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'Carved-up Syria will embolden Turkey's extremists'

Published time: September 26, 2012 02:55
Edited time: October 12, 2012 16:42

A vehicle burns after an explosion in the center of Tunceli on September 25, 2012. (AFP Photo/Str)

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The extremist situation in Turkey could worsen in the aftermath of a dissolved Syria, giving Kurdish rebels a nearby base, Paul Sheldon Foote, a professor at California State University at Irvine told RT.

­Foote believes that if Syria is partitioned, Turkey could also become divided, as its Kurdish population is double that of its southern neighbor.

RT: What is behind this most recent escalation of the separatist conflict?

Paul Sheldon Foote: I think the example of autonomy given to the Kurds in Syria, given by Assad, is an inspiration for Kurds everywhere that they too can be more autonomous. It is weird that the Turkish leaders have hosted the Kurdish leaders of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul, but they will not give enough rights to their own people. Since the 1920s, the Turks have killed tens of thousands of Kurds. The have tried to destroy their language and their culture, and yet they claim to care about the people in Syria? Give me a break!

RT: Turkey is one of the biggest supporters of the rebellion in Syria, yet the autonomous aspirations of its own citizens are being met with force. Do you consider this a sound strategy?

PF: I think the Kurds in all those countries are in a very good position now. The European Union has made it clear to Turkey for a long time that it will not be welcomed into the European Union until it cleans up its act with the Kurds. You have their autonomy going on in Syria, which strengthens the Kurds and in Iraq, you have the Jewish Kurds that have even brought in an Israeli consultant to create a central bank and create a separate Kurdistan. They are certainly going to be encouraged by these developments.

RT: Ankara has been providing shelter for Syrian rebels, allowing them to rearm and regroup before going back into battle. Isn't the Turkish government wary that the camps full of weapons and militants may slip out of its control?

PF: I hope that they would understand that a broken up Syria means that there would be a very friendly base for the PKK in Syria. In fact, a large number of the Syrian Kurds came from Turkey when they fled the massacres over the years. 

RT: If the Syrian state falls apart, two Kurdish groups with their sights on independence will border Turkish Kurdistan. Is this really the scenario Ankara wants to see emerge?

PF: No, they don’t. If it is an al-Qaeda carve-up of Syria into pieces, including Kurdistan, it should be equally located to carve-up Turkey. The percentage of Kurds in Turkey is double that of Syria, so what is good for Syria, is good for Turkey. The Turks deserve it.

RT: On what basis can the international community choose which separatist movements it should be fostering or squelching?

PF: You can add Canada to your list. They have frequent votes on separation, including recently. We have no business interfering in these events. We had no business interfering in Libya. We certainly have no business intervening in Syria and carving it up. The West created these artificial boundaries after WWI and put people together that normally would not be together, and now they’re trying to undo everything and make them all such small countries that are not economically viable or politically strong. I hope the people in the region understand the goal of NATO and the Zionists.

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