This paper surveys the nascent experiments in political ecology underway in predominantly Kurdish areas of south-eastern Turkey, known as Bakûr, and Rojava (northern Syria). The Kurdish freedom movement is attempting to consolidate a social revolution with ecology at its heart in a most unpromising context, given its ongoing struggle against Islamic State and regional embargoes. This greening of its ideology can be significantly attributed to the influence of American social ecologist Murray Bookchin, an inspiration for Kurdish attempts to implement democratic confederalism, which comprises principles of direct democracy, gender equality and ecological well-being in a needs-based economy. The Mesopotamian Ecology Movement has emerged from activist campaigns opposing dam construction, climate change and deforestation in the region, to inform ecology councils tasked with formulating policies that reflect this philosophical paradigm shift. The essay considers the prospects for the ecological initiatives in Turkish and Syrian Kurdistan. It argues that, confronted by formidable challenges, expansion of the democratic confederal model beyond the heartlands of Bakûr and Rojava, and international solidarity, are preconditions for their endurance.
Hunt, S. E. (2019). Prospects for Kurdish ecology initiatives in Syria and Turkey: Democratic confederalism and social ecology. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 30(3), 7-26. https://doi.org/10.1080/10455752.2017.1413120