Turkey on federalization of Iraq (2003)

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Greek-Turkish Negotiations and Crises 1983-2003 Dataset , Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/Greek-TurkishNegotiationsandCrises1983-2003/#d.en.173636)

Case Summary:

This case study examines Turkey’s crisis behavior over Northern Iraq in March 2003. The US invasion might fuel Kurdish nationalists within Turkey’s border,[i]Lexis/Nexis provides 84 results for the terms “Turkish invasion” and “ Iraq ” for the period 3/15/2003 to 4/15/2003 (full text search under European News Sources).

Case Study Features

Effectiveness of Offensive Policies: 0

Turkey loses US support after its refusal to allow American troops in the country.[iv]

Offensive vs. Defensive Signals Indistinguishable: 1

While Kurdish guerrillas in Turkey declare a unilateral cease-fire in 1999, the situation in Northern Iraq, where Kurdish groups fight against the repressive Saddam regime, is still tense. Since the first Gulf War, Turkish policymakers fear that a federated Kurdish entity in Iraq might become a model for the Kurds of Turkey in seeking their own autonomous status. International observers recognize the validity of these concerns.[vi]

Enduring Ethnic Rivalries : 1

Rivalries result from PKK activities since the mid-1980s.

Domestic Challenges : 1

The Kemalist establishment creates problems in the election of PM Tayyip Erdogan.[vii]


Confrontational Policies (dependent variable): 0

Despite earlier threats, Turkey does not intervene in Iraq .[viii]

[i]  Louis Meixler, “Turkey fears Iraq invasion would fuel Kurdish nationalists within its borders,” The Associated Press, December 3, 2002,

[ii] Patrick Cockburn, “The Iraq Conflict: Kurdish Victory Provokes Fears of Turkish Invasion: The Battle for Kirkuk”, The Independent,  April 11, 2003, p.4

[iii] Philip P. Pan, “ Turkish Officials Back Away From Threats to Invade Northern Iraq”,  The Washington Post, April 12, 2003, p.23

[iv] Ariel Cohen, “ Turkey 's geopolitical fiasco,” The Washington Times, March 30, 2003, p.4.

[v] “Bush warns Turkey against unilateral action in northern Iraq ”, AFX European Focus, 

March 16, 2003 ; Patrick Cockburn, “The Threat of War: US Special Forces Join Local Troops in Build-up on Northern Front”, The Independent, March 17, 2003 , p.3.

[vi] Ibid; Derk Kinnane Roelofsma, “Analysis: Iraq opposition to meet in Turkey ”, United Press International, March 15, 2003.

[vii] Jonny Dymond, “Turkish ruler wins seat in parliament,” Manchester Guardian Weekly, March 19, 2003 , p. 4.

[viii] Philip P. Pan, “Turkish Officials Back Away From Threats to Invade Northern Iraq” The Washington Post, April 12, 2003, p.23.