By Ahmet Abdulaziz…..
Daily News of Life and times in North Cyprus goes around the world
By Mehmet Nesip Ogun, PhD………
Professor of Security studies at University of Mediterranean Karpasia, Northern Cyprus
The United States has been arming the People’s Protection Units (YPG) which was founded in 2011, which is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Turkey has long been trying to show American officials the connections and ties between PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and PYD. During the visits made both by Turkish and American officials to Turkey and the United States, the reality with evidence was reported.
Even during and after Turkish President Erdogan and the Turkish delegation’s visit to the United States on May 16, 2017, the Trump Administration didn’t step back from this decision. Nevertheless, the Trump Administration made promises on Turkey’s security and declared a long term strategic partnership on fighting against PKK and Daesh terrorist organisations. In this article, PYD’s relation to PKK will be analysed by presenting international reports and media news.
Even though the United States does not accept the fact that the PYD is a sub-group or connected to PKK, which is in the terrorist organisations list of Turkey, USA, European Union and so many countries, there are so many international reports, evidences, testimonies and realities that prove their connection.
When we first look into Koma Civaken Kurdistan (the so-called Kurdistan Communities Union, KCK) system, PYD is structured as the Syrian branch of KCK, along with PKK in Turkey, The Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) in Iran and The Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (PCDK) in Iraq. Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned PKK’s founder and leader, is the so-called supreme leader of KCK system. PKK and PYD use almost the same symbols and emblems. Even the armed wing of PKK, the People’s Defence Forces (HPG) and PYD’s armed branch The People’s Protection Units (YPG) are nearly the same in meaning.
Independent think tanks such as Washington DC based the “Atlantic Council” and Brussels based the “International Crisis Group” have published reports that show the relations and connections between PKK and PYD. The Atlantic Council published an article entitled, “The YPG-PKK Connection”, on January 26, 2016. This report suggests that YPG casualty data confirms linkages between international PKK-linked groups. 49.24 percent of YPG casualty figures between January 2013 and January 2016 were citizens of the Republic of Turkey. Another article, entitled “America’s Marxist Allies against ISIS”, was published by The Wall Street Journal on July 2015. An interview with Zind Ruken who is a member of PKK, states that “Sometimes I’m a PKK, sometimes I’m a PJAK, sometimes I’m a YPG. It doesn’t really matter. They are all members of the PKK.”
The International Crisis Group’s Report No: 151, “Flight of Icarus? The PYD’s Precarious Rise in Syria”, suggests that the PKK’s Qandil leadership exerts authority over the YPG, whose leadership in the early days of the Syrian uprising was dominated by Syrian PKK fighters trained at that base. Another report of same group, No: 176, “The PKK’s Fateful Choice in Northern Syria”, states that the Syrian Kurdish party is ideologically linked to the PKK and its founder, Abdullah Ocalan.
There are various pictures showing PKK and PYD members taken in Qandil mountain (PKK’s base in Northern Iraq) and in Syria. High level PKK members such as Fehman Husain (aka Bahoz Erdal), Nureddin al-Muhammed (aka Sofi Nureddin), Asya Muhammad (aka Dilan Rihan Muhammed) and such operate in Syria under PYD.
Even during the testimony on April 28, 2017, former US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, admitted that the PYD and YPG has links with PKK, when asked by Senator Lindsey Graham.
PYD markets itself as a secular, democratic and very effective power against Daesh. However, PKK and PYD share Marxist Leninist ideology, and they have no interest in being secular or have the same values of the Democratic World. Their only aim is to oppress all other ethnic groups in the region including Kurds that don’t think like them, and create a de facto position for themselves.
The main consequences of the United States arming YPG will arise when YPG starts using these weapons against Turkey. Turkey will use every lawful right for self-defense in line with Turkey’s new security strategy. In addition, Turkey will never allow any security threats to come from PYD or YPG in its Southern border and will not accept any Kurdish cantons to be created by PYD.
