Kurdish conference: no solution to Middle East crisis without solution to Kurdish question

The Kurdish conference brought together different parties on 15 February 2017 in Moscow

The final declaration of the Kurdish conference held in Moscow on Wednesday has been released. Named “The Third Imperialist War in the Middle East”, the conference was organised by the International Kurdish Social Organisations Association and Russian Kurds National and Cultural Federal Autonomy.

Occurring at a critical time in the region, several parties and representatives from the four Kurdish regions in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria as well as Europe, most notably the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), attended the conference.

According to reports, participants discussed the Kurds’ war against the Islamic State (IS) group, the convening of a Kurdish national congress and the position of international powers in relation to the Kurdish question. It was determined that there can be no solution to the issues in the Middle East without a solution to the Kurdish question.

The other headings are as follows:

  • Just struggles and quests that are founded on the Middle East’s reality and aim for a solution need to be supported.
  • The Kurdish people must convene the Kurdish National Congress immediately.
  • During this time of chaos, Kurds’ political and military strengthening will open the way for new support and alliances.
  • Action must be taken and work must be done to frustrate the efforts of certain forces that wish to break the alliance between Kurds and get them to fight each other.
  • The [positive] approach of Russia and other states is due to Kurds’ gaining strength politically and militarily.
  • All Kurdish people must bring the situation of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Ocalan onto the agenda of international forces.

The final declaration also saluted the fight by Kurdish forces against the IS group and said it had “made the Kurdish people proud” as well as gaining the sympathy and support of Russia and the world.

Other important headings in the declaration called for the recognition and constitutional guarantee of the Northern Syria Federation; an end to the Turkish AKP government’s “attack on Kurdish people in Bakur, Basur and Rojava” referring to the Kurdish regions in Turkey, Iraq and Syria respectively and the inauguration of a national Kurdistan representation following a national congress.

The conference also called for the release of all political prisoners, including PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, and said that “without this, a solution in Turkey is not possible and without a solution in Turkey there can be no solution in the Middle East.”

Despite bringing together parties from across the Kurdish political spectrum, the Masoud Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and its Syrian affiliate the Kurdish National Council (KNC) did not attend the conference.

Commentators have said tense ties between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the KDP, due to their differing political leanings are making it difficult for a national congress and joint Kurdish stance. As it distances itself from Baghdad, the KDP has developed important trade and diplomatic relations with the Turkish government, which the PKK is engaged in an armed struggle against.