Turkey And Kurd Struggle Essay, Research Paper
1. Turkey spans two continents, linking Europe and Asia across the narrow straits ofthe Bosporus and the Dardanelles. European Turkey to the north of the Sea of Marmarashares borders with Bulgaria and Greece. Asian Turkey ) is larger in area and bordersSyria and Iraq to the south and southeast, Iran and Armenia to the east, and Georgia tothe northeast. It also borders to Black Sea to the north, the Aegean to the west and theMediterranean to the south. The European part of Turkey is characterized by fertile rolling plains surrounded by lowmountains. The central part of Anatolia is a plateau surrounded by mountains. As far asgeopolitics is the branch of geography that promises to explain the relationships betweengeographical realities and international affairs. As far as Turkey goes, it is a geopolitcallyan important country. Its location spanning Europe and Asia and its control of theTurkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Darnandlees) that link the Black and AegeanSeas, make Turkey a strategic country. Moreover, Turkey has long had territorial andmaritime disputes with Greece especially over Cyprus, which Turkey invaded in 1974after Greeks officials tried to unite Cyprus with Greece. The sources of both the Tigrisand Euphrates Rivers are in Turkey. The building of the Ataturk Dam and others hascaused problems with the downstream countries of Syria and Iraq. Lastly, Kurdishmilitants have attempted to establish an independent Kurdistan. Turkey has pursued anactive campaign against the Kurds which in turn caused and continues to cause riotsamongst the two groups. 2. The Kurds are people of Indo-European origin who live mainly in the mountains andupland where Turkey, Iraq, and Iran meet. They have their own language, and arepredominately Sunni Muslim. The Kurds have traditionally resisted subjugation by othernations. In the 16th century the Ottoman and Persian Empress allowed the Kurdish tribesalmost total autonomy in return for keeping peace on the borders of the empires. At theend of the First World War, the Kurds living in the former Ottoman Empire foundthemselves divided between three different countries: Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. In each ofthese countries, the Kurds found themselves to be discriminated against. They wereexpected to learn the language of the state in which they found themselves, and toabandon their Kurdish identity. The Kurds, being traditional in their ways and tribaloriented began to feel their culture undermined and many Kurdish groups attempted toresist their new governments. The Kurds are broken up by a mountainous geography. Inthe field of geopolitics, the location of the Kurds works to their advantage. The would-beKurdish homeland includes some of the major oil deposits of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran aswell as the head waters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The Kurdish people have been used to further the foreign policies of greatpowers. The Clinton administration aimed to form an alliance of the two authoritativeKurdish movements. This was to establish a Kurd administered territory in SaddamHussein s northern locale. The American government was however, thinking ofthemselves and the way that this could help them out. This alliance would weaken thedictator of Iraq and would be advantageous to the U.S . 3. Kurdish militants have attempted to establish an independent Kurdistan and would likea territory of their own. Turkey however, has pursued an active campaign against theKurds. Because statehood has always eluded them, the Kurds are hostage to the strategiesof others and are forced to be the pawn of other nations. Moreover, their ability to havetheir economy grow in several parts of their regions, has been blocked. Two embargoes,one from the UN and one from Baghdad, creates the lack of a stable credit or bankingsystem. The economy of a nation reflects its competence to survive and resist problems.If the Kurdish economic system is somewhat scant Lastly, in 1992, the Kurds allowedBaghdad to reassert control over the north. Contrary to popular belief, this will not aidthe Kurdish cause. This was done to help relations with other countries however therelations remained strained and the Kurd`s in turn, lost land. 4. Abdullah Ocallan has committed many crimes and may be responsible for the deathsof thousands of innocent people. Moreover, he may deserve to die. However, afterreviewing the events that have surpassed due to the capture of the Kurdish leader, themurder of such an influential man will have global repercussions. As we see now, Kurdsaround the world, including Canada, have rose to display there anger towards theopposing forces. Furthermore, there have been many mixed messages and ideas aboutthis whole Ocalan ordeal. Some believe the Greek s tipped off his location. Some say itwas Turkish spies. In either case, these varied beliefs of who is to be blamed, may cause
