The bully diminutive Erdogan running Turkey has been flying to close to the sun of late. His accusations have developed an anti-American thrall across Anatolia. The hyperbolic diatribe spewing out of the mouth of this wannabee dictator is a cause of concern to NATO. Europe has long been aware of Turkey’s anti European Union policies which are tantamount to treason. So far the United States has not taken an intransigent view of Turkey’s blustering when a hard stance is in order.
Turkey, if you recall was the heart of Eastern Christendom a thousand plus years ago. Constantinople was the center of Eastern Orthodoxy. From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe and it was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom’s holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. After the final loss of its provinces in the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs and the city eventually fell to the Ottomans after a month-long siege in 1453.
Long running feuds aside, the time has come to take sides. Is Turkey in or out? The only answer here is OUT. Turkey has accused the United States of complicity in the most recent coup d etat which attempted to over through Erdogan. Turkey has blamed us for harboring Fethullah Gulen, once a friend of Erdogan, but now seen as a treacherous enemy; believed to be directing his followers from his Pennsylvania enclave. Erdogan has the chutzpah in ordering the United States to turn Gulen over. Once in Turkey Gulen will face the hang man’s noose or more precisely Erdogan’s sword for beheading.
Turkey has inflamed the European Union (EU) with its dictatorial posture, but most of all its lack of respect for Democracy. Since the coup the diminutive wannabee Napoleon puke has rounded up a half a million of what he believes, were members of the coup and anti government. Beside these roundups 200 news organizations have been shut down. Currently there are no opposing news organizations.
However, the mother of all eruptions is close at hand. Support for an independence Kurdistan is growing across all of the main venues. Even Israel is pressing for Kurdish independence. The Kurds are the majority population in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, and are a significant minority group in the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran, and Syria, where Kurdish nationalist movements continue to pursue greater autonomy and cultural rights. In total the Kurds number approximately 30,000,000. The time has come for them to have a country of their own.
On September 25 a plebiscite will take place in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Councillors in the Iraqi province of Kirkuk have voted to take part in next month’s Kurdish independence referendum in a session, however, that was boycotted by Turkmen and Arab members. The central government in Baghdad is strongly opposed to Iraqi Kurdistan’s planned September 25 referendum, which is non-binding but could lead to independence. Kirkuk, an ethnically-mixed oil-rich province, is not part of the Kurdistan region but has a large Kurdish population.
Having an Independent Kurdish state is very worrisome for the diminutive Erdogan who will continue to fight against the Kurds at all costs. Erdogan sees the Kurds as an existential threat to his authoritative rule. In Turkey, there are 14 million Kurds, many of whom are well-integrated into the political and economic life of the country, but many others who remain alienated. Religious Kurds have been an important and reliable constituency for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). There is also the People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, whose leader Selahattin Demirtas has made a big splash among Western observers for his alleged liberalism. The AKP has sought to portray the HDP and Demirtas as no different from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been waging a war on Turkey since the mid-1980s. Click here for a more detailed analysis of the ins and outs of the Kurdish relationships within Syria, Iraq and Turkey.
Peshmerga, which means, “those who face death,” is the military of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi Kurdistan. Their existence dates back to the mid-20th Century when Mustafa Barzani picked up arms to fight for Kurdistan autonomy.
But the tradition of a guerrilla resistance force fighting for Kurdish autonomy goes back to the origins of the Kurdish people. Because the land area has always been subject to regional and major powers vying for dominance, a resistance force always emerged as they took refuge in the mountains.
Up against much greater forces in the Iraqi Army and Air Force, the Peshmerga was not successful until after the 1990-1991 Gulf War when the U.S. and U.K. enforced a no-fly zone in the North of Iraq.
After the Kurdistan Regional Government was established, the Peshmerga officially became the armed forces and responsible for the security of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Originally, the Peshmerga was led by Mustafa Barzani, the head of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), but in the aftermath of another failed revolt, which resulted in the defeat of the Peshmerga by Iraqi forces in the mid-1970’s, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) arose and formed their own Peshmerga.
The ideological split along both tribal (Barzani family) and political (PUK is more progressive and liberal) lines divided Kurds, and eventually led to the Kurdish Civil War of the 1990’s. During the Civil War, the Peshmerga took sides and opposing forces were responsible for Kurds killing and maiming other Kurds. It ended when KDP’s Head, Massoud Barzani, signed a peace treaty with the PUK Head, Jalal Talibani.
According to the 1992 Constitution of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the President of Kurdistan is the Commander-in-Chief of the Peshmerga Armed Forces. In an effort to unite against the Islamic State in August 2014, KRG President Massoud Barzani issued orders to the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs to reform the Peshmerga under a unified single command structure.
The bottom line here comes down to the diminutive Erdogan who may up the ante and pick a fight with the Peshmerga on the Syrian border. This will cause a rift with the United States, although the United States hasn’t jumped into the fray hook line and sinker. But the battle we hope will not come is on our door step and can’t be denied. For the United States the battle lines are clear; boot Turkey from NATO before we suffer more humiliation from the the diminutive Erdogan.