Do tensions between the PKK and KDP in Iraqi Kurdistan affect the Syrian Kurds?

Long have intra-Kurdish peace talks been the talk of the day for those following Kurdish politics. As part of Syria’s Kurds remain under the leadership of one of the Kurdish sides (PYD): a group, whose fighters are hailed in the West for their fight against Islamic State, and receive support of the International Coalition. The crimes this group commits – and the disputes they have with other Kurdish factions – often remain without coverage in Western media.

The other, less-known group of Kurds – made up of Kurdish politicians of different factions, joined by tens of thousands of its followers – now live in exile.

These Kurds are scattered over Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and Europe. And they are longing for intra-Kurdish peace, to be able to return to the war-torn country they call home. Yet, this intra-Kurdish peace has never seemed so far.

I spoke to Abdulaziz Tammo, the head of the Association of Independent Syrian Kurds (KKS-Syria), that currently lives in Istanbul. He is the brother of Mashaal Tammo, a Kurdish politician who was assassinated in Qamishli in 2011 (appearantly by PYD militants).

Together we attempt to shed light on three different matters that keep the minds of Syria’s Kurds busy. This is Part 3 of the interview.

 

Tensions between the PKK and KDP in Iraqi Kurdistan

Q: In Iraqi Kurdistan, we see a flare-up in the dispute between the PKK and KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party), as a result of Turkish operations against the PKK, on Iraqi soil. The public is afraid a war might start between the two factions. Does this have effects on the political climate concerning North-East Syria as well?

“We have said it before: wherever the PKK is found, it has caused ruin and destruction. For a long time, this militia has been working to destabilize the Kurdistan region in Iraq, which is flourishing day after day thanks to its wise leadership.”

“The PKK does not want a stable Kurdish region where its people enjoy safety and prosperity. This party exploits the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan, as is the case in Syria, to carry out military operations inside Turkey. And certainly, Turkey will not stand idly and allow these terrorists to launch military operations against its territory.”

“Turkey carries out military operations from time to time inside the Kurdistan region in Iraq. The PKK and its militias in the Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria have become a real threat to the Kurdish presence in those areas. They must leave Iraqi Kurdistan because it is not a field for their operations. They must leave the region to its people, as is the case for Syria.”

“Certainly, military operations, if they occur between the two parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, will have a significant impact on the Syrian Kurds, and their consequences will be dire for the Kurds everywhere, because the ideological terrorist organization will not leave behind them an area of stability and security.”

“The Iraqi Kurdistan region has mutual interests with the Turkish state and the Iraqi government in Baghdad. Turkey has interests with the region and with the Iraqi state, and it has agreements with Baghdad to fight terrorism. It is PKK that is intrusive and causes a lot of trouble.”

“The last of these ‘troubles’ was their attack on a military vehicle of the Peshmerga forces, in which 5 Peshmerga fighters were killed. The PKK also wants PYD to be drawn into its own war with neighboring regions. This is because it has failed in everything, whether in its original region – Turkey – Syria, or the Iraqi Kurdistan region. This organization is looking for a reason to justify its failure over the forty years of its founding and not having reached anything.”

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