America’s Fling With the Kurds Could Cause Turkey and NATO to Split | The American Conservative
The agreement set out a road map for Kurdish withdrawal from the town of The U.S. relationship with Turkey has been on a downward. Learn about the world's top hotspots with the Center for Preventive Action's (CPA) interactive Global Conflict Tracker. “The U.S.-YPG alliance has poisoned U.S.-Turkish relations,” a senior Turkish official told TAC last week, “and you can't just pass it off. All right.
From tothe Turkish military was embroiled in a conflict with the PKK. The village guard system was set up and armed by the Turkish state around to combat the PKK. The militia comprises local Kurds and it has around 58, members.
Some of the village guards are fiercely loyal to the Turkish state, leading to infighting among Kurdish militants. The causes of the depopulation included the Turkish state's military operations against Kurdish population, some PKK atrocities against Kurdish clans they could not control and the poverty of the southeast. Security forces would surround a village using helicopters, armored vehicles, troops, and village guards, and burn stored produce, agricultural equipment, crops, orchards, forests, and livestock.
They set fire to houses, often giving the inhabitants no opportunity to retrieve their possessions. Some 70, Kurds also live in Armenia and in Azerbaijan.
Recent reports suggest there aremillion Kurds living within the Russian Federation. Since the bulk of Kurds live in contiguous areas, they have possessed a sense of community and shared space since medieval times at least.
Kurds in Turkey - Wikipedia
This sense of identity was reinforced by the a growing sense of nationalism during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. The Kurds consider themselves to be direct descendants of the ancient Medes although modem scholarship doubts thiswho, because of military conquests, defeats and the collapse of empires, began to migrate around 2, years ago to the mountain fastnesses where they live today.
From these strategic and almost impregnable locations, the Kurds were able to preserve their communities while at the same time participating in the great Armenian, Greek, Byzantine, Arab, Turkish, Iranian and Ottoman empires that dominated the region's history right up to the collapse and partition of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. The Kurds were promised the possibility of an independent state in articles 62 and 64 of the Treaty of Sevres, signed on August 10, But there was to be no Kurdish state.
Kurds in Turkey
The main reason for this was the emergence of a strong Turkish nationalist state in the aftermath of the war and the subsequent suppression of Kurdish nationalist revolts inand There was not to be another Kurdish nationalist challenge to the Turkish rule until the emergence of the PKK in the early s and especially after the Gulf War.
The Kurdish movement in Iran was also contained by a strong nationalist government in Iran during the inter-war and post-World-War-II periods. The one exception was the brief year inwhen the Kurds were able to establish a nationalist government in Mahabad before it fell to the vicissitudes of the emerging Cold War.
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It was only with the Islamic revolution in Iran in and during the s that the Kurds in Iran were once again able to press vigorously their demands for more cultural and political autonomy. The Iraqi Kurds' situation was substantially different from that of the Kurds in Turkey or Iran because Britain, which became the mandatory power in Iraq insupported, in varying degrees, Kurdish nationalist demands for cultural rights and local administrative autonomy.
The British never advocated or supported an independent state in Iraq during the period when they were in control of the country.Why Erdogan is Nervous about The Kurds in Turkey - Part 2 - REAL MATTERS
The British supported cultural and some limited political autonomy for the Kurds in Iraq mainly as a counterpoise to Arab nationalism and to the largely Sunni Arab government in Baghdad. Ever since the British were expelled from Iraq inthe Kurds in the north and the Iraqi government have been intermittently at war. It was only in the wake of the Gulf War that the Kurds in Iraq seemed to have gained an opportunity to establish an independent state or, at least, an autonomous entity federated with the rest of Iraq, as a result of Allied U.
The Allied forces supported a Kurdish insurrection against his regime. Its defeat and the subsequent flight of the Kurds to the mountainous regions bordering Iran and, especially, Turkey created further support in the West for some kind of sanctuary for the Kurds in northern Iraq.
Turkey-Syria Relations Since the Gulf War: Kurds and Water
Of course, the Kurds desired to make this "safe zone" as autonomous as possible. I would argue that the perceived intent of the Kurds to create an independent state in northern Iraq led Turkey and Syria to conclude a series of national security agreements, all of which failed due to differences over the Kurdish question and the water problem.
