The other is more personal, at best bolstered by opinion leaders in our peer groups. We seldom resort to third party opinions. When we do, it is generally for debunking a negative opinion or exaggerating a favorable assessment of us and our country. It is very rare that we take a third party opinion as a source of learning and measuring our deeds and decisions. After all “Turks have no friends except themselves!”
Yet there are serious assessments regarding the developments on the Kurdish issue that will affect Turkey’s future. I present excerpts from three sources.
James Dorsey of the Huffington Post wrote on Aug. 8: “As the civil war in Syria continues to spread, Turkey is faced with a new dimension to its long-standing Kurdish problem. … After having virtually squashed the insurgency in a 16-year long war, however, Turkey found the reality on the ground change fundamentally with the emergence of a Kurdish state-in-waiting in northern Iraq, following … the toppling of Saddam Hussein.”
“The takeover of Syrian Kurdish towns along the border with Turkey by armed Kurds of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian wing of the PKK … raises the question whether Turkey can sustain its opposition to the aspirations of the Kurds on its borders, or whether it would be better served by embracing a proactive Kurdish policy that would turn Kurdish nationalism across West Asia to its advantage, as it did in Northern Iraq? Turkish opposition to Kurdish aspirations, moreover, despite its support for the Sunni Muslim opposition in Syria, risks putting Turkey alongside China and Russia in the camp of those opposed to the emergence of a post-Assad Syria that is more democratic and pluralistic.
“The emergence of a second autonomous Kurdish region along its border not only calls into question Turkey’s fundamental policy towards the Kurds, it makes more necessary than ever a revision of policy that would put Turkey at the forefront of developments in the region and cement its role as a leader at a time of geopolitical change.”
Morgan Lorraine Roach in her Aug. 8 article titled “Syrian Crisis Emboldens Kurds, Is Problematic for Turkey” on The Foundry, a news blog by The Heritage Foundation, wrote: “Ankara fears that Kurdish gains will lead to the establishment of a Kurdish state [in Syria] -- or at least an autonomous Kurdish region similar to the one in northern Iraq -- which would imperil Turkish borders. … The Syrian uprising alters the balance of power between the Kurds and the Turkish government. While it’s too soon to tell how Syria’s Kurdish population would ultimately benefit if the Assad regime falls, such momentum would be difficult to rein in.”
Daniel Brode, in his article entitled “Curbing the Rise of Kurdistan” published on the Middle East Conflicts website wrote: “Iraqi Kurdistan is determined to rid itself of Baghdad, establish itself as a regional player and use its burgeoning clout to serve as the protector of Kurds throughout the region. Most importantly, attempts by rival states to thwart Kurdish ambitions threaten to ignite a new round of Kurdish wars in a region already in flames.”
“The [FishKabour] border area is disputed by the Shiite-led Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) … [that is] determined not to forfeit their only border crossing with Syria. ... [In return, Bagdad, under Iran’s influence, does not want] to allow unchecked Kurdish continuity between northern Iraq and Syria. ... Few players in the region, aside from Israel, are keen on seeing a Kurdish ascendancy, one whose gains are seen as contradictory to the respective national interests of many states.
“[W]hile Iraq and Turkey do not agree on much these days, they are both opposed to Kurdish control of northeastern Syria. Turkey’s quest to oust Assad and play a leading role in a post-bellum Syria is not without consequence. Such efforts have brought Turkey’s enemy, the PKK, to yet another Turkish border. For Turkey, a country engulfed in decades of bloody warfare with the PKK in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, a new front for PKK militants is an unwelcome development. Baghdad on the other hand is wary of increased Kurdish autonomy, unity, oil contracts and military strength; all of which threaten efforts to maintain a unified, powerful and stable Iraq.”
This is how the situation is viewed from the outside. How much of the consequences of Turkey’s enthusiastic attitude for a regime change in Syria is foreseen is not clear. It is not stated in the official opinion and the unofficial opinions are not expressed as yet.