Between Burning Baghdad Down and Attacking Afrin: 760 Years of Invasion

By Rebwar Rashed:

It was 29th January, 1258, exactly 760 years ago when the Mongol Turks invaded Baghdad. By the 10th February, in just two weeks, they burned down Baghdad, destroying everything that was culturally valuable including the famous library, The House of Wisdom and almost everything belonging to the Sassanid Empire.
The Mongol Turks killed hundreds of thousands of people including Khalife Mutassam’s family in front of his eyes and lastly they killed him too, wrapped in a carpet with horses trampling on him.

When the Mongol Turks surrounding Baghdad they knew what would happen. They had already murdered millions of people throughout Asia. Just in Herat in Afghanistan it is believed that at least 1.6 million people were butchered. The Turkic Seljuks had already been there for 200 years before the Mongols settled in parts of today’s Turkey and other places in the Middle East.

The tragedy of Mesopotamia was that the Mongol Turks didn’t get enough by destroying Baghdad. They pushed through the upper lands of Mesopotamia, going through Armenian, Assyrian and Kurdish lands which already were shattered by the Seljuk Turks. The Ottoman Empire was the result of the atrocities the Turks committed against ancient peoples of the area.

European colonialism, especially that of England and France, took over the Middle East and the Sykes Picot agreement established the new border lines. The Ottoman Empire was now history, but the indigenous peoples in the area such as Kurds, Greeks, Romans, Armenians and Assyrians were severely beaten and the new order didn’t grant them get any rights.

The young Turkic movement arose from the ashes of the sick Ottomans. They had a chance to think twice and make a decision, either for a new, inclusive state or to continue imposing their racial prejudiced state. Mustafa Ataturk, the so called “the father of the Turks” decided on the latter.

The Turks waged a war against both indigenous peoples and European colonialists in places nowadays called Turkey. The Father of the Turks slandered indigenous peoples like Kurds, Armenians and Assyrians as being the part of the long arm of Imperialism, an official excuse which is used today by Turkey and other oppressive states in the area.

By 1933 the voices of these people were choked. The new Turks not only confiscated their music culture, literature, folklore, national costume etc. but also prohibited their languages. Turkish became the only allowed language.

The Turks have built a new life on a ruined civilizations’ inheritance with the help of the most horrendous military doctrine of the Hulagu which until today is indeed the doctrine of the Turkish state. For Ataturk, the army was the most important pillar for a nation.

Somehow, later in history, Ataturk was described as a man of secularism and peace. But under Ataturk there were atrocities and genocides, including the genocide of culture and language. Ataturk saw himself and his generation as the losers of the Ottoman era. He was therefore a man with tremendous hate against every single being who didn’t declare herself as a Turk. He saw a dichotomy of Turks and non-Turks. He was therefore very cold-blooded. For Ataturk, the end really justifies the means.

Thus, one of the most fascistic police states in modern human history became a reality.

The subsequent governments of Turkey after Ataturk always had a choice like Ataturk also had, that’s to make this terrible police state into an inclusive state, a state which could pave the way for political reforms in the fields of national, democratic and human rights. However, they chose to proceed with the same doctrine. Not only the governments, but also every Turkish political party is supporting and defending Hulagu’s, Ataturk’s and the Ottoman Empire’s doctrine of aggression and the aggression principle.

A member of parliament for Turkey’s main opposition party resigned, in fact just a day before the 760th anniversary of the Moguls’ burning of Baghdad, as deputy head of the Socialist International. The reason was that the global association of 153 Social Democratic political parties had warned of a humanitarian disaster as a result of Turkey’s offensive against the Kurdish city of Afrin. The Socialist International’s statement is indeed vague since we are talking about the NATO´s second army attacking a Kurdish city in war-torn Syria. Anyhow, this vanguard of Hulagu, Umut Oran, protested that he was resigning “over the statement entitled ‘the SI warns of another humanitarian disaster in Syria’ by saying that he “believes that the struggle our boys are carrying out against terror organizations that threaten Turkey is right and that there should be no damage for any reason to the struggle against these terror organizations with blood on their hands”.

From the Sultan Ottoman who built the Ottoman Empire to Sultan Mohammad the Invader and many other sultans who occupied territories and took over others’ lands, and Ataturk and a bunch of different political parties, such as CHP, AKP, MHP, you see the same warship of the principles of the Hulagu Khan. They are all proud of the Hulagu Khan, of the Sultans and of the Ataturk. The voice is the official ideology voice. There are no Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds and others in Turkey. Ataturk thus built a new state on lies, fabrications and insanity.

