“The international powers turning now to the Middle East after the Ukraine war prefer to remain silent in the face of the attacks of the Turkish state, implemented in cooperation with the KDP in order to achieve their targets,” writes Fehim Işık for Yeni Özgür Politika.
It is apparent that Turkey’s latest attack directed towards South Kurdistan, implemented on 17 April, is different from previous ones. The level of support provided by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is also different from that in the past.
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani visited Turkey three times in the four months preceding the launch of the attacks. The KRI President Neçirvan Barzani too spoke with Turkish President Erdoğan at least twice in the same four months. There are also reports of many meetings between Turkey and the administration of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) [the party of the Barzani family]. It was reported in the South Kurdistan press that attacks against South Kurdistan and plans for the Turkish army to deploy in certain locations there were discussed at meetings held on the borders with military officials attached to the KDP.
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), an NGO in Iraqi Kurdistan, has produced a fact sheet saying that Turkey, penetrating 19km from the border in its attack started on 17 April, is attempting to establish permanent bases in five new locations, Çiyayê Reş, Şikefta Brîndaran, Aris Faris, Werxelê and Kurêjahro.
The presence of Chinook type helicopters, used for the first time in these attacks, also supports this information. Turkey is using these helicopters, which have a capacity of 10 tons in addition to around 60 armed soldiers, to carry heavy weaponry, artillery, military vehicles and other materials needed to establish permanent bases to the region. Also, the Turkish state has already transported heavy concrete blocks from the Habur border point to be used to provide security for Turkish military bases planned in Bamerne (Bamernî).
The Bamerne military base was used as a headquarters in the last attack. Turkish soldiers were dispatched to this base, established in 1994 by a UN Resolution to serve as a “peace force” following the conflict between KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). It was also decided that the Turkish soldiers at this base could not participate in military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). However this has changed in recent years. Turkey uses nearly 40 large and small military bases without hindrance, including the one in Bamerne, in its occupation operations in South Kurdistan.
The base at Bamerne was constructed in the period of Saddam Hussein as a military airport for operations into Kurdistan. Now the base is completely controlled by Turkey; and military helicopters, armed and unarmed scout planes take part in attacks, taking off from this base.
Besides the Bamerne military airport, the Sirî military base, a few kilometres from the town of Sheladiz (Şeladizê) in the plain south of the Kurêjahro mountain range, a target of the occupation operations, has also been used effectively in the recent attacks. The Turkish state wanted to use the tanks at the Bamerne base in an attack on Zap in February 2008, but this failed when people of the region stood in front of the tanks. They also wanted to use the Sirî base in the attacks launched in 2019, but were unable to do so after youths from Sheladiz raided and burnt the military base.
The main reason that Turkey has been able to use the bases in the region so freely recently, especially in the last two years, is the attitude of the KDP administration. This is drawing condemnation from the people. However, the situation is not as it was in 2008 or in 2019, as the KDP administration has increased pressure on the people and is arresting those denouncing the Turkish military bases or criticising the military attacks. We should also not forget that there has been massive migration from the region due to KDP oppression and Turkey’s attacks of occupation, and that the youth in particular has left the region, so even if there are reactions they are not yet publicly known.
It is apparent that international powers are giving active support to the latest attacks. And at the centre of the plans, in which Britain takes the lead and which the USA and European states support, lie the natural gas and oil reserves in South Kurdistan. In their own interests, the international powers turning now to the Middle East after the Ukraine war prefer to remain silent in the face of Turkey’s attacks, implemented in cooperation with the KDP.
There is a crude oil reserve of around 145 billion barrels in Iraq and South Kurdistan according to OPEC data from 2019. This is approximately 10% of the crude oil reserve in the world. By increasing production, Iraq has managed to become the largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia in recent years. Producing 4.5 million barrels of oil daily, Iraq follows the USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The South Kurdistan administration, and naturally, predominantly the KDP, now control 10% of Iraq’s oil reserves. Almost all of this oil, which is 450,000 barrels a day, is sold to the outside world through Turkey. Of course a significant portion of Iraq’s own oil is also sold through Turkey.
This is the picture that the bloodsuckers feast their eyes on. And unfortunately owing to the lack of foresight of the KDP, what falls to the Kurds is blood and death.