Monday, 6 August 2012

How the Kurds Have Changed Turkey’s Calculations on Syria

Source: Time

Syrian-Kurdish fighters last week took control of towns across northern Syria after Assad ceded them to shore up his forces in Damascus and Aleppo. Two weeks earlier, Iraqi-Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani had brokered a deal between rival Syrian-Kurdish groups, forming a national council and vowing to suppress their differences in order to pursue common Kurdish interests. That development stunned Ankara. Mainstream Turkish commentator Mehmet Ali Birand notes that the creation of an autonomous Kurdish zone in northeast Syria, following the emergence of a similar entity in Iraq, could portend the realization of one of Turkey’s worst nightmares coming true — “a mega–Kurdish state” along the southeastern border where the largest section of its own, restive Kurdish population of some 14 million is concentrated. Even the word Kurdistan is taboo in Turkey, where a separatist insurgency and efforts to suppress it have claimed more than 30,000 lives over the past three decades.

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