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Subject: How did Turkey beat the PKK?
ChdNorm    5/21/2004 2:17:00 PM
This came up in another thread, and as I thought the PKK was still active I found it pretty interesting. Ilpars ... "We had. PKK was a Marxist-Leninist seperativist terrorist group and also was selling heroine to Europe to have many to buy new weapons. I am using past tense as they were defeated so badly that, they changed their name to Kadek and ceased to make any attack." What tactics and strategy did Turkey use to defeat them? How did they deal with what ammounted to the safe haven Europe granted them? Were they defeated in detail to the point of no longer being functional as a singular group? Broken up into smaller impotent cells?
 
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ilpars    RE:How did Turkey beat the PKK?   5/22/2004 4:54:17 AM
I initially had put this to Iraq board under the topic "Counter-insurgency warfare - Turkish experience" . Maybe I should have put it here in Terrorism board. Turkey fought against PKK a 20 year counter-terrorist war and won at the end. As this is the last successful counter-insurgency campaign in the world; some lessons can be taken. PKK is a Marxist-Leninist Kurdish terrorist group; initially funded and organized by Soviets, initially trained by Arafat's organization, supported or tolerated to have camps in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Soviets (later Armenia) and Greece (in Greece they never carried weapons). Phase 1: First PKK attack reported in 1983. Initially they were considered as a minor terrorist group. At the time Turkish Prime Minister was Turgut Ozal (later became president) himself also a Kurd. Turgur Ozal specifically ordered army not to be too harsh on PKK as he thought he can handle the situation by diplomacy. He thought main reason of insurgency was economic backwardness of South-East Turkey. He failed to recognise the main driving reason the Soviet support. Initially Turkish army was not ready or trained for an unconventional war. So only Gendarma force is used against insurgents. At the start terrorist organization was weak and attacks were seldom. 2nd Phase: 1987. Prime Minister Ozal agreed on a cease fire with PKK and started peace talks and declared he is ready to talk about anything including a possible federation. That was the biggest mistake of the war. All of our neighbours took as a sign of weakness. 1 by 1 all of them started to let PKK to have terrorist camps in their countries. At these cease fire period PKK aprox. trained 30,000 insurgents. Later several ex-Syrian army officers captured in PKK organizations. Phase 3. 1989. PKK ended cease fire. By very well planned ambushes, they started to ambush Turkish soldiers everywhere that they are able. Turkish simply do not have any training for this kind of war. Border control garnisons especially took much casulaties. Phase 4: Turkish war started training the army for counter-insurgency warfare. Special attention was paid to Vietnam war. Helicopter's advantage in that kind of war is especially noticed. Phase 5: The new Turkish counter-insurgency doctrine finalised. "Area control". A counter-insurgency soldier must live where his enemy lives. At the top of the mountains, in the depth of forests. Every single village. Terrorists should not have a single breathing place secure. Main purpose of army is not engaging terrorists. Their only duty is area control. When the contact is made Commando forces transported to the area by helicopters to take the engagement. In this phase every single cave in mountains of the area cleaned from enemy. When the people saw, Turkish soldiers are everywhere, þocal support to terrrists immediately ceased. In Turkish borders an active terrorist group did not have any place to rest. Phase 6: Cutting outside support. Armenia: Cutting Armenia support was easy. Closing the borders and a trade embargo handled the situation. Iraq: Even before GW1, turkish army started his counter-border pursuits. After GW1, there is not even a strong Iraq government that can protest. So, Turkey started a large attack to North Iraq toterrorist camps with the help of Barzani group. At this attack PKK terrorists not waiting such a large scale assault lost more than 10,000 insurgents. They never recovered from this attack. Iran: Iran is persuaded not to support PKK after N. Iraq assault. Reminding them that 26% of Iran's population is Azeri Turks helped. And dropping several bombs by mistake to a PKK camp in Iran. Syria: It was known that PKK leader Apdullah Ocalan was directing his organization from Syria. Half of Turkish army deployed at Syrian border. Israel (our ally) is also deployed several units. Then a nota was given to Syrian government. Send Ocalan away or face war. Ocalan escaped to Greece. Not wanting to drawn into any problem. Greece sent Ocalan to a Greece embassy at Africa. A Turkish special ops team captured him at Africa several days later probably with help of local government and CIA. Lessons learned: 1. Never try to negotiate with a terrorist group. They will never honor the agreements but only use it as a propaganda. And in Middle East that is considered as a weakness. 2. Never let them "liberate" anywhere. It has huge political value. 3. Control the area. Deploy enough troops to occupy every single village, mountain and forest. Enemy must not have anyplace to rest. If they can not rest, they will lose morale very soon. In latest phase of war, PKK terrorists surrendered en masse. 4. Offer amnesty to anyone who surrendered willingly. You do not want them to fight to the last. And ex-terrorists can become great counter-insurgency special ops, as they know enemy's tactics. 5. Always target the leaders. But only at firefights. Without leaders they easily s
 