By Mehmet Nesip Ogun………
Professor of Security studies at Columbia University, New York…….
Contrary to some false claims and vicious accusations made by some media channels and individuals, Turkey is very effectively countering the Daesh terrorist organization. Along with Daesh, Turkey is currently heavily under attack by other terrorist organizations as well such as FETO, PKK/PYD and DHKP-C. In this article, Turkey’s anti-Daesh strategy will be analyzed. In this respect, Turkey’s strategy on countering Daesh based on combating foreign terrorist fighters, is combating Daesh’s fund raising, supporting international anti-Daesh coalition, border security and security operations in Turkey and abroad including ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’.
Following terrorist leader Bagdadi’s claim of so-called Islamic State and Caliphate and invitation to join Daesh in Iraq and Syria, so many radicals were influenced and affected by this invitation. According to some statistics, more than 37.000 people joined to Daesh as foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). Turkey has co-chaired the presidency of Global Counter Terrorism Forum which is a multilateral counter-terrorism body comprising dozens of countries. Through this forum, Turkey has highlighted the threat of FTFs to the international community. As a result of these efforts, United Nations Security Council has defined FTFs as “individuals who travel to countries other than that of their residence or nationality in order to prepare, plan, or participate in terrorism, such as obtaining terrorist training in conflict zones”. As there is no internationally accepted terrorism definition, it is a big success to define FTFs in UN. Accordingly, No-entry lists of potential FTFs were established bilaterally with other countries as well as other lists through Interpol to stop flow of FTFs reaching to first point of entry to Turkey and entering to Syria and Iraq. In this regard, at least 4.000 foreigners were deported in the context of combating FTFs. Moreover, Turkey established risk analysis units at several borders, harbors and ports. Risk analysis units have checked almost 8.000 and interviewed more than 5.000 foreign nationals. Turkey did not allow almost 2.000 foreign nationals that were checked by the risk analysis units.
Turkey’s internal and external operations against Daesh, had a very big negative effect on the financial resources of the terrorist organization. According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) report published in early 2017, Daesh’s important sources of revenue are taxes and fees, oil, looting, confiscations, and fines. Following Operation Euphrates Shield and recapturing Jarablus from Daesh, Daesh’s revenue worth 400 million dollars was cut in half. According to ICRS’s report; since 2014, Daesh’s annual revenue has been cut from more than up to 1.9 billion dollars in 2014 to a maximum of 870 million dollars in 2016.
As it is detailed in the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s web page, Turkey has been actively participating activities which specified to degrade the capabilities of, and ultimately defeat, Daesh since the formation of anti-Daesh coalition. Within this respect, Turkey has participated in the Coalition Campaign military planning, has allowed its airspace to be used by Coalition aircraft and has opened its facilities to Coalition partners and has actively been hosting the Train-Equip Program in Turkey.
In accordance with Turkey’s new security concept, Turkey has been carrying out its security operations in the context of preventive security measures. In this regard, most importantly, Turkey started “Operation Euphrates Shield” on August 24, 2016 and completed on March 29, 2017 with the participation of Free Syrian Army. The main goal of Turkey to carry out this operation was to ensure security of Turkey. Along with objectives of removing Daesh from Turkish borders and liberating Daesh controlled cities, it also aimed to block the corridor to be established by PKK/PYD terrorist organization through the line between Jarablus and Azaz. With this operation, more than 2.500 Daesh terrorists and more than 500 PKK/YPG terrorists were neutralized and Jarablus, al-Bap, al-Rai and Dabiq were cleaned from the terrorists. After the operation, thousands of Syrians went back to their homes and life went back to normal in the cleaned areas. In addition, Turkey has launched more than 7000 missiles on Daesh targets in North Mosul and destroyed 600 buildings and weapon pits and neutralized 750 Daesh terrorists.
