Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 08/2014

The Kurdish Question and US-Turkish Relations in a Changing Middle East

Jeffrey Mankoff, Mujge Kucukkeles

March 2013

Atlantic Council


Growing disorder throughout the Middle East has created the possibility for major changes to the status of Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Turkey’s handling of its own Kurdish minority and its relations with Kurdish groups throughout the region are creating new challenges for US foreign policy and US-Turkish relations. The failure of Ankara’s “Kurdish opening” could be disastrous for Turkey itself, and given Washington’s efforts to work with Ankara to manage the consequences of the Arab Awakening, the United States too would find itself less capable of managing Kurdish aspirations while ensuring the territorial integrity of both Syria and Iraq.