confrontations amongst all the above mentioned countries. Last but not least, the othercountries that have resentment towards the Turks will want to show some revenge for thedeaths of their innocent people. Countries, whether it be overseas or locally, that are inconjunction with any of the involved populations, will be affected if they have tradingdeals or any treaty s with them. Similar to the Soviets with the Germans in WW2. Theyfought with the Nazi s in Poland because they had a pact together and were linked. 7. The economy’s of countries that surround the Caspian Sea deal most prominently with oil, cotton, and gas. The chief ports on the Caspian are Baky, a major oil center, andAstrakhan, at the mouth of the Volga. The sea is an important transportation artery; oiland oil products are shipped across it from Baky to Astrakhan and up the Volga.As worldoil demand continues to grow over the next decade, the region will gain in importance byexpanding sources of oil and gas beyond such traditional suppliers as the Middle EastThe development of oil and gas resources in the Caspian region is particularly importantfor the development of the Central Asian and Transcaucasian economies. Investmentattracted to the oil and gas sector, including in the transportation infrastructure ofneighboring countries, could provide significant revenue for the region’s governmentsand stimulate investment in other economic sectors. Furthermore, the Caspian also hasimportant fisheries. The northern part of the sea is the chief source of beluga caviar, butthe destruction of spawning areas has greatly reduced the catch. 8. The Clinton Administration favors the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The cost ofBaku-Ceyhan pipeline stands at $ 2 billion for the 1,710 km made so far and will have acapacity of 55 mm to 60 mm tpy. The pipeline is expected to run through the areas ofAzerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. America is determined to see oil from the Caspian Searegion transported through Turkey and will work to make the Baku-Ceyhan route areality. The reason they want to see this pipeline to become a physical existence isbecause this certain one offers the best option from environmental, economic andstrategic standpoints. 9. In my opinion, the Kurds should fight for their own territory. The reason behind this isthe fact that the mountainous geography works in their favor. In the field of geopolitics,the location of the Kurds works to their advantage. The potential Kurdish homelandincludes some of the major oil deposits of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran as well as the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This would create a strong base for aneconomy and give the Kurds an advantage over the Turks because they have thisauthority over the watercourses 10. The building of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline is plagued by problems. One difficulty isthat the oil companies involved in the Caspian do not support construction of theadministration’s favored pipeline (estimated cost between $2.5 billion and $4 billion, themost expensive option by far), preferring instead a substantially less expensive routefrom Baku to Supsa,Georgia, on the Black Sea. From there, oil would be shipped throughthe Bosporus to the Mediterranean Sea. The fact that the oil companies have not caved inand agreed to endorse this route, despite strong administration pressure, reflects theirunwillingness to become pawns in Caspian geopolitical games, particularly given thepossibility of an eventual change in U.S. policy toward Iran. A second problem that hasarised is the fact that the market wants flexibility and wants to keep options open as longas possible. Until all of the tariffs and terms associated with various pipeline alternativeshave been negotiated, at least preliminarily, it is very hard to say if Baku-Ceyhan is thebest way out or if it is too expensive. Lastly, the Clinton administration believes this900-mile route would secure Turkey s role as a major player in the Caspian region. That,in turn, would boost the status of a loyal NATO ally and Islamic nation whose secular,moderate government could serve as a model for shaky, post-Soviet states such asGeorgia, Azerbaijan and Turkmen. 11. For over two hundred years, Turkish-Russian relations over civilian and militarytransit of the Straits connecting the Black Sea and Mediterranean have been a tangledskin of military and economic considerations. Relations between Russia and Ukraineremain strained, especially over such issues as energy costs, the division of the Black SeaFleet, and the status of Sevastopol. By exporting oil on the Black Seam it well within thereach of potential Russian interference and exposed to possible stoppage of travel. 12. A problem with the pipeline going through Iran is that, Iran says Caspian pipelinewould violate rights. Furthermore, it would breach the rights of seaboard states. TheIranian foreign minister reiterated that the Caspian Sea belongs to all littoral states andthat its legal regime should be formulated by all the states bordering the sea.