian casualties and limit the offensive.

“Why are you not that sensitive when the YPG is exiling Syrian Kurds, taking their houses and properties, and sending off children with weapons in front of the Turkish soldier and Free Syrian Army (FSA),” Cavusoglu slammed at the US.

“But, when Turkey takes a step you say we should end it in no time,” he continued.

Kurdish officials this week announced the killing of at least 150 civilians, the wounding of over 300, and the displacement of 60,000 as a result of continued Turkish airstrikes and ground shelling on population centers in Afrin.

A Kurdish Women's Protection Unit (YPJ) fighter gestures as she sits with her comrades-in-arms in the Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood of Aleppo city, Syria Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
A Kurdish Women's Protection Unit (YPJ) fighter gestures as she sits with her comrades-in-arms in the Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood of Aleppo city, Syria Feb. 7, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration alleges that the YPG, currently fighting off the Turkish army and its Islamist proxies, is a terrorist organization for holding ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In 2016, the Turkish Foreign Minister had accused the PKK of wanting to make the Kurds atheists.

PKK, founded as a Marxist group to fight for a unified, liberated Greater Kurdistan during the Cold War in the late 1970s has, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, altered its ideological stance and moderated its objectives.

The US-allied YPG and its left-wing political parent the Democratic Union Party (PYD) ruling Rojava say they are establishing a libertarian Communalistic system in line with the late obscure American political theorist Murray Bookchin whose writings have affected the thinking of PKK founder Abdullah Ocalan, jailed in Turkey.

Turkey is a constitutionally secular, Muslim-majority country.

However, the President himself and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials have recently begun heating up religious rhetoric mainly targeting Kurdish parties with the Parliament’s Speaker Ismail Kahraman going so far as to describe the campaign on Afrin as “jihad” or holy war.

Erdogan claimed the YPG and PKK have “no religion, faith, or God.”

Syrian Kurdish officials charge Turkey with having collaborated with IS and allying with al-Qaeda.

Diyanet, the taxpayer-funded Directorate of Religious Affairs that serves only the Sunni Muslim population, ordered clerics across the county to read aloud the 48th chapter of the Quran, Surah al-Fath (the chapter of Conquest) at some 90 mosques it operates for Turkish army's victory in Afrin.

Last month, Cavusoglu claimed that Erdogan was the one person Muslims all over the world waited to hear what he says, “because [he] is the only leader expressing sentiments of the Islamic Ummah.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany