Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024

Iraqi, Syrian Kurds divided over Erdogan’s election battle

Iraqi, Syrian Kurds divided over Erdogan’s election battle

Turkiye’s presidential election is being anxiously watched by Kurds in Syria and Iraq as economic interests compete with fears of a regional military escalation against some Kurdish groups.
The long-running and deadly conflict between Ankara and militant groups from the ethnic Kurdish minority has spilled across the borders of both Iraq and Syria.

But Turkiye is also a major economic partner, especially for northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish province which has long exported oil through a pipeline that runs through Turkiye and has trade ties worth billions.

“Economically, there are mutual benefits,” said Iraqi political scientist Mohamed Ezzedine.

Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, having governed for 20 years, has fostered key strategic links with Iraqi Kurdistan’s President Nechirvan Barzani who has been in power for three decades.

After the first round of elections, as votes were still being counted, Barzani called Erdogan, the Turkish “reis” or chief, to express “confidence and optimism” he would defeat challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

But some Kurds in Iraq and across the border in Syria fear an Erdogan victory will see a military escalation in their home regions.

Fighting between Ankara’s army and Kurdish Workers’ Party or PKK militants from Turkiye has for decades spilled over into Iraqi Kurdistan, a rugged mountain region where both sides operate military bases — with civilians often caught in the crossfire.

In northeast Syria, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG have established a semi-autonomous administration amid the chaos of the long-running civil war, and the group is backed by the US as part of an anti-terror coalition.

Ankara, however, considers them an extension of the PKK, which is labeled a terrorist group by Turkiye and its key Western allies, and has waged successive military campaigns against them.

Despite the conflict’s impact in Iraqi Kurdistan, the region also benefits from its neighbor, with trade ties worth an estimated $12 billion in 2022.

Many local businesses would like to keep things the way they are.

“Since Erdogan became president, we have been satisfied,” said Ahmed Krouanji, who runs a shop in Irbil’s market.

“There is a lot of trade with Turkiye, the economic situation has improved.”

Others express views reflecting solidarity with Kurds across the border.

An Erdogan victory “is not in the interests of the Kurds of Turkiye,” said Ali Khodr, a man aged in his 30s.

Turkiye’s leading pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party, denounces Ankara’s persecution of its Kurdish minority and backs Kilicdaroglu.

But the only consolation for the president’s opponents after first-round voting that delivered the incumbent a comfortable lead, was that for the first time, Erdogan has been forced into a runoff.

Over two decades, Irbil’s leaders have forged close ties with the Turkish president, who receives Nechirvan Barzani and his cousin, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, on their regular visits to Ankara.

“The government of Kurdistan has always tried to have good relations with Turkiye, which is their gateway to the rest of the world,” said Ezzedine. “This affinity was built on economic foundations.”

For years, direct sales of crude to Turkiye, without approval from Iraq’s federal government, were the economic lifeblood of Kurdistan.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Saudi Press
0:00
0:00
Close
Good day, everyone! We've got a lively mix of stories today, from financial recoveries and international sanctions to...
Giorgia Meloni Comments on Israel's Conflict and EU's Stand on Ukraine Loan
Israel Plans Tactical Pause For Aid Deliveries in South Gaza
Giorgia Meloni Comments on Israel's Conflict and EU's Stand on Ukraine Loan
Over 1.5 Million Pilgrims Arrive in Mina for Hajj
Japan Considers Sanctions on UAE-Based Entities for Aiding Russia
Global Headlines: Pope’s Plea on AI, Tensions in Ukraine, and Japan’s Sanction Strategy
Houthi Missile Attack Severely Injures Sailor on Cargo Ship
Iran Expands Nuclear Capabilities: IAEA Report
Saudi Hospitality Sector to Grow by 7.5% Annually Until 2028
Ceer and Hyundai Transys Sign $2 Billion Deal for EV Drive Systems
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Saudi Arabia Dominates Global Construction with $1.5 Trillion Pipeline
Fortis Expands Fintech Solutions to Saudi Arabia's SME Sector
Saudi Arabia's Industry 4.0 Initiative and Vision 2030
Saudi Arabia's Booming Automotive Market
"Saudi Stock Market Recap: Tadawul Dips While Nomu Surges"
"Saudi Arabia's Economic Growth Soars: Gross Fixed Capital Formation Surges by 7.9%"
"Saudi Arabia Tops Global Mining Investment Rankings: A New Era of Mineral Prosperity"
"Saudi Arabia's Record-Breaking Year in Travel & Tourism: A Global Tourism Hotspot in the Making"
Saudi Foreign Minister Attends BRICS Ministerial Meeting in Russia
"Saudi Arabia's New Workplace Safety Measures: A Summer of Shade for Private Sector Workers"
"King Salman Welcomes Over 2,300 Pilgrims for Hajj, Including 1,000 Palestinians"
"A Miraculous Birth at the Heart of the Hajj: A Nigerian Pilgrim Gives Birth in Makkah"
"Camel Culture: A Comparative Study Across Three Countries"
"Oil Prices on the Rise: Goldman Sachs Predicts a Third-Quarter Surge"
"Saudi Arabia's Finance Sector Thrives: A 13% Asset Surge in 2023"
Egypt's Inflation Rate Drops Surprisingly in May
"Saudi Aramco Remains Top Company in Forbes Middle East's Top 100 List for 2024"
"Saudi Arabia's Maritime Sector Soars: A 8.09% Increase in Cargo Handling"
"Qatar's Export Growth Soars in Q1 2024: A 6% Increase in Private Sector Exports"
"Saudi Arabia Achieves Tourism Milestones: A Giant Leap Towards Global Leadership"
"Saudi Arabia's Mining Sector Soars: A New Industrial Pillar"
"Saudi Arabia's Industrial Growth: A Boost in Manufacturing and Mining Sectors"
"Indonesia Launches TB Vaccine Trials to Combat Soaring Cases and Boost Economic Growth"
Tragic Attack in Indian-Controlled Kashmir: Nine Killed, Thirty-Three Injured
"India's Record-Breaking Heatwave: A Warning from the Weather Experts"
"Urgent Update: Devastating Floods and Landslides in Northern Vietnam"
"IOC President Assures Unwavering Support for Paris 2024 Amidst French Political Upheaval"
"Breaking News: Paris Chanel Store Ram-Raid and Fire"
"Ukraine's Reconstruction Chief Resigns: A Decade of Service and Frustration"
Tragic Attack in Yargoje, Nigeria: Over 50 Lives Lost and Many Kidnapped
"Violent Clash in Central Somalia: 55 Dead and 155 Injured"
Urgent Appeal for Peaceful Dialogue: Australia's Prime Minister Addresses Israel-Palestine Tensions
"Revival in Mosul's Old City: A Journey from Daesh's Stronghold to Cultural Renaissance"
"U.S. Secretary of State Blinken Pursues Ceasefire in Gaza"
"UAE Cracks Down on Unwanted Cold Calls: New Regulations Announced"
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan Meets Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh at GCC High-Level Strategic Dialogue in Doha
Exclusive Interview with Daesh Widow: Allegations of Torture against Former Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi
×