Kurdish War: Turks and Americans Argue Over the PKK


January19, 2007: The Turkish government is increasing playing hardball with the U.S. when it comes to the PKK. Turkey has insisted since mid-2006 that the U.S. and Iraq help it fight PKK cadres in northern Iraq. Turkey does not want to face another PKK "spring offensive" or another summer of PKK-inspired terror bombs aimed at the tourist industry. Turkey refers to the U.S. policy vis a vis the PKK as "wait and see" - that is, wait and see how the political situation in Iraq develops. Turkey may be planning its own spring military offensive to pre-empt PKK activities.

January 16, 2007: Turkey reported that three PKK rebels and one Turkish soldier died in a firefight in Bingol province. Another "series of clashes" took place on January 13 and 14 near Diyarkbakir (southeastern Turkey). The Turkish government has said that the continuing incidents demonstrate that the PKK's "October ceasefire" was propaganda. This is one of the few reported "significant" incidents since late December. As noted in the January 2 post, the winter weather has set in and reduced the operations tempo.

January 9, 2007: Turkey said that it would "not stand idle" if Iraqi Kurds gain control of Iraq's Kirkuk region. Turkey will not permit an independent Kurdish state. Kirkuk has significant petroleum reserves. The Turkish government is also angry over what it considers US "inaction" against the PKK. Turkey believes that the US and Iraq know where two senior PKK commanders ( Murat Karayilan and Cemil Bayik) are hiding out in northern Iraq, yet the men have not been arrested.

January 2, 2007: Winter weather in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey has limited PKK infiltration into Turkey. The number of contacts and incidents between Turkish security forces and PKK rebels usually decline during the winter. No one wants to fight (or infiltrate) in the cold.


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