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360 Degrees from Erbil: The Iraqi Kurds Need Turkey

By Soner Cagaptay

On a recent trip to Iraq, I visited the three northern provinces that fall under the auspices of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). I happened to be in Erbil, the region’s capital, during the recent Turkish incursion into northeastern Iraq to disrupt the terror camps of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). After taking in the view of Mesopotamia from Erbil’s hilltop citadel, I asked Iraqi Kurdish leaders for a 360-degree view from Erbil, specifically inquiring about the KRG’s perception of what its external threats are. To my surprise, Iran topped the list, and Turkey consistently ranked at the bottom – even though Turkey was, at that very moment, carrying out military operations inside northern Iraq. The Iraqi Kurds indeed have bigger worries than Turkey, and the KRG leadership is actually seeking Ankara as a long-term ally. Indeed, if the Iraqi Kurds can deliver on the PKK issue, Turkey could potentially become their staunchest supporter.

Iran is the Iraqi Kurds' greatest perceived threat, perhaps because Tehran has significant intelligence assets within the KRG and also supports Kurdish Islamist terror groups. Tehran has the ability to hurt Iraqi Kurds if they ever cross Iran. Accordingly, the KRG feels that it must be largely complacent towards Tehran as it fears Iran's wrath.

Things are better between the Kurds and the Arabs, but the Kurds are on the losing end here, too. Between 2003 and 2006, when a majority of Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs were against America, the Iraqi Kurds were a significant ally for the United States in Iraq. This equation earned the Kurds American backing in Baghdad. In due course, the Kurds achieved many gains, such as recognition of the KRG as a federal entity.

That situation, however, changed after 2006. First, the United States co-opted the Sunni Arabs through the Awakening Councils. Then, Washington made peace with the Shiite Arabs. The new relationship with Sunni and Shiite Arabs has allowed the United States to zoom out from Baghdad and see the big picture in Iraq. Washington has realized that if Iraq is to work, the modus operand must continue to satisfy the Arabs, who constitute the vast majority of Iraq’s population.

Hence, throughout 2007, the United States backed the Arabs over the Kurds on several crucial issues. First, in February 2007, Washington pressured the Kurds until they agreed to a hydrocarbon law favorable to the Iraqi Arabs and the central government.

The Americans dealt a second blow to the Kurds on the issue of Kirkuk. Washington pressured the Kurds to drop their insistence on carrying out a referendum in Kirkuk by the constitutionally mandated deadline of December 31, 2007. The referendum would have annexed oil-rich Kirkuk to the KRG, fulfilling a Kurdish dream.

These U.S. actions have convinced the Kurds that America is abandoning them in favor of the Iraqi Arabs. Meanwhile, the Arabs continue to score victories against the Kurds now that they have learned to form ad hoc majority blocs in the Iraqi parliament to block or reverse earlier Kurdish gains.

Challenged by the Iraqi Arabs, threatened by Iran, and feeling abandoned by the United States, the Iraqi Kurds have turned to the remaining regional power: Turkey. Accordingly, KRG leaders express only warmth and friendship towards Turkey, adding that they hope for a long-term alliance with Ankara.

This is all for the better. In fact, there exists much fertile ground for friendship between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds, from pro-Western views to oil deals. However, the PKK remains a major stumbling block for this relationship. The PKK, an organization which has caused over 30,000 deaths in Turkey, currently controls an enclave in northeastern Iraq, flanked by Iraqi Kurds. Although the Iraqi Kurds were a tremendous help to Turkey against the PKK in the 1990s, today they are not willing to play the same role.

Turkey views the PKK in northeastern Iraq in a light quite similar to how the U.S. military based in Afghanistan views al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Both northeastern Iraq and tribal regions of Pakistan are lawless border areas in which terrorist groups have set up shop. Hence, just as the U.S. military takes the liberty to attack al-Qaeda camps in the tribal areas of Pakistan from Afghanistan, Turkey will continue to tackle the PKK presence in northeastern Iraq. The sooner the Iraqi Kurds accept this military conclusion, the faster their relationship with Turkey will turn around.

Perhaps the KRG needs Turkey more than Turkey needs it. Even if the Iraqi Kurds were to establish control over Kirkuk’s vast oil reserves, they could not export this oil without the Kirkuk–Ceyhan pipeline, the only oil transit line connecting landlocked northern Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey. And, assuming that the Iraqi Kurds recover their frail relationship with Washington, once United States pulls out of Iraq, will the Kurds receive ready American protection without the Incirlik base in Turkey? Finally, the Iraqi Kurds have much to hope for in terms of economic development, but will this not prove difficult without Turkey’s cooperation, as the only developed economy bordering Iraq?

A relationship between Turkey and the KRG that would be enormously beneficial for both sides cannot come to fruition until the Iraqi Kurds agree to the necessity of action against the PKK. Now that Turkey and the United States are confronting the PKK together, KRG action against the PKK would strengthen ties between the Iraqi Kurds and Washington on a major policy issue, repairing an ailing relationship. Is the Erbil citadel is high enough for the Iraqi Kurds to see the best path to the future?

Soner Cagaptay, senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the author of "Secularism and Foreign Policy in Turkey: New Elections, Troubling Trends."

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Comments (58)

gule:

Ali has spoken the truth as he knows it.
There has never been an attack on 'erbil' by the Iranian forces.Howler is the correct name of this city according to all Kurds anyway.Only Persians Turks and some Arabs assume it erbil.You have lost friends in Howler when you try to take its name away, even the Turkoman say Howler. We have a good repor with them and they do not agree with your insane policy of writting lies and deception.

Ali:

Dear Beris,
You have been given a good answer by Verification I believe, also I understand that you still will not admit the truth! But just to add a complement to her/his answer. I am going to say the following, of course its your personal choice to believe me or not but so that you and others will have no doubt to what I say.
I(the writer of this text) swear by Almighty God/Allah that at the age of "17 years" I was arrested by the Turkish Army at gun point with out me showing any resistance or been armed, or even a member/supporter of the PKK. I was jailed in Turkish military bases at the age of "17 years", I was enslaved(made to work in these bases for free and forcibly) , I was tortured, Humiliated and starved.

My friend, look no further because I am one of those kids that have been jailed by your military. Tho, I do not blame you for not knowing it because in Turkey there are no unbiased news sources to report this crimes. Your best source is the military's website and I "strongly doubt it" that the military tell you the truth and say we have arrested a 17 years old child and enslaved him!

As for my name, it's originally an Arabic name but if that is ok i would like to change my name to Kurdistan in Turkey but the problem is I can not afford the 3 years "MINIMUM/If I am lucky" sentence that comes with it.

Of course you are unaware if there has ever been an international agreement or treaty to establish a Kurdish state called Kurdistan because such things are taboo in Turkey, but read this please:

Treaty of Sevres:

...A Kurdistan region was scheduled to have a referendum to decide its fate, which, according to Section III Articles 62–64, was to include the Mosul Province.
There was no general agreement among Kurds on what its borders should be, due to the disparity between the areas of Kurdish settlement and the political and administrative boundaries of the region.[12] The outlines of a "Kurdistan" as an entity were proposed in 1919 by Şerif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti) at the Paris Peace Conference. He defined the region's boundaries as follows:
"The frontiers of Turkish Kurdistan, from an ethnographical point of view, begin in the north at Ziven, on the Caucasian frontier, and continue westwards to Erzurum, Erzincan, Kemah, Arapgir, Besni and Divick (Divrik?) ; in the south they follow the line from Harran, the Sinjihar Hills, Tel Asfar, Erbil, Süleymaniye, Akk-el-man, Sinne; in the east, Ravandiz, Başkale, Vezirkale, that is to say the frontier of Persia as far as Mount Ararat."...[13]
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_S%C3%A8vres#Kurdistan
So finally, I wish that people could just be honest and say yes there is a problem and lets solve it, because the world, prime minister Erdogan and former heads of the Turkish state all says so, Its only denied by the Nazi-Style Turkish nationalists. If you still instead there is no Kurdish problem in Turkey, lets me say what the Kurds want.
1- To be allowed to study in Kurdish(their mother language) alongside Turkish in schools.
2- To be recognized as an ethnic minority and in Turkey, NOT as mountain Turks or Turks.
Note for you:
The current Turkish constitution does not recognize any other ethnicity except "Turk".
If you instead that Kurds have the same rights as Turks then can we study in Kurdish like you study in your mother language? "A BIG NOOOOOOOOOOOOO".
Why? "because thats just How its is in Turkey No reason, the turks like it that way!"
Just admit it my fried, it can be solved easily and the bloodshed can be stopped, without Turkey been partitioned( don't get paranoid). Be brave see both sides of the story! Kurds and Turks can live in peace and brotherhood if you give us our god given rights.

