Israel's Major General Yair Golan went further to say that he believed that the only positive development in the Middle East was the emergence of an independent Kurdish entity.
A senior Israeli military officer has said that the PKK is not a terror organisation and that he believed that the establishment of a "Kurdish entity" was the only positive development in the Middle East.
Major General Yair Golan made the comments when delivering the 2017 Zeev Schiff Memorial Lecture on September 7 at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in the US.
Golan made the controversial statements during a question and answer session after delivering his lecture, titled: "New Thinking About Israeli National Security in a Changing Regional Environment”.
"I very much like the idea of an independent Kurdistan. Well, basically, I like the Kurdish people. And you know we’ve had good cooperation with the Kurdish people since the early 1960s. And looking at the Middle East today, I would say that the only positive development concerning the destiny of the Middle East is the emergence of some sort of Kurdish entity—independent entity."
Golan described the Kurds as a “moderate element with a positive influence on the surrounding people, and said “From my personal perspective the PKK is not a terrorist organisation.”
“I can not portray how you bring together, if you bring together Iranian Kurds, Iraqi Kurds, Syrian Kurds and Turkish Kurds, and maybe it won't materialize in our own era.” he said.
“But basically looking at Iran in the east, looking at the instability in the region, a solid, stable, cohesive Kurdish entity in the midst of this quagmire, it is not a bad idea.” Israeli general added.
Here is an excerpt of the speech Golan delivered in the event. For the full speech visit the Washington Institute’s website.
Terror organisation or not?
The Israeli general stressed that it was his personal idea about the PKK's position.
"That’s the way I look at that. It’s a very personal approach. I don’t reflect here any formal position of Israel."
However it also does not appear as a terror group on Israeli Ministry of Justice's list of terrorist organisations and individuals.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.
It has waged an armed campaign against the Turkish state for most of the period since 1984.
Some 40,000 people have been killed in the clashes mainly concentrated in Turkey's southeast, as well as various attacks elsewhere in the country.
The group resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015 after ending a two-year ceasefire, citing their objection to the state's construction of dams in the country's southeast.
Since then, the group has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians.
Against the flow?
Golan's comments come as most major nations, including Turkey and the US, have expressed opposition to a planned independence referendum for Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on September 25.
In the non-binding referendum, residents of the Kurdistan Region, as it is formally called, will vote on whether or not to declare independence from the central Iraqi government in Baghdad.
Baghdad has outright rejected the planned poll, saying it could adversely affect the ongoing fight against Daesh, which despite a string of recent defeats still maintains presence in Iraq.
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi has repeatedly labeled the vote unconstitutional.
Along with Turkey and the US, Russia and the European Union have also expressed their opposition to the planned referendum and do not support the break up of Iraq.
Ankara, has repeatedly declared that it did not have any problem with Kurdish community in the region, however, it has concerns that the PKK and related terrorist groups could try to increase their influence in the region.