While Turkish incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan have entered a new phase within the past fortnight, with airstrikes targeting areas not in the vicinity of the Turkish border but at least 100 km away, a member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) said this was linked to an objective of implementing the October Agreement on Shengal (Sinjar) between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government.
Asked in a Medya Haber interview about the motivation behind the Turkish airstrikes in Shengal on 16 and 17 August, targeting first a vehicle in the old market, then a medical centre, leaving 10 dead, and the lack of reaction from both Erbil (Hewler) and Baghdad administrations regarding these attacks, Karasu indicated that the attacks were actually being used as an instrument of blackmail to impose the ‘October Agreement’ which aimed to end autonomus governance in Shengal.
“This attack has been carried out essentially to enforce the 9 October Shengal Agreement between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Iraqi government; to impose it on the Yazidis. It means, ‘either you accept this agreement or the Turkish state continues to bomb Shengal,'” Karasu said.
“Since the KDP and Iraq have remained silent on the attack, it also means that they intend to use Turkey to implement the agreement. They use Turkish attacks as an instrument of blackmail.”
Karasu drew attention to the statements made by the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu at an international conference in Baghdad on 29 August: “After the meeting in Baghdad, Çavuşoğlu is reported to have said, ‘We’ll not let Shengal, we’ll root out the PKK in Shengal.’ This is actually an assault against free Kurds, against free-minded people, … against the Yazidis,” he stated, adding: “This is the Islamic State itself now. There’s no difference anymore between what the Turkish state is doing today and what ISIS did back in 2014.”
Karasu also criticized the United Nations for praising the ‘agreement’ between the Erbil and Bahgdad administrations, which completely left out any participation of the Yazidi people: “The United Nations ought to say this to the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Democratic Party: ‘How can you implement a project by yourselves without getting the opinion of the Yazidi people? How can you decide upon Shengal without doing this?'”
Commenting on the participation of Turkey alongside Egypt and Jordan in the international conference held in Baghdad, Karasu suggested that Turkey’s presence there could only have negative outcomes: “We believe Egypt and Jordan want stability in Iraq. They’re Arab countries. Iraq is an Arab country too, and it’s natural that they want to have stability and peace. But nothing good for the peoples of the Arab World or the Middle East will come out of a meeting or a relationship in which Turkey is involved.”