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)
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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid