Sumer, Kurdistan and Turkish Membership of the EU.

The FT is carrying a story today which draws our attention (indirectly) to the fact that events in Iraq may well have more impact on Turkey’s future accession possibilities than the French referendum vote. According to the FT:

Iraqi Kurdistan’s newly elected regional parliament convened for the first time on Saturday in the northern city of Irbil, paving the way for the unification of a Kurdish self-rule area divided between two rival parties.”

Last week Juan Cole on Informed Comment reported on :

an ongoing dispute between the Kurds, who want an Iraqi federalism that gives “states’ rights” only to Kurdistan but not to other provinces, and the Shiites, who want a federalism that would apply geographically throughout the country. The Shiites want to create a southern super-province to serve as a counter weight to Kurdistan. Shiite leaders are planning a congress that can establish the instrumentalities for creating the region of “Sumer” in the south, which will consist of 3 consolidated provinces.

Given the instability in Iraq, it is hard to say where this will lead, but the Kurdish talk of realising their national aspirations is bound to make the government that sits just across their Northern frontier pretty nervous, especially since it is bound to see the creation of one unified Kurdish region in Iraq as a preliminary to subsequent incorporations. Definitely one to watch.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Transition and accession and tagged , , by Edward Hugh. Bookmark the permalink.

About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

11 thoughts on “Sumer, Kurdistan and Turkish Membership of the EU.

  1. Thank you, Edward, for pointing this out. I think, virtually nobody has thought so far in deep, what it means to have a common border with Iraq.

    Will we have then travel agreements between Kurdistan and the EU, that allows small border travelling like we had eg with Poland some years before or will we likely need to take in the long run the whole Kurdish region as a memberof EU to avoid an artificial border inbetween Kurdistan?

    Such questions I didn’t hear in the discussion about the Turkish EU membership at all.

  2. I wonder if the British occupation authority in the MNDSE zone, which is pretty much coterminous with Sumer, is encouraging them? It’s one way of making for a quiet life, as well as a useful contingency plan…

  3. The treatment of Kurds is a red herring in the debate about Turkish membership. Particularly after the failed referenda, Turkey has similar prospects to Brunei or Uruguay when it comes to receiving a formal invitation.

    I suspect that if the Turks were offered an iron-clad irreversible deal; join the EU but ditch the Kurdish territories completely, they’d give the trade off serious consideration. But it won’t happen, and they must be realising that inside by now…

  4. mp:

    One of the cornerstones of Turkish foreign policy is never, under any circumstances to allow the creation of a Kurdish state, so I’d seriously doubt that such a tradeoff would be on the cards.

  5. “virtually nobody has thought so far in deep, what it means to have a common border with Iraq”

    Well, we’ve got about ten years. Even by European standards, that’s a long time to work on a policy problem.

  6. If you claim to know what Iraq looks like in 2010 I want your crystal ball. There’s not really much sense in discussing this now.

  7. But there are two likely options for how Iraq looks like in 5 years time. Neither of the good. In one they are Lebanon and in the other they are the master of the Gulf instead of the USA.

  8. Oliver:
    “If you claim to know what Iraq looks like in 2010 I want your crystal ball. There’s not really much sense in discussing this now.”

    2010, due to the financial situation in the US President Jeb Bush decides to pull troops out of Iraq.

  9. Such questions I didn’t hear in the discussion about the Turkish EU membership at all.

    Oddly, I don’t hear anything about having a common border with Brazil in discussions about French membership, either.

  10. Oddly, I don’t hear anything about having a common border with Brazil in discussions about French membership, either.

    It is basically impassable by terrestial means of transportation. There is constant trouble with the Spanish enclaves in northern Africa. They are guarded like a building housing the crown jewels.

  11. “Oddly, I don’t hear anything about having a common border”

    Watching this discussion trundling on, I just want to make plain that the intention of my post was not to talk about Europe’s frontiers. I was drawing attention to the real possibility I see of some kind of break up of Iraq, strong autonomy for Kurdistan. It is possible therefore that at some stage pressures inside Turkish Kurdistan could build up for association with this region, and this could plunge Turkey into a crisis big enough to put its application to join the EU in question.

Comments are closed.