Erdogan: Kurdish hopes threat to Iraq

The Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan has said Kurdish control of an autonomous area in a future Iraqi state would threaten the stability of the country.

    Erdogan: Kurdish autonomy threat to regional stability

    In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, the PM has said he will raise his concerns when he meets President George Bush at the White House this week.

    Turkish leaders have repeatedly warned that expanding Kurdish self-rule in northern Iraq could lead to the country breaking apart and threaten the stability of Iraq's neighbours with their sizeable Kurdish minorities.

    "Let me be open and very frank with you," Erdogan said. "Any federal system based on ethnicity is not going to be healthy and will damage the future of Iraq."

    "This is the idea that is emerging in countries like Iran and Syria as well."

    Point of concern

    Kurds are demanding autonomy in northern Iraq within a unified state and are asking for control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a step that Turkish leaders condemn as unacceptable.

    Erdogan said that "all resources of Iraq should belong to all people of Iraq." The soft tone contrasts with recent stronger statements by one Turkish general.

    Deputy chief of staff General Ilker Basbug warned last Friday that "Iraq's future might be very bloody if there was a federal structure."

    The warning comes amid the country's strong desire to repair relations with the United States that have been strained by the Iraq conflict.

    "Iraq's future might be very bloody if there was a federal structure."

    General Ilker Basbug,
    deputy chief of staff

    Ankara refused to allow in US troops for the Iraq war, alienating itself from its most important ally. But earlier this month, Turkey began allowing the United States use a Turkish air base to rotate troops for Iraq.

    Impotence

    However there is little that Turkey can do to push the United States to moderate Kurdish demands.

    Northern Iraq is one of the more stable areas of the country and Washington is keen not to undermine that stability.

    US leaders, however, have repeatedly said they would not accept a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, meeting Ankara's key demand.

    "Turkey is not in a position to play a strong card in Iraq," said Ilnur Cevik, editor-in-chief of the Turkish Daily News. "Bush needs the Kurds."

    Erdogan last visited the White House on 10 December, a little more than a month after his party won a massive majority in Turkish elections.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    What happens when the US government shuts down?

    The US government has shut down. What happens next?

    US federal government begins partial shutdown after Senate blocks short-term spending bill. What happens next?

    Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

    Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

    Is an empowered Palestinian girl not worthy of Western feminist admiration?