Turkey’s National Security Council is recommending applying economic sanctions against northern Iraq in an effort to apply pressure on groups aiding the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party. Many observers warn such action might turn out to have the opposite effect. According to Turkish political analyst Ilter Turan, “any sanctions could b ring about unexpected results; they could boost support for Iraq’s Kurdish leader, Massad Barzani, and push the masses in northern Iraq to congregate around him. Barzani has a reputation of turning a blind eye to activities of Kurdish rebels who are attacking into Turkey. There is talk in Turkey of cutting off electricity and food supplies to northern Iraq which relies extensively upon those sources for many daily needs.
Turkey apparently still hasn’t learned from the failed sanction approach of George Bush that those type of solutions wind up causing more anguish than benefits. Cuba has been subjected to sanctions for half a century and continues existing. Now is the time for Turkey to reach out to its Kurdish population with economic and political assistance. If Turkey demonstrates that Kurds in its nation are achieving high economic gains and are participating in Turkish political life there will be less interest in activities of groups fostering violence. Turkey should stand back and allow the international community to apply pressure on Iraq to halt violence in its territory.