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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid