Delice speaks about Turkish-Syrian fight

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Restaurateur Adam Delice displayed a gift he recently brought back from Turkey for President Donald Trump. Mr. Delice shared his views on the recent fighting in Syria.

CAMBRIDGE — “A professor came in and spoke to me,” restaurant owner Adam Delice said, remembering how the man criticized recent actions by Turkey, Mr. Delice’s home country. “I was very upset.”

He recalled the discussion while sitting in the Cambridge Diner, one of five eateries he owns — another in Easton, and three in Turkey. He turned and indicated a photograph on a wall behind him, of Kemal Ataturk, the first president of the modern state of Turkey.

Mr. Delice said he is proud of his background, and noted that while he is now an American citizen, he has spent 34 of his 55 years in this country. Now, he hears criticism of current Turkish President Recep Erdogan and he says, “I swear on my kids, he’s a good president.”

The professor’s remarks were prompted by the Oct. 6 Turkish invasion of Syria, to oppose the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a largely Kurdish army. The Kurds are an ethnic group spread across Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq, the Middle East’s largest without its own state.

The SDF’s hold on the border area with Turkey resulted in rising tensions, as Turkey remembered its long fight with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), based in southeast Turkey. Suspicious of ties between the SDF and the PKK, and reluctant to see an independent Kurdish state, Turkish forces crossed the border.

“I don’t want the war,” Mr. Delice said. “I want people to be happy.”

He said his father is Kurdish, and the Kurdish people are “like my own brothers and sisters.” Now, Mr. Delice said, the Turkish military is opposing the PKK and its supporters, but he insisted that the fight is not against the Kurdish people.

Since fighting began in Syria several years ago, 3.6 million refugees, many of them Kurdish, have fled into Turkey. Part of the goal of the invasion is said to be to establish a region in Syria where the refugees can be resettled.

In the meantime, many Turks, including his own mother, who supports three families, have tried to accommodate Kurdish refugees. “We open the door, we open the heart,” Mr. Delice said.

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