Kurdish War: PKK Pleads For Peace


March 18,2008: What did Turkey's anti-PKK incursion into Iraq achieve? Operation Sun killed many PKK rebels (300 according to one Turkish estimate), and severely damaged PKK bases and support infrastructure in Iraq. Turkey, however, was also seeking a bigger political payoff. One of them was to politically isolate the PKK's Iraqi Kurd supporters. It will take time to determine if Turkey achieved that, but Iraq's federal government, in the wake of the incursion, has assured Turkey it will battle the PKK. In other words, the political blowback from Baghdad was minimal, and that in and of itself is an important message to the PKK. The Turkish press is also reporting that the incursion has further divided the PKK's already fractious leadership.

March 17, 2008: The PKK has offered to negotiate a ceasefire with Turkey (which has always refused to negotiate with the PKK.) At the same time, German police arrested three PKK supporters, and accused them of raising money for the PKK (which is illegal, as the PKK is considered a terrorist organization.) The PKK is under a lot of pressure, and taking a beating. A ceasefire would enable it to recover some of its strength.

March 13, 2008: Turkish forces reported they are conducting operations in southeastern Turkey against PKK rebels. The reports identified the Kupeli Mountains area as a key sector in one operation.

March 10, 2008: On March 7 The Washington Post ran a very favorable story on PKK rebels in Iraq, and caused an uproar in Turkey. The story portrayed the PKK fighters as courageous. The reporters wrote that the PKK region they visited (quote) was "a self-sufficient society, with its own rituals and traditions, that bears no resemblance to the rest of Iraq." The reporters said that the guerrillas claimed to be fighting for Kurdish political and language rights and are "no longer" fighting for an independent Kurdish state in Turkey. The story's language had a very heroic tone, reminiscent of stories about Communist guerrillas in Central America in the 1970s. Be that as it may, the story immediately ignited a firestorm in Turkey. Turkey accused the newspaper of bias

March 6, 2008: Turkish forces captured four PKK rebels in a town near Diyarbakir (southeastern Turkey).

March 5, 2008: Turkish Army artillery and Turkish Air Force jets truck PKK targets in northern Iraq (Zap region).

March 2, 2008: Turkish police said they captured two members of the Revolutionary Peoples Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) in a raid in Istanbul. The DHKP-C is a radical leftist terrorist organization.

February 29, 2008: The Turkish government said that it was ending it ten-day long offensive operation in northern Iraq (now officially described as an "incursion" and codenamed Operation Sun). The Turkish statement followed a statement by the Iraqi government that Turkish forces had already withdrawn. US government sources had said on February 28 that Turkey would withdraw from northern Iraq but that Turkey had "no specific timetable" to complete its withdrawal. The US had said that it had told Turkey that its operations in northern Iraq "should be short and precisely targeted…" That meant strike the PKK, only, and avoid hitting Iraqi Kurds. Also on February 28, Turkey claimed that its forces had killed 230 PKK rebels and 27 Turkish soldiers had died in the operation.


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