What else did Erdogan promise to Trump to avoid a referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan?

by Samvel Harutyunyan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has finally met with the U.S. President Donald J. Trump. They held a bilateral meeting at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, Before the meeting, nearly at 3:13 EDT., they briefly talked to the journalists. This was what they said, according to the White House official site:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s a great honor and privilege — because he’s become a friend of mine — to introduce President Erdo?an of Turkey. He’s running a very difficult part of the world. He’s involved very, very strongly and, frankly, he’s getting very high marks. And he’s also been working with the United States.

We have a great friendship as countries. I think we’re, right now, as close as we have ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship.

So, President, thank you very much. It’s a great honor to have you in the United States. Thank you.

PRESIDENT ERDO?AN: (As interpreted.) Thank you so much, Mr. President. We are here in New York, in the United States, to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations. And my dear friend, Donald, we are getting together with you as the delegations, and we’re going to conduct a bilateral meeting as well, whereby we will be assessing the current relations between the United States and Turkey, as well as we will have the opportunity to discuss the recent regional developments as well.

And I would like to once again thank you for this opportunity, and it’s great to get together with you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. We appreciate it. Thank you all very much.

Journalists have managed to ask Trump just two questions:

Question: Mr. President, what will your message be (inaudible) the violence against peaceful protestors?

Question:  Mr. President, are you going to reconcile with the Kurdish issue, do you think?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll be discussing many issues — many issues.

Indeed, the Kurdish “issue”, or the referendum question is very important for Turkish President and the rest of the Turks. It is scheduled to be held on September 25, 2017. First planned to be held in 2014, it failed because of a dispute between the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) and federal government of Iraq. But this is the last problem for it, as the first is Turkey’s strongest resistance. Every time, when there are some problems, appearing because of the Kurdish issue, Turkey sends its tanks, heavy artillery and the special forces to the Northern Iraq region, to make Kurds quiet. And that’s why.

Turkey has common borders with the Northern Iraq. This region is populated by Kurds in general, they also populate the neighboring South-Eastern Turkey. Its Kurdish population compose 15-20% from the entire population of Turkey. Kurds of Turkey also pretend for an independent state, their rebels staying in a constant fight against the Turkish regular army. Sure, the appearance of the independent Kurdish state in the Northern Iraq will definitely bring to the activation of Kurdish military groups in all bordering states, such as Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Thus, all this states are afraid of the Kurdish state appearance, as it will bring to a secession of their territories. I will note also, that this region is very rich of gas and oil. The KRG already has agreements and pipelines, by means of which it sells its production to Turkey and Russia. Now Turks.

Since their President Recep Erdogan conducts a dictatorship in his country, because of the multiple human rights violations and the transition from as if democratic values to Islamic ones, Turkey expires serious difficulties with the Western countries, particularly with its NATO allies and the European Union, where the country wishes to accede since 1987. But there’re multiple issues, regarding it, including the Northern Cyprus occupation and the Armenian Genocide of 1915 recognition. Some countries, especially Germany, has complicated the question of the European integration and membership for Turkey, since Erdogan has made several attempts to interfere the German policy and even arrested several European journalists and political activists, who visited this country for some reason. There even was a military coup in July 2016, when a large amount of the Turkish military officers tried to confront Erdogan and his party’s deviation from the democratic reforms in Turkey. But the coup d’état has failed, since it was not profitable to Russia for some reason – at the latest moment the escaping president’s plane, that has to be attacked by one of the revolting Turkish military jets, was sent a danger signal from the Russian intelligence, and could escape from the attack. He returned back to Turkey, and after a time, when the coup has already failed and was over, the sharp warming of relations between Turkey and Russia began. I must remind also, that due to the Syrian conflict they have nearly reached the armed conflict – Turkish air defense has shot down a Russian military jet, having later shot a catapulted pilot in the air. Such a detective story….. As was mentioned previously, after the failed coup d’état the Turkish-Russian relations began to improve in progression, while at the same time becoming more and more dramatic and cold with its NATO allies, same as with the European Union.

It’s a well-known fact, that this meeting is not the first for both presidents. Erdogan first came to meet Trump in Washington in May, 2017, when the Turkish – American relations were more than strained – again Kurdish problem, as the United States were arming the Kurdish militants, fighting with Jebhat-an-Nusra and the IS in Syria and Iraq. One of the Issues between the countries was Fethullah Gullen, whom Erdogan accused for the preparation of the 2016 coup. Mr. Gullen, Turkish preacher, writer and a political figure, lives in America now. He is sought by the Turkish government for alleged involvement in the 2016 coup. Erdogan also blames him for his connections with Kurds.

Meanwhile, both presidents have announced their agreement in postponing the Kurdish referendum. What did promise Erdogan to Trump, that the U.S. President has made such a choice? No one knows yet. But we must always remember, that the Turkish state has serious issues with almost each of its neighbors, it’s best friends are now world’s most autocratic regimes. Most of these neighbors were colonies of Turkey’s predecessor – the Ottoman Empire, that has ended its existence in 1922. Practically all of them have territorial issues with Turkey, as it has managed to hold the majority of seized territories, where the Turks have destroyed the Christian monuments and exterminated the original population of these lands, such as Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians.

In the end of this article I will just remind, that President Trump’s fellow-Republican, the U.S. ex-President Ronald Reagan once said a good saying: “Trust, but verify”. Seems this saying could serve a good advice to Mr. Trump, if we realize what country he negotiates with……

“Believe in yourselves. Believe in your future. And believe once more in America”.

President Donald J. Trump.

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