Erdoğan and Barzani’s main theme: Rojava

Erdoğan and Barzani’s main theme: Rojava

Interesting things will be experienced in Diyarbakır at the weekend. President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani, together with the Kurdish singer who could not come to Turkey for years, Şivan Perwer, will come to Turkey and accompany Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Also, singer İbrahim Tatlıses will join them and will perform a duet with Perwer. 

There are several dimensions in the get-together of all these names. Starting from Şivan Perwer, the singer who had to leave Turkey at a young age became a popular name among the Kurds everywhere in the world. When the Kurdish singer met with Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç in Europe, he was the target of criticisms from PKK. The fact that he will be a part of the activities which the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) defines as “AKP election propaganda” in advance, will inevitably make him closer to the government, distancing him from the Kurdish political movement. 

BDP is angry at Şivan because he is included in the “AKP’s program of creating their own Kurds.” However, if the AKP actually has such a program then Masoud Barzani must be the most important component. Barzani, who had delivered a speech at the AKP Convention in September 2012 is coming to Diyarbakır at a very critical time. 

Indeed, it is the local elections that come to the mind immediately. Next are the bilateral issues such as the relations with Iraq that Turkey is trying to re-heal and in this context the state of the oil drilled in Kurdistan. However, it is almost certain that the main theme of the Erdoğan-Barzani meeting will be Syria, not Iraq. Because the region where Kurds live predominantly in Syria, and which is named “Rojava,” is now to a great extent under the control of PYD (Democratic Union Party) which is in line with Abdullah Öcalan. PYD has achieved this despite all the obstacles put up by Ankara and Erbil. 

As far as it can be foreseen, Erdoğan and Barzani will discuss what kind of strategies they can develop together against the PYD which they could not overcome separately. However, there will be separate obstacles emerging against these kinds of joint strategies. For example, Barzani will be accused of striking a deal with Turkey to block certain Kurds, and such objections have already started arriving. Erdoğan, on the other hand, will be subject to threats from PKK of ending the peace process. 

This is a question that must be asked: How could it be possible to take back from PYD the power and the positions that the PYD has obtained, despite Ankara and Erbil, through fierce fighting with the al-Qaida elements? It will not be wrong to say that plans to topple the regime in Syria, which Turkey also supports, have almost entirely collapsed and in parallel with this, in a conjuncture when Ankara is trying to normalize its relations with Baghdad and Tehran, the PYD’s hand has further been strengthened. Consequently, it would be advisable that rather than pushing the PYD to a corner they would try to win it. Of course it is obvious that the road to such a strategy has to pass through İmralı Island. It should not be forgotten that Öcalan is trying to legitimize the demand to change the format of the talks by pointing out to Syria. 

If certain people are planning to pit Barzani against Öcalan, I don’t think that would work. Besides, most probably Barzani would not adopt this proposal which is extremely risky for him. 

Ruşen Çakır is a columnist for daily Vatan in which this piece was published on Nov. 14. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.