Kurdish War: Secret Orders Are Issued

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January 25, 2010: Over the last few days, Turkish police have arrested 60 people and charged them with supporting the PKK. Weapons and documents were also seized.

January 22, 2010: The Turkish military provided a rare insight into its counter- terrorist and counter-guerrilla intelligence operations in a report released earlier this month to the Turkish media. The military revealed that it had intercepted PKK electronic communications prior to the attack in Tokat (Resadiye district) on December 7 in which seven soldiers were slain. The PKK messages (delivered on short wave radio) were intercepted by the General Staff's Electronic Systems (GES) section four days before the attack but the messages were encrypted. The military had difficulties decoding the messages so no specific warning was put out prior to the attack. Turkish media provided several details, including part of an intercepted message that read “16’dan 408 üzerinde durun” (“Stop at 408 from 16”). A GES document quoted by one Turkish source said a PKK headquarters in northern Iraq (“Zap Camp” which is presumably in Iraq's Zap region) gave the order to attack on December 1. A senior PKK commander in Turkey's Tunceli province (with the nom deguerre of Mahir) gave the specific order on December 3 to a subunit in Tokat (to a man named “Seyho” leading a “special forces unit”). The GES report has spurred a number of media commentaries regarding Turkish intelligence. One report cites information that indicates the Turkish military was aware of potential PKK attacks in Tokat as early as June 2009 by a PKK cadre of from 12 to 22 members. Analysts are criticizing the military for failing to decode the messages. The GES document has raised classic charges of intelligence failure. However, it also does something else: if it is accurate, then it indicates that the PKK's central command is directing operations, which suggests that the senior PKK leaders are not particularly interested in a peace deal.

January 21, 2010: Turkish officials announced that 60 people were arrested in several police actions throughout the country. More former members of the Democratic Society Party (DTP, a pro-Kurd party) were arrested. A member of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the mayor of the town of Igdir (near the Iranian border) was also arrested. The DTP was banned in December 2009. The BDP remains a legal party.

January 18, 2010: The Iranian government handed over to Turkish control two women described as Kurdish militants. Iranian security forces arrested the two women earlier in the month. The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) is the PKK in Iran.

January 17, 2010: A firefight between Turkish security forces and a PKK unit in Batman province (southeastern Turkey), left one soldier dead and one wounded.

January 15, 2010: Turkish media are citing a new national poll that indicates a substantial portion of the electorate does not support the government's Kurdish peace initiative (54 percent say they are against it, 39 percent support it). The strongest opposition comes from members of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which is not surprising (they are Turkish nationalist parties). Members of the pro-Kurd Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) strongly favor it. Voters belonging to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) also favor the initiative.

January 8, 2010: The PKK has threatened the lives of several Turkish police officials living in predominantly Kurd areas. The officers' families are also under threat of attack. This report dovetails with a statement that several police security units in these areas have been put on alert in Turkey's eastern and south-eastern provinces.

January 7, 2010: Turkish Army artillery fired on PKK camps in northern Iraq (Zap region).

January 5, 2010: Unrest continues in Turkey's predominantly ethnic Kurdish regions. The government attributes the political disturbances to the Constitutional Court's December 11, 2009 ruling which declared the Democratic Society Party (DTP) illegal. Protests, however, have occurred elsewhere in the country. For example, on January 3 police arrested ten people after a fight broke out between Kurdish demonstrators and police in Istanbul. Members of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is another pro-Kurd party, have become increasingly vocal since the ruling. The BDP was not banned.

December 29, 2009: Mehmet Sirac Keskin, a Kurd accused of launching terror attacks, was sentenced to life in prison. Keskin was accused of detonating a bomb in the town of Kusadasi (a resort on the Aegean Sea) in 2005. Five people died in the explosion (including two tourists) and 13 people were wounded.

December 24, 2009: Turkish police arrested 43 members of the Democratic Society Party (DTP). The party was banned on December 11 for alleged ties to the PKK. Several town mayors were among those arrested.

December 22, 2009: The government of Iraqi Kurdistan said that its territory cannot serve as a base for any one (any “third party”) to attack a neighboring nation. The proclamation repeats earlier statements made after discussions between Turkey and Iraq (central government) and Turkish discussions with the Iraqi Kurds regional government.

 

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