Why Turkey is paranoid about the Kurdish role in the Middle East

By Dr. Aland Mizell:

Turksh PM Erdogan with military

Turksh PM Erdogan with military

Turkey‘s real issue is not with the Syrian President Assad killing his people or concern about a lack of democracy in Syria. Rather, Turkey’s problem is with the Kurdish people. Actually, an authoritarian Assad was good for Turkey to oppress the Kurds and keep them silent, but Turkey realized that, if it does not go against Assad, Western powers will get rid of Assad sooner or later. Therefore, it is better for Turkey to help the opposition groups in the name of democracy, so that it can fight against the Kurds who do not have any kind of autonomous region in Syria and Turkey like they do in Iraq.

Hoping to topple Assad, it wants to replace him and put one of its own people in charge, so that it can run Syria from behind the scenes. Since Turkey lost Iraq to Iran, which is dominated by the Shias, an Islamic sect that most Sunnis do not consider true Muslims but a cult religion, it remains opposed to the Shias.

Assad’s father had killed ten thousand Kurds and he did not even grant them citizenship until the civil war began two years ago in Syria. The Kurds were granted Syrian citizenship but, before that, the Kurds did not have any identity or any citizenship.

We have not heard any moral lessons from all these Muslim countries to tell Assad that Kurds should have citizenship, so nothing is new for the Turks, Arabs, and Persians who hate Kurds. Before the Arab Spring, Turkey had good relations with Syria, Iran, and Iraq just because their common enemy united them; the common enemy is the Kurds, not because Turkey really likes Iran or Arabs, but because they all want to be united against the Kurds. The common policy among the Persians, Turks, and Arabs concerning the Kurdish issue is that they are all opposed to the establishment of Kurdish states or to self determination. However, this changed with the Arab Spring. Kurds again are letting Arabs, Persians, and Turks use them for their national interests.

Turkey was collaborating with Iran in 2008, joining an effort to fight against the PKK, the PJAK, and Syrian Kurds, but when the Arab Spring began and then quickly spread throughout the region, it ended collaboration against the Kurds. Turkey has changed its position and supports the Kurdish Autonomous Region using the religious Sunni card against the Shia-rule of Maliki, so that Turkey can continue to influence both.

The Kurds are prone to forget what Turks, Persians, and Arabs did to them. Now the Kurdish Autonomous Region is designed by Turkish companies in terms of infrastructures, education, banks, schools, and hospitals. Consequently, Turkey is using an economic weapon to conquer the Kurds, one which the Kurds are now more dependent on. It does not make any sense for them to have fought for such a long time and not see what is happening to them. The reason the Kurds are the largest minority without a state is not only because of external and internal states, but also because the biggest obstacle is the Kurds themselves. The Kurds have not been united, and they too easily trust their adversaries.

Why did Syria cause the worsening of the relationship between Turkey and Iran? The answer is threefold: to stop Iran’s access to Hezbollah in Lebanon, to bring about the fall of the Assad regime that will lead to the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood there, and to prevent Syria from continuing to be part of Iran’s block.

The Arabs, Iranians, and Turks are using the Kurdish card against each other to counter their opponent’s domination of the Middle East. The Turkish Islamic government believes God has chosen the Turks to rule the region and that Turks are the only nation that can bring justice, peace, and love there. Maybe Erdogan and his other spiritual advisors had a revelation from Allah that it is justifiable to oppress, kill, and deny the basic rights of the Kurds. We all know what Saddam did to the Kurds in 1988, when he used chemical weapons against them, killing thousands and thousands of Kurdish people. We did not hear any U.N resolution nor did Turkey host any Kurds in Turkey or deploy its military along the Iraqi border to tell Saddam to stop killing the Kurds, but rather Turkey strengthened its relationship with Saddam and made agreements with his regime. By so doing, they gave Saddam moral support to continue killing and oppressing the Kurds. Not until the United States and its allies helped to give the Kurds some kind of haven in 1991, were they safe from the Arabian mad man.

This establishment of a protected region was not because America or the West really cared about the Kurds either, but because they had national interests in the region. Therefore, Turkey is now saying that the world failed to stop America and the Western countries from giving the Kurdistan Autonomous Region to Iraq, and it will not let that happen in Syria. If the Arab Spring refers to the democratic uprisings that spread across the Arab world in 2011, then it is common sense for the Kurds to have their own democratic rights in their home and also have rights to self- governance. If Kurds get their autonomy in Syria, they are not going to declare war on Turkey, so why is Turkey so paranoid about the Kurdish people’s self-determination?

