“The fact that the Turkish Army could launch operations against Garê, which is 35-40 kilometres inside the border cannot be considered independent of the agreements between hegemonic powers”, writes Yusuf Karataş for Evrensel.
One day after Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar issued the statement, “We will put an end to the myth of Qandil”, the Turkish Armed Forces launched an operation against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) camps in the Garê region.
Since May 2019, the Turkish army has been continuing military operations against the PKK and has also established new military bases within the territory of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (the region ruled by the Kurdistan Regional Government). Here, the most important issue about this latest offensive is its timing since it was initiated after Akar visited Baghdad and Erbil (Hewler) in January.
Akar’s statement (“We will put an end to the myth of Qandil”) should not be analyzed only as Turkey’s expression of commitment to the issue, because the Erdoğan government has given voice to similar statements more than once before. However, the fact that this statement was made after the intense diplomatic traffic between international powers indicates that a certain consensus has been reached on this issue.
Let’s go step-by-step to make it more clear:
1. The US uses its cooperation with the Syrian Kurds as a basis of the struggle for its sovereignty in the region (Middle East). Therefore, the US follows a policy based on separating the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and PKK from each other. The US gives a message to Erdoğan that if he stops seeing the Syrian Kurds (Syrian Democratic Forces – SDF/PYD) as a threat, the US can help Turkey in the fight against the PKK.
2. In this respect, the US plays the role of a mediator regarding the debates of national unity between Barzani and the PYD within the Kurdish National Council. The US tries to persuade the PYD to take sides with Barzani. On the other hand, it also aims to integrate the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) into the Kurdistan Regional Administration economically by making an oil agreement.
3. At this point, the existence of the PKK in the region is not against the benefit of only Turkey, but it is a threat for the US and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region as well. Turkey wants to eliminate the PKK since it approaches the Kurdish Question as a ‘terror’ problem. The US aims at a collaboration between Rojava and Iraqi Kurdistan, and Iraqi Kurdistan sees the PKK as its biggest rival.
4. One of the most important aspects of this plan is pushing the PKK forces out of Sinjar (Shengal) since Sinjar is a very important transit point between Rojava and Iraq. In this respect, the Sinjar Agreement was signed on 9 October 2020 between the Central Iraq Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, determining the future of Sinjar with the support of Turkey and the United States.
5. The fact that the Turkish Army could launch operations against Garê, which is 35-40 kilometres inside the border (without facing with any problem) cannot be considered independent of these developments.
To sum up, the goal of the United States is to limit Iran and Russia’s sphere of influence in the region. In order to do that, the US tries to get the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds to act along with the US and wants to include Turkey in this axis since Turkey is a significant power in the region. That is why the elimination of the PKK is important for the US as well, not only to build a collaboration between Rojava and Barzani, but also to take Turkey to its side.
However, history reveals that the Kurdish Question has never been solved through pressure and violence. Let’s not forget the discussion of the disarmament of the people in the mountains and their participation in social-political life. This topic has entered the agenda of this country not during the war periods, but during the ceasefire and ‘solution’ processes.
For this reason, those who think of putting an end to the Qandil myth with the policies of violence will never succeed, just like their predecessors never did. As a result, the problem is not one of ‘terrorism’, it is the Kurdish Question, and its solution is possible through negotiations with the political representatives of the Kurds in the country, not through launching operations across borders.