For months the Iraqi government (including the Kurdish regional
government in northern Iraq) have been promising Turkey that they would help
stop PKK attacks on Turkey from Iraqi territory. Turkey has also wanted the
Iraqis to do more than that—to include arresting senior PKK commanders. On this
request, the Iraqis hesitate. However, PKK commanders knowing that Iraqi
assistance in stopping attacks into Turkey would likely mean shutting down PKK
bases inside Iraq, and that would go a long way to totally destroying the
organization. Now Turkey and Iraq are talking about a "three phase plan" to
deal with the PKK. The very fact they are discussing it and leaking it to the
media sends a dire political signal to the PKK. Phase one is to increase the PKK's
political isolation by having Iraq label the PKK as an "illegal organization"
that is a political liability and a physical threat to both Turkish and Iraqi
Kurds. Phase Two amounts to an Iraqi Kurd political appeal to the PKK to
surrender. If the PKK refuses the deal, Iraq and Turkey, backed by the US,
would go after the PKK—in other words, the military solution. There are several
flavors of military solution, however, some of which may have more appeal to
Iraqi Kurds than the other. The Turks would attack the bases while Iraqi and US
forces (and perhaps Turkish) cordon off escape routes to the south and east.
2008: Turkey said that it would try nine people who were arrested after the
July 2008 bombs attacks in Istanbul that killed 17 people and wounded over 150
others. A Turkish prosecutor said all nine were members of the PKK.
2008: Turkish Air Force fighter-bombers struck several suspected PKK bases in
northern Iraq. The Iraqi government reported heavy attacks on the town of
2008: Two PKK rebels surrendered to Turkish security forces in Hakkari
province. The two men said they had been in a PKK base in northern Iraq near
the town of Zap.
2008: The Turkish government said that the PKK attack on October 3 on the
Aktutun Gendarmerie Border post (near Semdinli in Hakkari province) had
galvanized support throughout Turkey for intensifying the war against the PKK.
17 Turkish soldiers died in the battle. That attack has also spurred increased
Turkish efforts to internationally isolate the PKK. Turkey has been trying for
years to get the EU to crack down on PKK financial sources in Europe.
2008: The PKK declared a nine day long ceasefire to honor the Eid al-Adha
(Feast of the Sacrifice).
2008: Turkish soldiers and police killed two PKK rebels in a firefight in
Sirnak province. They also found a weapons and ammunition cache.
2008: The Iraqi government said that in a recent "tri-lateral" meeting
involving Turkey and the US, it had agreed to form a joint committee to "track
the threat represented by the PKK
" The Iraqi statement called the PKK a threat
both to Iraq and Turkey. This follows a
statement by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that agreements with Turkey
had laid down "the rules to confront the terrorist PKK." These are words Turkey wants to hear from
Iraq. Turkey is insisting that Iraq's regional Kurdish government also identify
the PKK as a terrorist organization. That would be a major diplomatic success