Turkey: A Midwife for a Kurdish State?

(Jerusalem Post)- Ofra Bengio- Turkey has helped build a Kurdish entity in Iraqi Kurdistan. This seems paradoxical in view of Ankara's pressure on the U.S. not to lend any support to the Kurds of Iraq because of the possible spillover effects on its own restive Kurds. Ankara's policy was due to very pragmatic reasons. Immediately after the 1991 Gulf War and the crushing of the Kurdish uprising which ensued, Turkey was confronted with the problem of a million Kurdish refugees on its border. Unwilling to burden itself with another million Kurds, Turkey devised with the Allies the "Provide Comfort" project for the fleeing Kurds to enable them to go back to their homes, together with "the no-fly zone" where the Iraqi army could not act against the Kurds. This approach turned the Kurdistan Region into a huge investment area for Turkish companies. Other large business, cultural and social ventures turned Iraqi Kurdistan into an undeclared Turkish sphere of influence. A deal announced on May 20, 2012, without the approval of the central government in Baghdad, envisages the building of two oil pipelines and one gas pipeline from the Kurdistan Region to Turkey. Prof. Bengio is head of the Kurdish Studies Program at the Moshe Dayan Center, Tel Aviv University.

2012-06-14 00:00:00

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