Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Will Turkey attack Northern Iraq ?

Many of the Kurds wish to have an independent Kurdish state, either in northern Iraq or Southern Turkey. Rebels (called PKK)trying to archive that aim, are hiding in the mountains of northern Iraq.

Turkey doesn't want an independent Kurdish State. Nor does Iran.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, NATO, the EU and Turkey. Washington opposes any major operation into north Iraq, which could destabilize the region. The US claims to be taking action against the PKK to appease Turkey, but actually most `coalition' troops are still bogged down in central Iraq dealing with the rebels there.

The Turkish military wants to attack the rebels in the Kurdish controlled northern Iraq. "It would be a catastrophe, very clearly...there are already enough people fighting in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan is one of the few places where things are still under control," Alain Deletroz of the International Crisis Group think-tank said in Brussels. Financial markets were rattled last week by reports of a major incursion into northern Iraq, which Turkey denied had happened. Military sources said there had been a limited raid.

To further complicate the situation the Islamic-rooted Turkish government and the staunchly secular military of Turkey are not on the same page. "Has the fight with the 5,000 terrorists finished domestically, that we should now be talking about Iraq?" asked Turkey's Prim Minister Tayyip Erdogan said when reporters asked him about a cross-border operation against separatist PKK rebels. Analysts said the threat of an incursion into northern Iraq was as much to do with domestic politics ahead of a July 22 national election as with security.

Before World War I, most Kurds lived within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire in the province of Kurdistan. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Allies agreed and planned to create several countries within its former boundaries. Originally Kurdistan, along with Armenia, was to be one of them, according to the never-ratified Treaty of Sèvres. However, the reconquest of these areas by Kemal Atatürk and other pressing issues caused the Allies to accept the renegotiated Treaty of Lausanne, accepting the border of modern Republic of Turkey and leaving the Kurds without a self-ruled region. Other Kurdish areas were assigned to the new British and French mandated states of Iraq and Syria under both treaties.

The Kurdish delegation made a proposal at the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1945, showing the geographical extent of Kurdistan as claimed by the Kurds. This proposal encompasses an area extending from the Mediterranean shores near Adana to the shores of Persian Gulf near Bushehr, and it includes the Lur inhabited areas of southern Zagros[10][11].

Since World War I, Kurdistan has been divided between several states,largest portions of the land being respectively in Turkey (43%) , Iran (31%), Iraq (18%), Syria (6%) and the former Soviet Union (2%), in all of which Kurds are minorities. At the end of the First Gulf War, Allies established the safe haven in northern Iraq. Amid the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from three northern provinces, Iraqi Kurdistan emerged as an autonomous entity inside Iraq, with its own local government and parliament in 1992.

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