Turkey on Interim constitution: “It Increases our Concerns.”
The new Iraqi basic law deeply angered the Turkish government by offering what it saw as a dangerous degree of autonomy to the Kurdish regions.
AFP reported, ‘ “The interim law does not satisfy us, it increases our concerns,” Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said. “We see it as an arrangement that will not help the establishment of permanent peace in Iraq and one that will allow for the continuation for a long time of unrest and instability there,” he said. ‘
One could imagine a number of provisions in the law that might annoy Turkey. It clearly envisages a process whereby Iraq’s 18 provinces may wish to gerrymander themselves into ethnic enclaves. The Kurds clearly want to pursue such a refashioning of Iraq’s provinces. Turkey is afraid that the formation of a specifically Kurdish province with great autonomy from Baghdad will become a beacon for separatist elements in Turkey’s own large Kurdish community of eastern Anatolia, relatively near Iraq. On another point, the document officially makes Iraq a multicultural rather than a purely Arab state, giving Kurdish and Arabic both the status of official languages. This move may be seen as embarrassing to Turkey, where the percentage of the population that is Kurdish is probably only slightly less than in Iraq. The prevailing Kemalist ideology in Turkey, however, would never countenance two official languages there, since it is committed to a vision of all inhabitants of Turkey as somehow Turkish.
In contrast, Iran seems happy at the deal, because it promises Shiite dominance of parliament and a quick turn-over of sovereignty from the Americans and British to the Iraqis.