The Kurdish Question and Turkish-Iranian Relations
This volume, the first in Kurdish Studies Series by this publisher, focuses on the “Kurdish question,” i.e., the trans-state aspects of the challenge of Kurdish nationalism on Turkish-Iranian relations since WW1. It emphasizes the period of the Iraq-Iran war (I 980-88) and the Gulf War( 1991). The book stresses the impact of the Kurdish question on the "Kurdish problem,” i.e., the challenge of Kurdish nationalism on the domestic polities of both Turkey and Iran.
The author concludes that the impact of the Kurdish question and the Kurdish problem is vital for both Iran and Turkey, but of paramount importance for Turkey which has waged war against the PKK, the militant Kurdish nationalist movement in I'urkey since 1984. The book argues that the Kurdish question and the Kurdish problem have dominated Turkey’s foreign and domestic policy decision making for the past decade. The Persian Gulf War further exacerbated Turkey’s dilemma.
The author argues that Iran’s Kurdish question and Kurdish problem has been less severe than Turkey’s during the past half century, but that it is of enough importance that it demands Tehran’s cooperation with Turkey in order to control it. The author argues that Iran’s need to compete with Turkey to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish stale in norther Iraq is motivated partly by Iran’s fear that if it docs not cooperate with Turkey to control the Irans-state aspects of the Kurdish question, Turkey might seek to encourage Azeri nationalism among the some 10 million Azeri population in Iran. Tehran fears that Turkey might attempt to encourage Azeri nationalism in Iran via its relations with the republic of Azerbaijan.
The book emphasizes that Turkey’s and Iran’s wider geopolitical and geostrategic interests in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean compel both Turkey and Iran to cooperate to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The book concludes, however, that Turkish and Iranian competition for influence in northern Iraq provides a space in which both countries cart ompete geopolitically without fear of war caused by accusations that either country was/is interfering in the domestic politics of the other country. Northern Iraq, especially after 1991, acted/acts as a “safety valve” for moderating other disagreements and the jockeying for power that the two countries had in the 1990s.
'The Kurdish factor has long been a major variable in shaping the contours of Turkish-Iranian relations. In this balanced, well-informed, and meticulously researched book, Robert Olson makes a valuable and timely contribution to our understanding of this increasingly important issue."
— Nader Entessar
Spring Hill College
'Olson’s scholarly and perceptive work on the relationship of the Kurdish Question to twentieth century Turkish-Iranian relations is the most in-depth treatment of the topic to date. It is a must reading for all students and scholars of modern Middle East."
—Paul .J. Magnarella
University of Florida