Analysis: Terrorist organization PKK/YPG's mask of democratization and effort to become a state through lobbying - M5 Dergi
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Analysis: Terrorist organization PKK/YPG’s mask of democratization and effort to become a state through lobbying

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In addition to legal legitimacy it seeks to establish with new declaration, terrorist organization PKK/YPG aims to establish democratic legitimacy with municipal elections. However, all these efforts will be meaningless without publicity, recognition

Even though Türkiye’s and the world’s agendas are dominated by the Russia-Ukraine war and Israel’s attacks on Gaza, the change in the agenda does not mean that the status quo in Syria is frozen. The PKK/YPG terrorist organization has declared a new “constitution” for the recognition of the “Democratic Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria” in Syria. However, the elections are postponed to a later date, and it is not clear when elections will be held.

Two different views within terrorist organization regarding legitimization, recognition

The so-called autonomous administration, which the terrorist organization has been running de facto in Syria since 2019 without any major obstacles, administratively governed a large area corresponding to approximately one-fourth of Syria, where 3 million Syrians live and where agriculture and oil resources are located. However, the terrorist organization’s goal is not limited to the actual functioning of its autonomous administration in Syria. The terrorist organization wants the autonomous administration to be officially recognized.

In line with this goal, two views prevail within the organization. The first view is to negotiate with Damascus and reach an agreement with the Assad regime to officially recognize the autonomous administration and include it in the Syrian constitution. However, in this context, although the negotiations between the terrorist organization YPG and the Assad regime, which started in 2019 with the mediation of Russia, are still ongoing, they have not reached a conclusion until today. Especially the maximalist demands of the YPG and those within the organization who do not want to lose the support of the United States (US) are the biggest obstacles to an agreement between the two sides.

The second view within the YPG is that it is necessary to strengthen cooperation with the US and bypass Damascus in order to gain international legitimacy. This second group argues that after the US recognizes the “Democratic Autonomous Administration for North and East Syria,” it is more effective to impose this structure on Damascus and become part of the political solution in Syria.

Seeking legal legitimacy

The new social declaration announced by the organization in recent months is a manifestation of the second view while retaining the first. The announced social contract is designed as a pseudo-constitution. It deals with the functioning, identity, and state structure of the so-called autonomous administration. While there are many autocratic and Arab-excluding elements in the text, there are also many “nice” words, such as democracy, women’s rights, protection of the environment and so on, which should please Western public opinion in particular.

The declaration is both an attempt to create a legal basis for the de facto so-called autonomous government and to gain international legitimacy. However, it is not only the West that is concerned here, but also the Assad regime. The text lays out the grounds for an agreement with Damascus and the organization’s political position and includes political demands ranging from changing the name of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Syrian Democratic Republic and accepting the so-called autonomous administration.

Municipal elections, demographic realities, and search for democratic legitimacy

With the declaration, the organization quickly formed the Legislative Committee. This committee will not draft the laws mentioned in the declaration. The PKK/YPG terrorist organization also appointed the Supreme Electoral Council. The members of the Supreme Electoral Council and the Legislative Committee were appointed by the organization without any democratic process.

The Supreme Electoral Council drafted the law on municipal elections while the Legislative Committee drafted the law on municipalities. The conditions set out in the electoral law and the municipal law are the result of the organization’s dilemma between recognition and demographic realities. Indeed, 76% of the regions under YPG control have an Arab population. The 19% of Kurds who are living in this area support the Syrian Kurdish National Council, not the terrorist organization. If there were democratic elections, the organization would be buried in the ballot box. However, June 11 saw no elections, which hindered the organization’s efforts to gain international recognition.

The PKK/YPG terrorist organization learned from the Assad regime and meticulously drafted the electoral law and the municipal law, taking great precautions to ensure that there were no “democratic accidents” in the process. All candidates and political parties participating in municipal elections must obtain permission from the terrorist organization YPG. No party that is not aligned with the terrorist organization, including political parties representing Syrian Kurds, is allowed to enter the elections. The vote-counting process in the elections will also be carried out by people appointed by the terrorist organization. The votes counted by the terrorist organization PKK/YPG’s appointees will only be announced by the organization-appointed Supreme Electoral Council. As if that wasn’t enough, only PYD members will be allowed to be elected to the regional municipal council, which brings together those elected as mayors. Thus, the terrorist organization will organize elections in Syria, albeit for show. In this way, the organization aims both to prevent a “democratic accident” and to present itself internationally as legitimate, democratic, and elected, just as the Baath Party in Syria has been doing for years.

Deal with US lobbying firm

In addition to the legal legitimacy it seeks to establish with the new declaration, the terrorist organization PKK/YPG aims to establish democratic legitimacy with the municipal elections. However, all these efforts will be meaningless without publicity and recognition. Aware of this, the terrorist organization PKK/YPG struck a deal with the well-known and influential Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck lobbying firm in the US for $50,000 per month. It is not a coincidence that the organization, which in previous years had contracted with a less well-known and less effective American lobbying firm for $7,000 per month, has almost moved up a class in lobbying. The first article of the lobbying agreement signed with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is to work for US recognition of the “Democratic Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria.”

Whether the PKK/YPG terrorist organization’s efforts will be successful or not is a matter of debate, but it is certain that the terrorist organization is working and taking steps for the recognition of the so-called autonomous administration it has actually established in Syria.

Source: AA / Omer Ozkizilcik

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