Spartan Shield

Ethnic cleansing modernized

Ricardo Meyer, Feature Editor

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It has been going on for 7 years at the cost of over 400,000 lives. The civil war in Syria, a bloody clash of political and religious beliefs, that evolved to an international conflict with various world powers participation, directly and indirectly.

One of these powers is Turkey, a country located on the border between southern Europe and Asia that gained media attention due to its recent actions in Syria. The man responsible for recent events is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself, having the complete power over the military, which has not always been the case. Turkey, until recently, underwent a couple of constitutional changes that lead to the executive branch of government becoming significantly more powerful than before.

The constitutional change has raised controversy all around the world, leaving politicians to raise the question, if Turkey’s abolished a major part of its democracy. Nevertheless, the Erdogan administration proceeded with their own goals for Turkey, one of them being the systematic removal of the political opposition and the promotion of religion.

Another point on Erdogan’s agenda is getting rid of the Kurds in Turkey and surrounding regions. “If the terrorists in Afrin don’t surrender” he said referring to the YPG, “a Kurdish militia receiving aid from the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State, “we will tear them down.” Erdogan’s statement would not remain a threat, as turkish troops stationed in Syria began shelling several Kurdish villages in the Afrin region later that week.

Sadly, abomination for the Kurds has been part of the country since the 1980s, when the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), classified as a terror organization by the European Union and the United States, was outlawed. Clashes between Turkey and the PKK continued since, claiming hundreds of lifes on both sides. Claiming that the YPG is a branch-off of the PKK and thus a terror organization, despite the lack of international approval, the turkish government engaged in fightings against the group as well.

The conflict however, has stretched far beyond Turkey’s borders and found new ground to be carried out. Escalation followed Erdogan’s new announcement, “Beginning from the west, step by step,” he said, “we will annihilate the terror corridor up to the Iraqi border,” ordering the turkish military to bomb the Afrin region with 72 jets, starting Operation “Olive Branch”, which could kill thousands of Kurds living in the region.

International responses to Turkey’s ethnic cleansing in Syria were weak. Nothing, apart from the regular condemnation, was seen from the European Union, the United States or the rest of the world. The killing of the Kurds however, is continuing even as you read this article and needs to be stopped immediately, after all, we are all humans, no matter what we believe in.

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Ethnic cleansing modernized