Verification:

RE: Baris' comment "You cannot be serious here. For anyone out there reading this come to Turkey and check if there is any Kurdish children in jails for this matter ! This is more than nonsense this is hatred in pure sense that you are going too far to lie."

Well, Baris, we don't need to come to Turkey. Obviously, when children live in Diyarbakir, they're no longer viewed as "children" and as potential terrorists -- even three year olds.


Eighty children face jail after Turkish riots.

Tue Apr 25, 7:54 AM ET

Eighty children who took part in riots in Turkey's troubled, mainly Kurdish southeast face up to 15 years in prison, according to an indictment seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The riots, which began late last month, pitting pro-Kurdish protesters against the security forces, were the worst civil unrest in Turkey for more than a decade and left 16 people -- including at least three children, one aged 3, -- dead and hundreds injured.

The indictment, prepared by prosecutors in Diyarbakir, the city worst affected by the violence, includes charges of belonging to a criminal organization, damaging state buildings and attacking police vehicles with Molotov cocktails.

If convicted, the children, aged between 12 and 18, face between 10 and 15 years in jail. They are expected to go before a judge in the coming days.

The Diyarbakir Juvenile Serious Crimes Court has dismissed similar charges against 36 other children involved in the riots. A court in the capital Ankara will now decide whether to press ahead with that case or to let it drop.

Dozens of adults also face jail sentences for their involvement in the protests, which lasted for days and included the torching of public buildings and the ransacking of shops.

Turkish officials have blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for the riots and say the group deliberately used women and children to hamper the security forces' response.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on March 31, when the riots were in full swing, that children were being used as "pawns of terrorism" and said the security forces could not guarantee their safety.

A draft anti-terrorism bill under discussion envisages tougher penalties for parents who allow their children to take part in illegal protests.

Turkey blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the group began its armed campaign for a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.

Turkey's southeast suffers high unemployment and many Kurds want political autonomy and more cultural freedoms. They feel the Turkish state is hostile to them and many express sympathy for the PKK.

The European Union, which Turkey aims to join, expressed concern over the clashes and urged Ankara to improve Kurdish rights. Like Turkey, the EU views the PKK as a terrorist group.

www.REUTERS.COM

Let's not forget the words of Erdogan after the Diyarbakir riots:

“You who let your children roam the streets, or let your children be used by the terrorist organizations, tomorrow your cry will be in vain. Our security forces will act against anybody, whether it be children or women, that works as a tool for terrorism. I want this to be known. Nobody should make wrong calculations.”

– Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech “to the mothers and fathers of Diyarbakir” in the Bilkent Hotel, Ankara on March 31, 2006.

JudasPriest:

BARIS your latest post is the best answer to all the inconceivable comments that are targeted to trigger violence among the citizens of Turkey. For those living in the dream of carving portion of our country, there is only one response as it would be anywhere in the world, that is the right to defend our nation against perpetrators until PKK and its sympathizers are all crushed. For those who want to live together and fight for upholding the very principles of a civilized nation, raising our standards of living, eliminating religious fundamentalism and to correcting any malfunctioning democratic civil liberties, I'll be with them, there is no wrong in doing that.

BARIS, having said that, I think this forum beyond this point is getting to be boring since I dont see the other party to be debating logically but constantly attacking with no rationale. So, I'd say dont bother anymore, I guess and I hope our voice is heard and our stand is acknowledged by those who happen to read these comments.
I am done here.

Racism Abounds:

Re: Think like a Winner

Obviously, the fact that your comments are racist completely elude you.

In fact, you don't have to have a great empire and contribute to the development of 24 states in order to become a nation state, nor do you have to contribute to "humanity". Being human, speaking your mother-tongue, identifying yourself as a "people" and having the desire for self-rule is all that is necessary.

The Kurds -- just like every other peoples in this world -- are entitled self-determination. Self-determination means that they should have a choice in by whom and how they are ruled. Sometimes free minds and developed societies even ask their citizens what they want, who they want to be ruled by -- called REFERENDUMS. That is something that racism perhaps prevents you from recognizing as an IDEA.

The Kurds may not have contributed to the great advancement of civilization like the GREAT TURKISH RACE (with their multitude of Nobel Prize worthy scientists, politicians and a state that is the emulation of all the World) however, they accept their humble beginnings and will strive to make do with what they have. Surely, the proximity with such Greatness as the Turkish Peoples will rub off on the Kurds sooner or later!

Even a humble vineyard where I can live free from Racism is a vast and better country to call my homeland than The Great State of Turkey.

And I daresay the Kurds agree with me or else the PKK's rebellion would not have been the 31st rebellion faced by the Turkish state.


Think like a Winner:

A recent commentator says quotated:"Now for some facts that confused turks needs to understand:
1- Kurdistan is and will always exist.
2- Turks are the immigrants to Anatolia not the Kurds.
3- Just because Turkey came to be a nation-state in 1921, it does not mean that partitioning it is not possible."

This commentator is flying in a dream world"in fact it doesnt matter whether you were here 1st or not its what you do with it as a society and culture.
THe USA is only 200 yrs plus old but look at it today. Technology,medicine advancement and so on..what did the american natives do? lived in the hills for a millinieum.didnt contribute to society.
So for the kurds in area I see a similar situation, if you have lived here so long then what did you do for the human race? you should question this to your self.

The list is very long for The Turks, The have no only contributed to the area established 24 states thoughout the centuries. Recent one Turkey which within a short time of 80 yrs is the 17th largest economy in world.

20 countries attacked Turkey in 1920 and couldnt partion it. today Turkey has the 2nd largest and most mobile army in the world.It Talk is cheap i will say here!

again formost Anybody can call the an areas xxxstan, it can be Kurdistan, syriaistan....vs... It doesnt set your place to claim as a country. possibly a wineyard! maybe.. butto be a country takes centuries of development.. good luck all i can say;)

So question yourself commentator if you were here 1st then what did you contribute?

Kerem SAHINBOY:

My wife is a Kurdish lady. I am % 100 Turkish blood. My daughter is our mutual blood. As she needs me, I need her too.

I believe we both people need eachother too. From an angle We ( Turkiye ) sell 3 billion usd worth of goods annualy to Local authority of Northern Iraq.

By the way, when Saddam has poisoned over 25,000 Kurdish people in Halapcha and forced to leave the territory, Turkiye has hosted all the friends in its lands to save their lifes.

Now, our Kurdish citizens can speak their own language freely, they elect and get elected. Absolute same citizen right as other Turkish people.

Anybody can call the piece of land as xxxstan, it can be Kurdistan, Ermenistan...etc . Even I can call my house as Keremistan. It doesnt set my place a country.

There must be history, literature, science, departments of stabile goverment and perspective.

It's hard to say it for Kurdish neightbours who have been ruled by many since they are known in the history( by Mongolians, Arabs, Persians, Turks = Ottomans, Brits and now Americans )

Tobe honest, I admire american style. They mudy the waters by smoking the heads of Kurdish people like ( You will be a country soon. focus on that ) and on the other hand, they somehow "manage" to consume bigger amounts of resources such as crude oil.

