Turkish military and political officials watch Iraqi Kurdistan warily, concerned both that Iraqi federalism could set a precedent for similar demands among Turkey's Kurdish population and that Iraqi Kurdistan could become a safe-haven for Kurdish terrorists to target Turkey.

Park, a senior lecturer in defense studies at King's College, London, puts together a useful overview of Turkish policy in this short monograph, published for London's International Institute for Strategic Studies. He divides his study into three parts: an overview of "Turkey's Kurdish complex," an explanation of the Kurd's post-Saddam political arrangements, and a charting of possible future scenarios.

Park's writing style is straightforward, eschewing jargon, and precise with facts and figures. His history is dispassionate although he relies far too heavily on secondary sources. For example, he quotes an article by Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, about the political attitudes of Iraqi Kurds, seemingly unaware that Galbraith is a paid advisor to the Iraqi Kurdish government.[1] Still, his outline of competing Kurdish and Turkish claims to northern Iraq is useful as is his coverage in more recent years of the ever-shifting alliances between Kurdish groups and Turkey. Of less utility is his superficial coverage of U.S.-Turkish disputes in the run-up to the war. Absent here is mention, let alone discussion, of influential Turkish officials and their role in prewar diplomacy.

Looking at the postwar period, Park discusses Turkey's relationship with the Iraqi Turkoman Front, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) "fighters" and "militants"—he exhibits the same moral confusion of many of his compatriots by avoiding the term terrorists—and traces the growth of antagonism between Ankara and Washington over U.S. unwillingness to confront the PKK. A section on integration of Kurds within Turkey is weak in its overemphasis on the PKK and ignorance that, for those who abide by law, there is no limit to integration. Was not İsmet İnönü, the second president of Turkey, Kurdish? Many subsequent ministers, parliamentarians, and generals have been as well.

Park outlines various scenarios for Iraq's future. Either Iraq will stay together or it won't. Iraqi Kurdish parties will cement control over additional territory either peacefully or with ethnic cleansing. Should Iraq fracture, it will be the main course in a regional feeding frenzy. While Park does not believe, short of Iraq's total collapse, that Turkish intervention is likely given international reaction to such a move, he urges Iraqi Kurds and Turkey to further their cooperation. Missing is an acknowledgment that such cooperation requires a decision by Iraqi Kurdish officials to stop providing terrorists safe-haven in their territory.

Park's book might be a useful reference for the uninitiated but, based as it is on secondary sources available on-line, a quick Google search might be nearly as useful and quite a bit cheaper.

[1] Brendan O'Leary, et al, The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), p. 341.