Turkey, Iran, & Kurdish Independence
Kurdish flags are flown during a pre-referendum rally in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 16, 2017. (Photo: SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey, Iran, & Kurdish Independence

Al-Quds al-Arabi, London, September 21

As Iraq’s Kurds gear up and prepare for their referendum on independence, several actors in the region are keeping a close watch on the developments in Erbil. Indeed, many political pundits believe that the establishment of an independent Kurdish state will change the face of the region in years to come, affecting not only Iraq, but other countries in the Middle East. The resistance against the referendum is understandable. It consists of two main groups. The first are those who reject Kurdish independence altogether for ideological reasons. This groups includes countries like Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria. The second groups are those who do not oppose the Kurdish self-determination movement per se, but rather fear the consequences of a Kurdish declaration of independence. Given this reality, there is no doubt that any Kurdish action will be met with fierce resistance. Iran has already declared its plans to shut down the borders with the newly-formed Kurdish state, leading to its economic suffocation. It has also threatened to take military action against the Kurdish government. Turkey, meanwhile, has kept a much more ambiguous stance. It undoubtedly views the Kurdish referendum as an unnecessary headache, but also sees a potential in partnering with a new ally on its border. Ankara’s relations with its neighbors has not been very positive in recent years. The war in Syria and the tensions with Russia have put Turkey at odds with many of its allies in the region. Thus, establishing full-fledged diplomatic relations with a new ally ‑- an independent Kurdistan — will not only secure Turkey’s borders, but also help placate its own Kurdish population at home. It is therefore likely that despite their mutual rejection of the referendum, Turkey and Iran will not react in the same way to a Kurdish declaration of independence. This should provide a glimmer of hope to Masoud Barzani and his friends at the Kurdish Regional Government, who can use this in their favor. Only time will tell whether the Kurdish people will move forward with their plan, but the political conditions might be in their favor. – Baker Sidqi

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.