Northern Syria’s Kurdish autonomous government is appealing to the NATO leadership not to be blackmailed by Ankara. Sweden’s and Finland’s planned entry into NATO must not come at the expense of northern Syrian self-government. After making concessions to the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he would intensify his war against the Kurdish autonomy movement.

“Kneeling before Erdogan will torpedo efforts to find a peaceful solution in Syria,” said Khaled Davrisch, the representative of the self-government of North and East Syria in Berlin, the daily mirror. “Together with jihadist allies, the Turkish regime already occupies numerous places in Syria and regularly bombs our cities.”

If the West now gives in and reduces humanitarian aid on the ground, this would be tantamount to capitulation. “We appeal to the international community not to be drawn into Turkey’s policy, which aims to control NATO and harm the peoples of the region,” said Davrisch.

The fact that Erdogan feels encouraged by the Ukraine crisis is also shown by the fact that his army has penetrated kilometers deep into Greece with fighter jets. This refers to overflights by the Turkish Air Force near the port of Alexandroupolis. Greece, like Turkey a NATO member, officially filed a complaint on Friday for violating its airspace.

After threatening to block the two Scandinavian countries’ planned NATO membership, Erdogan called Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland’s head of state Sauli Niinistö on Saturday. The Turkish presidential office then said that Sweden was expected to take “concrete and serious steps” against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its allies in Syria and Iraq.

At the same time, Erdogan demanded Swedish arms deliveries for his country, which were suspended because of Ankara’s invasion of Syria in 2019. Turkish troops have been attacking Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq for years. In Germany, too, this was described as violating international law because Turkey was not threatened by the Kurds.

The PKK is also banned in the EU and has been fighting for independence since the 1980s, now for autonomy in the Kurdish region in south-eastern Turkey. According to the Turkish state, PKK supporters are not being persecuted hard enough in Scandinavia. Above all, Swedish and Finnish politicians recognize the US-backed autonomous region in northern Syria called Rojava. A coalition governs there led by the secular Kurdish party PYD, which is close to the PKK.

In particular, the Kurdish YPG militia within the multinational, intersectarian alliance SDF had liberated northern Syria from “Islamic State” (IS). The political arm of the SDF, the Syrian Democratic Council, was received in Stockholm by Foreign Minister Ann Linde. And Sweden’s Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist spoke to SDF commander Mazlum Abdi.

Formally, the self-government, in which Assyrians, Arabs and Turkmen live alongside Kurds, is called the “Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria” and has opened representations worldwide. These are sometimes more, sometimes less recognized as de facto messages. There are offices in Washington, Brussels, Prague – and Berlin, among other places. In Germany, the Rojava representation is largely ignored. Annalena Baerbock (Greens) was the first minister to speak of “Kurdish self-government” when German Islamists captured from there were flown to the Federal Republic in March. Predecessor Heiko Maas (SPD) avoided talking about Syria’s Kurds so as not to provoke Erdogan.

One still pleads for Syria to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 of 2015, said Rojava representative Davrisch in Berlin. The resolution provides for the government of Bashar al-Assad and the opposition to speak to each other under UN moderation. A ceasefire is mandatory for this, with the exception of internationally coordinated attacks on IS and al-Qaeda offshoots in Syria.

The goal is the formation of an interim government, the future of Assad is deliberately excluded from the UN resolution. Otherwise Russia would not have supported them. The administration in northern Syria hopes to be able to get an autonomous region like the Kurds in northern Iraq.