Kurdish War: April 16, 2002


: It's a political move anticipated for quite some time-- but what's in a name? Today PKK leaders announced what may truly portend a major change in PKK strategy. The PKK officially changed the organizations name to the Congress for Freedom and Democracy in Kurdistan (acronym of KADEK). Along with the change, the PKK (oops, KADEK) leadership said the new political party would, quote, "pursue Kurdish rights" via legal and political means. KADEK, however, will continue to be at least nominally led by Abdallah Ocalan (in prison in Turkey since 1999 after being turned over to Ankara by Syria). Western press sources said an extended statement provided by KADEK said that the new Kurdish party would seek "to unite democratic forces working for freedom ... to end the domination of our people ... and attain Socialism, which is our ultimate aim." Translation: the KADEK remains a Kurdish Communist Party, but one that now wants to operate within Turkey's political system (from which it is currently banned). Is the PKK move a genuine attempt to renounce violence? Of course Ankara doesn't believe it, but the truth is Turkey's security forces have been steadily punishing (and eliminating) PKK holdouts in southeastern Turkey. Iraqi Kurds are looking toward a "new day" when Saddam is gone. A post-Saddam Middle East will be a Middle East with a much more influential Turkey, which further diminishes PKK prospects for lopping off southeastern Anatolia as a separate Kurd state. The PKK is also outlawed in many countries, most notably Western European NATO countries. Washington has declared the PKK a terrorist organization (which pleases Turkey immensely). (Austin Bay)


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