The results of the referendum on independence of the Iraqi Kurds are known. Voters voted 93% to 10% for referendum. There is no doubt that the final picture will be such.
The referendum of the Iraqi Kurds is a new element in the process of major changes in the Greater Near East. Political scientists say this referendum is the beginning of big changes of the centennial status quo formed in the result of the British-French and Russian-Turkish agreements and generally.
The Armenians and Kurds are the victims of these agreements but if the Armenians were and continue to be ousted from the region, considering the Syrian conflict, Kurds remained to live in their areas, increasing in population and growing economically and over the past years they have become a key factor in the process of big changes.
The Kurdish referendum is interpreted in different ways. Some people link it to the problems of the leader of Iraqi Kurds Barzani who thereby strengthens his power and gets an ability to maneuver in the relations with the central authorities of Iraq and other actors in the region, others link it to the process of future revision of the borders in the region.
Obviously, all the factors are in place, and the Kurdish issue is a serious leverage and a conflict of interest which will be used definitely in the upcoming developments.
The countries that have presence in regional developments announce say they will not recognize the results of the referendum but in this case it is obvious that the referendum is part of the process in a conflict of interests and relationships.
Turkey is also one of the primary “stakeholders” of this referendum which is trying to prevent the spread of this wave in Turkey. Turkey is seriously worried about this development because irrespective of the final outcome, it is a serious leverage for the regional actors in the relations with Turkey. The United States, for example, is arming Kurds, other countries also appear likely to pick this process for their political arsenal.
What opportunities and risks does this development bring to Armenia? Are contacts with Turkey possible with a view to establishing relations? Addressing the UN GA, Serzh Sargsyan actually submitted a proposal and “ultimatum” to Turkey with regard to the Armenian-Turkish protocols.
Armenia has not ratified the protocols due to the preconditions of Turkey which are related to the claims of Azerbaijan to Karabakh? Can Armenia achieve withdrawal of those claims which will weaken Azerbaijan’s positions and at the same time Russia’s policy on building relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey at the expense of the Armenian interests?
Interestingly, in his famous speech Serzh Sargsyan spoke on behalf of the Armenian Diaspora whom he advised to adopt a new quality policy in their hospitable countries which have recognized the genocide, thus changing the logic of the Armenian lobby. Does Turkey “need” Armenia in the context of the Kurdish issue in the sense that in the context of change of regional status quo the Armenian issues may also be put forth by the countries participating in regional developments, namely with regard to the centennial setting?
Should Armenia recognize the Kurdish referendum considering the issue of self-determination, which is the Armenian claim concerning the Karabakh settlement?
This and many other issues are pending which require a substantive debate and an efficient policy. One thing is obvious that the Kurdish referendum opens up big opportunities for a new policy and at the same time generates risks.