I ask to Kurdish friends

a) Which country supplies you the most of everything ( electricty, water and products ?)

b) Which country has saved your life before ( unlike Iran and Syria and even Americans )

c) Arabs and Turkmans and Kurds have spent thousands of years together. Since 25 years which nation has killed more than Saddam killed ( United Forces = USA and Brits )

d) Who supplies you electricity cheper than they suply to domestic clients ( Turkiye )

e) Who didnt attack on Iraq in the begining of war witha parlaments decision also shows common sense (Turkiye) If Turkiye was planning to erase Kurdish culture from the history wouldnt it be nice chance to use it before the war began ?

f) Who was attacked by "so called" Kurdish terrorizers namely PKK and lost over 30,000 people from Turkish and Kurdish citizens since last 30 years ? ( Turkiye )

g) Populion of Chinese people in America not asking for independence (%9 of all population ) Population of Kurdish people in Turkiye ( %5,5) and asking for independence (%0,035)

Finaly, you have bigger problems than independence as your lands now are being ripped of by american forces, you have educational problems, you have relationship problems with your neighbours, you have economical problems, you have security problems (after usa leaves) and you have infrustructural problems.

Time to think logicaly not in away of old time nazis.

Mawat:

7- No peace without justice, no peace without freedom, no peace without self determination.

Viva Free Kurdistan.

Baris:

To Ali and all my Kurdish brothers there,
"What you saying makes me laugh."
Good to see laughing people:)

"Do you really think all other people are stupid and you can fool them with your lies?"

I would never think that way. That would be an insult to everyone and just for your records I have got nothing to gain by lying. I lived in Turkey for more than 25 years so "I" can witness what I saw as well.

"I am a Kurd and a witness of your aggressions against us."
See you still have that integration problem you only see (or you are brainwashed by others to see)"us" and "them" but I only see us.

"20 million Kurds says you and the Turkish State are aggressive"
Exaggeration here is immense ! Look at the votes for the separatist PKK supporter DTP party and their number of votes and you will instantly see that this is not the case.

"and prosecut us purely for our race but yet you talk on behalf of us. You can no longer cover the facts."
Only the ones who support PKK the baby killers deserve to be prosecuted. Not the Kurdish intellectuals or thinkers. The fact is that Turkey has done many mistakes in the past to all of her citizens regardless of the racial background. Freedom of Speech and many other freedom of people were harmed but not just to Kurds to all people living in Turkey as well. So you are not the only one hence no specific racism issue here.

"Certainly, Tugut Ozal was a Kurds that have (sold himself and his identity for his post)"
Now I am laughing :) So if a Kurdish person decides to integrate into society and even becomes a President he then sells his soul :) See this separatist thought is quite dangerous. Relax and try to think with logic.

" but Laila Zana(an MP) was a Kurds too, the minute she spoke Kurdish and said so, you jailed her and her friends for 15 years."
Zana and the others have supported PKK the baby killers for years hence they deserve to be in jail. Ozal was never a terrist supporter man. Look at your current DTP members and try to learn to integrate like them although some of them has even relatives in PKK which is a dilemma. But at least they are in the parliament.

"Turkish identity and Kurdish identity are very different."
Well Turkic people did not see any problems with Kurdish people for years. We fought together against our enemies for "our home", we played sports together, married each other, built business together etc etc. for so many years, And we still do. If you want to see yourself "different" thats your choice. I hope one day you can clean your head and find in your heart and brain some sense.

"Happy is the one that says Iam a Turk" clearly says A TURK which is very diffrent from a kurd,"
Still the same issue I am not going to repeat what I said before just read it again if you could not understand. Or should I choose Kurdish to make you understand this word "Turk" is not Turkic. Ataturk was a genious and never in his life did anything so idiotic in the name of racism. So his words are to unite not to seperate. Having said that repeating these lines every morning in the elementary school is a bit too much. I am sure Ataturk would never wanted this if he lived longer.

"and you forcibly teach kurdish children this or you send them to the jails,"
You cannot be serious here. For anyone out there reading this come to Turkey and check if there is any Kurdish children in jails for this matter ! This is more than nonsense this is hatred in pure sense that you are going too far to lie.

" absolutly nothing like you say, Turkishness and Turk is a race deffernt with Kurd or Kurdish."

As I said before if you want to see yourself sooooo different and sooo above your neighbors and friends and even relatives be my guest but you do not represent the majority of Kurdish Turks (like African Americans see I am trying to give you examples here so you can integrate :) And by the way Ali is a very common Turkic name too :) Ali are you there :) If you believe Ali is a Turkic name then change your name to some Kurdish name and register it. There is no rule telling you cannot do it. Just stick to the Turkish alphabet to replace your Q W and X with , K, V and KS. Simple !


"What you are saying is 180 degrees different with what happening in Turkey."
Not sure how your analysis can be better than mine but I'll keep on reading. Hoping you can read mine too.

"You see even yourself is so Kurdophobic and Racist that can not mention the word Kurdistan."

Actually I was just pointing out that nowhere in time there was a land promised and tagged as "Kurdistan". (Unlike the Jews and their promised land which happens to cover some of this "Kurdistan" so should we actually let Jews to take it or you to take it ? They were promised before though !)

This is as bad as Pan-Turkish theory that all the Caucasian Countries should be owned by Turks ! I am not racist. I have no fear of Kurdishness, Kurdish language etc. I have many Kurdish friends as well. But then again you will think that they sold their souls as well just like Turgut Ozal who lived in "his home" and lead this beautiful country. What a shame that you cannot even be proud of him.

If you have to live without us feel free to leave your "real home" that we gained by fighting against imperialism. Just do not ask us to divide as we would like to live together.

"Ok, so basically Tureky has no problem,"

On the contrary there are many problems to solve that is if you can be brave and stick around your home and work with your friends whether they are Turkic or Armenian or Kurdish. There is a big economical problem in the South Eastern part of Turkey due to many neglected years socially and economically. Be brave to work hard instead of running away with separatists or terrorists.

" I heared that the British Governemnt and the Candian Government are sending some people over to Turkey, to get some experience and learn from the Turks in treating their minorites!!!"
Well it is strange that you call yourself minorities. You can call Armenians, Greeks, Arabs or Laz as minorities not Kurds with 20 million population as you said previously. See still you see yourself as "others". When you stop doing this you will start to see more clearly.

" oh and the rest of the world would also like to know how you treat journalists like (Hrant Dink) and freedom of speech or people like (Orhan Pamuk). Article 301 of the Turkish Constitution sounds an interesting one too!"
Cannot agree more ! (Orhan Pamuk is off the hook by the way. And when we lost Dink we have all walked on the streets saying "We are all Dinks!" were you there my friend or were you hiding behind the scenes trying to separate us !)

So stop playing the "other" if you are a Kurdish Turk then fight with us against all attacks on freedom. Do not listen to red-necks telling you to fight your neighbor instead of working together.
So with your words :
Biji-Yasa Peace ! Yasa Biji Turkiye ! Yasa Biji Brotherhood among Turks !

Mawat:

First of all I would like to point out the article is quite biased and unbalanced. It is so obvious the author is pro Turkey that makes me question who is funding his program(perhapses the Turkish gov).

Now for some facts that confused turks needs to understand:
1- Kurdistan is and will always exist.
2- Turks are the immigrants to Anatolia not the Kurds.
3- Just because Turkey came to be a nation-state in 1921, it does not mean that partitioning it is not possible.
4- Freedom is what Kurds seek; freedom from the oppression of Turks, Persian and Arabs.
5- Simply because a select group of Kurds have attained a higher status in society, it does not discount the numerous human rights violations that the greater majority of Kurds have been subjected to.
6- Do not deny your past injustices. You can not cover the Truth.