Turkey has 911 kilometers land border with Syria and 331 kilometers with Iraq. Countering any illegal cross-border activities, Turkey carries out very effective measures. In this regard, Turkey enhanced security at the Turkey-Syria and Turkey-Iraq borders with additional personnel, patrols, and equipment. The number of Turkish border security forces was increased from 12,000 in 2014 to 20,000 in 2016 along the Syrian border. New air defense and reconnaissance units have been added to the battalions, including the active use of unmanned air vehicles which detect illegal crossing and smuggling activities. Furthermore, Turkey is establishing a “Syrian border physical security system” that includes construction of 192 kilometers of wall and 93 kilometers part of wall has already been completed. This project is expected to cost 81 million dollars.
In conclusion, Turkey is very active and effective against Daesh. Turkey is a very important and strong country in the region and the global world. Moreover, Turkey will continue to be a key player and continue to counter terror attacks and fight against all forms of terrorism with its strong economy, hard power, influential soft power, and growing defense industry.
Girne American University (GAU) International Relations Department Lecturer – Dr. Can Kasapoğlu has published a report about the final point that has been reached in the third year of Syria’s Civil war and how much Turkey has been affected by it.
A summary of the report created as a result of research by GAU International Relations Lecturer Dr. Can Kasapoğlu is as follows:
“The third year of the Syrian civil war has brought serious threats for Turkey. Ankara’s Syrian origin security environment is faced with two important trends. The first of them emerges as the rise of ISIS threats in sensitive border areas of Turkey and the other, in the form of potential return of PKK activisms threatening the peace process with violent actions. Even worse, Turkey’s analytical capabilities in the said crisis have failed due to the mutual confusion in the Turkish strategy environments. A part of the Turkish strategy environment, shows an obsession like viewing Turkey as the absolute hegemonic power in the Middle East. This cult has evaluated that the heritage of the Ottoman Empire and the “Popularity in the Arab street” will move Turkey to the regional leadership positions by bringing the importance of soft power in the Middle East to the forefront.
On the other hand, the history of the Ottoman Empire as well as the existing regional parameters reveals that the hard power elements and cleverly constructed network of alliances is necessary for the leadership in the Middle East. The second cult in the Turkish strategy environments has an ultra-liberal romantic approach, unlike the first which has the golden age of idealism. Turkey which is deprived of a visionary strategy surrounding, was not able to correctly diagnose the threat of the environment caused by the Syrian Civil war. Finding a good way out of the current situation will not be easy for the Turkish decision-makers. First, Ankara is required to consolidate by being aware of the Turkish-American relations, the strategic alliance with Washington and NATO membership are the basic elements of Turkey’s geopolitical identity.
Secondly, Ankara must convince its allies for an alternative government after the Esad regime. Finally and most importantly, in a conjuncture where the Sykes-Picot status quo is about to be destroyed in the Middle East, Turkey needs to create a realistic environment strategy by getting rid of the vicious circle in its domestic policy.”
NATO would take all steps necessary to defend alliance member Turkey if it were threatened by Islamic State fighters who have made gains in neighbouring Iraq and Syria, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Aug. 11.
“We are very much concerned about the activities of the so-called Islamic State, which is a bunch of terrorists, and it is of utmost importance to stop their advance,” Rasmussen told Reuters in an interview.
“If any of our allies, and in this case of course particularly Turkey, were to be threatened from any source of threat, we won’t hesitate to take all steps necessary to ensure effective defence of Turkey or any other ally,” he said.
NATO sent Patriot anti-missile batteries to Turkey last year to protect it from any spillover from the Syrian civil war but Rasmussen said Ankara had not asked the alliance for any further help following the Islamic State advance.
The alliance had held internal consultations, at Turkey’s request, “on the whole situation in the region”, he said.
The United States has begun a campaign of air strikes and humanitarian aid drops in northern Iraq but NATO was not considering any military action against Islamic State, Rasmussen said.
