Languages: Kurdî ‏سۆرانی‎

Erdogan’s army is now preparing to attack Maxmur and Sinjar

Erdogan: Salvaging Defeat in Turkey with War in Southern Kurdistan

On 23 March, KNK called an extraordinary meeting with Kurdish and Assyrian political parties plus civil society representatives regarding the rising threat of a new Turkish military offensive in Southern Kurdistan (the Kurdistan Region of Iraq). In addition, on March 18, KNK published a detailed paper outlining the consequences of the military operation planned by Turkey with the aim of occupying Southern Kurdistan.

To understand Ankara’s reasoning for an invasion, it needs the consideration of the wider political context. The Kurds in occupied Northern Kurdistan (southeast Turkey) have produced the first cracks in “Sultan” Erdogan’s throne, following the local elections on the 31st of March. In fact, the biggest political winners of the most recent elections in Turkey were the Kurdish people, who have defiantly refused to bow down to Erdogan’s brutality over the last 22 years. Even Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman dream of recapturing Istanbul was dashed by Kurds who are now living in Istanbul, after the Turkish military burned down their villages during the 1990s.

And although AKP brought in thousands of soldiers, policemen, civil servants, and paramilitary units to rig the voting in Northern Kurdistan, they were still resoundingly defeated. Consequently, Erdogan and his coalition partner, the ultra-nationalist MHP, now want to take revenge for their embarrassing electoral defeat, with another war against the Kurds.

A new war against the Kurds in Iraq is supposed to reinstall Erdogan’s power

Unfortunately, we see that Iraq is already bending to pressure from Turkish diplomatic traffic visits. Indeed, recent increased pressure by Iraqi forces on Maxmur (Makhmour), where 10.000 refugees lives, and Sinjar (Şengal, where the survivors of the ISIS genocide lives) display how the government in Baghdad is trying to display their willingness to follow Erdogan’s orders. All of which is taking place amidst an environment where Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler and Erdogan are stating publicly that they intend to deploy their military 30-40 km deep into Iraq’s territory, semi-annexing it like they have parts of northern Syria.

Beyond his usual anti-Kurdish crusade, one of Erdogan’s objectives is to clear the way for a new trade route, “the Turkey-Iraq Development Project”, which he sees as a “New Silk Road” and alternative to the IMEC (India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor) which bypasses Turkey. However, this 1,200 km highway and railway Development Road connecting the Persian Gulf to Turkey needs to cross straight through Southern and Northern Kurdistan (northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey).

For decades, Kurdish guerrillas of the PKK have been resisting against the occupying Turkish Army in the mountainous areas that this project intends to cut across. Turkey had been hoping that the area could be controlled fully by the KDP, who would let Erdogan’s regime exploit it for a cut of the profits, however, since that has not come to fruition, Ankara is now looking to Baghdad for assistance.

For his first step, Erdogan wants to have the Iraqi government silence the Kurdish refugees in Maxmur and the Yazidis in Sinjar. He is using these two areas as a test case to gauge Baghdad’s level of obedience to his commands. Once these areas are effectively muzzled to the outside world, Erdogan intends to occupy them with his military. His reason for doing so, is because both areas are on the pivot point where this new ‘silk road’ will pass and investors want to have “security” (i.e. Turkish military control) before funding the project.

As KNK, we would implore the Iraqi government to guard their sovereignty and not become pawns of Erdogan’s weakening regime, with its collapsing economy and tumbling currency. Erdogan wishes to transform the Iraqi government into a new “Saddam Hussein”, by having them emulate the brutal dictator that many of them were victimized by in the past. But Baghdad should refuse Erdogan’s manipulation, as Maxmur and Sinjar are sacred lines for the Kurdish nation. Any Turkish attempt to occupy these regions will ignite a firestorm of resistance across Greater Kurdistan. Rather than doing Ankara’s dirty work, Baghdad should be honouring the people of Maxmur and Sinjar, who alongside the PKK, resisted the ISIS takeover of Iraq. At a time when Erdogan was arming and assisting ISIS to murder Iraqi citizens and soldiers, it was the Kurdish guerrillas of the PKK who helped prevent the ISIS caliphate from spreading over the entire nation of Iraq. One would hope that gratitude would be the response from Baghdad rather than betrayal.

Therefore,

  • We appeal to the Iraqi parliament and government not to destabilize Iraq and drive the country into war at Erdogan’s request.
  • We appeal to the Kurds and Yazidis of Maxmur and Shingal to unite against this conspiracy to fulfill the unrealized goal of ISIS.
  • We call on the friends of the Kurdish people to raise their voices against this policy of invasion, occupation, and semi-annexation on behalf of a trade route.
  • And we urge NATO, the UN, and the EU to reign in the lawlessness of Erdogan and force him to comply with international law by ending his expansionist Neo-Ottoman invasions around the region.

There is no honor in producing business development with the blood of innocent people, by invading and occupying their homeland.

Executive Council of KNK
April 8, 2024