World Citizen: Turkey Feels the Heat From Baghdad-Kurdish Tensions

World Citizen: Turkey Feels the Heat From Baghdad-Kurdish Tensions

There is practically no space left on the Middle East’s geopolitical plate for another conflict. Like it or not, however, the long-simmering animosity between Iraq’s central government and the country’s Kurdish minority is reaching a boiling point. The conflict has recently heated up dangerously, and it shows no sign of cooling down.

Like so many other crises in the region, the tensions between Iraq’s Arabs and its Kurdish population find echoes in the complicated political realities of neighboring countries. Syria, home to a large Kurdish minority, is engulfed by an all-out civil war. Meanwhile, Turkey is grappling with its own Kurdish problem while bracing itself for the fallout from Syria. The potential consequences of what happens in northern Iraq could be far-reaching.

Amid the fighting in Syria, the Kurds in that country have already obtained a measure of autonomy. As the world’s largest minority without a state of its own, the Kurds have long had visions of one day coming together under their own national flag, even if they have accepted other arrangements, notably in Iraq. In countries with large Kurdish populations, however, the central governments have historically worried about Kurdish dreams of independence and continue to do so.

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