LIhoni:

ignorant country has a problem like the pkk issue

H. Lihoni USA

peshawa - suly:

dialogue is only far reaching solution for the isssued between kurd and Turks but when they learn , Allah knows

Peshawa Omer Trifaee
polits student suly uni.

Onur UYSAL:

Ignorant peoples won't understand the truth. PKK=HIZBULLAH=EL KAIDE

cox:

Serbia never jumped to Albania and Serbia accused as war crime. Turkey jumped to Irak killed people and Turkey is not war crime because international law is dead.
Turkey recognized Kosovo (Shame Turkey).
Turkey must recognize free Kurdistan like recognized Kosovo and North Cipar (Turkey also jumped to Cipar). Turkey is international hully.
Stop double standards it is danger for peace.

Pure Propaganda:

I'm very disappointed that the Washington Post allows such propaganda to be published. It is a heavily biased article that simply serves to legitimize Turkish aggression against Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). So, why are American newspapers so eager to publish it?

The argument that Turkey would be a trustworthy ally of Kurdistan if the PKK factor was removed is ludicrous. So, Turkey will not oppose a referendum on Kerkuk and will recognize the Kurdistan Regional Government if the KRG 'delivers' on the PKK issue???

Hahahahahhahahahhhhhhhhhhha

I don't think you can find a person naive enough to accept that argument.

And by the way, the so called "terrorists" in Northern Iraq have declared numerous UNILATERAL ceasefires and they have repeatedly declared themselves ready to disarm unconditionally in return for a chance to participate lawfully in the Turkish political process and for cultural reforms to recognize the Kurdish identity!!! If Turkey loves the Kurds so much, and are such great allies, why not do a favor to its own Kurds and give peace a chance rather than saber rattling in the Middle East????

Turkey fools no one; certainly not the KRG.

Robert:

What this author is doing is opening up to the world the old rivalries of the Ottoman and Persian empires. These are all propaganda in order for Turkey to somehow undermine the current state of affairs between Iran and the Iraqi-Kurds and the ruling Shiites in Baghdad. It really isn't about PKK that the author here is worried about. The Kurdish separatists, in fact are one of the few things where Turkey and Iran share the same goals and interests.

"Iraq" was always a key battleground between these rivals. These lands changed hands multiple times up to the 18th century.

Many nationalists in Turkey look at Kirkuk and Mosul as rightfully belonging to Turkey. In fact not too long ago, Turkey warned that it would take Kirkuk if the Iraqi-Kurds went ahead with their efforts to claim it as part of Kurdistan.

Turkey does not have the resources and wealth of Iraq, Iran, and for that matter Kurdistan. If Kirkuk goes over to Kurdistan, the Kurds in effect will be a more wealthy state than Turkey, which in turn further marginalizes Turkey.

Turkey does not have any kinship with the Kurds, the Arabs (Shia or Sunni). In this regard, they are at a disadvantage against the persians who have either race, culture and religion to share with the Kurds and the ruling Shiites in Iraq.

SHAHRAM MIRHAJ Kurdistan - Iraq:

Kurds are not Challenged by the Iraqi Arabs and threatend by Iran and abandoned by the United States, the only problem which all those byname Muslim neighbours of Kurdistan have is to pay attention to the Kurds main rights like admiting them and giving the most necessity human rights like mother language and some political and economical concession may be it is the kurds fate nobody not learn what happend to saddam who wished to eliminate Kurds by all genocide measures what he got to was be hanging and nothing else

Mahir Munzur:

Turks should stop to opress the kurds in Turkey and the so-called "kurdish or pkk issue" will be solved very easily. As long as the turks try to assimilate the language and culture of the kurds, place military power on every kurdish mountain village the kurds will resist with or without arms. The main problem is here, that still millions of nationalistic turks are "blind" and do not see the political dimension of the kurdish issue, nor do they accept that the turkish military killed ten-thousands of kurds, burned down 3 thousand villages and displaced 3 million kurds from the so called sout-east of turkey.

Wahabi Kebabi:

Turkey has always welcomed and extended a helping hand to the Iraqi people during their difficult times, and they are friends and family of Turkey. It is time for Turkey to join the Iraqi Union. Millions of Turks can be sent to Iraq to replace the millions of women and children Bush has forced into prostitution and human trafficking. And all the illegals Bush has trafficked into Iraq to build a 104 acre wh*rehouse for the oil pimps, the world's largest, can be replaced by Turks? No, they should be replaced by Iraqis.

Friends of The NATION OF ISLAM U.S.A.:

"ON-WOMANS-WRONGS & SHAME, not RIGHTS!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peFQWuk4nuo&feature=related

UNDERCOVER MOSQUE! THOUSANDS INVOLVED!


Abolish islam in Sweet Sweet U.S.A.!

Remove Tax free Status & Building permitts etc..!

BOZKURT HAKAN:

LAN GAVURLAR BANA BAKIN BEN TÜRKÜM DEGİL AMERİKA ÜSTÜMÜZE 6 ÜLKE GELMİS BİZ ANASINI AGLATMISIZ.SAVUNMAYIN BEBEK KATİLLERİNİ YOKSA SONUNUZ FENA OLUR.IRAGA GİRDİNİZ CIKAMIYORSUNUZ.BIRAKIN BİZ SU TERÖRİSTLERİ ÖLDÜRELİMDE BİTSİNLER ARTIK.NASIL SİZ EL KAİDEYİ SEVMİYORSANIZ BİZDE PKKYI SEVMİYORUZ.

AE:

This article is absolute rubbish. Turkey has waged war on the very idea of 'Kurd' since the establishment of its Fascist state. It is uncomfortable with any idea of Kurdishness, and it has killed and oppressed more Kurds than Iran will do in the next 80 years. Kurds have their own province in Iran and are making inroads. The Iranian government has a very warm relationship with the Islamic Republic due to years of support through Saddam's regime and a mutual disposition towards the MKO. I simply fail to understand how the author managed to convince a think-tank to publish his w..--- oh.. n/m, its the Washington institute. Iran being more of a threat to the Kurds than Turkey? The only substantive point the entire article made was the exporting of oil through the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, and that was out of context, so it actually made the article worse rather than better. RUBBISH!

serhan tumer samsun bafra.....:

şerefsiz bebek katillerinin resimleri var mı sizde ????isterseniz size gönderebilirim???aynı zamanda bu vatan için şehitlerimizin isimleri;fotoğrafları ve ailelerine gönderdikleri son mektubları....sakın kalleş pkk yı korumayın...yoksa türk milleti size en güzel cevabı verir.....

serhan tümer :

"Happy is he who says I'm a Turk"

Anonymous:

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Turkish Patriot Front:

KRG to join TURKEY

Bekir:

Only one sentence, Turks and kurds are brothers. No need else word.

Ali:

To Baris,

What you saying makes me laugh. Do you really think all other people are stupid and you can fool them with your lies?

I am a Kurd and a witness of your aggressions against us. 20 million Kurds says you and the Turkish State are aggressive and prosecut us purely for our race but yet you talk on behalf of us. You can no longer cover the facts.
Certainly, Tugut Ozal was a Kurds that have (sold himself and his identity for his post) but Laila Zana(an MP) was a Kurds too, the minute she spoke Kurdish and said so, you jailed her and her friends for 15 years.

Turkish identity and Kurdish identity are very different. "Happy is the one that says Iam a Turk" clearly says A TURK which is very diffrent from a kurd, and you forcibly teach kurdish children this or you send them to the jails, absolutly nothing like you say, Turkishness and Turk is a race deffernt with Kurd or Kurdish.

