Opportunity For Turks And Kurds?

By Richard Holbrooke, WASHINGTON POST
Monday, February 12, 2007; Page A17

IRBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — Whatever happens in Iraq, we must try to limit the terrible fallout from the war. The place to start should be with our indispensable NATO ally Turkey, the front-line state of the post-Cold War era, whose relations with the United States have deteriorated dramatically in the past six years.

The immediate issue is raids by Kurdish terrorists across Turkey’s border with Iraq, which divides an area inhabited on both sides by Kurds who have long felt that they deserve their own country. Despite centuries of enmity, rapprochement is in the long-term interests of both Turkey and the Kurds of northern Iraq. But such an effort would be controversial and could be undertaken only with strong American encouragement.

[..] Despite their history, Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan need each other. Kurdistan could become a buffer between Turkey and the chaos to the south, while Turkey could become the protector of a Kurdistan that, though still technically part of Iraq, is effectively cut loose from a Baghdad government that may no longer function. In addition, Turkey has a major economic opportunity in northern Iraq; already, more than 300 Turkish companies and substantial investment are a primary engine of Kurdish growth.

February 12, 2007 | Comments Off on Opportunity For Turks And Kurds?

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