Solutions for Iraq
Divisions in Iraq
It would not be realistic to say that Sunni and Shiite Arabs and Kurds in Iraq can live together as they have done before. Iraq is divided and faced with a sectarian war. The only option to prevent the intensification of this war and stop it from engulfing the entire region is to establish a confederal structure in Iraq.
This will ensure that the problems in Iraq and the region will not further deteriorate. Policies such as supporting the Shiites or Sunnis, which only ensures hegemony over each other, will deepen the current conflict and create more divisions in Iraq. Unless there is a policy change and the problems of Iraq are not resolved, a regional war and more divisions are inevitable.
Confederalism in Iraq
Today Iraq is a federation and moving towards a loose federative model. There are some forces who are debating and proposing confederalism as a solution. The KKK (Confederal System of Kurdistan) regards this as a realistic model. The problems in Iraq can only be overcome with a confederal state structure. The solution to the issues in Iraq is directly linked to the free expression of peoples’, who have the freedom to express and organize theeservies according to their own identity and an organization. This must be acknowledged. Strengthening one group over the other to obtain domination is very a dangerous approach. It will only serve the purpose to further deepen and intensify the divisions and conflicts.
The Shiites should be able to organize accoding to their own identity and the same applies to the Sunnis, Kurds and Turkmen’s. They should be able to express theeservies freely. If the problems are evaluated along these lines a solution is possible. The prevention of division, conflict, disintegration and break-up in Iraq is possible. Also a bloody war amongst peoples’ can be prevented. The proposed solution will also positively affect the Middle East region. Any other solutions will only further deepen the problems.
An Inter-Kurdish United Strategy
It is obvious that the dominant states in the region who believe they will gain strength from the current developments will harden their policies on the Kurdistan freedom struggle. For this reason, during this new period the development of the Kurdish national unity, solidarity and a united strategy is necessary. The KKK has shown that its precious call for a national conference on the latest developents was correct and necessaire. We believe that Kurds should have confidence in themselves, they should put their unity onto solid grounds, and continue their struggle with determinator in the context of a united strategy. There is a historical role for Kurdistani patriotic organizations in Turkey, Iran and Syria. All achievements of Kurds must be defended, firstly those of South Kurdistan. They have been obtained through great efforts and tens of thousands of martyrs of our people. Kurds should establish a base for the permanent resolution of the Kurdish question and develop a political strategy. For this reason it is important to defend the Kurds’ achievements which forms the basis to the political resolution of the Kurdish question as a whole.
Kurds must organise a National Conference
The latest situation shows that all the developments in the Middle East will have an affect on all forces in the region; however, the Kurds will be the most affected. There is a high probability that Kurdistan will become the centre of conflict and that there will be more devastation and suffering. The Kurdish people and political circles must recognise this and organise a national conference withoutdelay. It is also vital that decisions on joint policies are made to resolve problems.
If the Kurds fail to organise a national conference and do not strengthen unity and solidarity, this will create a dangerous situation. If Kurds do not prepare and organize themselves, then Kurds will experience even greater suffering. But, if these developments are foreseen and organizational preparations are made accordingly, then resistance can develop on these foundations. We can reduce the damage and danger to a minimum. Kurds can become an important force in the region.
Precautions exclusively taken in South Kurdistan will not save it
A policy concerning Kurdish Islamic circles in Kurdistan is necessary to prevent an Islamic, secular, Kurdish, Arab conflict and instability among forces in Kurdistan, especially the forces in South Kurdistan. The efforts to prevent such a danger through the unification of peshmerga forces to include Kirkuk into Kurdistan must continue.
But precautions taken only in the South will not be adequate. These are necessary; however, relationships with the other parts of Kurdistan must be strengthened. If this does not lead to national solidarity and if a national conference is not swiftly organized, decisions exclusively taken in South Kurdistan will not save the South. This must be recognised by the south Kurdistan forces. They need to abandon narrow political frameworks. Instead, they need to see the national democratic interests of the Kurdish nation as a whole and realize their responsibilities on these matters. Only then will the dangers theatening South Kurdistan and Kurds everywhere be lifted.
KKK´s unilateral ceasefire and Turkey`s reaction
Turkey and its international allies
Turkey has been a member of important international bodies such as NATO, The Council of Europe, and the OSCE. It is a candidate for EU membership. However, Turkey has entered in an anti-Kurd alliance with Iran and Syria, despite the differing and opposing nature of these regimes. It was against the intervention against Saddam and now it has a similar attitude regarding Iran and Syria. In Turkey’s opinion, there was a change in Iraq and the Kurds have gained some sort of status; if there are changes in Iran and Syria, the Kurds there will also gain similar rights. Turkey sees this as a threat against its security. That is why it opposes any changes in Iran and Syria and it does not hesitate to set up alliances with them in order to preserve the status quo.
The reason why Turkey is in this situation is the fact that it has not resolved its Kurdish question. If a solution to this question is found, Turkey will no longer make alliances with regressive regimes and it will take a stand against them. A Kurdish resolution in Turkey will lead to the establishment of a Turkish, Kurdish and Jewish alliance for democracy and change in the Middle East and with the participation of Arab, Persian and other peoples in the region who are seeking democracy and change, will create a new balance of forces in the region and consequently the concept of a New Middle East will gain a solid ground.
