While the parliament of Catalonia, an autonomous region some 2,800 miles from Syria, recognised the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) on 20 October, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), a neighbour of the AANES, still does not.
The AANES and the KRG are not just neighbours; the former is the administration of Rojava, also called ‘Western Kurdistan’, while the latter is the administration of the Iraqi Kurdistan, or ‘Southern Kurdistan’. So a social, political and cultural proximity would be expected to exist between the two. However, the situation is entirely different in reality.
Despite the fact that the Kurdistan Regional Parliament recognised the cantons established in Rojava on 15 October 2014, a few months after the co-chair of the Democratic Unity Party (PYD) Saleh Muslim visited the KRG capital Erbil (Hewlêr), the situation has started to change in recent years.
Nurşan Hesen, representative of AANES in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, criticises the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) for not even conducting diplomatic relations with the AANES. “The AANES hasn’t been allowed to open a representative office in Erbil,” she says.
Speaking to Roj News, Hesen has drawn attention to the political influence of Turkey on the KDP: “Turkey targets the Autonomous Administration by military, diplomatic and political means. As a result, it does not want the Kurdistan Regional Government to implement the parliamentary decision and establish relations with the AANES.”
“The Kurdistan Regional Parliament asked the government to establish relations with Rojava in every field,” Hesen has added. “But the KRG has not acted in accordance with this decision so far. Our representative office in Sulaymaniyah has been in service since 2014. However, we are not allowed to open a representative office in Hewler. When we tried to, our representatives were arrested and sent back to Rojava.”