Kurdish problem won't stop Turkey from recognizing Kosovo independence

PanARMENIAN.Net - "There is no parallelism between the Kosovo problem and the Kurdish problem. Our policy on Kosovo is designed totally independent of our internal problems," said a Turkish official, who did not want to be named.

The West supports independence for the Albanian-majority territory and it seems Turkey will not wait long, once European Union member states and the United States recognize Kosovo's independence.

Despite the fact that EU leaders are expected to emerge from Friday's summit without agreement on the future of Kosovo, Turkish officials seem confident that both the declaration of independence and the recognition by the West is on an irreversible course.

"Kosovo is at the point of no return. It's been de facto independent," said a Turkish diplomat.

"Turkey is in an awkward position. As far as the Cyprus issue is concerned, it will be a positive development, but as far as northern Iraq is concerned, it should not make Turkey happy," said Sabri Sayari from Sabanci University. "Kosovo's independence will strengthen the hands of northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey. It will also strengthen the hands of the northern Iraqi Kurds, whose aspiration for independence is fiercely opposed by Turkey, which fears its own Kurdish population might be affected by developments next door."

"Independence of Kosovo has the risk of setting a precedent for other breakaway regions. But I don't think that will stop Turkey from recognizing Kosovo. The Kurdish issue and the situation in Kosovo are not the same," said Sayari.

"Some of the breakaway regions are near Turkey, such as the Transdniestria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh. On the Nagorno Karabakh dispute Turkey supports the Azerbaijani government that lost control over the Armenian dominated region. Turkey might not be the first one to recognize Kosovo. But non recognition will cause resentment among those of Balkan decent," said Turan of Istanbul Bilgi University, the Turkish Daily News reports.
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