What you are saying is 180 degrees different with what happening in Turkey. You see even yourself is so Kurdophobic and Racist that can not mention the word Kurdistan.Ok, so basically Tureky has no problem, I heared that the British Governemnt and the Candian Government are sending some people over to Turkey, to get some experience and learn from the Turks in treating their minorites!!! oh and the rest of the world would also like to know how you treat journalists like (Hrant Dink) and freedom of speech or people like (Orhan Pamuk). Article 301 of the Turkish Constitution sounds an interesting one too!

YAVUZ:

You can write many long theorotical essays about the problem.
The simplest way to learn the problem is to ask the target poeple themselves, what Kurds in Turkiye think about this issue. But, I dont mean the head of PKK or DTP, I mean the real Kurdish people in the villages or on the streets of the big cities, or in the best universities of Turkish state:

They would say that, yes, they are not Turk, they are Kurdish, this is the fact. But they do not support PKK, because PKK gave killed and damaged more Kurds than Turks. What did PKK do against the Turks in Ankara or Istanbul, nearly nothing. But they attacked the Kurdish villages, they took whatever they had, they kidnapped and killed many Kurds..

So, do you still believe PKK is working for the Kurdish rights? No.

It is all about drugs.. Everyone knows this. And some rich and powerful countries supported PKK with money and weapons, and everyone knows this too.

So, while sitting in an office in Europe or America, you cannot write anytthing about Kurdish problem of Turkey. Just come and see.

Hemin Hussein:

First and foremost, the PKK issue is certainly interrelated with the Kurdish question in general and with Turkey in particular. The formation of PKK was the sole option as a response to the acts of the Turkish state against their Kurds as an ethnic community. This issue is still pending after decades of bloody confrontation; twenty years of military conflict has not resolved the problem. The PKK conundrum is a political issue and the political issues can be solved by political solutions and not by military means or penal law. It is a matter of fact that the PKK is a response of the Turkish state’s repression, suppression, and its denial to give the political and cultural rights for the Kurds. The Turkish constitution still doesn’t recognize more than twenty million people. You can sing in a city like Ankara in all languages but Kurdish! Look at the myriad differences between southeastern Turkey and the rest of the country. The government of Ankara hasn’t embraced Turkey’s Kurds yet. As poll suggests most of the young people in the Kurdish cities are unemployed and live below the poverty line. According to the most observers the living conditions of the Kurdish people is one of the most influential driving forces behind “the Kurdish rebels” in the mountains. Turkey should know that this issue can be solved internally inside Turkey. Prime Minister Erdogan himself, pointed out in June, before caving into military pressure that the struggle is inside the country. Turkey should know that Cross boarder operations incite “Kurdish extremisms” and galvanize ethnic Kurdish nationalism in the region rather than offering a long-standing solution. Hemin Hussein - Kurdistan - Hawler University

Baris:

Answers to SOS
"If there is no racism in Turkey why is every Kurdish school kid forced to take the pledge that ends "Happy is he who says I'm a Turk". "

Being "Turk" in that context is not pure blood "Turkishness" as there cannot be such a thing after so many centuries :) So Relax it is like saying you are American and being proud of it. Just by saying that you do not all of a sudden lose your identity. In fact you gain unity. Racism does not make any sense in Turkey as people living in Turkey is made of so many inter-marriages between Armenians, Kurds, Laz, Arabs, Serbs, Greeks, other Anglo-Saxons etc.

"Why aren't they allowed to live normal, happy lives as Kurds?"
Well they do. Even former president of Turkey Tugut Ozal had Kurdish background. The one who would like to integrate to the society do live happily. The baby killers like the PKK head Abdullah Ocalan dont as they are monsters to rot in hell. They killed both Turkish and Kurdish people by the way for your reference.

"Why is all this brain-washing of Kurds from childhood age? Why do Turks hate and want to destroy everything that is Kurdish? Turkey even bans the use of letters W, Q and X because they exist in Kurdish alphabet but not in Turkish."

Do you want to change the alphabet as well now ? This is ridiculously funny as in Turkey the official language is made of Turkish alphabet. You don't go to Russia and force your special letters just because you are Kurdish. Or you don't go to USA and force Greek letters in the your name in your birth certificate. Turkish alphabet is rich enough to cover phonetically W, X or Q. W is easily pronounced with V, Q with K and X with KS.

"Why are the people who resist these oppressive polices sent to jail? If this is not pure hatred and racism directed at Kurds then what is?"

The ones in jails are the ones who support PKK, the baby killers. If you are one of them you deserve to be in jail if you are lucky.

"No wonder Kurds want to get rid of Turks from Kurdistan."

Not all Kurds my friend. The normal ones integrating well to the society do want to live in peace in "Turkiye" their "home". And no such place called Kurdistan unfortunately. This is a utopia my friend. But there is a new state in Iraq where Kurds mainly live semi-autonomously. You can always go and live there if you can call that place "home".

"Good on them! Anyone with an iota of dignity in them would oppose such policies."

Which policies ? If you are talking about banning the language and media in Kurdish you are right. That was a big mistake that the governments fixed.
But if you want to change the constitution to change the official language or education language then look at other "developed" countries and see how they deal with this before attacking Turkey.
In Turkey you can have Kurdish language schools and magazines etc. Noone is against them as long as they do not support PKK.

"The Kurds are a people who deserve to live in peace and dignity in their ancient land."

Yep, we all do. Greeks used to live in the Western part of Anatolia and in Istanbul 2000 years ago. So lets go back in time and give them all. Turks had all these land as Ottomans for 900 years so lets give Turkey all these lands ! Funny it sounds so just live peacefully and try to live with your neighbor.

"They are entitled to fight off Turkish barbarism. Biji Kurdistan!"

Right...Thats why your ancestors and Turks fought against the Brits, French and Greeks all together i the 1st World War just to divide the land...Read some history...do not believe in evertything they tell you...Have some common sense. Don't be violent and please stop supporting the PKK baby killers..

think like a winner:

First of all if there was a kurdish problem in Turkey then why isnt there a civil war yet? there wont be one becuase the kurd that lives outside Turkey and comments here cannot understand what has happened in Turkiye. Turks and kurds have intermarried over the centuries and kurds are everywhere in all parts of the country in all walks of life. Yes becuase of the imperialist power centers that have created the PKK they have tried over 30 years but could not create this civil war. however sadly over 40000 Turkish citizens, soldiers, security forces teachers villagers and yes etnic kurdish citizens were killed.

I suggest people who write on this issue to read how nations are formed. it takes centuries and nationhood is not given you on a silverplate, you have to earn it. The U.S or the brits will not hand it to you. you will loose it if they do because you didnt earn it as society.


Turkey is very rich in culture, the etnic mixture is over 10 thousand years old. its based on what a human can give to the society. No other society is ever culturally rich as the anatolian landscape.
bottomline whatever you do you will not win Becuase the Turks in The Turkish landscape think like a winner!

Robert:

Two additional points that readers should know when reading propoganda from authors such as this:

1) Of all the nations in that region with a "Kurdish Problem", Turkey has the most to lose from the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq. Roughly 20 to 25 percent of turkish land is inhabited and historically claimed by Kurds. Iran, Iraq, and Syria follow in respective order.

2) Iran is also battling kurdish separatists who cross back-n-forth from the Kurdish-Iraqi territory. This separatist group is closely aligned with the PKK and have the same abbreviation plus another letter. Imagine Iran sending its troops across the border to tackle this problem like the Turks did. What do you think the world would say? Worse than that, what do you think Cheney and Bush would do?

I will say that Ataturk was one the great leaders of the 20th century and a true patriot. But lets also acknowledge the rigidness of the Turks and their past atrocities and genocide. As long as these are not acknowledged, Turkey has a long road to any credibility on the issue of human rights and respect for cultural and religious diversity.

Friends Of Space Ship Earth:

The Dali Lama & his International Religio Mafioso, MONK's-ARMY, ALL have Blood On their hands! Now his in Tibet & recently in Burma!!!!!????


Where are you 'WAPO-Moderator' Mr. Dalai Lama?


Forsake BUDDHISTism!

