Sitting in a glass castle
Turkey is increasingly concerned with developments in Syria, particularly with the apparent takeover of northern Syrian towns and cities by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and reports that the green-red-yellow “Kurdish separatist flags” have been hoisted in those areas.
Of course those three colors are considered by Kurds throughout the region as their ethnic colors and they definitely have a meaning deeper than being the colors of Turkey’s separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist gang. On the other hand, Turkey’s worries are rather well-grounded because the PYD is a Syrian Kurdish umbrella created by the PKK in 2003 as part of its grand strategy of becoming the main organization for all Kurds of the entire region.
Reports indeed should be alarming for northern Iraqi leader Masoud Barzani and his fraternal claim of being the leader of the Kurds. Or, is Turkey facing a concerted hostile effort which might be eventually directed at its territorial integrity? Can it be that after the “autonomous Kurdistan” in northern Iraq, the developments in the Kurdish-populated areas of Syria are just steps toward “liberating” the “second tranche” of the “Kurdish homeland?” Could Turkey – as probably neo-Ottomanists in the Turkish government apparatus might believe – come out of the current mess, pardon, Arab Spring, in the Middle East with more territory with the addition of Syria, Iraq and perhaps Iran’s Kurdish-populated areas? Or, could Turkey end up with diminished territory, losing its Kurdish-populated areas to a new neighbor, the grand Kurdistan?
It is indeed difficult living in a glass castle. What is more difficult is to understand why people living in a glass castle are throwing stones at others.
Should Turks not think that a Kurdish autonomous region that might be established in Syria might be a byproduct of the current mess? What might be the impact of such a development on Turkey? What is, indeed, the relationship between the PKK and the PYD? Does Turkey have any contingency plan regarding Syrian disintegration and the apparent relationship between the PKK-PYD and Barzani?
International conjecture must be examined very carefully. Summoning the Syrian rebels and instructing them to better control the Kurdish elements among the rebels and not allow Kurdish flags to be raised in “liberated cities” might be an administrative step, but won’t serve any good. In a disintegrating Syria, a surge of anarchy, a civil war in the country and a fight among groups to achieve their separate ethnic, religious, sectarian aspirations would be unavoidable.
After all the atrocities they have committed, the Baath regime and Bashar al-Assad are rightly hated by everyone. But after they are gone, what if the Syrian death machine falls into the hands of terrorists? That would be nightmarish, no?
Worse, what if the PKK acquires air defense weapons, missiles, dirty biological and chemical arms? Even more dreadful, what if a new fertile region and a source of future fighters come under the control of the PKK or the PYD?
Will Turkey’s glass castle be the next target of the spring? The question is irrelevant in view of the potential nightmare already building up.