Coordinator of the Centre of Social structural development, Issam Khori, revealed his views on the chances of the successful founding of an independent Kurdish nation.
Khori believes the resource-rich northeastern region of Syria, known as the “Syrian Island” territory, would be economically capable of survival. However, a lack of direct connection between it and other Kurdish areas in Syria, like Kobani, would prove to be a large problem.
Efrin, in northern Aleppo, is detached from the Syrian Island in the northeast. Connecting these two swathes of land is impossible without seizing Turkish land, thereby establishing a “Turkish Kurdstan”, recently seen as unacceptable amid the Sunni-Shiite conflict.
Iran would firmly disapprove of the founding of a Kurdish state, as it would likely encourage movements to establish an “Iranian Kurdistan” inside its western borders.
“Even at local demography levels, the northeastern region of Syria is not purely inhabited by Kurds, as there are still many Arab tribes, who are annoyed by any project leads to Kurds’ independency”, said Khori.
The political analyst added that “the biggest confirmation of this was when hundreds of men joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, solely to fight the Kurds, destroying any attempts as a Kurdish sovereign project.”
Khori claims that everything in politics is possible, therefore, it is possible for Turkey to logistically, economically and geo-politically cooperate with a self-controlled Kurdish state.
On the other hand, Turkey strongly rejects an existence of a Kurdish state within its borders, as it would provoke further Kurdish nationalist sentiments, said Khori.
He added that Turkey has long tried time to minimize Kurdish nationalism, fighting the Kurdistan Labour Party because it called for the creation of a Kurdish state. In return Turkey supported Kurdish parties of religious Islamic agendas to weaken the Kurdish identity, encouraging a union of Kurds and Turkish Sunnis.
Turkish officials believe the creation of a Kurdish state alongside the enormous Kurdish community currently inside Turkey would increase the national Kurdish sentiment, which might destabilize Anatolian territory; therefore Turkey would definitely reject that kind of projects.
“As a result, Kurds have tried to use the Syrian crisis to their own benefit, to show the international community that they are isolated from what is going on in Syria, while at the same time, Turkey continues to use the ethnic conflict in northern Syria justify why creating a Kurdish state is difficult to achieve”, the expert added.
Concerning Kobani, Khori explained that Kurds were clever and pragmatic in presenting themselves to the international community, as they concentrated on showing women – even a mother feeding her baby – in the battlefield. Those ideas attract the Western cultures calls for the liberation of women. Conversely, Islamic groups presented men with long beards raising Islamic flags, abandoned the Syrian revolutionary flag.
Khori believes the international community often looks for partners refusing to cooperate with extremists, instead vying to fight for serious causes.
“Kurds proved their honesty to their international supporters in their war against ISIS, but this does not mean they would obtain independency. Although their actions could hand them priority in future, that was proven by de Mistura, the United Nation Envoy to Syria, when he expressed his support for autonomy, but he did not talk about dividing Syria”, Khori explained.
In regards to Kurdish federalism in Syria, Khori explained that centralism is hard to maintain, especially with a multi-ethnic country the size of Syria.
“In the future, besides the Kurdish-Arab conflict, we may see Kurd on Kurd conflict, between those who are convinced with a smaller state, and who seek to rule over all Kurdish lands”, Khori explains.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer