News / Middle East

Analysts: Ankara Needs Syrian Kurds in Wake of ISIL Threat

FILE - Members of the Kurdish Popular Protection Units and Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard at a checkpoint at Ras al-Ayn, Syria.
FILE - Members of the Kurdish Popular Protection Units and Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard at a checkpoint at Ras al-Ayn, Syria.
Dorian Jones
With Iraqi Kurds taking control of Kirkuk, it is likely that Ankara will have to rethink its policy towards the Kurds in the region. Until now, Ankara has warned them against taking control of the oil-rich city, which is seen as another step towards independence.
 
Iraqi Kurdish forces took control of Kirkuk following the collapse of the Iraqi army in the face of advances by the radical Islamist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Ankara has strongly opposed Iraqi Kurdish aspirations to take control of Kirkuk, arguing it belongs as much to the Iraqi Turkish minority.

But a clearer threat to Ankara, analysts say, is its close ties to the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG.
 
Last month, Turkey announced a 50-year energy deal between Ankara and the KRG.

The Kirkuk region is estimated to have reserves of 10 billion barrels of oil — more than enough to supply Turkey's needs.

International relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, says Ankara could be looking to Iraqi Kurds to bring order and secure its business deals in the face of increasing gains by ISIL forces.
 
"You have to choose between Iraqi or [ISIL] taking Kirkuk and I guess everybody would have preferred the Kurds take it. And obviously the Iraqi army is not a fighting force, and the only fighting forces against these gangs are the Kurdish troops, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and this strengthens their hand," said Ozel.

With ISIL having a large presence on Turkey’s Syria border, analysts say cooperation with Syrian Kurds also offers an opportunity to contain the Islamist group’s threat.

But that poses another challenge. Ankara is deeply hostile to the main Syrian Kurdish party, the PYD, which controls a region bordering Turkey because of its links with the Turkish Kurdish rebel group the PKK.

Political columnist Asli Aydintasbas of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet says any cooperation with Syrian Kurds will be difficult.
 
"The Syrian Kurdish issue is more complicated because the dominant group on the Kurdish side is an offshoot of the PKK called PYD. Turkey feels that improving relations with PYD will ultimately happen if they can work out a peace deal with the PKK," said Aydintasbas.

With ISIL destabilizing the region, threatening Ankara's business dealings and its border, political scientist Cengiz Aktar of the Istanbul Policy Center says Turkey may have to rethink its alleged ties with ISIL and other militant groups and work with the Syrian Kurds.
 
"Turkey might feel compelled to work with Syrian Kurds and stop harassing the Syrian Kurds against whom it employed ISIL and al-Nusra and all these al-Qaida offshoots, for months, if not years, as sub-contracting fighters," said Aktar.

News reports of the presence of ISIL fighters in Turkey’s border towns with Syria have been prevalent. But Ankara strongly denies it has given any support to ISIL.

Currently the peace process between Ankara and the PKK is stalled, but observers warn if ISIL continues to enjoy success, it will likely add to growing pressure on Ankara to rethink its policy towards Kurds across the region.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs