Couldn’t northern Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani have been the representative of a much larger segment?
Did he have to act like the representative solely of his own tribe and the few little groups around it? And eventually, why did he give the impression that he chooses feudalism, holed up in Erbil, rather than living in much greater peace and welfare in an autonomous region in a much larger geography in northern Iraq?
One of the answers to these questions is, surely, that the indications that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People’s Protection Units’ (YPG) corridor that was built with the great efforts of the U.S. in Syria’s north and which will extend to Iraq, will be revealed.
Second, is of course, the Baghdad administration’s sectarian and ethnic discriminatory policies, especially during the Maliki period. It is that Barzani is also blamed for the economic crisis in the region as a result of the share northern Iraq needed to receive from oil revenues not being paid. While Barzani wanted to increase his negotiation skills in such an atmosphere, the bar he raised was too far beyond him.
If Barzani has used the referendum card today – and he has done this despite his greatest “supplier,” Turkey – he will be crushed under it.
Political life was under great risk and today, his political life is about to end. Because the way to overcome this risk should not have been to waste the positive atmosphere that was created through years of great efforts in one night.
Barzani could have gone down in history as a much greater character. He could have been the representative of the other ethnic groups in the region as well, not only Kurds’ in the racial context. However, he gave the impression that he was chasing his childhood “Kurdistan dream,” and leaped into an adventure that would lead to heavy costs.
Secular Kurdish groups’ criticism toward Barzani is interpreted by them seeing him as, “traditionalist, backward and conservative.” As for Barzani’s advocates, they choose instead to reference his deep-rooted family and his loyalty to traditions.
Saying that such a political actor has quite a lot of sympathizers among the conservative Kurds in Turkey and in the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) would not be a prophecy.
However, Barzani threw the sympathy he relatively achieved through his conservative identity down the drain. While he is expected to put aside his personal plans and first respect his people then the values he believes in, he seems persistent on the decision that will create turmoil in the region as of today.
Until today, Turkey was in a didactic, cautious and calm position, while some circles in Ankara are, who knows why, sitting around idly, waiting.
However, as of yesterday, the northern Iraq problem is now in a different stage in terms of Turkey. The partial closure of Habur is the first indication of this. The military drill carried out with tanks in the region with their barrels pointing to northern Iraq is an indication of the new situation. The simultaneous statements made in this context by Ankara and Baghdad, which gave each other salvos last year, presents us with a very clear picture:
The fact that the moment we refuse to be northern Iraq’s “supplier,” Barzani will not be able to sit in his chair in Erbil.
Neither the promise of independence, nor the weapons possessed by the Peshmerga are enough to meet the “expectations” of the people living in that region.
The northern Iraqis will not allow Barzani to stand in such a dilemma, they will topple him.
There is an important date ahead of Barzani: Sept. 22, 2017. On that date there are the National Security Council (MGK) and Council of Ministers meetings in Turkey. The main agenda item of both these meetings is the referendum decision taken by the northern Iraqi administration.
If until that date Barzani continues to insist on his decision, a reaction from the two most powerful institutes of the state – in the face of this problem, which directly concerns Turkey’s perpetuity – that will resound in the world is inevitable.
We shall wait and see.
In which of Ankara’s dark centers is Barzani’s protector
A few things need also be said regarding the Ankara leg of the referendum in northern Iraq. I wouldn’t want the opening line of Aydın Ünal’s article in published in Yeni Şafak yesterday to go unnoticed.
He says, “A group of Kurds in Turkey and in addition to them, a small group of Turks, consider the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq as a ‘natural right.’”
I wrote and spoke several times on this matter. Unfortunately, some of the strong supporters of the idea to establish an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq as well as one in northern Syria (which we call the terrorist corridor) are settled in Ankara’s dark centers.
In short, part of both Barzani and the PYD/YPG-PKK’s protectors are in Turkey.
This country and our region paid great prices and is continuing to pay because of their incomprehensible attitudes.
Thank God the number of those who see what is happening and their impact is greater these days.
Otherwise we would have been in trouble.