December 3, 2018 / 10:33 PM
Military approach unable to solve Kurdish question in Turkey, professor tells Kurdpress

Ibrahim Sirkeci, a university professor at Regent's Centre for Transnational Business and Management, told Kurdpress in an interview that the Kurdish question in Turkey is impossible to be solved militarily and Turkey has no other way to prepare ground for holding talks with Kurds and return to the negotiation table.

The Kurdish issue has undergone serious changes, especially after IS emerged in two countries of Iraq and Syria, and Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’ s attitude towards the Kurds in the state has changed dramatically. Turkey ended the negotiating process with the Kurds in 2015 and took a strict military approach in the south of the country towards the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other groups affiliated with the PKK. This issue was followed years later inside the borders of Iraq and Syria. The Kurds in Syria, who were in a passive state before the political crisis and IS's rise, have turned into an effective player in Syria developments and they are expected to preserve the small and autonomous land built on the northeastern border of the country if they persist Turkey threats and compromise with Damascus. Iraq 's Kurds, who controlled Kirkuk and many areas disputed areas after the emergence of the IS and followed the dream of independence and even held a referendum, but it was harshly denounced by Baghdad and neighboring capitals and the Kurds lost more than 50 % of their territory along with oilfields. Meanwhile, the interference of world powers, especially the superpowers, played an important role in the Kurdish issues.

The professor, also Chair in transnational studies & marketing, believes that the Kurdish issue is generally linked to religious and political issues and the root of the question goes back to the end of Ottoman Emperor.

He stated that the Kurdish question in Turkey should be settled and solved peacefully and through negotiation, predicting that the Kurds in Syria could ultimately have their own autonomous region, though it could be smaller than the region they are in its control.

What follows is his full answers to Kurdpress questions;

How do you describe the Kurdish Question in the Middle East and especially in Turkey?

Kurdish Question in Turkey and in the Middle East can only be understood within the complex context of economics, politics and culture including religious differences. The issue dates back to the end of the Ottoman Empire although I don't claim it was paradise before. However, with nationalist new states emerging in the region the Kurds were unfortunate minority population caught in the middle. Socio-economic underdevelopment in Kurdish lands did not help the situation either and served as an excuse for political advances towards division and afterwards. Today, there is also the burden of decades long armed clashes in all four countries where sizeable Kurdish populations are present. These are serious barriers in front of any Kurdish peace soon.

It seems that Erdogan is not going to involve in another peace process, what the situation will be? Can he solve the Kurdish problem militarily?

Military methods did not work anywhere in the world. These rather fuel nationalisms and counterproductive while also being horrible in terms of human cost. Therefore, there is no reason to believe it will work in Turkey. One way or another, Turkey has to go back to the negotiation table and reconcile the differences over the Kurdish issue.

Why Europe and the U.S do not support Kurdish problem? is it because of PKK’s role or their economic ties with Ankara?

I think it is a bit of both but mostly that the globalized neo-liberal system which prefers Turkey as a partner. PKK with somewhat far left ideas and past premises will never be a preferred partner for the leading global forces unless there is a miracle.

How west, U.S and Russia particularly, consider Kurdish question in general and in Turkey and Iraq in particular? In fact, is Kurdish question their concern and would they want to solve it or Kurds are, as some believe, just a tool for them to achieve their interests?

I don't like conspiracy theories and it simply makes sense for these powers to support the cause as and when it suits to their needs. Otherwise, we would see a continuous effort to ensure peace in the region.

Can Kurds in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq solve their problems with the central government without receiving aid from foreign countries like the U.S and Russia?

Very unlikely; Kurds like any other minority group around the world, need international partners and friends to push for sustainable peace. Domestic democratic forces in these countries are unfortunately week.

Can Syria's Kurds finally take control the grounds they've gained at the end? 

It seems that is there to stay despite Turkey's protests. It may get smaller in size but likely to remain.

How do you see the end of the game in Syria?

Assad will remain in charge one way or another and a rather fragmented Syria will emerge as an unstable weak state. This is prone to many problems in the region. Such a weak state will just attract insurgent groups as a testing ground as well as attracting major powers for showing their muscles.

Can Iraqi Kurds create an independent Kurdistan, after they received a deadly punitive measure from Baghdad after the referendum?

In the current climate, independence is not in their best interest. However, the claim for independence will remain there for long. The independence for Kurds in Iraq will be decided by other forces in the region. For the foreseeable future, I don't think they can break and survive.

Reporter’s code:40101