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June 18th, 2018

Insight

Ruthless Erdogan will show no mercy on the Kurds

Paul Greenberg

By Paul Greenberg

Published March 27,2018

Ruthless Erdogan will show no mercy on the Kurds

It is a terrible thing to be a people without a state or province to call its own. Just ask the Kurds, who now find themselves under the hell of Turkey's ruthless ruler, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who may as well be one of the Turkish sultans of the past.

For he has unleashed a campaign of genocidal fury against people of his ever-expanding realm. And no one can say the world hasn't been given fair warning of his genocidal intentions. At latest report, his troops and some Syrian puppets under his control were driving farther and farther east, planning to cross the Euphrates, occupying one Kurdish town and village after another. And not just old borders, but the old Kurdish names of cities are to be wiped off the map to oblige the all-conquering aggressor.

All around the Turkish border with what should be an independent Kurdistan, Ankara's ruler is establishing his own arbitrary rule and calling it peace. "We'll continue this process," he declares, "until we completely abolish this corridor," which has been labeled a "terror corridor" because the Kurds won't bow to his dictates.

And there's no telling where he and his minions might strike next. "One night," he warns, "we could suddenly enter Sinjar," or go as far as Qamishli -- even though that's currently Syrian territory. In the Middle East, nothing may prove as fluid as borders.

But you can't keep good people like the Kurds down indefinitely. By now they've been reduced to fighting a guerrilla war against the Turks, waging hit-and-run attacks against the Turkish legions. The organization dedicated to reporting the human toll of all this warfare -- the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights -- says more than 280 civilians and 1,500 Kurdish freedom fighters have died in the latest exchange of attacks, along with all the other symptoms of anarchy that devour nations left to the not-so-tender mercies of waging perpetual war in the name of establishing perpetual peace.

What the Turkish ruler calls peace, however, bears more than a little resemblance to utter devastation. Both residents of the Kurdish city and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights report the usual looting and wanton destruction that dominate war-torn cities. The news coverage shows burnt-out shops and invaders both uniformed and civilian carting away household goods from Kurdish homes. Others drive away with stolen tractors and farm supplies.

A commander of the Turkish-supported Syrian forces blames the looting on thieves and says a special unit to protect property has been formed to prevent further robberies. But who's to prevent this special police force from taking its own share of the loot? Thieves come in so many guises and disguises, including those donned by oh-so-officials.

And so it goes when law and order collapse. And an old and loyal ally is betrayed once again. God have mercy on the Kurds, for it is clear the Turks will show none.

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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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