The Syrian Civil War is one of those events with the highest numbers of people forced out of their homes since the Second World War. Syria, in which according to UN figures, some 200,000 people have died, tens of thousands have been tortured in the prisons of the Ba’ath regime and millions more have been injured, has literally become a ghost country. It is known that some seven million people have had to leave their homes. Some of these have relocated within Syria, while a great many have fled to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The scale of the human tragedy in Syria is terrifying. Ever since the first day of the fighting, we have been speaking of the need for a secure zone for civilians and a no-fly zone. The current position makes establishing a secure zone a matter of the ultimate urgency. The West, which even remained silent when the Assad regime killed its own people with poison gas, must provide assistance for elderly people, women and children fleeing the wickedness of Assad, and ISIL and the PKK, and must no longer ignore the sufferings of these innocent yet wronged people. A secure no-fly zone must be established without any further delay, and the Syrian people must be given the means to live in peace.
A Secure Zone Is Not a Military Operation. It is a strategy with entirely civilian ends that aims the protection of women, children and the elderly. It means protecting those who cannot protect themselves. It means offering people who have left behind their homes, jobs and schools the opportunity to rebuild their lives, instead of suffering for long years under primitive conditions. It is the responsibility of the entire world to procure a safe place to live in peace for people who have suffered for three years under the barrel bombs and torture of the regime, threats from ISIL and pressure from the PKK, for those whose homes have been burned and whose places of worship have been destroyed. If the world is unable to provide a place of refuge for these homeless, hungry and suffering people, that means there has been a collapse in the collective conscience of mankind. People who fail to follow the path of good conscience may one day, may God forbid, find themselves expecting others to follow that path as well. All bureaucratic obstacles must therefore be done away with and a security zone be established at once.
A Secure Zone will mean refuge and protection for the Kurds. Reports of Turkey assisting ISIL and abandoning the Kurds under difficult circumstances do not reflect the truth. First of all, Turkey’s concept of Islam is totally incompatible with ISIL, and is in fact the antidote to radical terror. As a country that has fought terror for more than 30 years, Turkey would never behave in such a way as to support ISIL. At a time when ISIL was not even yet on many European countries’ agendas , Turkey included it on the list of terror organizations and adopted the same policy against ISIL as against all other terror organizations. One of the main aims of the black propaganda carried out by the PKK and its sympathizers is to ensure moral and material support of America and the West for the PKK. Yet it is Turkey that is the protector of the Kurdish people, not the PKK. During ISIL’s attack on Kobani, the PKK fled, leaving Kurdish mothers, children and old people behind, while the Syrian Kurds fleeing from ISIL found safety in Turkey. The PKK that fought with unconventional war tactics up in the mountains grew strong only by shooting Turkish soldiers in the back. Down on the plains, however, it suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of ISIL, which used the same unconventional warfare tactics. The myth of ‘heroic Kurdish guerrillas against ISIL’ thus also came to an end. If the USA and the West want to protect the Kurds, they need to support Turkey, not the Leninist, Stalinist PKK who wants to build a new North Korea in the region. Establishment of a secure zone will represent a guarantee for the Kurds, especially those living in Kobani.
A Secure Zone is not a policy of occupation. Turkey has never adopted an aggressive policy toward its neighbors. The Turkish Army is known for its mercy and compassion. It has never taken any step that is in conflict with justice and law towards neighboring countries, despite the fact that they nourished the terror organization who pointed guns at it. When a secure zone is established, the Turkish Army will naturally be its protective force. Turkish troops, who have proved their compassion and notions of service in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Somalia, will also represent the finest means on the Turkish-Syrian border for people taking shelter in it by fleeing for their lives.
The whole world has a responsibility to establish a secure zone in which people fleeing from Syria can live. The number of refugees accepted by all EU countries put together in 2013 entered Turkey in one day just last week. The number of our guests coming to Turkey from Kobani has exceeded 130,000. The total number of Syrian refugees admitted by Turkey is estimated in the region of two million. The money spent on these Syrian refugees has exceeded seven billion Turkish liras. That is more than the total budgets of many ministries in Turkey. We, as the Turkish nation, are delighted to host to our neighbors as they flee from suffering. However, the fact that this is an international problem must not be ignored.
When it comes to human life, peace and security, it is unacceptable to waste even a single minute. The building of a secure zone must not be delayed any further by meaningless arguments and artificial bureaucratic obstacles. The protection of innocent Syrians is a humane responsibility, one which the whole world must assume without any further delay.
Adnan Oktar's piece on News Rescue: