Rahila Gupta

The Assault on Rojava

On 9 October, Turkey began a military invasion on northern Syria to attack the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It’s an open secret that Turkey has been waiting in the wings for an opportunity to annihilate the Kurdish autonomous region Rojava in northeastern Syria, ever since it was established in 2012 while Assad’s attention was focussed on the civil uprising, part of the Arab Spring, in the south.

According to President Erdoğan of Turkey, the Kurdish struggle for self-determination, in south-east Turkey, led by the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê) which is proscribed by the authorities as ‘terrorist’, is closely related to the PYD (Democratic Union Party) in Rojava.

There is no doubt that theirs is a shared ideology, one that has been formulated by their joint leader, Abdullah Öcalan, now in his 21st year of incarceration in a Turkish prison.  But the PYD’s organizing principle is democratic confederalism: a system of direct democracy, ecological sustainability and ethnic inclusivity, where women have veto powers on new legislation and share all institutional positions with men.

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