Forsake BUDDHISM!

Please do not allow them "ASYLUM" Immigration Status in U.S.A.!

The Dalai Lama should be jailed & never allowed contact with the outside world!


Terrorists! The MONK-ARMY are incite-a-riot terrorists!

Robert:

The author really is taking liberties here with the true state of affairs in that region. It is pure rubbish and really doesn't pass the smell test.

As we approach the 20 year anniversary of the Anfal campaign, where Saddam gassed thousands of Kurds, one need to only ask two questions to realize the place of the Iranians and Turks in the hearts of the Iraqi Kurds:

1) Why did Saddam gas the Kurds?
Answer: Because they had allied themselves with Iran.

2) How was the relationship between Saddam and Turkey?
Answer: Very Good up until the first Gulf war. After the Gulf War, it continued to be a good and convenient relationship due to their mutual Kurdish problem and their fear of Iran.

3) Who are the closest kins of the Kurds?
Answer: Iranians. They both are indo-iranian (aryan) race. In fact the kurdish language is an offshoot of Farsi.

Yet this author makes absurd statements such as: "Turkey views the PKK in northeastern Iraq in a light quite similar to how the U.S. military based in Afghanistan views al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas."

Al-Qaeda and the PKK have nothing in common. One is an fundamentalist islamic terrorist organization fighting who they perceive as crusaders and occupiers, while the other is a secular organization with a past-marxist bend fighting for survival in their homeland.

WORLD GUARDIAN:

In HAWLER [=the Kurdish name for ERBIL in Arabic]
The KURDS need INDEPENDENCE.


The Kurds could use an Ocean, or at least a Sea, if such was available. They could use a river to separate them from those who want to colonize them - but none is available...

When the Brits took over the area now known as IRAQ, they promised the Kurds Independence.

When oil was found near [then 100% Kurdish] KIRKUK, the British 'forgot' their promise.

Kurdistan was thus split among Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.
[Iran was the only non-Othoman state].

As Kurdistan and its natural wealth was divided among Arabs and Turks the Kurdish problem was born.

And now? - The U.S. is known to spread promises, in order not to keep them.

According to the current residents of the White House, only Jews has "Historical Rights" to "Their" Homeland. Lucky Jews! Lucky not to have rivers of oil run thru "their" land.

And the Palestinian? - Like the Kurds, will depend on their resistance or the "Good Will" of the West.

M. Turkoglu:

My Kurdish friends; lets imaging Hilary or Obama won the election and US military pulled out from Iraq. Who will provide you bread and water? forget about Godiva chocalate? A) France, B) Germany, C) Socalist Sweden D)Corrupt Russia
E) Racist Turkey. My answer will be E. History way of repeating itself. Mehmet "Proud"Turkoglu

an observer:

Sure lets go back to History:
- 1000 000 Armenians are killed by the Turks during the WWI.
- At least 40 000 "Counted for" Freedom Loving Kurds are killed by the Turks.
- The Turkish State created a group (Hizbullah Terrorists) to kill and murder peaceful Kurds.
- The Turkish State imprisoned countless Kurdish intellectuals and others for speaking or refering to themselves as Kurds, Laila Zana is one example.
- According to retired Turkish Army solidiers, The Army wears Kurdish Freedomg Fighters (PKK) clothes and kills civilians, blaming the PKK later.
- The Turkish State has "forcibly" displaced 2 million Kurds as part of their genocidal campaign against the poor Kurds.
- The Turkish Army has razed to the ground 4000 Kurdish villages.
- It was USA and UK that created the No-Fly Zone, had nothing to do with Turkey, exept for the fact that the planes were based in Turkey(USA military base)
- Tureky DID NOT let one single Kurd enter Turkish territory in 1991 untill the world intervened, later, turkey hided these refugees from the world media, to cover saddams brutalities.
-Tureky bann's the name of animals and alphabetic letters which do not exist in Turkish. Not to mention the entire Kurdish Langauge and culture.
-Turkish companies do not work for free in Kurdistan but they get paid and their work is vital for the declining turkish economy.
- Not only Kurds but writers and intellectualls such as Orhan Pamuk are forced to live in exile and threatened to be slaughtered( like the Armenian journalis) for practising their freedom of speech.
- Foreign journalists are deported from turkey for investigating the turkish crimes against the kurdish people.
- Turkish Army uses explosives to bomb civilian places like the one in the library of Van ( a town) by undercover turkish solidier and secret services, later blaming the Kurds and the PKK, yet the Head of The Turkish General Staff calles these undercover bombers "Good Guys and I know Them"
- " The turkish constitution is written by the military i.e its a military constitution"
Finally, its advisable not to learn history from Turkish sources as they are biased and do not consider any other source or indeed race valid
or worthy to be given a chance to life. Its also important that Not to mention the word Kurdistan on visites to Tureky as it will attract death and deportation.

WORLD GUARDIAN:

In HAWLER [=the Kurdish name for ERBIL in Arabic]
The KURDS need INDEPENDENCE.


The Kurds could use an Ocean, or at least a Sea, if such was available. They could use a river to separate them from those who want to colonize them - but none is available...

When the Brits took over the area now known as IRAQ, they promised the Kurds Independence.

When oil was found near [then 100% Kurdish] KIRKUK, the British 'forgot' their promise.

Kurdistan was thus split among Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.
[Iran was the only non-Othoman state].

As Kurdistan and its natural wealth was divided among Arabs and Turks the Kurdish problem was born.

And now? - The U.S. is known to spread promises, in order not to keep them.

According to the current residents of the White House, only Jews has "Historical Rights" to "Their" Homeland. Lucky Jews! Lucky not to have rivers of oil run thru "their" land.

And the Palestinian? - Like the Kurds, will depend on their resistance or the "Good Will" of the West.

JudasPriest:

I think I got my answers to my two simple questions by being blamed of asking the questions in an anger fueled series of accusations. Let me tell you about what I have seen and lived during my 30 years in Turkey. First off, nobody has pure blood and it is this mix-nature of people that makes it richer in its culture and makes it a very distinct experience living in Turkey. I feel blessed to have been born as a Turk and lived in this ethnically rich atmosphere. My grandmother was Kurdish, I grew up in Ankara within a middle class intellectual family built by a proud father who managed to become an engineer by working on constructions, doing dishes, sleeping on the cold concrete floor and also sending money to his family living in an Anatolian village and a Cypriot mother who had to migrate to Turkey to avoid predictable ugly series of events that followed early atrocities committed towards Turkish minority in 1950s. Living in this survivor family gave me a sense of understanding the world around me through the virtues of respecting every individual's civil rights, appreciative of freedom of belief in one religion or none and of that very freedom won by blood, courage and wit, that moulded people of Turkey to have the common goal of becoming a civilized nation. The process of becoming such a respected civilized nation has been a particularly hard goal to achieve considering the hundreds of years of oppression on scientific and socialistic advancement due to Ottoman monarchy built on top of blind obedience of its people to religion. Kurds along with very many other ethnic people of Turkey were the subject of this process. The outcome of this process to this day is a partial success at best in terms of its lack of producing intelligent, able political leaders, its ineptitude of establishing wealth sharing that resulted in judicial system break-down to be harassed and stagnated by corrupt government officials, gaps in local authority only to be filled by feudal powers to count a few. As someone who believe the undeniable benefits of the success of this goal, I started to criticize the malfunctioning aspects of governance in Turkey, in my voice, within my own civil rights that can not verbally or physically abuse any other citizen only to defend what I believe in by sticking to democratic norms and practices. I'd like to give a vivid example of one in so many incidences from my life; it was after a week of my son's birth. I went to the Census Bureau only to get my son's birth certificate. The laws and certificate were such that there was a column that had to be filled in the document as-to the religion of my son. I strongly objected to fill and associate such an attribute with a-week-old baby. It was so wrong to the very fundamentals of the "process" that I highly regarded as the best way to pursue for the good of our nation. When I rejected to write anything for my son's religious preference, the officials argued with me that whatever I believe must have been written there and that I can not leave it empty and if I do, it'll mean the same as denial of citizenship of my son. I was frustrated and angered at the authorities and after a long exhaustively heated verbal exchanges, I returned home only to have the task accomplished later by my beloved father. I did not shoot anyone, nor I denied my citizenship. I wanted to believe in the success of this so-called process for my nation and I still am. The question is as Turkish citizens, only if you admit to be one before you answer, would you be willing to work on correcting it within the guidelines of democratic principles?

