Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 23, 2013

The Turkish Kurd Ceasefire

The Turkish president Erdogan made a deal with the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan. The first part of the deal is a ceasefire that will stop attacks by the PKK on Turkish state security entities and vice versa. The PKK will pull out its fighters from Turkey and move them into north Iraq. The Turkish army will not interfere with this retreat.

The second part of the deal is political and will be enshrined in a new constitution. Erdogan promises some political autonomy for Kurdish parts of the country instead of today's much centralized state. The mayors the Kurds elect in their cities will in future be able to act on their own and without interference from today's centrally appointed governors. As their part of the deal the Kurds will support Erdogan's dream of changing Turkey in a presidential republic with himself taking the then much more powerful presidency.

As previous negotiations with other political parties have shown,  Erdogan would not be able to change the constitution to fit his personal plans without the votes of the Kurd and their Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

This plan may work but there are significant potential spoliers. When a letter from Abdullah Öcalan announcing the ceasefire was read to a million Kurds who came together in Diyarbarkir there was not one Turkish flag visible but thousands of Kurdish flags.

To the Turkish nationalist this proves their suspicion that the Kurds plan to split from Turkey and, together with north Iraq and parts of Syria, form their own state. They will do their best to sabotage any autonomy deal.

For some of the Kurdish nationalist the steps envisioned in todays plan are no enough. They do not want autonomous mayors but their own state and they want it now. It is quite possible that parts of the PKK and other groups they will not follow Öcalan ceasefire order and continue their terror campaign.

Nationalist on both sides have proven their ability to spoil any deal. Both sides are capable of attacks on the other side but both may also use false flag attacks to spoil the ceasefire and renew clashes. Two earlier attempts of ceasefires did not work out.

When Kemal Attatürk formed the modern Turkish state out of the ruins of the Ottoman empire he disenfranchised two social groups because he believed they would endanger the secular and united state he attempted to create. Those two groups were the Islamists and the Kurds. With the recent developments in Turkey Attatürk's fears might now come true.

Posted by b on March 23, 2013 at 17:44 UTC | Permalink


On France.

Syrian rebels = Good
Central African rebels = Bad

Gosh, how could they live with this hypocrisy? Not to mention their colonial lust?

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 23 2013 22:23 utc | 1

When 'b' said "a million Kurds came together in Diyarbarkir" for this year's annual Newroz rally, he wasn't exaggerating. Here's an example video panorama of the huge crowd on 21 Mar 2013 in Diyarbakir: (more of the same by searching at Youtube for Newroz Diyarbakır).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Mar 23 2013 23:37 utc | 2

Which of the Kurdish groups does Israel support? Is there any correlation between the Obama-brokered apology from Netanyahu to Erdogan and the timing of the Erdogan-Kurd deal -- especially if it improves Erdogan's position for intervening in Syria, an outcome that is supported by the Israel Lobby and the Israeli right.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Mar 24 2013 0:52 utc | 3

@Rusty Pipes #3, I think that question/thought is on all minds. Israel is positioned to influence the Kurds as Mossad has had the links and partnership with Kurdish groups, like supporting Iraqi Kurds, Iranian Kurds against the ayatollahs.Guess the Kurd force is a ideal 'Army', a good distancing for both Israel and the US, they don't like mud sticking or direct dirty hands. Likewise this mitigates Turks fighting as that would cause issues with other Muslim nations, so get a deal on for Kurds, use them; however then we will see a second problem, the promise made will be distorted even broken.

Posted by: Kev | Mar 24 2013 1:40 utc | 4

I suspect the ultimate goal is reopening the Kirkuk/Haifa pipeline.

Posted by: dh | Mar 24 2013 2:56 utc | 5

@ 3: "Which of the Kurdish groups does Israel support?"

