Well, isn’t this an interesting little article.
Years ago, the Kurds turned away from Baghdad to Ankara, in the hopes of finding a new regional champion. And, surprise surprise, in Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they found such a partner. In a striking turnaround from 2007, when the Turks were so afraid of Kurdish secession they positioned 200,000 troops on the Kurdish border, Turkey has more recently embraced Kurdistan as a moderate partner and an important steady source of oil, as Turkey seeks to cement itself as the oil gateway from the Middle East to Europe.
Turkey doesn’t yet support Kurdish independence, but Erdogan has been making progress to normalize relations with his own Kurdish population in the south, freeing the head of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) resistance group and recognizing Kurdish as a language. The border, once lined with troops, is now open and flowing with goods and tourist traffic that moves both ways.
Translation: the Turks don’t care if the Kurds keep Kirkuk. And they very well might not care if the Kurds take Mosul, either. Or any other parts of Kurd-populated territories that aren’t in Turkey itself.