I welcome the fact that we have the opportunity to raise this issue today. The expression "words fail me" is totally inadequate to describe how I felt when I heard President Trump say earlier that the Kurds did not help the US in Normandy in the First World War, so why should he defend them now. These are the same Kurds who have fought alongside the US against ISIS for the past five years. This Turkish offensive is called, ironically, Operation Peace Spring. We know the history of the suffering of the Kurdish people. I do not think any people have suffered as much as the Kurds. Promises were made to them by the western allies after the First World War, which provided for a Kurdish state, but that was abandoned. Instead, the Kurds were given minority status in various countries, including Turkey where they have suffered appalling human rights violations. They have never had their own permanent state.
The Kurds were defending their enclaves in northern Syria against ISIS. Their Peshmerga forces defended parts of Iraq against ISIS when those areas were abandoned by the Iraqi army. We know about Kobane and Raqqa and other areas that had been taken over by ISIS, where the Kurds have been steadily driving ISIS out. We also know what happened in those ISIS-controlled areas. It appears that President Erdoan's agenda is driven by the need to boost his own popularity after the mayoral defeat in Istanbul. Those who suffer the most are the civilians, most of whom have already been displaced from their own countries. We also have the issue of ISIS fighters who were captured in the area. Will they be released? If so, that will create new opportunities for them.
President Trump also commented to the effect that the Turks and the Kurds have been fighting each other for centuries, as if it were inevitable that there will be another conflict. We know that 11,000 Kurdish people have lost their lives in the conflict. The agenda has always been to displace the Kurds and there have been many examples of that. This looks like an attempt to annihilate them.
President Trump has reminded people that Turkey is a big trading partner of the US. Turkey is hosting Syrian refugees and has received €6 billion in that regard. However, it is looking for more money. Is it using this conflict as a playing card? In the middle of it all, the Kurdish people are suffering.