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February 24, 2012: The head of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has asked the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to lay down its weapons. The KRG leadership has urged the PKK to end the fighting and become a political party. The KRG recently hosed what it called a Kurdish National Conference. Members of the Turkish Kurdish party, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), attended. The conference in remembrance of the Republic of Mabahad, a short-lived Kurdish state (1946) located in northwestern Iran.
February 23, 2012: French police have agreed to treat a recent attack on a Turkish newspaper office in Paris as terrorist acts. Earlier this month, pro-PKK demonstrators attacked Turkish newspaper offices in France and Germany. There were at least two prior attacks last year in France.
February 22, 2012: The Turkish government estimated that 2,000 PKK rebels are operating near the Turkish-Iraqi border, most of them from bases in northern Iraq.
February 20, 2012: Turkish anti-terror police arrested ten people suspected of belonging to the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which the government considers to be a front group for the PKK. The government claimed the group intended to commit acts of arson. Police acknowledged that they had been monitoring the group’s activities on Facebook.
February 13, 2012: Two Turkish soldiers were killed in a firefight in Sirnak province (southeastern Turkey). It was believed that some the PKK fighters were also killed in the incident.
Turkish police killed one PKK fighter and wounded another in an incident near the village of Aktepe (near the city of Diyarbakir). One of the PKK rebels had taken four people hostage.
February 11, 2012: Turkish Air Force warplanes struck PKK bases in northern Iraq in the Zap and Hakurk regions.
February 9, 2012: Thirteen PKK rebels and one Turkish soldier were killed in a series of small-scale firefights in Hakkari province (southeastern Turkey). PKK fighters struck ten different locations. The small-scale attacks are typical of the PKK, but this number of attacks in mid-winter is a bit unusual.
Turkish security forces discovered a Winter base camp in Bingol Province (eastern Turkey). The security forces reported nine PKK fighters found at the camp committed suicide with hand grenades in order to avoid capture. Three PKK fighters were taken prisoner. The camp was in a mountainous area. Again, this is mid-Winter. If the PKK is active, it looks like Turkish soldiers and gendarmes are as well.
Turkish prosecutors have requested two former senior officers in the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) appear for questioning regarding secret peace negotiations between the Turkish government and the PKK. The judicial summons is loaded with implications for Turkish internal politics. The government, led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has said that Turkish intelligence officers talk to the PKK all the time. This is part of their job and they are acting on behalf of the Turkish state, not the governing party (ie, the AKP).
February 6, 2012: Turkish investigators are probing allegations that the PKK murdered some of its own dissident members. The murders were covered up by claims that the murdered PKK fighters were killed by Turkish soldiers or police. The prosecutorial team that turned up the evidence was investigating allegations that the Turkish police ran an illegal counter-terror unit (JITEM) which executed suspected PKK militants.
February 4, 2012: Turkish fighter-bombers struck three PKK targets in northern Iraq’s Zap region. Five PKK fighters were killed by Turkish soldiers in an operation near the town of Kozuk (Batman province, southeastern Turkey).
February 2, 2012: The United States has declared four people and three companies to be narcotics traffickers and organizations which use the illegal drug profits to support the PKK. Three of the people named live in Moldova, the fourth in Romania. All three companies operate out of Romania. For years Turkey has accused the PKK of running a drug tracking network.
January 31, 2012: Seven PKK rebels surrendered to Turkish gendarmes in the town of Silopi (Sirnak province).
January 27, 2012: The BDP (Peace and Democracy Party, Turkey’s pro-Kurd party) has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the air attacks of December 28, 2011 which killed 35 civilians. The people killed were fuel and cigarette smugglers, not PKK rebels.
January 26, 2012: The PKK accused the US of treating Turkish Kurds unfairly. The PKK made the argument that Iraqi Kurds had helped bring democracy to Iraq and Iraqi Kurds live in a federal state. The US, however, opposes a federal solution for Turkish Kurds.
January 25, 2012: Members of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the umbrella group for Syria rebels, claimed that the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian Kurd wing of the PKK, is helping Syria’s Assad regime suppress protest in Syria. The SNC members said that PYD operatives are working with the pro-regime Shabiha militia.
Turkish investigators found 23 bodies in a mass grave in Diyarbakir province. The bodies may be those of suspected PKK militants slain by Turkish security forces in the 1990s. The investigators are looking into charges of murder by security forces.
January 19, 2012: A PKK commander said that five years of peace discussions with Turkey had failed because the Turkish government does not honor its promises. He said that the PKK will only stop fighting when Turkey grants its Kurds political autonomy and full cultural rights. Turkey must also release all political prisoners.
January 18, 2012: A spokesman for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said that all democratic forces in Turkey must unite to combat the fascism of the AKP. He demanded that Turkish Kurds be permitted to educate their children in the Kurdish language.
January 13, 2012: Turkish police raided several offices and houses belonging to members of the BDP. Raids took place in Diyarbakir, Ankara, and Istanbul. At least 30 people were arrested on suspicion of working on behalf of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).
January 7, 2012: The Turkish government accused the PKK of extorting around $120 million a year from construction firms in southeastern and eastern Turkey. If so, that is a lot of money.
- Turkish troops kill 15 rebels, suffer 2 losses (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- You: Turkey bombs north Iraq: PKK (france24.com)
- Turkey ‘bombs PKK Iraq hideouts’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Turkish air strikes kill 35 suspected Kurdish militants in northern Iraq (news.nationalpost.com)
- 14 die in Turkish, PKK clashes (nation.com.pk)
- Turkish airstrike aimed at militants kills 35 Kurdish villagers (worldnews.msnbc.msn.com)
- Turkey strikes Kurdish targets (thehimalayantimes.com)
- The Turkish siblings on either side of the Kurdish resistance (telegraph.co.uk)
- Turkey admits 35 killed in air strike were civilians, not militants (news.nationalpost.com)
- Turkish passenger ferry hijacked by alleged Kurdish militant ‘with bomb’ (news.nationalpost.com)