Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 12:47 GMT
Mass mobilization against Turkish invasion

Turkish soldiers patrol on a road near the Turkey-Iraq border in the mainly Kurdish southeastern province of Sirnak. AFP/Mustafa Ozer

By Azad Aslan
Globe Editorial

Similar to previous incursions, the recent Turkish invasion into south Kurdistan has only one major goal: to diminish and belittle the sovereignty of Kurdistan Region.

The Turkish discourse of "fighting against terrorism" or "destroying PKK bases" is a mere excuse for the Turkish establishment to prevent both the formation of Kurdish nationhood and political stability in south Kurdistan. The Iraqi central government's pathetic response against Turkish moves suggests the pitiable political games of Baghdad to corner Kurdish national aspiration even when its own sovereignty is being attacked. There are strong signs that Baghdad implicitly provided all the assurances to the Turkish state for its military operation. The whole episode once more clarifies the fact that the Kurds should not have any hope from Baghdad to resolve outstanding fundamental problems, including the implementation of Article 140 and the disputed oil issue.

International powers' attitudes toward Turkish military operations highlight the duplicity of power politics. The discourse of democracy, human rights, peace, etc., is just typical rhetoric to disguise the real struggle for political and economic interests. This is particularly obvious when one compares the case of Kosovo. Indeed, independence of Kosovo is a welcome political development for all those national groups who are in aspiration of self-determination like that of the Kurds. It is difficult, however, to comprehend the international powers' recognition of Kosovo's independence while 40 million Kurds' aspiration for self-determination is seen as either "terrorism" or "overarching demands." Turkey, the third country to quickly recognize Kosovo and demands larger federal rights or an independent state for Cypriot Turks, deny even basic national rights to its own Kurds who number more than 20 million.

This calculated operation is the first stage for a wider invasion of south Kurdistan. This should be stopped now and at any cost. It is time for Kurdistan regional authorities to be stiff and resist Turkish invasion. What is at stake are the future of Kurdistan and the livelihood of the Kurdish nation. The declaration from the Kurdistan presidency's office for general self-defense against the Turkish troops and Kurdistan Parliament's strong protest against Turkey are good steps and welcome news. But such steps are not enough. Turkish troops must leave Kurdistan now, not "as soon as possible" as the U.S., EU, or Baghdad called for. Peshmerga forces must confront Turkish troops and the Kurdish nation as a whole must be called to rise against Turkish invasion.

Southern Kurdish political authorities must realize that security, stability, and preservation and furtherance of political-national gains of Iraqi Kurds depend not mainly on political games in Baghdad but by confronting Turkey. The real threat to the southern Kurds is not from Baghdad, but from Turkey. Whether the Kurds would like it or not, the real and final fight is not over, and that will be with Turkey. Sooner or later this inevitably will come. Southern Kurdish leaders must also realize that remaining indifferent to the Turkish proxy war against the PKK in south Kurdistan territory would diminish their political agency's role and gradually they would be dismissed from political games. In order to be subject of their own history rather than to be object of regional and international powers the Kurds must act with audacity.

Contradiction in its political-discourse and political-practice, the PKK presents a dilemma within the Kurdish national movement. Despite the fact that PKK guerrillas resisted Turkish attacks and inflicted heavy casualties on invading Turkish troops, the PKK, with its pathetic discourse and petty military practice, cause more harm to the Kurdish national liberation movement in Kurdistan. To remain a legitimate political group within the Kurdish national movement, the PKK must get rid of its anti-Kurdish nationalist discourse and endeavor for mass uprising as the only secure way for self-determination of the Kurdish nation. With its current position, the PKK is manipulated by the Turkish establishment and international powers against Kurdish national interests.

It is an urgent need for all Kurdish national forces to unite in a common front to further general Kurdish national movement. It is time for the Kurdish political cadets to overcome the submissive mentality inherited during the Cold War era.

Kurdish leaders must realize that the only path toward victory is the determination of the nation and national mobilization against oppressors. The mass uprising against Saddam in 1991 provides an excellent example.