Iraqi Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani issued a defiant rejection of Turkish demands to end terrorism while also indicating he was ready to negotiate for peace. On one hand, he said about Turkey, “You do not speak to me, then you ask me to do things against the PKK. How can this be?” Within a few moments he also said: “I am a friend of the Turkish nation, not an enemy. Let’s cooperate and open the door for a peaceful solution to the problem..” Barzani heads the Kurdish part of Iraq which, for all practical purposes, is now functioning as a semi-independent area. Barzani most probably harbors concerns that have little to do with the PKK.
Why is Turkey’s hostility toward Iraqi Kurdistan? Is it because we are the real problem in Ankara’s eyes and not the PKK? We want assurances from ‘Turkey that all these military measures are not against us.” In another flip around, he told the PKK to “give up violence or confront not only Turkey but the whole Kurdish nation.”
Barazni fears Turkey seeks to crush all Kurdish armed forces that might pose a threat to their own security. There is concern in Turkey that creation of an independent Kurdish nation serves as a beacon to Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran to also become part of that nation. The American invasion of Iraq caused Kurdistan to emerge as a semi-independent nation and we are now living with the consequences of Bush’s actions.