Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
The Turks and Kurds Should Be Allies, Not Enemies
by Mark Langfan
28 December, 2015
If the Turks continue to attack the Kurds, they will soon have Russia on their doorstep.
About 8 years ago I wrote a private letter dated June 4, 2007 to then-Prime Minister Erdogan and the entire Turkish General Command cautioning them not to consummate a pending attack on the Kurds in northern Iraq because the Iraqi Kurds were Turkey’s only true defense against an Iranian-Shiite-dominated Iraq. The attack was completely halted, and today Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds are really allies against both the Iranian-Shiite-dominated Iraq, and to some extent against ISIS. At the time, a Turkish journalist found out about the letter and wrote a semi-mocking article about my theory.
Today, I repeat my urging to now President Erdogan to cease all hostilities with the Kurds in northern Syria. But now the stakes are even bigger, for if Erdogan continues to attack the Kurds in northern Syria, the Kurds will invite Russia in to protect them. Therefore, not only will Turkey have invited the Iranians into Northern Syria, but also they will have Russia up to their doorstep. This could undo the entire relationship Turkey has developed with the Iraqi Kurds.
Here is my letter to then-PM Erdogan and the Turkish high command that is just as relevant now, as it was 8 years ago:
Dear PM Erdogan,
For the security of Turkey, I beg you not to attack or invade Northern Kurdish Iraq.
Ask yourself one question: Would Turkey rather have the Peshmerga as a suicidal enemy against a Turkish invasion to the south, or have the Peshmerga as a suicidal ally against a future Iranian invasion from the South.
The Kurds are your indispensable, reliable, and sole indigenous ally in your present and future strategic battle against Iran. By Turkey accommodating the Kurds, Turkey will gain, at almost no cost, the entire northern Iraq as its forward deployed defense line against the soon-in-coming Iranian northern encroachment.
By Turkey fighting the Kurds, Turkey will not only lose a tactical tripwire to an Iranian push, but also lose the Kurds as a strategic battle-hardened military backbone which will first absorb the Iranian advances.
In fact, by not attacking Northern Iraq and building a Kurdish alliance, Turkey will, without a shot, project a strategic threat against Iran: Iran’s 5 Million Kurds. By treating the Kurds as allies, Turkey will put, to Iran’s absolute strategic detriment, the entire Iranian Kurdish population in play.
The strategic calculus is so compelling; I believe it is absolutely vital that Turkey carefully triple-check and completely re-analyze its military intelligence of the recent terrorist attacks. The Iranians, Syrians, or even al-Qaeda may have committed the attacks so as to falsely create a strategic wedge between Turkey and the Kurds and Turkey and the US, so as to provoke the very reaction Turkey is committing.
Don’t allow the Iranians to bait you into a foolish losing tactical game of checkers against the Kurds, when you have a wise winning strategic game of chess against the Iranians.
Don’t look at the Kurds as Turkey’s enemy of the past, but as Turkey’s ally of the future. Treat your Kurds and the Iraqi Kurds with the love a brother in battle. For very soon, Turkish and Kurdish soldiers will be dying side-by-side against the waxing Iranian Mahdish menace.
Thank you for your consideration.