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On Watch    Did Turkey beat the PKK? Not quite yet apparently...   5/23/2004 3:39:13 PM
>>Turkey fought against PKK a 20 year counter-terrorist war and won at the end.--illpart<< May 21, 2004: Turkish politicians, both ethnic Turks and Kurds, are openly discussing the idea of granting the Kurdish majority in parts of eastern Turkey autonomy and recognition of their Kurdish cultural identity. This would go against decades of Turkish policy...There are still several thousand armed PKK Kurdish rebels camped out in remote areas of northern Iraq. Better relations with the Iraqi Kurds would make it easier to deal with the PKK. The PKK (the Turkish Workers Party) has officially changed its name to KONGRA-GEL (People’s Congress of Kurdistan), but everyone still calls it the PKK. May 19, 2004: In southeast Turkey, police killed six PKK rebels. May 6, 2004: In southeast Turkey, police killed six PKK rebels over the last two days. Three PKK men were killed when an anti-tank mine they were planting near a bridge went off. A "village guard" was killed when several PKK members fired rockets at a Kurdish village... http://www.strategypage.com/fyeo/qndguide/default.asp?target=KURDWAR.HTM
 
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ilpars    RE:Did Turkey beat the PKK? Not quite yet apparently...   5/24/2004 2:06:09 AM
"May 21, 2004: Turkish politicians, both ethnic Turks and Kurds, are openly discussing the idea of granting the Kurdish majority in parts of eastern Turkey autonomy and recognition of their Kurdish cultural identity. This would go against decades of Turkish policy...There are still several thousand armed PKK Kurdish rebels camped out in remote areas of northern Iraq. Better relations with the Iraqi Kurds would make it easier to deal with the PKK. The PKK (the Turkish Workers Party) has officially changed its name to KONGRA-GEL (People’s Congress of Kurdistan), but everyone still calls it the PKK." This news is a baloon. There is nothing about this in any Turkish newspaper. And for ant right party this kind of discussion will be a political suicide. "May 19, 2004: In southeast Turkey, police killed six PKK rebels. May 6, 2004: In southeast Turkey, police killed six PKK rebels over the last two days. Three PKK men were killed when an anti-tank mine they were planting near a bridge went off. A "village guard" was killed when several PKK members fired rockets at a Kurdish village..." Kadek openly declared a 1 sided armistice 2 yeara ago. And according to them they did not break it. These terrorists that were killed are posibly a renegade subgroup who do not approve the decision of armistice. And according to news these are new recruits. They lost 15 men, kiiling only 1 man in return. Generally PKK terrorists are much more capable than this. 12 years begore PKK had 30,000 armed men. Now they have only 1,000 who are in North Iraq under the protection of Barzani and Talabani. This is one of the reasons why Turkey do not trust Barzani, Talabani duo.
 
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ChdNorm    RE:Did Turkey beat the PKK? Not quite yet apparently...   5/24/2004 3:53:45 AM
Very interesting and informative post ilpars. Thank you for taking the time and sharing that. I think I have a better understanding then I did. I haven't gone out of my way to read much about the PKK in a couple of years, and hadn't realized the situation has changed as much as it apparently has. Is the PKK (or remnants) still heavily involved in the European heroin trade? If so, where are those proceeds being directed now? It was my understanding that a lot of the PKK's terrorist activities were funded by that. Is it possible some of the PKK gave up the fight to pursue organized crime? On the control of territory ... I agree that is essential in denying your enemy an area of safety to operate from. How did the Turkish army deny such a large area to the PKK? A large quantity of troops actively patrolling and engaging them? Any special techniques they found particularly effective in their pursuit? As I'm sure you have figured out ... I'm interested in yall's success in relation to lessons learned that might be worth discussing in regard to our current occupation and counter insurgency in Iraq. Are there any obvious mistakes that you think are being made, using Turkey's success as the yard stick?
 
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ChdNorm    RE:Did Turkey beat the PKK? Not quite yet apparently...   5/24/2004 3:58:38 AM
I also seem to recall that PKK leaders were met with open arms in the European diplomatic community, almost granting them some form of legitimacy. I can't remember who or when now, but didnt several countries refuse to sale Turkey arms if they were going to be deployed against the PKK? What political steps did Turkey take to address that outside influence?
 
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ilpars    RE:How did Turkey beat the PKK - ChdNorm   5/24/2004 4:43:22 AM
"Is the PKK (or remnants) still heavily involved in the European heroin trade?" In the past PKK was the ME partner of heroine trade. In the PKK war, Turkish Navy intercepted several ships that were transporting tons of Heroine in the international seas. A Mafia organization's 7 top men which worked with PKK in heroine trade found dead in a forest near Istanbul apperantly killed by a rival mafia organisation. Result of this kinds of events PKK lost the heroine trade. I think now, Russian Mafia controls it via Russian road. ---------------- "On the control of territory ... I agree that is essential in denying your enemy an area of safety to operate from. How did the Turkish army deny such a large area to the PKK?" Regular army units were responsiblw to area control. They were daily patrolling the area that wee assigned to them. When a contact is achieved, their mission was not to engage but keeping contact. The other units in the area immediately surrounded the area in a very bis circle. Again their orders was defend but not engage. Then, Nearest Commando unit (battalion or company according to size of PKK unit) was transported to area by helicopters and took up the pursuit. Then pursuit conducted several days in that time continous harassment by artillery, mortars, helicopters, and aircarft started. Usually at this time PKK unit divide into several small parts because of this harassment. After several days of hot pursuit PKK terrorists became exhausted and hungry and having wounded with them. 1 by 1 every small group failed into Commando traps, surrendered or died to a man. Usually Turkish army casulaties was minumum and mostly from the unit who had the initial contact. --------------------------- "I'm interested in yall's success in relation to lessons learned that might be worth discussing in regard to our current occupation and counter insurgency in Iraq. Are there any obvious mistakes that you think are being made, using Turkey's success as the yard stick?" I did not follow the US tactics in Iraq or Afganistan. But it is appearent that US army lack the numbers to control the area of both countries by himself. In Afganistan they depend on local allied forces. In Iraq they are planning to rely on Iraq army when this army will be ready for action. Today Iraq insurgents can find time to and space to organize and reorganize. All of these armistices and peace talks are only good if there is a chance to reach an understanding. But mostly enemy used these to reorganize and strike again later. Of course I am unable to follow the entire picture. Maybe someday, someone will write a book and we can see the whole picture.
 
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chemist    RE:Did Turkey beat the PKK? Not quite yet apparently...   5/24/2004 4:47:04 AM
++This news is a baloon. There is nothing about this in any Turkish newspaper. And for ant right party this kind of discussion will be a political suicide.++ Sounds like you have the same trouble that California will have in a few years. What's the possibility of granting partial autonomy to the Kurdish area like the Brits did with Ireland way, way back? Would making it a 'state within a state' serve everyones purposes here ilpars?
 
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ilpars    PKK in Europe - ChdNorm   5/24/2004 4:48:56 AM
PKK had organised in Germany, France and Belgium. They collect money by force from Kurdish population of these countries by force which they called tax. And freely recruit members. They never carry gun or build a camp in these countries. Even after many Turkish approaches, none of these countries done anyhing to stop these activities until it is obvious that PKK has lost. Now, PKK/Kadek is an illegal organization in both Germany and France but still not in Belgium.
 
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ilpars    RE:Did Turkey beat the PKK? Not quite yet apparently...   5/24/2004 4:56:47 AM
It is against Turkish constution to give an autonomy to a certain part of the country. A party needs 2/3 superiority in parliament to make a change in the constitution. It is known that 90% of population is against this approach. In short, this a dream. Never gonna happen.
 
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Thomas    (no subject)   5/24/2004 10:54:21 AM
Well I think Turgut Özal was right in his analisys that the background was economical; but as far as I see it: When the revolt was a fact, it was to late to bring economic means to bear. I don't see the civil war in Turkey as an ethnic or religious war: The problem was the antiquated agricultural system in the southeast. Any change to the better would mean a lot of farmers and peasants giving up their way of life and land - which is always an invitation to trouble. How many remain in the rural areas in the south east? Have they changed crops? Have they altered the system of estates? Have they increased productivity??
 
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