Turkey’s government has been talking about invading Syria to create a “buffer zone” for refugees since the middle of 2011, but those plans may have to come under additional scrutiny now, following comments by a top PKK commander.
The commander, Murat Karayllan, announced that “if the Turkish state intervenes against our people in western Kurdistan, all of Kurdistan will turn into a war zone.” The PKK and Turkey have been fighting a war off and on for decades, and the prospect of a “humanitarian buffer zone” in Syria turning into another theater of their war with the PKK will change its entire character.
The PKK is one of several groups aiming to establish an autonomous, if not entirely independent Kurdistan, and feels that the fall of Assad to the Turkish-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) faction would undermine Kurdish separatist ambitions in Syria.
Many have seen Turkey’s entire pro-active backing of the SNC and Free Syrian Army (FSA), and their sudden lack of interest in long-time ally Assad, as a cynical effort to establish a regime that would give them greater control over the Syrian portion of Kurdistan. Between the PKK’s threats and reports that the Iraqi Kurdistan factions are exerting growing influence in the current system, however, it seems to have become a disastrous failure.