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Kurdistance: A New Front in Northern Iraq?

Oh dear, not again. While it is unusual for me to outwardly state my opinions on a subject, I can say in this instance….I am not alone in my sentiment. Once more overtures have been made by the Turkish government to intervene in Northern Iraq/Southern Kurdistan. Unlike past incidents where the motives haven't been as clear, Turkish threats about crossing its southern borders have been in direct reaction to statements made by the Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani: “Iraqi Kurds would not accept any foreign interference on the Kirkuk issue as it considers it an internal affair that should be resolved internally.” For this story…I'll let both the Kurdish and Turkish bloggers explain…

Iraqi Kurdistan sums up the general situation:

The Turkish political and military establishments have made their hostility towards Iraqi Kurdistan their first priority. There is no day goes by, without hearing outrageous threats and intimidations by Turkish officials against the Kurdish federal region in Iraqi Kurdistan ( which the Turks insist on calling it North Iraq, and will get mad if they hear the name of Kurdistan attached to this region). They use different execuses to warrant their interventions in the Kurdish affairs in Iraq, either it`s the presence of PKK fighters in remote mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan and the blatant lies that they are getting logistic support from iraqi Kurds or it`s the issues of reversal of Arabization in Kirkuk, the Kurdish majority city in Iraqi Kurdistan

Now factor in Barzani's latest comments (according to Rasti):

“Any attack on Kirkuk would be considered an attack on Diyarbakir.”
~ Hilmi Aydogdu, DTP Amed Provincial Chairman.

It would appear that the main players in the Ankara regime have their panties in knots over Masûd Barzanî's remarks over the weekend that Turkish intervention in Kerkuk would lead to Southern Kurdish intervention in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan.

Here's a list of the more hysterical reactions . . .

Zaman's headline reads: “Ankara tells Barzani to ‘know his place:'”

Ah, and the fun continues:

Well, you knew it was only a matter of time, didn't you? The real ruler of Turkey, Yasar Buyukanit, finally came out today in his first press conference since taking up his position as the Turkish chief of general staff and “asked” the government for permission to invade South Kurdistan. And that whole bit about “asking permission” is window-dressing for all those idiots in the West who believe that Turkey is a democracy.

Rasti further responds:

These are the two points that should be brought up by the Southern Kurdish leadership at every opportunity, including media opportunities: First, the Ankara regime's repression of its internal colony Kurdistan, its rejection of PKK's democratic solution and ceasefire, and its continued repression and refusal to engage in dialog with DTP; second, the specifics of the Ankara regime's meddling in Iraqi internal affairs–something Turkey would never tolerate for itself–especially over the Kerkuk issue, since it is the real issue.

By the way, if the former Turkish ambassador speaking in the NPR report thinks that his claim to invade “Iraq” to pursue “terrorists” at will would be an imitation of US policy and, therefore, legitimate, he should consider that the rest of the world views Operation Iraqi Freedom as illegal according to international law.

Many blame current US policy for the root of this conflict. From Zaneti:

While the United States searches for a solution to the ongoing war in Iraq, another conflict is brewing presenting a grave new threat to the country's only stable region. Turkish forces have amassed along the northern border of Iraqi Kurdistan threatening invasion under the pretext that Kurdish rebels are launching attacks from Iraqi territory.

Iraqi Kurdish politicians accuse the Turkish government of using any excuse to hasten its ultimate goal of controlling the fate of Iraq's oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Despite this dangerous rise in tensions, the United States has employed a foreign policy that seems to further provoke this conflict.

The last word today will go to Turkish blogger Talk Turkey:

The Prime Minister of Turkey (and possibly its next President) warns the Kurds of Northern Iraq not to interfere in Southeastern Turkey. In response to threats by Turkey that it would interfere with Northern Iraq's plans of a Kurdistan. That's like saying if you hit me I'll hit you back. But the reason he threatens to hit you is in response to your threat to hit him first. Chicken or the Kurds syndrome I guess.

Enough with the talking already. Will someone make the first move. In Turkey's defense, it has years of accumulated deaths of its citizens (even if they are ‘Turkish’ Kurds) at the hands of separatist terrorists of Kurdish descent. But what happens when some of these terrorists are heads of state within their political and geographical domains. Kind of like Yasser Arafat was to the Israelis at one time.

What's stopping the Turks from engaging in an incursion into Northern Iraq to secure its borders? USA. The presence of US forces ‘protecting’ the Kurdish ‘minority’ in Iraq (although it's the Iraqi Arabs who are the minority in Northern Iraq.) The Turks do not look forward to engaging with the American forces. But the US has its own problems in the area.

My opinion has been heard on this, what is yours? Will this escalate? Are are these more empty words by politicians?

5 comments

  • terry

    Turkey is the only modern and secular country in the regoin, not only that, turkey is our gate to azerbaijan, and central asia, they already abolished capital punishment and are about to enter the Market economy from state-control economy.
    I’m all for turkey and love turks with all my heart

  • I believe Erdogan is the best hope for Turkey’s Kurds. It’s the generals and the ultra-nationalists (hiding under the ‘secularism’ and Ataturk facade) who are in denial.

  • tom collins

    I think its time for the Kurds to get some land of their own. If turkey cared about its place in the world economy they would relize they cant be taken as a stable government if they dont govern all the people within their boarders.

  • Now with Gul as its President, and Babacan as its Foreign Minister, reformist moves will be played out by Turkey in all areas including toward its ‘minority’ citizens. Especially the Kurds. I am hopeful.

  • Mr. Bora Kanber

    Kurds are not minority citizens in Turkey. Minorities are perfectly defined in Lauzanne Treaty in 1924. No definiton of “Kurd” did exist then, and till 1980 nobody claimed such a thing.

    And Kurd does not denote a nation in Turkey, it can be only an ethnical origination like tens of others, which nobody cares who is from which.

    Can you tell me, while many existing ethnical originations are not monorities in Turkey and everybody has same rights, what should give to “Kurds” the status of minority and previliges over other people?

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