The whole Turkish political establishment, institutions, writers, intellectuals, journalists, Trade Unionists etc are proud of and defending this fascistic outdated and dangerous racist ideology.

Western Europe, NATO, the EU and the US have seen the atrocities, human rights abuses, racism, discrimination and the daily systematic suppression of non-Turkic peoples committed by Turkey through their fingers. The result is that the Turks see the situation as a “natural” condition. This fascistic police state based on a fabricated identity has became a hotbed for racism, international trafficking, state-sponsored “refugee”-smuggling, Islamic fascism, hate, and intolerance.

Nevertheless, Turkey got even tougher and more uncivilized by each day as in 2002 Receb Tayyip Erdogan crowned the state with the Muslim Brotherhood’s radical ideology, a Turkish a la carte. Now the official ideology was not just an ultra-nationalism based on the racism of the denial of the existence of the indigenous peoples, but also included Jihadist Salafism / Salafism Jihad.

In just a decade the AKP government was able to show the true face of Turkey, namely a racist, discriminate and radical Islam. Despite Mr. Ocalan’s call for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish issue and a democratization process for Turkey, Erdogan chose to not open any door on a peace initiative.

The AKP under Erdogan had the mission of reviving the Ottoman Empire, especially taking over the Ottoman provinces of Aleppo and Mosel. The world witnessed soon that Erdogan could literally do anything to be a new Sultan of this new Empire. The Arabic Spring and the civil war in some African countries gave him even greater opportunities in many of those countries, but the real golden mine was the Syrian civil war. With a huge amount of US money and a green light from the Obama administration, plus great varieties of Islamic radical groups at his service, Erdogan didn’t hesitate to move forward. He had the plan for the new empire; he only needed to assemble the parts.

It took almost four years for the US and the rest of the Western World to realize that Erdogan is indeed behind every single terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. The AKP government was interfering in Cypress, Palestine, Israel and the Islamic world. Erdogan is personally involved in the business of state-smuggling of refugees.

In order to build his Empire, Erdogan needs first to get rid of the Kurds. There have been two parallel wars against Kurdish people. The first one is by Turkey itself and that’s against Kurdish people in Turkey. The other is by fighting Kurdish people in Syria through Islamic radical proxies. In both of them, the commander-in-chief is Erdogan himself.

Now he has been attacking the city of Afrin for the 14th day, using the most sophisticated weapon of NATO and well-trained radical Islamic groups. There is evidence that he has been using internationally prohibited weapon too, including chemical weapon such as napalm, and has been targeting civilian areas with the aim to scare people and bring about chaos. The terrorist groups Turkey supports have used internationally prohibited weapons before. Turkey has recently claimed that it doesn’t have “prohibited material in its inventory”. Turkey is deliberately targeting religious, cultural structures, historical artifacts, archaeological sites or public facilities too. The people of Afrin has invited international observes, the UN and US/ EU to visit Afrin and see the devastation for themselves.

Turkey is in need of therapy. This therapy must include realizing the existence of ancient peoples and their rights, recognizing the Armenian and Kurdish genocides, atrocities that have been committed by the state. A national therapy must include a national reconciliation, not a Turkish reconciliation, but a Peoples of Turkey reconciliation. The Peoples of Turkey have been experiencing too much of pain. A successful therapy must include a democratic confederation.


  1. In principle there are no differences between burning Baghdad down and attacking Afrin. Harming Afrin means more suffering for peaceful people and a bitter and a longer war to be fought in Syria.
  2. Turkey is fighting other Kurds outside of Turkey with the aim to debar its own Kurds from demanding a political solution. The Turkish Kurd-phobia must come to an end, not only for the sake of solving Kurdish issue, but also as a political and psychological rehabilitation therapy for the Turks. The Turks must acknowledge the Other’s right to exist.
  3. Turkey could never attack Kurdish people everywhere with this kind of intensity if not for International silence, especially by the US and EU.
  4. Due to a deep cultural belief Turkey is incapable of acknowledging non-Turkic peoples’ existence and their right to live and to have national and democratic rights. Turkey needs significant assistance and help to enter a political process.
  5. A reconciliation process is a must in Turkey owing to the prodigious scale of atrocities and suppression the Turkish state has practiced over the last hundred years.
  6. Mr. Ocalan must be freed so that he can contribute in a peaceful solution of the Kurdish issue.
  7. The political model the Kurds are practicing can help a bigger part of the M.E. to achieve stability, peace, and social- and gender equality.

Rebwar Rashed is Co-Chair of the Kurdistan National Congress – KNK

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