THIS LAND IS THEIR LAND: The case for Kurdistan.
To be sure, the establishment of a ‘greater Kurdistan’ that includes all areas where the Kurds comprise a majority remains impossible. If internal Kurdish politics were not enough to prevent such an outcome, geostrategic constraints certainly would be.
Kurdish independence is particularly implausible in Turkey. The Kurds’ main representative in that country, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—which champions a distinctly secular, Marxist brand of nationalism—has been fighting the Turkish government for decades. But, the government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has not wavered in its commitment to preventing the establishment of a Kurdish state, to the point that even the PKK’s founder, Abdullah Öcalan, now favors a resolution that falls short of independence.
Erdoğan’s commitment to ending the PKK’s quest is so strong that he is also working to prevent Syria’s Kurds from leveraging sovereignty from their military gains against ISIS. He fears that Kurdish success in Syria would inspire Turkey’s Kurds to revive their own fight for statehood in the country’s southeast. This fear of nationalist spillover has driven Erdoğan’s campaign to create a buffer zone along the Turkish border that extends well into the territory now controlled by Syrian Kurds.
But the Kurdish community in Iraq, represented by the Kurdish Regional Government, has a real shot at statehood. The KRG is a quasi-sovereign entity overseeing an efficient military and an independent economy. Although it is plagued by corruption and cronyism, like every other political organisation in the region, the KRG represents the only truly functional government in Iraq, presiding over the country’s most peaceful and stable areas.
They’ve earned it.