The end of century-long mistake in Turkish-Kurdish relations

Published 26.07.2014 01:13

There is no explanation for the ongoing atrocity in Gaza. The international community, which relies on the indifference of the U.S. for its existence, has failed once again. For many days, we have been watching as dust clouds rise from the small piece of land, buildings become dilapidated and deceased bodies of babies are pulled from the wreckage. The giant media outlets of the world have turned a blind eye to this state of insanity. The majority of official statements made by other countries have underlined their solidarity with the Israeli administration. The anxiety that has been aroused by the killing of Palestinian civilians is not going beyond the lines of news reports and articles. We all deeply felt the despair in Gaza when we saw the photo of a Palestinian mother who hugged the enshrouded body of her baby.

This despair has costs for all of us. Those who have turned Gaza into an outdoor prison in order to immobilize Hamas, which came to power through democratic elections, does not serve regional peace. On the contrary, this feeling of despair and victimization does nothing except make the marginal and radical groups in the region stronger.

We have current examples of this in front of us. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has brought Iraq to the brink of division and gained an extensive sphere of influence in Syria. This is the gift offered to the world by regional and global actors that have given the cold shoulder to the Syrian opposition and abandoned them to fulfill their hopeless destiny. If the legitimate Syrian opposition had been properly supported from the very beginning, Syria would not have turned into a hell in which ISIS could gain influence. Similarly, had the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki not insisted on his despotic and neglectful policies toward the Sunnis, ISIS would not have been welcomed by the Iraqi Sunnis to such an extent. For a while, the region has been tussling with instability which has further worsened through these imprudent policies. It is estimated that at least a decade is needed for Iraq and Syria to normalize.

This uncertainty in the region has accelerated the rapprochement and integration policy between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Even though it disturbs regional and global actors, these two parties have taken their few-year-old rapprochement policy a step further due to the present regional threat. Last week, KRG president Massoud Barzani visited Ankara and held critical talks with Erdoğan and Gül.

As I have mentioned in my previous articles, the statement of Barzani regarding the independence of the KRG aroused disturbance in Ankara. It is apparent that this subject, which is considered as an 'emergency case,' was also addressed during the talks and Barzani was told to keep away from these kinds of attempts. Another topic that was included in the agenda was the ISIS threat. The matter of taking humanitarian relief to Syrian districts, which are populated by Turkmens and Kurds and threatened by ISIS, was also discussed in detail. It will not be surprising if the Turkish trucks that take humanitarian aid to Gaza enter Kobani, which was captured by the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Moreover, it was mutually approved that despite all oppression, the two parties would not step back from forming a policy to market Kurdish oil to the world through Turkey.

What is more important is that the two parties have acknowledged that the regional instability has been posing difficulties for both sides. Cooperation between Turkey and the KRG in the fields of security, economy, and social issues is of critical importance in the region as the instability spreads and climbs further. It was highlighted that third-party countries and actors should not be allowed to jeopardize this common vision. The forward-looking approach, which can be described as a strategic partnership, had bilateral consent. The secret of this cooperative vision is hidden in what Barzani told Erdoğan regarding Turkey's approach toward Kurdish politics: "You ended a century-long mistake. We will follow you wherever you go."

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