Despite assurances by several officials and relevant administrative bodies, including Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, the Senyurt border gate in the southern province of Mardin was not opened on Aug. 2 for a humanitarian assistance convoy destined for Rojava (the Kurdish name for the Syrian Kurdish enclaves in northern part of the country). The refusal to open the gate prompted a member of Parliament to claim that it was related to its problematic Kurdish policy Hurriyetdailynews reported.
The 12-truck convoy arrived at the border gate at 9.00 a.m. on Aug. 1. It arrived alongside 500 women, as it was led by the Democratic Free Women's Movement (DOKH), which also initiated the humanitarian assistance campaign that they said was currently "symbolic," in order to display solidarity with the suffering people of Rojava.
"From now on, Turkey should make up its mind and should not be concerned about the prospects of self-autonomy in northern Syria. A self-autonomous body in that region will be in favor of Turkey and will contribute to Turkey's security," Aysel Tugluk, independent deputy from Van province, said in a brief telephone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News on Aug. 2.
Tugluk, also the co-chair of the Kurdish-umbrella organization, the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), was speaking near the Senyurt border gate, where said she was able to see people on the other side of the border, the majority of whom are women and children waiting for humanitarian assistance to arrive. The border gate was still not opened when the newspaper went into print.
Among those 500 women, there were DOKH members as well as municipal officials from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and party members.
Tugluk explained that before taking off to the border area, they had already contacted several officials including Deputy Prime Minister Atalay, Foreign Ministry officials and officials from the Mardin Governor's Office. After spending the night in the border area on Aug. 1 and 2, they got into contact with the relevant officials again. Both before and after their arrival, they did not receive any negative response, with the sole explanation for the delay being expressed as the need to "complete procedures," she added.
"This problem is related to the Kurdish policy. I hope that there will be a breakthrough. Both the contacts with the Democratic Union Party of Syria [PYD] and the ongoing peace process have offered very significant opportunities for the strengthening of fraternity and peace," said Tugluk, who was elected as an independent candidate for the Labor, Democracy and Freedom Bloc supported by the BDP. She was referring to the ongoing government-led peace process that was aimed at ending the three-decade long conflict between Turkey's security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
"I believe and I want to believe that this gate will be opened," Tugluk said, adding that executives from both the PYD and the Kurdish Supreme Council were ready to take over control of aid on the other side of the border. She also ruled out speculation that the aid was being refused permission because there was no authority that could take over control of the aid.