10 years af­ter Iraq’s lib­er­a­tion, Kur­dis­tan looks to the West

Kurds ea­ger to end de­pen­dence on Iraq

The Kurdish Globe - - COMMENT & ANALYSIS -

Bridge" in English.

The 351 stu­dents start study­ing Kur­dish, the na­tive lan­guage of most, in third grade. Ara­bic is in­tro­duced last, in fourth grade.

The cur­ricu­lum re­flects the pri­or­i­ties of the school's founder, a mem­ber of Iraq's eth­nic Turk­men mi­nor­ity. But it also suits Kur­dish par­ents who be­lieve their chil­dren's fu­ture is tied to Turkey.

Oddly, Turk­ish-Kur­dish ties are flour­ish­ing at a time of con­tin­ued cross-bor­der vi­o­lence.

Turk­ish war­planes rou­tinely strike bases of the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers' Party, or PKK, a Turk­ish rebel group op­er­at­ing from the Qandil moun­tains of Iraq's Kur­dish re­gion. The PKK launches raids into Turkey from its moun­tain hide­outs.

Both sides are sim­ply keep­ing the two is­sues sep­a­rate.

Turkey has stopped link­ing im­proved ties with Er­bil to re­solv­ing Turkey's con­flict with the PKK, a fight which has claimed thou­sands of lives since 1984. The Kurds keep quiet about Turk­ish airstrikes on their ter­ri­tory.

As prob­lems with Bagh­dad fester, Kur­dish of­fi­cials say their re­gion's de­par­ture from Iraq is in­evitable. Many here dream of an in­de­pen­dent Kur­dis­tan, made up of parts of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, home to more than 25 mil­lion Kurds.

"As a peo­ple, we de­serve that," said Bakir, the for­eign pol­icy of­fi­cial. "We want to see that in our life­time."

But with key al­lies such as the U.S. and Turkey op­posed to split­ting up Iraq, the Kurds say they won't act with haste or force.

Asked if the Kur­dish re­gion would de­clare in­de­pen­dence once it can ex­port oil di­rectly, Bakir said: "We will cross that bridge when we get there. At this time, we are still com­mit­ted to a demo­cratic, fed­eral, plu­ral­is­tic Iraq."

The five star Di­van Ho­tel stands out in this pic­ture in the ex­clu­sive neigh­bor­hood of Gu­lan district of Er­bil.

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