KKK´s unilateral cease-fire and Turkey
Following the resistance of the Kurdish population against the attacks of the Turkish government, in particulat in 2003, our Movement for Freedom has made significant progress as concerns the development of a democratic outlook in its organizations and the situation of the guerrilla forces. The movement has reached the point where it will be able to resist strongly the politics of denial and oppression of Turkey. In addition, the struggles for freedom against the regimes of Iran and Syria have grown stronger. These developments in the four parts of Kurdistan enable the Kurds to be in a strong position and to exert considerable influence on regional stability and international politics.
The relations between the Kurds and the Turks have become a major issue in the region and as a result of these developments, the solution of the Kurdish problem will have an enormous impact on the international situation. It is in this context that different forces made declarations and appeals for a ceasefire on several occasions. Among these are the recent written declaration of the US on 15th August, the Federal Republic of Iraq and the Regional Government of South Kurdistan. In Turkey several appeals have been made by different organizations, by the DTP (Democratic Society Party), intellectuals, writers, Mothers for Peace, religious leaders of Kurdistan and musicians. Some of these appeals have been made in the press, others by diplomatic means.
1. The declaration of the ceasefire started on 1st of October 2006. Depending on the steps that will be taken and the development of events, the period of the ceasefire will continue or not.
2. There will be no use of arms as long as our forces are not attacked, but in case of an attack aimed to annihilate our forces, they will defend themselves by all means necessary.
3. During the whole period there will be no military activity with the exception of the activities that fulfil our logistical needs and to safeguard our natural security.
4. The board of command of the HPG (People’s Defence Forces), the position of our forces, their movement and their programme will be reorganised according to the agreements of the ceasefire.
5. All the officials, organizations and institutions in the Movement for Democracy and Freedom in Kurdistan will at all levels (ideological, political, practical) contribute to the success of this ceasefire. In addition, all the tasks and programmes will be re-arranged in accordance with the decision of this declaration.
6. This decision concerns all the forces of the Koma Komalen Kurdistan. Noone will oppose this position; all will make their utmost efforts to contribute to the success of the ceasefire.
Reaction of Turkey to the unilateral cease-fire
The hawkish Armed Forces Chief General Yasar Buyukanit has vowed to fight the PKK, which still enjoys considerable support in the Southeast, until the last guerrilla is killed.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is under pressure to crack down on the PKK to stem the rising nationalism ahead of elections this year. His AK Party, which has roots in political Islam, fears concessions on Kurdish rights or looking soft on the PKK will weaken the party at the ballot box next year.
US policy on the Kurds
The US-led intervention in Iraq has led the US to become directly embroiled in the Kurdish question.
In the present situation it is imperative for the US government to win the friendship of the Kurds in Turkey, Iran and Syria especially as these governments seek to maintain the present status quo of their anti-Kurdish alliance. It will be crucial for the US not again to make the Kurds victims of such an alliance.
In the past weeks important developments have taken place in particular regarding the politics in Turkey and Iran. The Turkish state continues to insist on military operations in South Kurdistan. It exerts huge diplomatic pressure on the US, PUK and KDP as the present status of South Kurdistan greatly worries Turkey. We firmly believe that the cause of the Kurdish problem does not lie in Qandil but in Ankara.
The first step in this strategy should be that the US government takes a more pro-active role in the quest for a peaceful solution to the conflict with the PKK. Although the previous Clinton administration labelled the PKK a “terrorist” organization and would generally refuse to negotiate or encourage negotiation with its leaders, it moved beyond this static policy in Israel, Northern Ireland, and South Africa. There, all parties realized it would be counter-productive to rule out dialogue with groups that had built a significant constituency and represented real grievances of substantial segments of the population.
As regards Turkey the US has not only diplomatic but also important economic influence. It is a positive sign that the US refuses to agree to support Turkish military operations in South Kurdistan. It will be imperative to continue to hold this position in future. But the resolution of the Kurdish question demands far more commitment. The US has the means to bring the parties of the conflict together and open the road for a dialogue. Such a commitment will not only be a step to benefit Turkey and the Kurds but the whole Middle East.
Turkey is making every effort to get the US to fight the PKK who found refuge in Kurdistan in Iraq. Turkey has been fighting the PKK since 1984 without apparent success and want the American government to rescue their failing endeavor and engage in a bloody fight with the PKK.
The US government should understand that without finding a solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey, the solution they are planning to impose on Iraqi- Kurdistan will turn into a strategic mistake, a No Solution. Democratization of Turkey should be one of the principal objectives of the US foreign policy in the Middle East, as it will be one of the main factors for helping to find a solution to the Kurdish problem in the region.
It is for this reason that governments who have formed “the alliance of three in coordination against the PKK” should not not label our movement “terrorist” and abandon all plans to eliminate it. It is obvious that the problem cannot be resolved by means of violence, as events in the past have already repeatedly shown on many occasions. The leading powers should rethink their policy and consider our project for a democratic solution; this would be the best way forward. The US and especially the Iraqi Government, that knows the Kurdish problem only too well, should play a constructive role during the period of the ceasefire that we have launched.
The entire statement is available at TECAK.