Cumhuriyet, Turkey
October 26 2008


Yet Another Kurdistan Map

Mahmut Gurer

The US congress has shown Turkey's east with the borders of an
imaginary state.

Ankara -In a report on "The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq" prepared by the
US Congressional Research Service, [apparently the one available at
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS22079.pdf] ], the Southeast
Anatolia and East Anatolia regions are shown within the borders of
Kurdistan. It is noted in the report that the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional
Government could seek independence, and it is stated that Turkey,
Iran, and Syria, as well as the Shi'ite and Sunni [Arab] groups in
Iraq, oppose this initiative. Although it is stressed in the report
that the PKK is a "terrorist organization," members of the separatist
organization being referred to as "guerrillas" is also noteworthy.

A new map scandal has taken place in the six-page report entitled "The
Kurds in Post-Saddem Iraq," which was prepared by Kenneth Katzman, a
specialist of the "Congressional Research Service," which works in
affiliation with the US Congress; the report was submitted to the
Congress on 25 September and is currently available on the
Congressional internet site with serial number RL34642. In the map on
the final page of the report, the Kurdistan region is portrayed in
such a way as to take in the Southeast and East Anatolia regions of
Turkey, the west of Iran, the northeast of Syria, and a portion of
Armenia and Azerbaijan. The source of the map is likewise identified
as the Congressional Research Service, and the legend to the map
includes the note "red indicates Kurdish area." The report also
includes noteworthy observations regarding the Kurdistan Regional
Government, the Iraqi Turkomans, Turkey, and the PKK. These
observations are as follows:

-The Saddam period prepared the ground for the Iraqi Kurdish leaders
to enter into a close relationship with US leaders.

-The Iraqi constitution has provided the Kurds in the north of the
country the opportunity to form a regional but de facto state. Even
if the Kurdish leaders say they are not seeking independence, young
Kurds who eventually replace them could seek independence.

-Kurds claim that Kirkuk, Diyala, and a portion of Mosul province are
historically Kurdish cities, and that they must be integrated into
the Kurdistan Regional Government. They have been working to persuade
the Iraqi Arabs and the Turkoman minority in this regard.

-The Kirkuk issue is closely followed by Turkey as well. Turkey
assesses the Kirkuk issue in line with historic ties, and fears that
the integration into the Regional Government of Kirkuk, which has
more than 10 per cent of Iraq's oil, could enable the Kurds to win
independence.

-Turkey sees the north of Iraq as a free area for the PKK. For this
reason, it claims that the regional government, which has a long
border with Turkey, is to blame. Accordingly, in 2007, approximately
100,000 troops were moved to the border after [Iraqi Kurdistan
Regional President Mas'ud] Barzani said "if Turkey interferes in the
cities of the Kurdistan Regional Government, we will interfere in the
Kurdish cities of Turkey." Immediately thereafter, in September and
October of 2007, 40 Turkish soldiers were killed by "PKK guerrillas."