Somehistory:

---Turkey, alongside with the US, UK and France, established the Northern Iraq No Fly Zone and conducted Operation Provide Comfort to protect the KURDS from the Saddam's tyranny.
---Turkey hosted half a million KURDS who were running from Saddam in 1988 to 1991, provided shelter and food.
---Turkey was the gateway for the KURDS to reach the Western countries during Saddam era.
---Mr. Talabani, Mr. Barzani and their families were provided Turkish Diplomatic Passports to travel.
---In 1990's the Kurdish peshmerga forces were provided military equipment and training by the Turkish Security Forces.
---Turkey was the peacemaker between Mr. Barzani and Mr. Talabani who were fighting against eachother in the period called Kurdish Civil War in 1995-1998.
---Turkish investments in northern Iraq, as of 2007, reached 3 billion USD.
---More than 100 Turkish firms are contributing to the reconstruction of northern Iraq.
---More than 3000 trucks are carrying the Coalition Forces in Iraq, Iraqi people and of course the Kurds fuel, water, food...etc.

So Turks are always evil !!! and the rest of the world are clean sheets !!!

You all need to go back to the history and thank to the Turks for what they did to the security and prosperity of the Kurds in northern Iraq.

Empathy and sympathy...Easy words...

SOS:

If there is no racism in Turkey why is every Kurdish school kid forced to take the pledge that ends "Happy is he who says I'm a Turk". Why aren't they allowed to live normal, happy lives as Kurds? Why is all this brain-washing of Kurds from childhood age? Why do Turks hate and want to destroy everything that is Kurdish? Turkey even bans the use of letters W, Q and X because they exist in Kurdish alphabet but not in Turkish. Why are the people who resist these oppressive polices sent to jail? If this is not pure hatred and racism directed at Kurds then what is?

No wonder Kurds want to get rid of Turks from Kurdistan. Good on them! Anyone with an iota of dignity in them would oppose such policies. The Kurds are a people who deserve to live in peace and dignity in their ancient land. They are entitled to fight off Turkish barbarism. Biji Kurdistan!

JRLR:

This amusing piece has made my day!

It is not fundamentally about Iraqi Kurds and Turkey, as the title suggests, but about and against IRAN as the "greatest (perceived) threat" -- hence the greatest threat, assuming "reality is nothing but perception" (is it not, you eminent philosophers ....?).

Such irony is at the source of what was known, in Ancient Times, as the gods' inextinguishable laughter...

Here is spelled out one of the latest of those wildest American dreams : convince Turks and (Iraqi) Kurds to ally themselves against Iran.

Why? Well... simply because after the United States of America, Turkey is undoubtedly the (Iraqi) Kurds' best ally. Despite it all, has that not been always so obvious...?

It is Iran that is evil!

We'll need each other when we all soon turn against Iran.

-- "Now being the American patriot you are, I am sure you do agree, General Fallon... don't you?"

-- ...

And while the media were still basking in their self-induced coma, it was "All Quiet on the Western Front"...

Ali:

Its very sad to see that the majority of the Turkish people have their minds promgramed by the military. Mr./Miss Orkun and Edia, who has given you guys the rights to speak on behalf of 20 million kurds? that is exactly the problem, we say we want our rights and you turks say no you do not want any rights becuase you have no rights. and please stop trying to fool the world as the world will learn the truth soon on later.

Why is it ok for you to force Kurdish and all childern in turkey indeed, to learn in school that "Happy is the one Who says I am a Turk" you forcing Kurdish chilren to say this! all wihout our will, we can not use our langauge but only turkish. Is this not Turkification? is this not Racistm? and you say it yourself that anyone living in turkey is A TURKISH citizen, can't you say A kurdish citizen of the Republic of tureky? you still do not recognise us as Kurds but only as Turks or Terrorist "as you put it". Layla zana spok of peace brotherhood and Peace and you threw he into jail for 15 years serving 9.3 of it. Why can't you just say the turth once? recognise us for good and stop the bloodshed?? follow this link please please to see layla zana's story please and how racist some of you can be!! Stop racism. copy and past.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ELe0MqNWGk

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-269408039355983767&q=Turkey-Kurdish+woman&total=1&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

Bedia Kiran:

People who have the birth certificate of the Turkish Republic are Turkish citizens. It does not matter their parents speak Kurdish, Greek, Ladino, Armenian or any other tongue. Among sayings to enforce the republic that was born with the demise of the Ottoman Empire is this: We are a welded mass without class. The word "ethnic" did not exist in my childhood and youth Turkey. However, I kept observing a FEUDAL Kurdish group speaking Kurdish. In an upper middle neighborhood a Kurdish speaking Turkish family was my neighbors. They had their apartment, and I rented the apartment. Turkey had had problems with Kurdish speaking Turkish citizens. However, Turkey had Turkish speaking Turks too. They had capital punishment. On the other hand another Kurdish speaking Turk, Saidi Nursi/Saidi Kurdi had only prison experience. It was not like Nelson Mandela's adventures. Now, the Kurdish people are speaking of Mandela experience while saying this and that about Leyla Zana, the Nobel Peace Prize winner. Why don't they speak of Yasar Kemal, another Kurdish speaking Turkish writer who was after Nobel literary prize for years? A few prizes, known by other countries and a very successful literary life in Turkey. And a Turkish mam who found a translator got the 2006 Nobel Literary Prize with the novel (!) story of Ottoman Istanbul. I remembered Boris Pasternak's Dr. Jivago and the Nobel prize for some unknown reason(!). And the PKK going after Marxism and Leninism. And the word etnik (ethnic) making Turkish language dirty. JournalistS are writing about Kurds who are unhappy with the United States of America. Once upon a time ago, the cruel one was Saddam Hussein. Americans were saviors. Once upon a time ago, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, was used to model a character in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and a freedom leader for Mahatma Gandhi followers. And Leyla Zana is a question in my head. Could she speak Kurdish to swear peace-justice-all the good things upon becoming a member of parliament in the United States, or Belgium, or Spain, ... Did Leyla Zana learn the 'peace in the homeland, peace in the universe' saying as a primary school student? I was in Istanbul for a few months, and a Kurdish speaking Turkish lady gave me the care of a loving mother, not a neighbor's. She felt bad in one point, because she did not know how to read and write. Nobel Prize winner Leyla Zana and Mandela admirer (I also appreciate Mandela) Kurdish speaking people in Canada and the USA should do something about this beloved neighborhood. THEY SHOULD LEARN WHAT FEUDALISM IS. IS PKK FIGHTING FOR SETTING UP AN INDEPENDENT KURDISH REBUBLIC, OR A "BRAVE NEW WORLD" MOVIE SCENERIO IN THE PROCESS OF WRITING? Brave new world! The world of those who have the diploma of ignorance.

Orkun:

the Turks are not rascist against the Kurds in any way.
What is the point of a school that speaks Kurdish in Turkey?. Do you think a Kurd that graduated from a school without Turkish can get a job? anywhere?. no. Kurds have it good in Turkey. There is no racsim against them. Kurds are even shown in some propaganda films as better moraled than the Turks. Kurds have all the right that Turks do.

Hawraman:

Jadaspriest, it is well known by every single non-turk that the racist Turkish state has been trying to wipe out the kurdish identity for the past 100 years, its sad to hear that you are unaware of it.

