Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will attack bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq “soon,” according to a report by Bloomberg which quoted a senior lawmaker of his ruling Justice and Development Party on condition of anonymity.
Separately CNN reported that an Iraqi Kurdish official said two Turkish military aircrafts crossed into Iraqi border space on Monday and dropped stun grenades on an uninhabited border area in an apparent attempt to locate targets there.
The dispute between Turkey and the PKK promises to be long and violent, unless Turkey seizes the initiative and moves towards meeting some of the political demands of Kurds in Turkey.
Turkey’s leading pro-Kurdish party, the Democratic Society Party, called on the Turkish government to grant autonomy to the mainly Kurdish southeast as a solution to the violence that has plagued the impoverished region for more than two decades, according to a report by Reuters.
By dealing with the moderates at home, Turkey will be able to marginalize the extremist PKK, and also prevent the Kurdish problem in its country from becoming a trans-national issue.
An attack by Turkey on PKK positions in Kurdistan will not solve the Kurdish issues but instead exacerbate it. It could provide a rallying point, a trigger for a Kurdish nation cutting across Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and bankrolled by oil in the Kurdistan autonomous region of Iraq. In all these countries, there are Kurds, proud, fierce, and with a long tradition. The money from oil in Iraqi Kurdistan has in certain sectors created the confidence that the Kurdish diaspora in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria may be finally united in a nation.
Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria will certainly not cede a Kurdish nation without a fight and a lot of bloodshed. By attacking Iraq, rather than negotiating a settlement at home, Turkey may precipitate a crisis on an issue which is right now only a dream among a few radical Kurds. A Turkish attack may make the sentiment of Kurdish nationhood a mainstream issue.