News / Middle East

Moves by Syrian Kurds Worry Turkey

Syrian Kurds rally against Syrian President Assad in city of Qamishli (March 2012 photo)Syrian Kurds rally against Syrian President Assad in city of Qamishli (March 2012 photo)
x
Syrian Kurds rally against Syrian President Assad in city of Qamishli (March 2012 photo)
Syrian Kurds rally against Syrian President Assad in city of Qamishli (March 2012 photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Dorian Jones
ISTANBUL — In Syria, the seizing of control by Syrian Kurds of towns close to the Turkish border has raised concerns in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Turkish authorities say Syrian Kurds might seek to create their own autonomous state, fueling similar demands from Turkey's Kurdish minority.

News of Syrian Kurds taking control of towns from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has raised concerns in Ankara, according to defense correspondent Metehan Demir of the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.  He says long-standing Turkish fears of the creation of an independent Kurdish state have resurfaced.

"It's perceived as a signal of a future autonomous area in this region, just next to the Turkish border.  This is second piece of a four piece puzzle on the way to a Kurdistan country.  Because one part is happening in northern Iraq, [a] second part is in Syria, east Kurdistan is [in] Iran and Northern Kurdistan as known according to their dreams is [the] Turkish part," Demir said.

Ankara has been fighting a decades-long insurgency by the PKK, which wants greater Kurdish rights in Turkey.  Many PKK members are Syrian Kurds.

According to international relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul's Kadir Has University, the main concern of the Turkish government is that the success of Syrian Kurds could fuel Turkey's Kurdish insurgency.

"Since our Kurdish problem has not been solved, and we are not near to bringing to a conclusion, the prime minister will be concerned that there will be a fallout from what is going on in Syria, especially because in Syria the PKK-affiliated party appears to be the strong political force," Ozel said.

In recent years, Ankara has developed strong ties with the leadership of the semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdish regional government.  That relationship is built on burgeoning border trade.  Sinan Ulgen of the EDAM research institute says Ankara will be looking to Iraqi Kurdish regional leader Masoud Barzani to temper the actions of Syrian Kurds.

"Turkey [is] relying on political leadership of the Iraqi Kurds, in particular Barzani, to establish a relationship with the Syrian Kurds themselves.  And because of the success of this policy of engagement with the Iraqi Kurds since 2008, this is the favored scenario in Ankara," Ulgen said.

Ulgen acknowledges that Barzani has limited influence over the PKK and its affiliates in Syria.  And some questions are being raised in Turkey about Barzani's reliability as an ally.  Hundreds of Syrian Kurds who have sought refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan reportedly are returning to Syria with the support of Iraqi Kurds.

"It was Barzani who actually brought all the Syrian Kurdish opposition together, and they came up with a pact and then everything unfolded since then.  So I really don't think the things happening in Syria are happening without his knowledge or consent," Ozel said.

If Turkish diplomatic efforts fail to prevent PKK control in the Syrian Kurdish region, analyst Ulgen does not rule out Ankara pursuing a military solution.

"On the more hawkish attitudes of intervention in order to undermine the PKK stranglehold in this region, which is something Turkey did do in the past with regard to northern Iraq.  Now that certainly is one scenario if the PKK starts to establish in the Kurdish region of northern Syria," Ulgen said.

Turkish military forces have been reinforced along the border with Syria's Kurdish region.  Analysts say that although Ankara will be wary of any military operation, Turkey will be closely monitoring the actions of the Syrian Kurds.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: nur from: aus
August 05, 2012 11:37 AM
It is easy to watch from afar and comment, PKK is a rebel terorist group who kills civilians, many a children women men, innocent individuals have died at thier hands. A previous comment talks about Islam, the PKK have nothing to do with it, thier soldiers are not Martyr, they fight against thier own muslim brothers and sisters. Be mindful I am saying PKK and not Kurds. Turkey has withstood so much in its history, the Calife used to be in Istanbul during the rule of the Ottomon Empire, not until the Turkish Cumhurriyet was formed did we give up that title; otherwise, Turkey and Turkish people are the true holders of the calife and representative of Islam. The works of Said Nursi, who was a Kurd should be enough of an evidence as to the sibling relations between Turks and Kurds. The tolerance Turkey has shown Kurds is not seen anywhere around the world. I am not a kemalist, I loathe him and his laws. I believe in tolerance from both sides. All Turkey wants is to live side by side with Kurds as equals, brothers ans sisters; however, if they insist on creating thier own state and splitting Turkey, if it comes to that, so be it, but as history has shown time and time again, they will fail just as the arab nations have after stabbing the Ottomon Empire in the back. 100 years later Turkey is standing stong and getting stronger, may Allah protect the Turks and all Muslim brother and sisters


by: ADEL ALSHEAR from: STOCKHOLM SWDEN
July 28, 2012 4:20 AM
THIS IS ANTI DISCIM KRDI . THIS IS ANTI KRDI DICRIM . THI S IS ANTI DISCRIM IN KRD. THI S IS ANTI KRD DISCRIM .THIS IS ANTI DISCRIM IN KRD .


by: Malek Towghi (Baloch) from: USA
July 27, 2012 1:48 AM
The only unintended positive result of our intervention in Iraq was the emergence and strengthening of an Autonomous Kurdistan north of Iraq. Now that the same has happened, unwittingly, in Syria-occupied Kurdistan, it is our moral duty to help the Syrian Kurds maintain their self-rule and autonomy regardless of the results of the ongoing Syrian crisis. It is also in our national interest. The KURDS like their ethnic cousins, the BALUCH / the BALOCH, are least infected by anti-West religious obscurantism and chauvinist nationalism -- and are the only Muslim people in those fanaticism-ridden regions who can be our sincere and dependable friends. The civilized world particularly the West should not abandon the Kurds and the Baloch in this 21st century the way they shamelessly abandoned the Armenians in last century. Dr. Malek Towghi, Liaison, Baloch Human Rights International


by: Coleen from: Germany
July 26, 2012 11:30 PM
yes Maria, it has been in the news here. Beautiful!!! AC/DC so funny...!!! they said that it was a US/Isarel operation... i wish Germany would have participated also... but we have becomed cowards here... these US/Israel guys are some of the most brilliant minds in the world


by: khan
July 26, 2012 7:22 PM
turk is haunting his own action, will be continues to his country by PKK after Al Qaeda action finish in Syria


by: Maria from: Germany
July 26, 2012 3:52 PM
hey guys... has anyone heard of the AC/DC worm that attacked Iran nuclear facilities??? that is hilarious... Israel - God, these guys are unbelievable!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid