Turkey's village guards program has provided local protection against PKK attacks throughout south-eastern Turkey. The PKK, of course, despises the village guards and calls them collaborators. The program was created in 1985 as Turkish security forces recruited local people to watch their own homes and streets. There was also an intelligence angle; village guards were expected to gain information on PKK movements in their area. Most village guards are part-timers used for guard duty and local defense, but the paramilitary police have used village guards on some operations. The program began with 18,000 guards. In 1994 Turkey's gendarme command had 93,000 guards in the program. The number in 2008 was around 70,000. Some have criticized the village guard system, as there are numerous cases (some back in the 1990s) of violent crimes committed by village guard personnel (including kidnapping). The program is being reviewed by the government.
October 7, 2009: Turkish security units fought with PKK rebels in Van province (eastern Turkey) neat the town of Caldiran. Three PKK fighters died in the clashes.
October 6, 2009: The Turkish government extended its mandate that lets the Turkish military attack PKK rebel targets in northern Iraq.
October 5, 2009: Iraq Kurd Peshmerga forces and Iraqi Army units are now conducting joint patrols in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iraqi Army units are predominantly ethnic Arab. Statements from some Iraqi Kurd militiamen to journalists --hey, we don't need the Iraq Army in Kurdistan --are the kind that stir the souls of PKK guerrilla leaders. The Peshmerga also think their units are better trained in security operations than most Iraqi Army units. Still, the operations are continuing, with checkpoints run by the Iraqi Army, Peshmerga, and occasionally US forces. The Iraqi government and the US are concerned that the PKK and Al Qaeda could cooperate to stir trouble in Kurdish regions between Iraqi Arabs and Iraqi Kurds. Kirkuk is a particular worry.
September 28, 2009: Iranian police engaged in a firefight with Kurdish rebels in the city of Sanandaj, Iran. Two policemen were killed and four PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) rebels died in the battle. PJAK is basically the PKK in Iran.