Civil rights? ask yourself what are Natural Rights or God Given Rights? they are the same.
The rights to life, to use your mother language,to practise your calture and above all to say FREELY whether you are an American,English,turk, French or Kurdish. In other words to be allowed to freely say what is your identity. These are all non-existance in Turkey, "your ask for them, you are a terrorist". This is what the PKK and Kurds ask for, simply to practise these "most basic" rights. You see the racist state had even made it strictly illegal to name our kids in Kurdish, its has to be turish and they even banned three allphabetic letters and the names of a few animanls which do not exist in Turkish but only in kurdish.

Now, what the PKK and the Kurds want is very simple, recognise us as a minority and give us ONLY HALF of the freedom enjoyed by other minorities around the world. Please do not say take it peacfully to the turkish parliament because we have tried countless times,e.g. Laila Zana, a kurdish MP of the turkush parliament was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for simply speaking kurdish in the parliament" acts of terrorism". More recently, three days ago the Turkish prime minister announced that he will not meet with the 20 kurdish MPs. I can go on and on and give you countless examples, but I would end it by saying that the Turkish state does NOT recognise any thing to do with us and failure to comply is branded an act of terrorism. We want our Natural rights: Langauge, Calture, Identity, is that terrorism??? Yes of course, but ONLY in Turkey.

Hemin Hussein:

first i strongly disagree that the KRG needs Tureky more than Turkey needs KRG, we saw that despite its cross boarder operation, Turkey could not dare to close the the boarders, this is not for humanity, because of its dependency economy>>>
i would like ask writher to write about the Turkish state which is against evry simple right for the Kurds and even its people and they turned Tureky in to "freedom cemetery"

Hemin Hussein
ukh

JudasPriest:

Just what is it the PKK wants and what are the civil rights that Kurds want from Turkey? Then we can talk about finding a solution.
Before accusing the author or Turks, please give me answers on these two simple questions.

SOS:

Just when are we going to read an opinion piece about the racist policies of Turkey against Kurds?

azzi:

america will never give up the kurds. america wants a kurdish country in iraq, iran and syria andin fact in turkey too. but the thing is usa is closed allied with turkey. lets go back to iraq. usa can not show it's support to the iraqi kurds in an obvious way. this is what the usa wants people like us to sasy that america is giving up the kurds.kurds will control kirkuk.it is either now or five years later so who cares if the refrandom six months later. america is not in a hurry as long as mulas are running iran.kurds are gone be the main player in topling iranina government usa can not depent on turkey any more because turkey will not get involved.it might fear irans power and the bussiness going on between them.but the kurds have nothing to lose but so much to get. just like iraqi kurds got what they wanted from iraq,beside this other side of the border will be another kurdish governemnt of iran. and this wil lhappen in a year or ten.

Deniz:

Recent developments and the last elections gave us hope for the solution on the Kurds issue. There is a democratic party (DTP) in the parliament and AKP has many deputies who are Kurd or has close relation with them.
The terrorist attacks affected the prosperity of that region and produced anger.
This 'FREEDOM FIGHT' has to take place in the parliament not at the mountains.
PKK lost their purpose of existence. Now instead of fighting for the Kurdish rights, they are killing them by using bombs which we have seen in Diyarbakir a couple of months ago.
I wonder if PKK is being used against the development of democracy at that region.

For SAS:

Hey MR. Racist Turk, I mean Mr. SAS, you see you turks are so racists that you even can not bring yourself to say the Kurds of Iraqi Kurdistan, or the Kurdistan region or Iraq, instead you use the word Northern Iraq. You call our "legitimately" elected leaders (like Talabani and Barzani) tribal leaders.
What else can we expect from you then? Oh you mean peace? that is a good dream for us to be able to persuade Turks to do peace with us. I think that what you first need to do is do acknowledge that there exist a people called The Kurds and they are as equal as Your "super-race people -Turks"

I only wish to find out one day as to why most Turks(by no means all) are so paranoid and suffer from panic attacks whenever they hear the words(Kurd or Kurdistan)

Yours,
An Oppressed Kurd.

Hawraman:

Obviously it appears that the author has no knowledge of the racist Turkish States policy towards the Kurds. The Turkish State to this day practises a policy of "A good Kurd is a dead Kurd" they do not even recognise the president of Iraq (Talabani) just because of his race. The Turkish Army kills civilians and then blames the PKK so that you Americans can continue your arms supply to Turkey and fool you to call the PKK terrorists. The Kurds and the PKK in Turkey only fight for the recognition of these people simply as Kurds NOT as mountain Turks. We want to be free to practise our God Given Rights or The Most Basic Human Rights such as being allowed to use our language and practise out culture. For the past 100 years even Kurdish names were banned in Turkey, carrying a minimum of 3 years imprisonment sentence. Now do you "Unaware" Americans see why the PKK is fighting the Turkish State? can you see that the Turkish State is the real terrorist, we are simply poor people let down by the world and all we ask for is to have a little freedom. Does that makes any one a terrorist? if so then we are all terrorists!

Soran:

Here we are again, why when America went to Iraq the only friends they had to help them where the kurds. But now when they dont need kurds any more and they are trying to use other conuntrys to go to north Iraq to kill kurds. I think America should look back who was there real friends.

SAS:

Soner Cagaptay is right on - the Kurds of Northern Iraq and Turkey need each other and must forge, indeed are forging something of a symbiotic relationship that cannot under any circumstances be allowed to be sabotaged by the terrorist provocations of the PKK.

dohuk:

Although the guest author's summary of America's changing policy towards the Kurds and the KRG is accurate, his concluding summary sadly appears to mirror Ankara's party political broadcast to the world to justify Turkey's aggressive policy towards the Kurds.

It is too easy an arguement to lay the PKK problems at the feet of KRG, and again it is too easy to make comparisons to Americas war on terror and Turkey's PKK issues. These repeated arguements that are widely ciruclated by pro-Ankara press to justify thier actions, appeal to those in the US who may feel uncomfortable with the US' changing policy towards the kurds, and what is essentially a double cross. I would prefer people would call a spade a spade, the turks have made Bush choose his friends, and using the PKK as an excuse to knock the KRG...a disappointing arguement that an independant paper such as the NY Times should consider inappropriate and unbalanced. It would be appropriate for the NY Times to consider engaging a Iraqi Kurdish journalist to respond to articles written by writers affiliated to politically motivated groups.

The compexity of the Kurdish-turkish relationship makes it at the best of times difficult to explain to the average reader without writing a novel, and it is with this in mind people are often tempted to make simple summaries and simplistic conclusions. If readers now walk away with the thought that the KRG harbour terrorists, and any action or inaction by them justifys turkeys incursions is unfair. But if simple arguements are needed to justify inaction, for near on 10years the Turks have maintained 3 military camps in Northern Iraq, when the KRG supported Turkeys efforts against the PKK. Neither the PKK nor the Turkish commandos have left the mountains! Just look at Bin Laden (still at large) and the resurgent Taleban, even with all its technology the US has again proven fighting against mountain based fighters who have support of the local population has throughout history been a near on impossible task. It is unlikley that a political solution can be found with the Taleban, but with the PKK one is achievable, and Ankara knows what it needs to do; this has nothing to do with the KRG.....it is a Ankara created problem, of which only ankara can rectify....

Barış Seven:

I love it when the Turks are tolking about Kurds and solution of the Kurdish isue, you can than see hou deep the hate of them is agenst Kurds. As long as the Turks dont requnise the existing of Kurds, they will never be able to understand the mening of the word FREEDOM!..were there is denail of existing of a people there can be no PEACE!...securaty comes with demokratie and peace..peace comes with ending of denail..are you requnising the existing right of the Kurds? as long you not doing that you have no right to tell the Kurds hou to act agenst yours (Turkish!) denail!

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.