Posted on July 8, 2016 by Editorial Staff in 1 Top News, Exclusive
[size=11]Asst. Prof. Dr. Azad Othman | Special to Ekurd.net
An Interview with a Turkish Political Scientist.
The following questions, were provided by the Turkish Political scientist Dr. Serhun Al, at the University of Izmir; on 19 April 2016, for the purpose of a scientific study.
1- What does it mean to be a Kurd for the local population?
It means for the conscious citizens to be a human being with all rights and Duties. It means the Kurds have the same rights of neighboring peoples (Arabs, Turks and Persians), including the right of self-determination.
2- How do they view their ethnic brethren on the other side of the border?
We believe the Kurdish question in neighboring countries (Turkey, Iran and Syria) shall resolve by peaceful means; by serious peace negotiations between representatives of the aforementioned countries and the Kurdish people in these countries. Their political question cannot be settled forcibly (from both sides) or by ignoring it from the governments. In our opinion, the Kurds in these countries just like the national and religious minorities in the Kurdistan Region (the Turkmens, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arabs / Christians Ezdis, Yarsans, Alawitten (Shabaks) and Sabiaas), should enjoy all their legitimate political and cultural rights (including the self-administration and learning in schools in native language), although the Kurdistan region is not an independent state.
3. What are the main internal political debates in KRG?
You mean in the Kurdistan Region Iraq (KRI). The most important domestic political debates here relate to the achievement of political consensus between the parliamentary political parties, the activation of the legal regional institutions (The regional Parliament, the regional government and the local and constitutional forces), the revival of the regional economy, the future relationship with the central government in Baghdad and the strengthening of international relations, especially with neighboring countries Turkey and Iran.
4. Is KRG financially and institutionally ready to become an independent state?
The most important requirements for the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan Region, in my view, is the political consensus and concrete solutions to overcome the current economic problems and a common and realistic strategy regarding the future of the region – within the state Iraq or as an independent state in the Middle East. Iraq can again as one state function, only as a democratic and federalist state. If all efforts for ultimately fail, then the regional government in the Kurdistan Region have, the first – to create suitable political and economic conditions for independence, both internally and externally; then carry out the referendum on independence for the region. Also in the separated areas from the region, those are now under the control of the KRG, (including the province Kirkuk and the districts Khanaqin and Sinjar, after coordination with the national and religious minorities there). But the KRG must not “throw all eggs in one basket”. It must not limit its economic relations only with a neighboring state, with Turkey or Iran. It should discuss the question of independence of the region about the (State Kurdistan), as well as the economic relations with two significant neighboring countries (Turkey and Iran). It should assure both neighbors that independence relates only the Region Kurdistan (Iraq). It should make the two countries clear that (State Kurdistan) advocates in both countries for peaceful solution of the Kurdish question, rather the reasonable settlement of the conflict.
And the (state Kurdistan) will protect its international borders with neighboring states in accordance with international law. The (state Kurdistan) will be a strong mediator of peace in the neighboring countries and a peaceful and useful neighbor to Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria.
5- How do Kurds of KRG (KRI) think about Kurds in Turkey, Syria, and Iran?
The Kurds are convinced that the Kurds in these countries have to enjoy their political and cultural rights. Their existence and their legitimate rights (including self-administration within their provinces, like the Turks, Persians and Arabs there) must be recognized and defined in the constitutions of these countries. The Kurds there should, however, try to resolve their own question with the governments of these states by political struggle and peace negotiations, because violence and war produce only killing and destruction, they also incite hatred and underdevelopment, instead of co-existence and welfare of the people. So their most important goals should be justice and peace for all citizens in these countries. Also (State Kurdistan) must secure in future civil rights and well for all of their citizens, otherwise we do not need a fifth state like the neighboring states.
6- How do residents of Erbil and Sulaimani perceive their Kurdishness?
The Kurdish citizens of all provinces of South Kurdistan (Erbil, Kirkuk, Sulaiman, Duhok and Halabja) believe that also the Kurdish people in Kurdistan region (Iraq) has the right to self-determination, thus the establishing of their own state, however, will that state limit only South Kurdistan (Kurdistan – Iraq), and it should be a democratic and peace-loving state, and not only for Kurds but for all citizens of the region (including the Turcoman, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arabs … etc.).
7- How did the ISIS change the mindset of the Kurdish public in the Middle East?
ISIS has shown by his actions or crimes against the people of the occupied territories by him, which a backward and inhuman terrorist organization it is; especially his atrocities against all dissenters (the Kurdish Ezidis in Sinjar, Christians in Mosul and plain of Ninewa, the Shiite Turkmen in Bashir and Tel Afar … etc.). The population in the Kurdistan Region in general evaluates the assistance and cooperation of the international alliance against ISIS very high, especially in the critical period of the attack on some areas of Kurdistan. Because even they believe that “the friend in need is the friend indeed”. The population of the Kurdistan Region believes that Turkey should consider the Kurdish armed forces as reliable allies – just like the US, EU and Iran. Turkey also has to fight seriously with the Kurds and the international alliance against ISIS. Because ISIS is against all human values; and he has no future. But the peoples of Turks, Kurds, Arabs and Persians will stay live as neighboring peoples together in the region. They should therefore work together against all dangers and threats. They should live peacefully with each other, and they can do, too, as European nations for a peaceful and better future together in their own states, and cooperate and coordinate with each other in a common organization or Union.
8- How does the local population make sense of the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state?
The population of the Kurdistan region consider the conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK as a senseless and destructive conflict, which harms not only the armed forces of both parties but also the civilian population in the whole of Turkey and in the Kurdistan Region; and inflicts great damage to the security, stability and economy of Turkey and of the Kurdistan Region. And he threatens the coexistence of Turks and Kurds in all over the world. In my view AKP and PKK have committed a fatal error; by the renewed outbreak of war; Mr. Ardogan and his party were short-term able to win the elections again, but at the expense of security, stability and economy of Turkey, this will be therefore not long. And that is exactly the opposite of aspiration of Mr. Davutoglu, who wanted to cancel the problems of Turkey (zero Problems). This will however affect the internal problems in the first place. Turkey should take the example of the United Kingdom with respect to solving the question of North Ireland through peace talks with (Sinn Fein / IRA). The Kurdish question should be solved by direct peace negotiations with Mr. Abdullah Öcelan and representatives of the HADEP in Turkey. This is a realistic, reasonable and final solution, but not the war. The PKK must understand that only political struggle and exactly negotiating table lead to resolve the conflict rather the Kurdish question in Turkey. It should use their arms and forces only to fight against ISIS and to protect the Kurdistan Iraq region.
9- What is an ordinary Kurd’s view about a fellow Turkish, Arab citizen?
In their view, they too are human beings and citizens of these states, the Kurds will continue to live and to cooperate with them, but also the ordinary Turkish, Arabic and Persian citizen should support by all means the peaceful solution of the Kurdish question in the common States. They should understand that the Kurdish people too have all the rights and Duties of the peoples of the region.
10- Where do Kurds want to see themselves in the next few decades?
The Kurds are for centuries suppressed and annihilated by the rulers of the neighboring peoples and by the colonialist powers. However, they fight continuously for their fundamental human rights. But they are realistic. The Kurds in the Kurdistan Region want to live with its neighbors in peace in their own independent state (Kurdistan). The Kurds in Turkey, Iran and Syria want to achieve all their political, administrative and cultural rights within these countries and to live peacefully with their Turkish, Arabic and Persian citizens, of course under democratic systems in these states.