The Turks and the PKK As Allies? ?? ??? ????

On August 16, 2013, Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East policy, published an article in the Atlantic entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Fall Lands Turkey an Unexpected Ally: Kurds”.See the full article.

Turkey's grand scheme for the New Middle Eastern Order has collapsed. Its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which extended to other affiliates of the Egyptian center, have been cut off by the violent actions of the Egyptian army. In addition other promising projects of extending Islamic control throughout the region, have been compromised by the coup in Egypt. The Syrian opposition to Assad, which had been based in Cairo at a safe distance from the fighting in its own country, has now had to flee to Turkey to set up a new base.

Inside Syria itself, a most complex situation has developed in the east where the Kurds have set up a more or less autonomous region. Here the Kurds themselves are divided between the PKK militant faction, the PYD, which finds itself at odds with the coalition of Kurdish forces under the influence of President Bazani of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq. The Kurds are being attacked by the armed Islamic extremest group Al-Nusra, which was until recently being supplied with arms with the help of Turkey. Now the Turks see the PKK as a safeguard against their former friends in Al-Nusra.

If you have trouble following this, you should get a scorecard. The fact is that the Turks find themselves backing or opposing opportunistically any or all of the Kurdish factions. Their Kurdish policies are shifting so fast as be unpredictable and ineffective. The only unifying thread is that they really want secure borders with Syria and Iraq, but it is not at all clear how that can be achieved. Oh yes, and they want the oil.

So will the Kurds in any guise become allies with the Turks? Perhaps only in the sense that Ambrose Bierce wrote in The Devil's Dictionary which defined an alliance as "the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pocket that they cannot separately plunder a third".

It will be a long time before the Kurds will have true allies. They have been betrayed by virtually every major and regional power since the discussions at the time the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 after World War I. At that time they were led to believe that they would have an independent Kurdistan, a sovereign nation state for the Kurdish people. Why should they give more than superficial trust in anyone, in particular Turkey, which has been playing every side against the middle in the present conflict?


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