The second major problem between the two countries was the already growing concern over the distribution of the down flow of the Euphrates from Turkey to Syria. The differences over water grew in the s and s as Turkey continued to build a series of dams and irrigation projects, which it called the South Anatolia Project, generally known by its Turkish acronym GAP Guney Dogu Projesi. The Keban dam was constructed and the Karakaya dam, ; the Ataturk dam and irrigation project is still being completed.
During the construction of the darns, Turkey generally kept the down flow of the Euphrates to Syria at around cubic meters cm per second, except during periods when it was filling the dams' reservoirs.
During such times, tension generally rose between the two capitals.
Another major problem in the late s and s was Syria's policy of granting asylum to Kurdish and Armenian guerrilla groups, both of which the Turks considered to be terrorists.
Relations between the PKK and Syria became closer in as a result of the September 12 military coup in Turkey and the subsequent crackdown on all leftist and Kurdish nationalist groups. Because of its grievances over Hatay, the water question, and probably because of some intelligence cooperation between Turkey and Israel, Syria decided to shelter and support the PKK.
That eight-year war and the power vacuum that it created in northern Iraq allowed the PKK to mount a serious challenge to the Turkish government. Headquartered in Syria and at times in Lebanon, and with bases in both countries as well as in northern Iraq and Iran, by the end of the Iran-Iraq War inthe PKK had become a formidable guerrilla organization that was beginning to preoccupy Ankara's domestic and foreign policies.
Damascus' support for the PKK stuck in Ankara's craw, but, short of military action, there was little that could be done. Military action on the part of Turks had its risks: It could disrupt relations with its Arab neighbors and might not be successful in destroying the PKK camps or in finding Ocalan. There was also the possibility that Syria would retaliate, perhaps in the sensitive province of Hatay. The situation had become serious enough that even before the end of the Iraq-Iran War, Turkey and Syria thought it in their interests to sign a security protocol.
Imset claims that soon after the protocol was signed, Syria allowed Ocalan to meet with Soviet officials in.
Ankara and Damascus were allied temporarily in the U. Both countries benefited from the alliance, although it did nothing to resolve the differences between them concerning the PKK and water.
Many in Ankara claim that the Syrian regime immediately attempted to recruit the remnants of PKK to fight on its behalf. The development of relationships with Kurdish militant groups, it is surmised, was the critical development that convinced the Turkish leadership that Assad must go. First, Ankara believes that if the international community, and especially the United States, had acted at the outset of the uprising in Syria to change the regime, ISIL would not have found a foothold inside Syria.
These developments, however, make Ankara nervous. If PKK decides to pursue secession once again, they would now have more tactical and strategic depth, with the advantage of a larger base in Syria with close proximity. The PKK leaders echoed by their jailed leader Ocalan responded from their encampment in the mountains of Iraq, warning that civil war will erupt in Turkey if Turkey fails to intervene.
KRG officials, though they too wish for stronger military action against ISIL, appreciate the fact that the YPG supported by other armed Kurdish groups have effectively created a Kurdish safe haven inside northern Syria, centered on the town of Qamishli and extending all the way to the Iraqi border — and that they have accomplished this with the quiet complicity of the Turkish authorities. Many informed Kurdish officials claim that, despite the bluster, neither Turkey nor PKK will easily break the ceasefire, but will rather continue behind-the-scenes negotiations.
Their tactical decisions are shaped by their strategic goals of deepening the existing Kurdish autonomy. The Kurdish struggle is led by several organizations that have overlapping and conflicting elite and patronage networks across national boundaries. They claim that some of the Turkish soldiers assisted the Iraqi peshmerga in rescuing the Yazidis, with the support of air strikes by Turkish forces, and that the Turkish military delivered much-needed ammunition to the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga against ISIL, while Western leaders were still deliberating the question.
Thus, the broader, high-level political cleavages do not always look the same on the ground. This is not necessarily a cause for optimism, however, in view of the deep-seated differences between the two sides.