Will Russia play the Kurdish card against Turkey?
Date: 2015-12-24 12:52
As the emotional heat from Turkey’s downing of a Russian military plane dissipates, Moscow has been pondering its retaliation. Trying to cause real damage to Ankara, however, proved to be easier said than done.
One of the retaliatory options for Moscow has to do with raising the stakes regarding Turkish domestic security. Putin’s promise to “not forget what happened” in his recent address to the Federal Assembly may mean long-term security complications. The Kurdish issue could rise from the dead in Russian public discourse.
In this context, the view becomes clearer after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met on Wednesday with the co-leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas. "Russia... is ready to actively cooperate with those on the ground who are fighting this threat," Lavrov said in remarks released by the foreign ministry.
Earlier, Demirtas said he wanted “to talk about the recent tension between Turkey and Russia” during the visit.
The HDP is relatively new to Turkish politics. It was founded in 2012 as the political wing of a union of several left-wing groups. Those include proponents of women’s rights and gay rights, secularists, anti-capitalists and environmentalists involved in the Gezi Park protests.
Looking from a wider perspective, it becomes crystal clear that Russia is playing the Kurdish card by stepping up its support for Syrian Kurdish militias with one of its leaders said in Washington this week that they are seeking greater US military support adding that Russia has also offered to collaborate with Syrian Kurds in its current offensive against ISIS.
Ilham Ehmed, a senior member of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Al-Monitor in a brief interview Oct. 8 that “Russia says it wants to work with us” to combat the group that calls itself ISIS and other extremist organizations.
Through this complicated network of contradictory interests between U.S and its allies in the region on one hand - Turkey is on the top of this alliance - and the opposite alliance of Russia, Iran and the Assad regime on the other hand, would the Kurds join the latter alliance turning their back to history which says that Russia was the country which provided Saddam Hussein’s regime with chemical weapons which were used against the Kurds in Halabja in 1988?
Would the Kurds forget that Russia is the country which helped Iran get rid of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad and assisted Iran then to kill all Kurdish leaders?
Would the Kurds turn a blind eye towards the Russian role in backing Assad regime which has been killing the Kurds and oppressing them since 40 years?
By playing the Kurdish card to get its revenge from Turkey, Russia is playing with the wrong card in a very geo-strategically complicated area which is still living history as an everyday life.