I have taken a keen interest in the plight of the Kurds. They face identical struggles for national identity that the Macedonian have faced in the past and continue to face in Greece and Bulgaria. This is a really good article with the notable exception that the role of Nato in repressing the Kurds is totally ignored, not one sentence ... a plot? ... I think so! Christopher de Bellaigue may or may not be a decent fellow, I simply can't tell by this article.
The Uncontainable Kurds
The New York Review of Books
...There are generally reckoned to be about 27 million Kurds in this region, of which some 15 million are in Turkey, 5 million in Iraq, another 5 million in Iran, and 1.7 million in Syria.
... In Istanbul and other places, visiting European politicians deplore Turkey's reluctance to resolve legal ambiguities surrounding the ownership of scores of Christian places of worship. And in the southeast, where the EU has long supported enhanced Kurdish rights—although not the PKK, which it considers a terrorist organization—European officials have on occasion recommended legislation that would make it easier for Kurdish parties that renounce violence to gain admittance to parliament, and would oblige state schools in Kurdish areas to offer instruction in the local language.
... After more than two decades of struggle, in which at least 30,000 guerrillas and sympathizers were killed and an unknown number were imprisoned, tortured, and harassed, the PKK's emotional hold over millions of Kurds remains strong. Even now, in Diyarbakir and other places in the southeast, it is hard to find people who openly criticize the PKK, apart from the "loyalist" Kurds who have been armed and funded by the state.
... Turkey's longstanding fear, that the Kurdish federal region in Iraq will declare independence, adding to nationalist passions among its own Kurds, is shared by Iran and Syria, the other countries that have divided up the ancient region of Kurdistan
... It is not surprising that the US, engaged in a demoralizing struggle against insurgents in Iraq's Arab regions, has balked at starting a new offensive in Kurdistan, the calmest part of the country, against an organization that has never attacked it and at the behest of a country that refused its request for help three years ago. Turkey suspects that Bush's appointment of Joseph Ralston, a retired general, to come up with an anti-PKK policy acceptable to the Iraqi and Turkish governments is a smokescreen
... The US remains officially committed to Iraq's unity, but that could change even before George Bush leaves office. From an American perspective, a new Kurdish state would have much to recommend it. It would be friendly to the US, and as much of a democracy as you are likely to find in the Middle East. But an independent Kurdistan would probably cause Turkey to be even more repressive of its own Kurds, and as a result its chances of entering Europe, which the US has encouraged, will become dimmer. Iran would feel more threatened if there is an independent Kurdistan and would be more likely to intervene secretly and openly in Kurdish affairs. Even if they get hold of Kirkuk, the Iraqi Kurds may find that they have much to gain by putting off their dream of statehood for more than a few years to come.