July 16,  2007
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Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman says U.S. to take Turkey's side if it strikes Iraqi


An Iraqi Kurdish lawmaker believes that if Turkey wages a military strike against Iraqi Kurdistan, the United States will take the side of its friend Turkey at the expense of the Kurds.

"Turkey is a strategic and long-time ally of the United States and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), while the Kurds have been allies of the U.S. for some time," Mahmoud Othman, a member of the Kurdistan Coalition (KC), the second largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament with 55 seats, said.

He said, "Our experience as Kurds with the United States has been negative all along and that is why our fears and concerns are legitimate."

Othman, however, said current Turkish escalations on the mutual borders with Iraq have to do with the parliamentary elections in Turkey, scheduled be held in less than 10 days. 

"The army and opposition secularist parties have their fears about the success of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his moderate Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP), and that is why they want to embarrass the Erdogan government by obtaining a decision on the invasion against the will of Erdogan's party, which makes up the majority in parliament," said Othman.

He said the Iraqi government has trade relations with Turkey worth billions of dollars and the Iraqi Kurdistan government controls about 300 km on the Turkish borders. Moreover, he said, the United States, which considers imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalana's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be a terrorist organization, does not wish to see Turkey launching a military operation, not to mention the opposition expressed by the European Union (EU).

He did not belittle the Turkish threats though.

"The threats are serious and we have our concerns. Turkey, for more than a century, has had a negative policy towards the Kurdish people in Turkey. It does not recognize them, despite the fact that Kurds number 25-30 million. Kurdish birth rates are higher than the Turkish and to some extent this is very similar to the case of the Palestinians versus the Israelis," said Othman.


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