Relevant question. I would ask who does the empire support? If I remember correctly, northern Iraq and the Kurdish areas have major oil reserves. A Kurdish state sounds reasonable, but, I think its only a possibility if the West/NATO deems their new government, in whatever from it takes, bows to the wants of the NWO. I think Erdogan will do as he's told. Money talks.

Posted by: ben | Mar 24 2013 3:52 utc | 6

a prelude to attack syria?

Posted by: brian | Mar 24 2013 4:00 utc | 7

Erdogan: syrian 'rebels' good
kurdish rebels bad

Posted by: brian | Mar 24 2013 4:07 utc | 8

Put #6 & #5 and you're really cooking.

Posted by: guest | Mar 24 2013 5:07 utc | 9

Of course the reasaon is this - and of course it is not going to work that way

The Kurds are spread across the Middle East, and they've been very active in Syria in fighting the Assad government. How does this factor into this cease-fire?

One impetus to the truce movement on the Turkish front is the concern that if Ankara doesn't resolve its own Kurdish issue, Syria's Kurds may go their own way if Syria truly does disintegrate. Of course, this would have a dynamic effect on Turkey's rather large Kurdish population--they are about 18 percent of about eighty million people.

So if you can resolve the Kurdish issue and the Kurds can be integrated better in Turkey, the belief is that the threat of Kurds wanting their own autonomy and, in the extreme, their own independent state will go away.

Basically in this colonialism 3.0 approach, the Kurds are meant to disintegrate Iran, Iraq (done), Syria - but not Turkey.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 24 2013 9:39 utc | 10

It doesn't matter how this plays out - the Kurds will be the ones getting fucked up in the end, anyway. Does the Ocalan really believe Ergodan's words??? Only free men can negotiate. First of all, the man's in jail and dying to get out. He'll say/do ANYTHING to set himself free.

If the Kurds are also banking on having a part of Syria as their own, they can keep dreaming. Assad is still standing despite all efforts, never seen before sine the NATO-Mujahideen campaign against the Soviets in the 80s, the rebels don't control anything significant.

To make matter worse, Al Khatib, to top fsa-cum-nusra dog, just resigned. Seems the big rat's served his usefulness and no longer needed for the failed project. Does it mean he still get to live in expensive hotels in Turkey???

Posted by: Zico | Mar 24 2013 12:47 utc | 11

From RT, we'll see...

Posted by: ben | Mar 24 2013 14:40 utc | 12

re 6

If I remember correctly, northern Iraq and the Kurdish areas have major oil reserves.

That's wrong, Kirkuk has very little oil. The Kurds depend on their share of the national oil income, mainly coming from the south. They keep telling us different companies are about to start drilling, but nothing has yet quite come to pass.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 24 2013 18:57 utc | 13

It's true what one of the prior posts said originally the Kurds will definitely get screwed at the end of it all. They have always been pawns. They still also need to pay for their sins of committing genocide against the native Assyrian-Chaldean population of northern Mesopotamia.

Posted by: Fernando | Mar 24 2013 19:55 utc | 14

6, 13 yep, there seems to be a problem

Kurdish oil exports stall in row over revenue-sharing

Posted by: somebody | Mar 24 2013 21:26 utc | 15

Dallas' own Hunt oil has the first US contract in Kurdish Iraq. I'm under the impression that that area has oil and water. The Kurds made a contract independent of Iraq proper, and that is an issue that could indeed stall development. It's not hard to imagine that the Iraqi state could stall production, if by delaying imports of equipment.

Anyway, what I'm wondering about is what are the mineral/water prospects for an independent Kurdistan? (where are Syria's oil and gas reserves, they have ample reserves, not by Middle Eastern standards, but they're nothing to sneeze at)

My other point is how would an independent Kurdistan move north? What would be the effect on the Soviet remnants and present Russia? Does this reach/inspire Chechens? Could the West be seeking to spin this hurricane of terrorism on to the Ruskies?

Posted by: scottindallas | Mar 25 2013 15:01 utc | 16

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