In Syria, Turkey claims it is fighting against the Assad regime and that is why it supports an armed free Syrian Army. The same thing is present in Turkey.  Turkey claims that it is fighting against the PKK, that the KCK is a terrorist organization, and that it is fighting against them and not against the Kurds. That is a big lie. Turkey’s biggest problem with the Kurds is that it does not care whether Syria has democracy or not. Turkey is not a democratic country, so why would it care about democracy anyway?  Still, journalists who criticize the Islamic missionary leader Gulen end up in jail. Those who criticize the government face heavy fines–students, academicians, elected government officials have gone to prison. Soon Turkey will have to build up its prison system, so that it can put all the Kurds there.

External and internal forces have employed the Kurdish issue to weaken regional states in order to counter each other’s domination of the region. Turkey is an interesting country. An individual can criticize God without ending up in jail, but if someone criticizes Imam Fethullah Gülen, he will be imprisoned. If a person says, “I am Kurdish and I support Kurdish rights,” then that Kurd will be considered a terrorist and thus sent to jail.

I think the Kurds need to change their strategy in terms of getting their rights. First, they must be united, no matter what. Second, the Kurdish Autonomous Region in Iraq should financially help the Kurdish academics to open Kurdish studies or institutes in Europe, the United States, Asia, and Central Asia. Third, the Kurdish Autonomous Region should send representatives to China and Africa because that is the only way to internationalize the Kurdish issue. Fourth, it should lobby the international community to pressure Turkey to stop the aggression against the Kurds. Fifth, the BDP must focus more on Europe, and the United States should ally with them instead of putting so much energy into protests. Granted, protests should be used, but sometimes they help Turkey in that it uses the PKK to justify its oppression against the Kurdish people because internationally the PKK is considered a terrorist organization. To justify its cause and oppression, Turkey says it is fighting against the PKK, so the BDP needs to counter that, and the best way is to counter Turkey is to lobby internationally. Lacking a grand strategy and unity among themselves, the Kurds are preventing the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous region or a state. This autonomy continues to be feasible, but these factors prevent the Kurds from playing a greater role in the region.

Dr. Aland Mizell is with the University of Mindanao School of Social Science, President of the MCI and a regular contributor to The Kurdistan Tribune, Kurdishaspect.com, Mindanao Times and Kurdish Media.You may email the author at:aland_mizell2@hotmail.com 

8 Responses to Why Turkey is paranoid about the Kurdish role in the Middle East
  1. Ari kader
    December 5, 2012 | 22:57

    Thank You Dr.Aland Mizell (( God,Ahuramazda ,Allah,Yahuda ….)) with you

  2. david
    December 6, 2012 | 06:09

    KRG already compromised the Kurdistan security by letting Gulenists operate schools, hospitals, banks , NGOs etc.

  3. kurd
    December 6, 2012 | 10:46

    your article is good and nice,certainly that change faced Middle East it is not good to turkey and iran and all agressive regimes throughout meadle east,they are it is along of time involved their peoples with povety,unemployment,and physical pain and trouble in soul … by anyway the want …as well as this change in Region in profit of national minority in these states especially kurds in there,but kurds they do not know political work and they are not people to doing policy… so i not hope kurds can profit these changes now take place in region…

  4. Cozen
    December 6, 2012 | 11:35


  5. Kurd
    December 6, 2012 | 11:42

    As a Kurd, I must say your line of thinking has some flaws to it. Believe it or not, Turkey is our best available regional ally now. USA didn’t do much for the Kurds. The central Iraqi government is more dangerous than ever under Maliki. Iran has no rules of conduct so you can’t even deal with them. Syria is in turmoil and will be for years to come. So who do you got left??
    For the past 3-5 years, Turkey has invested in Erbil in unbelievable ways and I just think if they were paranoid about Kurds, they wouldn’t let Erbil prosper like that. So lets tune down on this propaganda and try to be smart and at least keep some back support in case we fall down. Having said that, I strongly believe Turkey has longs ways to go in terms of Kurdish rights in Turkey.

  6. Suleiman
    December 6, 2012 | 13:43

    You would be surprised to know these schools educate the children of many of the Kurdish officials and their quality tops most of the other schools. I would be more worried about the influence of Iran and some western mafia than anything else.

  7. kuvan
    December 6, 2012 | 15:30

    There is a kurdish saying that applies to almost all rich poeple in this world including turkish rich men.”when man become rich and powerful ,he either will kill a man or rape a woman” this what has been happing in this world because almost all rich poeple either kill or rape because they can get away with it and as they see themselvies with unlimited power and above law..

  8. Martin Zehr
    December 6, 2012 | 21:33

    There are no friends for the Kurdish nation among Islamists. There are friends within Turkey. The task now is to take unified action aimed at the militarists and Islamists in Istanbul. The snake lies on the ground stretched to attack its prey. It’s head is exposed. Mass demonstrations in Istanbul demanding an immediate challenge to Erdogan and the militarists whose next prey will be the same as its last prey- the Kurdish nation.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL https://kurdistantribune.com/why-turkey-paranoid-about-kurdish-role-middle-east/trackback/