Image Bayraktar TB2: Bayhaluk / CC BY-SA-4.0
Using drones against civilians; more attacks in northern Iraq. German weapons in Libya
In the war against the Kurdish population in Turkey, northern Syria and northern Iraq, Turkey is increasingly using combat drones. With the argument of acting against the Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK, it tries to legitimize its attacks in neighboring countries, which violate international law. In fact, however, it hits the civilian population: especially women and children.
Last week, in a village near Kobane in northern Syria, three civilians, including two activists from the Kurdish women’s organization Kongreya Star killed by a Turkish army combat drone. Despite the clear responsibility of Turkey, this extra-legal execution of Syrian citizens inside Syria was not reported by almost all German media.
The village of Helince is located three kilometers southeast of the city of Kobane. Here, the two leading members of the Kurdish Women’s Organization of Northern and Eastern Syria, Zehra Berkel (30) and Hebun Mele Xelil, are sitting in the garden of the 60-year-old homeowner Amina Waysi. Berkel was coordinator of the feminist umbrella organization Kongreya Star for the Euphrates region and Xelil belonged to the leadership of the women’s federation in Kobani.
A Turkish army combat drone shelled the woman’s home, killing all three women. The women’s umbrella organization Kongreya Star Plays an important role in the fight for equality and women’s rights in northern and eastern Syria. This civil society organization is deeply rooted in society, with a large number of women organized in it, right down to the village level.
Telepolis recently reported on the Turkish government’s efforts to crush the democratic women’s movement in Turkey. This murder shows once again that the Turkish regime does not stop at territorial borders when it comes to terrorizing and crushing leftist, democratic or emancipatory Kurdish movements.
Already in 2013, three Kurdish leftist women’s rights activists were murdered in Paris by a Turkish agent, including the well-known revolutionary Sakine Cansiz, who was active in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). In 2016, three Kurdish female politicians were assassinated by Turkish soldiers in the Turkish border town of Silopi. In October 2019, the leader of the Syrian Future Party, Hevrin Khalaf, was assassinated by members of a pro-Turkish militia during the Turkish invasion of northern Syria.
A few hours before the drone attack near Kobane, an explosive device detonated in front of the women’s center in Basira in the eastern Syrian region of Deir el-Sor. This attack is attributed to the proto-Turkish militia Ahrar Al-Sharkiyah.
Jelpke: Drone strike is a war crime
Ulla Jelpke, a member of the Bundestag and domestic policy spokeswoman for the Left Party, called the drone attack a war crime and an act of state terrorism. She recalled that the drone attack took place, "A few days after the Turkish Air Force bombed the Maxmur refugee camp and the Yazidi settlement areas as well as Kurdish villages in northern Iraq".
"Instead of continuing to support Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman madness with its silence, financial aid and vast amounts of weapons, the German government must now make its position clear and finally disclose its one-sided collaboration with Ankara, which is oriented towards geopolitical and economic interests."
Kamal Sido of the Society for Threatened People reports that the local people are safe, "that the attack was aimed at the Kurdish activist who has been campaigning for women’s rights in Syria for years".
attacks on Kobane
For the Kurdish population and many other people around the world, the city of Kobane is a symbol against the tyranny of the so-called "Kurdish regime "Islamic State" (IS) has become. Turkey is now attacking this very city to demand Erdogan’s Islamist agenda.
Critics point out that the area around Kobane has been part of the Russian sphere of influence since October 2019. Since regular Russian-Turkish military patrols take place there, it is unlikely that Russia did not know about the attacks. It is also pointed out that the Turkish state terror could be stopped by closing the airspace for Turkish fighter planes and combat drones. Apparently, however, Russia lacks the political will to do so.
For a long time there have been rumors that Turkey wants to annex the symbolic Kobane as well as the annexed areas of Afrin, Sere Kaniye (Tell Abyad) and Gire Spi (Ras al-Ain) in order to humiliate the Kurdish population.
As in Turkey, Erdogan’s aim is to demutualize and persecute those Kurds who stand up for their minority rights. In order to bring this to the attention of its own people, it used the familiar framing that all non-assimilated Kurds, all Kurds who campaign for recognition as an ethnic group in the multi-ethnic state of Turkey, are to be treated as "Kurds" "Terrorists" and are considered to be supporters of the PKK.
Turkish drone war escalates in the Middle East
The use of Turkish combat drones in the conflict areas of the Middle East holds new potential for conflict. In the Western media, this topic is largely hushed up, and this despite the fact that Turkey, a NATO member, is increasingly acting against NATO interests with this too. Turkey is increasingly using drones to target not only members of armed groups, but also politicians and civilians it dislikes, without respecting territorial borders "to execute".
In northern Iraq, civilians are repeatedly killed by Turkish drones, attack helicopters and combat bombers. Most recently, Turkish fighter jets bombed the Kani Masi resort near Suleymania. Since the new Turkic operation "Eagle Claw" from 15. June in northern Iraq, at least 5 civilians have been killed in airstrikes. The Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that no civilians were harmed, they only had "Terrorists" targeted.
However, a video from the Iraqi-Turkish news agency Rudaw showing a family with young children playing and splashing in a body of water until an airstrike turned the situation on its head provides a different picture.
The consequences of Turkey’s drone war are still unclear. Erdogan can still send his combat drones everywhere without opposition from the international community or NATO. For so far, after all, Turkey’s drone war is directed only against minorities and political opponents in the Middle East. The combat drones "Bayraktar" are produced by the company of the Erdogan son-in-law’s family.
In the meantime, they are also stationed in front of the EU’s front door – z.B. on a Turkish drone base in Northern Cyprus. Against this backdrop of the threat to an EU member state, the billions of euros in weapons supplied by Germany to Turkey also had to be urgently questioned: What kind of argument is it to say that it is not supplying weapons for use in Syria, but only maritime components??
Aren’t Turkey’s maritime weapons intended for use against Cyprus and Greece, and aren’t they already being used in the Libyan civil war, ultimately to escort illegal Turkish arms shipments to Libya??
With German help, the Turkish naval forces are currently being rushed to the Eastern Mediterranean to protect Turkish gas wells in the Cypriot and Greek economic zones, where they have been harassing the drilling ships of other states.
Turkey considers the Eastern Mediterranean as a Turkish economic zone, including the areas around Greek islands east of Crete, which according to international maritime law belong to Greece, Cyprus and Egypt.