“Iraqi Kurdish President in Turkey to Back PM’s Peace Effort”
Reuters, Nov. 16, 2013
“The president of Iraqi Kurdistan called on Turkey’s Kurds to back a flagging peace process with Ankara on Saturday, making his first visit to southeastern Turkey in two decades in a show of support for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. … Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan share concern about the growing clout of Kurdish militias in Syria, particularly after their announcement this week of an interim administration that aims to carve out an autonomous Syrian Kurdish region. Both Turkish and Iraqi Kurdish officials in Arbil have criticized the declaration, which lays out plans for a regional government similar to that of Iraqi Kurdistan, seeing it as part of a deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian Kurds are divided over the political group whose militias are behind the advances, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has links to the PKK and is seen by Iraqi Kurdistan as a rival for transnational leadership of the Kurds. Critics of the PYD also accuse it of getting help from outside powers, namely Shi’ite Iran and Iraq’s Shi’ite-controlled central government, which are both allies of Assad.”
Quickie analysis: The prospect of Kurdish autonomy in Syria has made for surprising bedfellows.