Kurdish researcher and political analyst Yektan Türkyılmaz* stated that the Turkish political administration has recently been pursuing not only a policy of total aggression and war against the ‘Northern Kurdish political movement’ both inside and outside the borders of Turkey, but also a strategy to ‘exploit the Kurdish issue’, to use it as an ‘excuse to realise its expansionist desires.’
Speaking to Hayko Bağdat of Artı TV, Türkyılmaz said:
“The Kurdish issue is perceived as a fatal threat by Erdoğan, and not only inside the borders of Turkey, but also outside. He thinks that any gain by the Northern Kurdish movement in terms of political status constitutes a big threat against him. As a matter of fact, he sees it not only as a threat, but he also wishes to turn this into an opportunity. He wants to turn it, the Kurdish issue, into an excuse, an aparatus for realising his expansionist desires. ”
Adding that Erdoğan also wanted to turn the turmoil it created in targeting Kurds into a diplomatic bargaining chip, he continued:
“Let’s think of those areas in Rojava (West Kurdistan), under occupation [by Turkey]. Let’s think of Afrin. Everyone’s aware that they have been appointing district governors to these areas. They have been installing the Turkish postal system. They have been imposing use of Turkish currency. Just as Russia has been taking over control of certain territories in Ukraine, and making them parts of itself, Turkey has been implementing exactly the same concept.”
“The latest military operation that began on 18 April [in Kurdistan Region of Iraq] is not similar to previous ones. The Turkish military already had a significant presence in that region. They currently have 12 permanent military bases and around 40 military posts. This time the objective of Erdoğan and the Turkish military is to establish permanent control in the region. And as it is the same situation in other cases, I don’t think that they will ever leave once this control is established.”
* Yektan Türkyılmaz is a research fellow at Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin, Germany. He received his PhD from Duke University Department of Cultural Anthropology. He taught courses at Sabancı, Bilgi, Duke California State Universities and at the University of Cyprus, addressing the debates around the notions of collective violence, memory making and reconciliation, and politics of music.