Inaction Could Turn Iraqi Kurdistan Into Another Syria

Inaction Could Turn Iraqi Kurdistan Into Another SyriaInaction Could Turn Iraqi Kurdistan Into Another Syria

Tehran and Ankara must enhance regional cooperation to stop the Iraqi Kurdistan region from becoming another Syria, a political analyst said.

“There must be no hesitation in cooperation between Turkey and Iran regarding [the push for secession in Iraq’s Kurdistan]. Any doubt will make the Iraqi Kurdistan another Syria in the region,” wrote Ali Khorram, a former Iranian diplomat, in a recent article for the Persian daily Arman Emrouz.

“The tripartite peace talks involving Iran, Turkey and Russia have been successful in promoting peace and stability in Syria, which platform can be exploited by Iran and Turkey to gain yet more outstanding results,” he said.

Iran and Turkey have supported opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, with Tehran backing President Bashar al-Assad’s government and Ankara supporting rebels trying to oust him.

The devastating war led to the biggest refugee crisis in the world after the Second World War. Turkey tried to gain political leverage by playing host to refugees and preventing them from crossing into Europe.

However, things did not work out as intended, and many European leaders were reluctant to concede to Ankara, eventually leading to the deterioration of their ties.

Things got even murkier for Turkey when the country was rocked by an attempted coup d’état in June 2016 orchestrated by a faction within Turkish armed forces.

In the past year, especially after the secession referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region late last month, Turkey has softened its position on Syria.

Ankara and Iran came strongly against the referendum, vowing to stop the Kurdish region from declaring independence.

They have since increased their joint military cooperation.

Khorram pointed to the leading role of Turkey before the Syrian war in the region, saying Turkey was a wealthy and successful country that promised a bright future for its people, particularly after its peace agreement with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK.

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However, after the outbreak of the war in Syria, Turkey gradually lost its clout in the region by supporting terrorist groups in Syria, a situation that even led to its polarization, Khorram said, adding that the unraveling of the peace deal with PKK resulted in Turkey further slipping into instability.

“If today the American [forces] and Syrian Kurds are filling the gap of Turkish presence in Syria, this is because of Ankara’s unsuccessful policies in Syria,” he said.

“This can be corrected, preventing more problems for Turkey’s national and defensive interests.”

Khorram pointed to the fruitful Tehran-Ankara cooperation in the Syrian peace talks, urging the two countries to enhance their security ties to prevent “the regional consequences of the Kurdish secession”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Iran on Oct. 4 and held talks with the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. The talks were mostly about how to counter the Kurdistan vote.

During a press conference with Rouhani, Erdogan said, “Both Iran and the central governments in Iraq and Turkey have implemented measures against the Kurdistan region and from this point, there will be stronger measures.”

Although Turkey has talked tough, it has not acted on any of its threats regarding the Iraqi Kurdistan where, many analysts say, it enjoys huge economic benefits.


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