NY Times’ praise cannot erase violations in Turkish-controlled Afrin - opinion

The New York Times has extolled Turkey’s military occupation in northern Syria targeting Kurds, who have been long-time noble and reliable allies of the United States, Bernard-Henri Lévy and Thomas S. Kaplan, co-founders of non-profit Justice for Kurds (JFK) said.

An article published by the newspaper re-titled “In Turkey’s Safe Zone in Syria, Security and Misery Go Hand in Hand,” was effectively an exercise in pro-Ankara propaganda that “neatly parrots the Turkish military occupation’s script,’’ the pair wrote in the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Turkey has launched three military offensives into neighbouring Syria since 2016, targeting Kurdish forces Ankara sees as a threat due to their alleged links to an insurgency on Turkish soil, namely the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The NY Times has overlooked what is unfolding in places like Afrin, they said, where there is an unprecedented deterioration in human rights, particularly for women, being “perpetrated in plain sight by a NATO member.’’

Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch of January to March 2018 resulted in the displacement of an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 Kurds. Since then, Turkey-backed Syrian rebel groups who have control in the city have been accused of committing war crimes and rights violations, including reports of religious persecution, kidnappings in extrajudicial raids and imprisonment in secret military detention centres.

The JFK co-founders called on the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to consider a number of initiatives, including the declaration of his predecessor Donald Trump’s betrayal of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), continuing to support the SDF and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Peshmerga in battling the Islamic State (ISIS).

“Kurds lost over 11,000 dead and 23,000 wounded in the brutal fight against our common enemy, the Islamic State – compared to our loss of fewer than a dozen heroic souls,’’ the pair wrote.