The current prime minister of Turkey, Erdogan, has assiduously defended bombing the Kurdish people in Syria by roiling reality on the ground with the guise of fighting against ISIS. However, it is clear today that Erdogan’s administration’s foreign policy is more about destabilizing and destroying any possibility of a Kurdish state in the Middle East than fighting ISIS. Since ISIS has effectively made Iraq a failed state, the Kirkuk region is now historically at its closest to forming an independent state, with Kurdish people’s continuous penchant for independence (voting 99% for an independent state in the 2005 Iraqi referendum). However, the possibility of an independent state will not be relinquished without an armed struggle. With 15 million Kurds in Turkey, the Kurdish vote was an oscillating factor in the last Turkish election that gave a stronger Kurdish foothold in the Turkish multi-party government: significantly reducing Erdogan’s Islamic party’s control of the Kurdish region.
The Kurdish people’s struggle for independence in Iraq is economically palpable. Although currently an inchoate economy, with the new oil export negotiations with the now failed state of Iraq (which was forced to concede due to its internal conflict with ISIS), it is able to independently produce close to 1 million barrels of oil a day (by 2017). Further, with burgeoning infrastructure (including a freshly built airport), media, telecommunication, and security (well-defended against ISIS and other Islamist groups), the Kurdish region of Iraq has a possibility for an untrammelled location for capital investment.
The creation of a “buffer zone” in Syria is an invidious act by Erdogan’s administration and NATO to divide the Kurdish region and to bombard the Peshmerga (“those ready to die”) forces. The media justification that Turkey is protecting its border against ISIS is simply international propaganda. For the last year, the world media has been continuously punctuated by the bold actions of the Peshmerga (especially the armed women) against ISIS: the only armed group that has so far been successful in fighting against the teeming ISIS forces in the region. Today Turkey is attempting to inculcate the world that the actions of the Kurds are deleterious to its security and grouping them with ISIS as terrorists: however the world media, and especially the Turkish civilian population in the region, know well that there is not a modicum of truth in this.
The policy of divide and control is not a remedial solution for Erdogan’s Islamic party. This attack on the Kurdish forces will only unite the Kurdish regions (that have some distinct cultural similarities and differences) under a nationalist ideology. This “buffer zone” and bombardment of the Kurdish people has already, and will further, awaken the large population of Kurds that are omnipresent in Middle East as well as in Europe. In Turkey itself it is fuelling a further devolution of power to the Kurdish regions, and will burnish the Kurdish people’s anger towards the Erdogan government. The Kurdish people’s solidarity that has fermented through years of suppression by Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian and Turkish states cannot be circumvented through the guise of “fighting terrorism”.
The fulcrum of the struggle for independence is without a doubt on the side of the Kurdish people. Despite the strong nationalism that is omnipresent in the Kurdish population, and without the guarantee that the current Kurdish “leaders” may become the Kurdish people’s new oppressors, the nascent growth of the grassroots workers’ movement and workers’ power (through the creation of local communes) in the Kurdish region is simply undeniable.
The Turkish government’s profligate use of its resources that has been accumulated since its economic growth (partly due to the last world economic crisis in 2008) is now being used coercively in war against the Kurds. However, in the awakening of the juggernaut Kurdish solidarity both internal and abroad, and the general public support for the Kurdish people and the Peshmerga fighters, it is going to be costly war both economically and politically for the Erdogan’s Islamic party.
Further, in this war waged on the Kurds, the Kurdish people’s most effective weapon abroad will be to pressure the Erdogan regime with the use of social media (which is tantamount to bullets in war) to debase the narrative of “fighting terrorism” and to restore and underscore the reality of this war: a war waged against the Kurds in the Middle East.