Turkey exploits political groups such as the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Sunni factions to assert control in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), Dr. Şêrko Mihemed Qadir, a member of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), told Mezopotamya Agency on Thursday.
Dr. Qadir highlighted the need for Kurdish unity and a joint strategy to protect the gains made by Kurds in areas such as Kirkuk and Mosul.
“Turkey’s ongoing attacks in the Medya Defence Areas, against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) forces in the KRI continue, with their military bases reaching occupation levels,” said Qadir. He pointed out that according to data from the Community Peacemaker Teams, 11 civilians were killed and 13 injured by Turkish attacks during 2023.
“Turkey’s use of armed drones in the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi airspace is a clear violation of both Iraqi and Kurdistan Region laws. Especially in Sulaymaniyah, Duhok and Erbil, Turkey targets civilians, which breaches United Nations laws,” Qadir said.
Observing the lack of response from Iraqi and Kurdistan region officials, Qadir added, “Neither Iraqi nor Kurdistan Region authorities have reacted to Turkey’s sovereignty violations. The KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), who govern and have military power in the Kurdistan Region, have not shown a clear response. These parties, according to [Turkish] Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s confessions, are facilitating Turkey’s attacks.”
Qadir said that Turkey utilises the internal conflict within Kurdish factions in Iraq to its own gain. “It’s no secret that Turkey opposes any Kurdish status. They support Turkmen and those aligned with betrayal in the Kurdistan Region. Hakan Fidan’s visits to Erbil and the KDP’s support for the Turkmen parties in the elections reveal this. They support Turkmen to prevent Kurds from controlling Kirkuk.”
“Turkey is against all legitimate rights of Kurds and, in fact, against the existence of Kurds,” he added.
“Particularly in Kirkuk and Mosul, which are disputed areas according to Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution, all these areas are essentially Kurdish,” Qadir stated, highlighting the political situation in Kirkuk and Mosul. “Unfortunately, due to the complex situation in Iraq, these areas have been turned into conflict zones. Arab countries support the Arabs, Turkey supports the Turkmen. They want to erase the gains of Kurds.”
“PDK and PUK, along with all Kurdish parties, need to set aside differences and agree on a common programme,” he continued, stressing the need for Kurdish unity. “Ideally, Kurds should have participated in the elections with a single list, but it didn’t happen. After the elections, Kurds can still unite to protect their gains in these regions. The only way to protect the gains of Kurds in Kirkuk, Mosul and other areas is to agree that all these areas are part of the Kurdish region.'”
“Against Turkey’s attacks, Kurds in all four parts of Kurdistan -especially political forces, the Kurdish freedom movement and Kurdish parties- need to take a stand,” Qadir reiterated. “We need a national and united strategy against these attacks, as our enemy is clear. Turkey and Iran, especially Turkey, attack Kurds without distinguishing between North, South, East or West.”
“We need to support each other,” he concluded. “No Kurdish political party should have relations with states and neighbours occupying another part of Kurdistan. They should not be part of the occupiers’ plans against another part of Kurdistan. We need national unity, solidarity, and a common strategy.”