“KDP’s relations with the Turkish state might end up with a loss of all the gains in the two parts of Kurdistan, and may push the struggle ten years back. These relations have now reached a crucial point that is likely to jeopardise all the gains of Kurdistan,” writes Fehim Isik for Yeni Özgür Politika.
It was the alliance of the political parties in South Kurdistan [Iraqi Kurdistan] since 2005 that used to make them strong against the Shia and Sunni powers and the Turkmens in Iraq. Now this is over. Now they compete in the elections individually with their own lists.
We have got to note that KDP [the Kurdistan Democratic Party] is largely responsible for the current situation. The interest-oriented collaboration of KDP with the Turkish state and its policies being dominated by its relations with the Turkish state have impacts on both the administration of Kurdistan and on the relations between political parties.
The turmoil within PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] following the death of Mam Jalal [former PUK leader Jalal Talabani], and more recently the conflict between the son and nephew of Mam Jalal has also significantly enabled KDP to impose its policies. The rivalry between Nechirvan Barzani [President of the Iraqi Kurdistan] and Masrour Barzani [Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government], though not made widely public, has also contributed to the deterioration in relations. Despite problems, Mam Jalal and Kek Masoud [former president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani] were earlier still able to smooth relations and eventually set the conditions for joint action. This is no longer the case.
If the political turmoil in South Kurdistan had not impacted the whole administrative process, we’d say it’s merely about the rivalry between political parties, that it’d end after a few incidents, and we wouldn’t be concerned about it so much. But the deteriorating relations does significantly impact both North Kurdistan (Southeast Turkey) and Rojava (North and East Syria) It’s got to be underlined: KDP’s relations with the Turkish state might end up with a loss of all the gains in the two parts of Kurdistan, and may push the struggle ten years back. These relations have now reached a crucial point that is likely to jeopardise all the gains of Kurdistan.
As the political parties in South Kurdistan are further distanced from each other, they get more dependent on foreign powers. This leads to officials focusing more on the interests of their own parties and even on the interests of particular factions within these parties. This is the most dangerous situation. It may bring along major conflicts and even catastrophes like the armed conflict in the 1990s between KDP and PUK, or KDP and PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], and may spread to Rojava. This will not be an ordinary situation and will likely have impacts on the whole region.
The relations haven’t arrived at this point just spontaneously. The failure of the Turkish state and hegemonic powers to establish control over the freedom struggle in North Kurdistan has been a decisive factor in shaping policies, especially those of KDP, in South Kurdistan. The armed resistance of the PKK in North Kurdistan, followed by significant Kurdish gains in Rojava with the support of the Kurdish movement in the North, led KDP to adopt policies not to the interests of the Kurdish people, but to the narrow interests of the party and factions. If it wasn’t for large masses supporting the struggle, like they did in the costly fight against ISIS [the Islamic State] in Rojava, or in recent Newroz celebrations in North Kurdistan, a political approach similar to that of KDP would have already engulfed both North Kurdistan and Rojava. But a resistance in both parts of Kurdistan prevented KDP, the Turkish state and hegemonic powers from attaining the results they sought.
It wouldn’t be enough to say that the current situation is only the making of KDP. The Turkish state is an important element of the Western states, led by the United States, who try to impose their own designs on the region, who want to have Iran encircled, and who wish to turn the whole region into a secure base for their operations. Turkey’s value within the hegemonic power alliance in NATO has increased due to the war in Ukraine. While it has made Turkey even more reckless and aggressive, the risk has been further magnified as KDP has been focusing solely on its own interests.
This being the case, it’s not meaningful trying to address all Kurdish parties. The best would be to address and call upon KDP only.
What’s expected of KDP is not ending the relations it has developed, but to use these relations in the interests of the Kurdish people and to protect and further improve the gains of Kurdistan. I’m sure that every single step taken by KDP in the interests of the Kurdish people will be replied tenfold by other parties in Kurdistan.