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.
VoA: The Turkish military is pressing ahead with its air and ground offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, as Ankara sought support from neighboring Iran in its fight against the rebels.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, on Friday in Ankara, where the two announced plans to collaborate against the communist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and an Iranian group fighting for democracy, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).
Salehi said the two groups are “common problems” for both countries and they need to cooperate more seriously against them. Iran also has a large Kurdish minority.
Davutoglu said Turkey and Iran, from now on, will work together until what he called this terrorist threat is eliminated. It was not immediately clear what joint action the two countries are planning to take against the rebels.
Turkey launched the offensive against the Kurdish militants after a series of PKK attacks Wednesday killed 24 soldiers. Turkey says the massive air and ground operations are mainly taking place on the Turkish side of the border with Iraq, in Turkey’s Cukurca region.
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
By all accounts, in 1998 Syria discontinued its clandestine support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a leftist secessionist movement that aspires to create a Kurdish homeland comprising mostly of territories in Turkey’s Anatolia region. But a leading Turkish newspaper claims that, according to a classified intelligence report, Damascus has resumed its support for the PKK. The paper, Zaman, said that according to the report, Turkey’s main intelligence directorate, the MİT, has concluded that Syria has “started to support the PKK” again, thus reverting to its pre-1998 stance. It was on that year that Damascus expelled the PKK’s founder and leader, Abdullah Öcalan, who had previously been given shelter and protection in the country.
2010 was an annus horribilis for Turkey‘s domestic security, with PKK attacks reaching levels thought to have long since subsided in the 26-year long conflict that has dogged southeastern Turkey. Last year highlighted PKK’s ability to improve its tactical skills, while Turkish military forces struggled to keep pace.
By Francesco Milan for ISN Insights
Last year, about 90 Turkish soldiers and dozens of civilians died in attacks carried out by the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK), a separatist group labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and EU. Currently based in the Qandil mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, and estimated to number around 2,000, PKK militants have used a variety of tactics to attack Turkish forces: After re-entering Turkey from Iraqi Kurdistan, they have engaged Turkish troops deployed to the southeastern region of the country with attacks on military outposts and barracks or ambushes on patrol units. The single deadliest PKK attack on the military took place in the Hakkari province in June, killing 10 Turkish soldiers. But PKK also hit more central areas, especially Istanbul, which suffered three bombings last year: In one June attack, a roadside bomb killed four soldiers and a civilian traveling on a bus. Continue reading →