German think-tank exposes PYD's anti-democratic practices

German think-tank specialised in Kurdish studies indicates that Syria’s PYD implements anti-democratic practices and forced recruitment in the territories it controls.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Eva Savelsberg, the chair of the Berlin-based European Center for Kurdish Studies, has been shown in an undated picture.

Updated Apr 27, 2016

Human rights violations and anti-democratic measures have reached new heights under the PYD-controlled territories in northern Syria, according to a German research center.

“What they [PYD] regularly do is to take on offices of other Syrian Kurdish political parties. They arrest members of these parties, they are imprisoned sometimes only for a couple of days, but sometimes also for weeks or months,” said Eva Savelsberg, who is the chair of the Berlin-based European Center for Kurdish Studies.

“A lot of human rights organisations, for example, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, they also agree with us that there is torture in those PYD prisons,” said Savelsberg during an interview with Anadolu Agency.

She also underlined that the PYD was given free rein by the Assad regime to recruit militants in northern Syria because the regime has granted the PYD a kind of autonomy in Syria’s northern territories at the expense of other Kurdish groups.

“Another real problem is the forced recruitment which has been done since 2013. I generally think that it’s a problem to recruit people into a militia, of course, because they don’t have any chance to say ‘No, I don’t want that,’" she stated.

“Interestingly, the Syrian regime doesn’t recruit people anymore in the Kurdish regions, so they really gave up this job to the PYD,” she said.

In addition, she commented on PYD’s disputed relationship with the PKK saying that “For us there is no difference really between the PKK on the one hand and the PYD on the other; the PYD is simply the Syrian branch of the PKK.”

Turkey also considers the PYD as the Syria affiliate of the PKK which is recognised as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, the EU, and NATO.

“We should know that since the YPG [the militant wing of the PYD] and PKK are in the end the same group, of course weapons received inside Syria will also be used in Turkey [against security forces]. We shouldn’t be naive about that,” she expounded.

“So one day you can be in Turkey and fight there as part of the PKK against the Turkish state; the next day they can call you, they can tell you to go to Syria and fight there as part of the YPG,” she said.

“I think it’s very clear that those weapons given to the PYD by the United States, by Russia, and of course by the Syrian regime will also be used in Turkey, so it’s quite clear that Turkey is concerned about this development."

TRTWorld and agencies