President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly, “Steps such as demands for independence that can cause new crises and conflicts in the region must be avoided. I am calling on the Iraqi Kurdish regional administration to give up its attempt in this direction.”
With these remarks, Erdoğan displayed the stance of the Turkish state towards the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) independence referendum to be held in north Iraq next Monday. He highlighted before the world that this subject is not open to any negotiation or bargaining.
Turkey’s concerns on the subject have been clear from the very beginning: This referendum will make the region more unstable and foment new conflicts. Fanaticism and terrorism will spread across the region, while foreign interventions will climb.
Commercial, economic and political relations between northern Iraq and Turkey will be irreparably damaged. As reiterated on every occasion, Turkey’s main concern is the protection of Iraq’s territorial integrity. If Iraq’s territorial integrity is undermined, the Syrian quagmire will turn into an impasse.
A vast majority of the people I spoke to in the United States contend that an independent Kurdish state would bring no harm. Although U.S. President Donald Trump complains about the liberal international order, the actors he assigned for Middle East policies are components of this order.
Barrack Obama’s successors still preserve their influence in the field. Secretive circles in America are behind this process since they do not want to give up the war of attrition the Obama administration kicked off against Turkey four years ago.
At this point, Turkey is required to display its determination in New York. Undoubtedly, President Erdoğan will clearly express Turkey’s concerns regarding the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum during his one-on-one meeting with Trump.
As expressed in the British Times, the independence referendum will lead to two political results, “A gradually declining regime in Baghdad and a floundering proto-state in north Iraq which is under siege.”
Evidently, some groups wish to see this. Those plotting the game and those manipulated by the plotters will both see at some point that Turkey cannot be deceived on this matter. Hopefully, they will realize this before it is too late.
Selahatin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is the political wing of the outlawed PKK, penned an article entitled “Towards Referendum in South” for the Russia-based newspaper, Sputnik Kurdistan. In his article, Demirtaş manifested the PKK’s real opinion on the upcoming referendum in north Iraq.
“Kurdish people have the right of self-determination in their own territories. Objecting to this is explicit racism. Independence is legitimate and permissible to Kurdish people like a mother’s milk. And everyone is required to respect this will,” he wrote.
These remarks of Demirtaş clearly illustrate why Turkey regards this project as a direct threat and a political conspiracy.
The groups against Turkey seek to benefit from the PKK by discarding Masoud Barzani’s team and Iran-sponsored groups in northern Iraq.
The PKK supports the referendum considering the benefits it will provide to the terror group. The field was left clear for the PKK as soon as the PKK was called on by the West.
“If Erdoğan eliminates us, he wins. We want to topple Erdoğan and the AKP [AK Party]. Turkey will never be a democratic country unless Erdoğan and the AKP are toppled,” the PKK said.
First in Syria, and now in Iraq… They have been endeavoring to smooth the PKK’s way. Thus, it is essential to stay on guard and keep fighting.
[Daily Sabah, September 22, 2017]