Historic option in front of Turkey
After exactly 22 years, we have arrived in the same place. Let us remember how we got here:
Before the Gulf War, the U.S. asked for permission from Turkey for its ground operation from the north into Iraq. They were to deploy their troops through Turkey, but the relevant motion was reversed at the last minute in Parliament. And for this reason, the U.S. had to carry out this operation with local Kurdish forces in northern Iraq. From that day on, in the regional records of the U.S., Turkey has not been remembered as a very good ally.
And now, 20 years later, today… This time, Iraq is about to disintegrate. The atrocious gang called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has declared a state. Every day there is a massacre. The discrimination between Sunnis and Shiites has peaked.
And again, the U.S., this time wants to form a “task force” with 10 countries against this banditry in Iraq. Well, how will this happen?
How will Turkey join such a force directly and actively? Is this possible while ISIL is holding Turkish hostages? Of course not.
Well, what should be done? Right there, there is a historic option facing Turkey.
The name of this historic option is the “Kurdish trump card,” in other words, supporting the Kurdish forces in the region against ISIL. When this support is in question, then there are the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syria-based affiliate the People’s Protection Forces (YPG) forces in the region fighting against ISIL.
This is a clear and significant reality. As a matter of fact, it was only a couple of days ago that the co-chair of the European Yazidi Federation Leyla Feyman made public to the entire world: “We asked for help from the forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG] against ISIL. Around 1,500 of our women had been kidnapped. They were being sold in the markets. However, the KRG did not help us. Instead of them, the YPG forces intervened. Our women were saved by God and the YPG forces. This situation is one that has to be recorded in history.”
This statement is very important. Obviously, since Turkey, Iran and Syria will not directly intervene against ISIL’s terror, then the job is left again to regional forces. In other words, the Kurds.
Let us not forget that President Barack Obama has promised the American public numerous times: “No soldier will come back from Iraq inside of a coffin.” This means, “No American soldier will be involved in a ground operation.”
Well, who will fight on the ground? Turkish soldiers? No. Well, so it will be Kurdish soldiers. This is the reality.
Apparently, a coalition of 10 countries will provide arms and logistic support to regional Kurdish forces. Turkey, which remained outside of the Gulf War, also remained outside the developments in northern Iraq. As a matter of fact, then-President Turgut Özal actually did want to “interfere” and was aiming to be a country that would have a say in the new formations in the region after the war. It didn’t happen.
For this reason, Turkey did not have a strategic influence and weight in the formation of the Kurdish autonomous region. If the same thing happens, then maybe this time, after ISIL, in preparation for an independent Kurdish state, again no influence and weight would be expected from Turkey.
Well, what would happen now? Will Turkey keep itself outside the alliance of regional Kurdish forces and Western countries? It is understood from the Yazidi federation’s statements that the YPG may become a force that will be in contact with Western powers.
The question lies precisely here. In the first instance, Turkey may provide logistic support for these forces, but is that adequate?
Indeed, Turkey is not a “NATO soldier” ready to operate in the region at any time. Turkey will first consider the interests of its own people, then it will do whatever it can for all the people of the region to live in peace and democracy. For this to happen, it should first install peace domestically. It should write that much-anticipated democratic Constitution where everyone will be able to live their own identity and culture freely. Thus, the happiness of its domestic Kurdish citizens within its borders can shine together with Turkey as the democratic yearning of regional Kurdish citizens.
To that end, it would be wise for prominent Kurdish politicians in Turkey to contact the Kurdish presence in the region and feed these contacts to Ankara as information and advice.
Only this way, it would be the center of attraction for “permanent peace” and “democratic development.” Otherwise, there is no way out: only with arms and logistics.
This is the historic option.