Source: Read the original article in Hürriyet Daily News and more by
By Ralph Kratzer
The first destination was “Mavi Kösk”, the Blue Villa near Camlibel.
The house was built for Paulo “Byron” Pavlidis, a Greek with Italian roots, in 1957. Pavlidis was a bon vivant and if we believe in the Turkish version of his vita he was, in addition to his job as the lawyer of Archbishop Makarios, the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, also the biggest gun smuggler of his time in the Middle East.
1974 Pavlidis had to flee from the Turkish military and ultimately died in 1986 in Italy under mysterious circumstances.
Today, photography and filming is prohibited inside the villa, but you can watch a video clip on cyprusscene.com by clicking here.
Our TFR-member Pam agreed to take over the explanation of the interior and the background stories of the individual rooms of the villa in English language.
After this exciting start into the day it was late morning that we went on to Korucam, the village of the Maronites.
Korucam, in Greek language Kormakitis, is the largest of the last remaining enclaves of the Maronites in Northern Cyprus.
The followers of this faith, a religious group within the Catholic Church, came from Lebanon and Syria to Cyprus in between the 8th and 13th century after they were persecuted as a Christian minority in their original homelands by the Arabs.
The population grew in the era of the Lusignans in the Middle Ages to 80.000 heads, nowadays only a few hundred of them remained in the Turkish part of Cyprus.
Ninos, a Maronite himself and our host, arranged, after initial organizational difficulties, the visit of the Folkloric Museum on site, where visitors get a glimpse of the village life of the past decades.
After all these impressions, the TFR group needed strengthening in the form of a short break at the local coffee house.
The subsequent late lunch at Ninos´ Wine Bar was accompanied by an interesting and humorous explanation of the story of the Maronites in Cyprus by an expert in the field of history.
Strengthened by delicious Kleftiko meat and grilled fish, as well as red wine and white wine from local producers, the group made its way home in the late afternoon.
Once again a successful event of the TFR.
Learn more about the Maronites and Korucam by clicking here!
Or watch a short video clip below!
The Turkish army is on alert in the aftermath of its downing of a Syrian jet, President Abdullah Gül said March 24, amid heightened tension on the border.
Speaking to reporters in The Hague on the sidelines of a nuclear summit, Gül said Turkey had “done what was necessary, in accordance with previously announced rules of engagement.”
Turkish fighter jets shot down a Syrian warplane on March 23 after it reportedly violated Turkish airspace. Gül said the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were on alert on land, sea and air, given the dangerous situation in the neighboring country. According to the TSK, Syrian aircrafts and helicopters have violated Turkish airspace 42 times in the last four months.
“The security forces protected Turkey’s border successfully when a [Syrian plane] crossed into Turkish airspace,” Gül said. “This is a national matter. Therefore, I expressed our confidence that the chief of generals would fulfill his duty.”
Tension is still high in the region, with a number of mortar shells recently landing in Hatay province and Turkish troops near the border returning the fire.
The military also stated that a Syrian missile system had “harassed” a Turkish fighter jet for more than four minutes by locking radar onto it. It said the incident took place on March 23, the same day that the Syrian plane was shot down. It was not immediately clear if the radar-lock happened before or after the plane was shot down. The military said the Turkish F-16 jet was on a routine patrol of the Turkish-Syrian border when it was harassed by SA-5 missile system.
“A Syrian plane violated our airspace, our F-16 took off and shot it down,” Erdoğan said while addressing his supporters in Kocaeli. “I congratulate our chief of general staff and our pilots.”
A second Syrian jet, which also entered Turkish airspace, was reportedly able to escape Turkish anti-aircraft fire.
“Our response from now will be heavy if you violate our airspace,” Erdoğan said, referring to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
President Abdullah Gül, who has left the country for an official visit to the Netherlands, has called army chief Gen. Necdet Özel to congratulate him.
Shortly after Erdoğan’s words, Damascus also confirmed that the plane was shot down by Turkey.