The referendum held by the Northern Iraq Kurdish Regional Government last month was met with negative reactions from many countries – in particular from the Iraqi government. Turkey is another country that reacted exceptionally strongly to this.
Why would Turkey, the primary trade partner of the Iraq Kurdish Autonomous Administration and a long-standing supporter of Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani’s government, oppose the Barzani administration so strenuously when it came to independence? Before addressing Turkish motives, one might first point out that Barzani was not the reason for this reaction.
Known for his honesty, Barzani, has always been considered a friendly leader of a friendly neighbor. Turkey was the first country to officially recognize the Kurdish regional government under the leadership of Barzani and the first minister of foreign affairs to visit Erbil was from Turkey. The Turkish embassy was the first to be opened in the region and the major portion of northern Iraqi trade is conducted with Turkey. With a religious personality that gives the Communists no quarter, Barzani has always earned the trust of the Turkish government. This is still the case. Therefore, Barzani himself is not the reason for Turkish opposition to the Kurdish independence referendum.
Then what is the problem? The problem is that under the current circumstances in the Middle East, disrupting the integrity of a country and dividing it into independent states would be highly problematic.
The separation policy has resulted in the perpetuation of never-ending attacks and the emergence of countless terrorist groups, particularly in Iraq, turning the Middle East into a bloodbath. A divided Middle East leads to the formation of weak states, creating a favorable setting for terrorist groups. In a country such as Iraq that is home to various ethnic groups, further separation will beget further ethnic and terrorist conflicts.
The wedge between Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens and Shiites will intensify even further, bringing about new areas of conflict similar to Syria.
The PKK terrorist organization will be the one benefiting the most from an independent Kurdistan and the atmosphere of conflict that will be created along with independence.
The PKK has long sought for instability to take root in Northern Iraq and it desires a readily available state system that it can seize easily.
The organization attempted to do this in Syria, but, as a result of our warnings, Putin did not allow such a development to become a reality. Now northern Iraq appears to be an ideal target for the PKK.
Despite the fact that Barzani is anti-PKK, he is powerless against it. Should the PKK attempt to carry out a coup or an assassination attempt against him, he will not be able to protect himself or his people. Following a coup that could topple him, the innocent Kurdish people of the region will suffer terrible tyranny under the PKK. If the PKK founds a state in the region, it could spark a widespread massacre of people of all ethnicities in the region, who will be forced to fight one another. This would drag not only Iraq but other countries, such as Jordan, into the conflict.
This, in turn, will mean that not only the Kurds, but also the Arabs, Turkmens, Assyrians, the Druse and Nestorians in the region will face significant oppression. Barzani appears to be chosen as a puppet figure to be exploited to this end. Therefore, Turkey’s objection to the referendum has the intent of protecting Barzani and his people.
It seems that the actual aim behind this referendum is to overthrow Barzani, persecute his family and have the people of the region suffer under a communist-Stalinist regime.
The fact that the meteorological Kurdistan map displayed on television channels close to Barzani, such as Rudaw, which broadcasts in Turkey as well, shows the Turkish provinces of Erzurum, Sivas, Ağrı, Van, Malatya, Hatay and Mersin within the borders of “Kurdistan” is an indication that this oppression has already begun.
Following the provocative broadcast of this map, Rudaw was excluded from Turksat, the Turkish communication satellite.
In fact, the PKK dispatched a convoy of 200 vehicles carrying heavy weaponry and 1,000 terrorists to the region to supposedly to support Barzani.
Even before that, some 200 to 250 terrorists equipped with heavy weapons were reportedly deployed in the Kirkuk region. The PKK is growing impatient to establish overwhelming dominance in the region and to found the Stalinist state it has always wanted without drawing any notice. Moreover, the PKK announced that it will hold a referendum for independence in the places under its occupation in January, 2018.
It is quite clear that any referendum that will be held in territories under PKK rule will not be a democratic one. It is also no longer a secret that the PKK is armed by the USA with state-of-the-art weaponry in Syria. As can be seen, the terrorist organization in question is making strides toward the Stalinist dictatorship it will establish, enjoying the sense of confidence it derives from acquiring the weapons it seeks, receiving the support it expects and getting hold of the lands it will seize.
Contrary to popular belief, further separation and division occurring in the Middle East and a Stalinist terrorist organization founding a state in the most strategic region of the Middle East would cause problems beyond the neighboring countries. Should such a development take place, this Stalinist organization will become a global issue when it allies with other communist rabbles that have been lying in ambush. As for certain parties that want the Middle East divided into smaller pieces, they will continue backing the PKK as they do today.
A Middle East divided into smaller states hosting a terrorist organization that has acquired power will also pose a serious threat for the security of Israel. An alliance based on the Koran among the regional Muslim countries is what will ensure the security of Israel in the region. A Middle East purified from bigoted mentalities and coalesced upon the principles of peace and unity preached by the Koran will unavoidably embrace and safeguard Jewish Israel as their staunch friend. However, building this unity through terrorism, separation and violence seems highly unlikely.
We deem the Kurdish people, with whom we have shared these lands for a millennium, as our indispensable friends and as our brothers and sisters. Those who try to present Turkey’s negative attitude toward the referendum as an anti-Kurdish sentiment are the malicious groups who strive to sow discord among our peoples. The Kurds have always existed and will always exist in these lands. Their existence, freedom and welfare are under our protection.
Our actual aim is to put an end to the misery of our Kurdish brothers and sisters, who have long suffered in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran because of the PKK. But independence is not the way to achieve this; at least not today and not under these conditions. The only way to do so is through blocking all the insidious paths of the PKK.
In this sense, the alliance between Turkey, Iraq, Israel and Russia in the region is essential. This is the single most effective way to protect our Kurdish brothers and sisters. Power and alliance is what intimidates an army of cowards like the PKK.The writer is a Turkish Muslim TV commentator who has authored more than 300 books in 73 languages on political, faith-related and scientific topics.