Sinjar 2.0: Yazidis face the risk of massacres once again as Turkey-backed jihadists attack Afrin

by Gokcan Aydogan    


For President Erdogan, Afrin is only the beginning in his "campaign of conquest". Erdogan has promised to cleanse all of northern Syria from those who stand in the way of its neo-Ottoman expansionist plans, especially the Kurds of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

United salutes of the fascists and the Islamists

Never has Erdogan made such overt gestures to court ultranationalists. On March 10th, he welcomed his followers at the AKP Congress in Mersin with the wolf salute of the Ultranationalist Gray Wolves. 

This has never happened before.  

That the Turkish president would use, quite frankly, a fascist salute to reaffirm Turkey's right to "self-defence" in the territory of another sovereign land, Syria, points to the absurdity of our time. Imagine Chancellor Merkel invading Poland, claiming to do so to defend German democracy, and then placating to the most regressive elements in German society by raising her hand to the Hitler salute. Would that be outrageous, would that be absurd?

Erdogan's ultranationalism didn't stop there either. He called on his congregation to chant "One nation, one flag, one homeland, one state", he did so while raised his hand to the wolf salute. The Gray Wolves are a Turkish fascist organization. They've murdered and massacred non-Muslim minorities, Alevis, Kurds and the Left. Their behaviour has been well documented in Germany since the 1970s.

But ultranationalism is not the only dimension to the Erdogan doctrine. Indeed, the other side was materialised by the Deputy Prime Minister Lutfi Elvan, who with the Rabia greeting of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, stood by Erdogan for moral support. Erdogan himself has been using this greeting for quite some time. 

Erdogan has now given a new meaning to the salute of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: When he throws his four fingers up, thumbs in, we cannot mourn for those who died on that square. Particularly as he chants the slogan "One nation, one flag, one homeland, one state." Such an act is not mourning, it's a demand for blood. 

The Wolf salute and the Rabia greeting, these are the key pillars of the new ideological orientation guiding Erdogan's Turkey.

Posters with Kirkuk, Mosul and Afrin as new Turkish provinces

The fascist Gray Wolves Party MHP seems to understand this as well, because it was in several Turkish cities - where while they alluded to the existing 81 provinces of Turkey - they hung posters that read: "82 Kirkuk, 83 Mosul and now 84 Afrin".

At the congress, Erdogan made it clear that he shared the Gray Wolves imperial ambitions. Afrin is not his only target. The next destinations for his trail of blood are Manbij, Kobani, Tel Abyad, Sere Kaniye and Qamislo. They are, as he has himself expressed, "targets" in his neo-ottoman fantasy. 

Threats of a massacre in Afrin

Islamist groups and the Turkish special forces are about 1 km away from the city of Afrin, according to media reports. In the northeast of Afrin, there are fierce attacks with air strikes and artillery fire.

Hundreds of thousands of people are almost surrounded and abandoned for slaughter. 

Kurds, Christians, Yazidis and Arabs -- all who have joined the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and are fighting for a democratic Syria, are afraid of a retaliatory massacre. The governments of the US, Russia and Europe are complicit with their silence. The near future is uncertain. 

French journalist Jeremy Andre, who has just returned from Afrin, has warned that the humanitarian situation in Afrin could become worse than Eastern Ghouta. He criticized the international media coverage of Afrin, which had completely failed to report well on the conflict:

"In the cases of Aleppo, Idlib, Ghouta, but also Raqqa and Mosul, TV stations have never had problems using videos from local journalists or activists - even from the IS! Then why do not you show the Turkish attacks on Afrin?" he asks.

Andre recounts the stories of extreme violence by radical groups fighting alongside Turkey. The people of Afrin would only have the choice to flee to the Islamist "rebel areas" or to areas controlled by the Syrian government, where the men would be arrested and forcibly recruited to the Syrian army.

The French journalist reports on over one million people in and around Afrin city. The Turkish troops had also cut off Afrin's water and electricity supply as they had brought the Midanki dam under their control.

The Central Council of the Yazidis in Germany reports on calls for help to Afrin and calls on the international community to intervene immediately to prevent a massacre of civilians. The Yazidis have been trapped once again, according to  Sheikh Esmad Barimou.

"We still had the hope that the world community would intervene to end this war ... but our hope seems to be in vain. Afrin is encircled and our relatives are trapped. Similar to Shengal, we expect a massacre by the jihadists," reads the Central Council of Yazidis in Germany statement.

Turkish military and Islamists have already captured and looted several Yazidi villages. Qastel Jando village is an example. In the video, the Islamists are seen screaming, laughing and cheering at the village square: "This is the market of these pigs," meaning the Yazidis.

Many villagers have been missing since the Turkey-backed jihadists attacked. It is feared that the events of 2014 in the Yazidi city of Sinjar could now be repeated with the help of Turkey in the Syrian city of Afrin. Again, especially as the Yazidis are particularly vulnerable to kidnapping, murder and expulsion.

The double standard of the German Federal Government, which on the one hand has declared itself as "the patron of the Yazidis" and boasts of providing a temporary home and psychological support for Yazidi women , and on the other hand provides arms sales to Turkey is particularly embarrassing. The silence of the German Government is particularly embarrasing.