The PKK (Turkish Kurdish separatists) announced this month that it is willing to stop fighting. The quid pro quo: Turkey must give its Kurds greater cultural and political freedoms. The Turkish government, however, was not impressed. Similar offers have been made before. Combat with the PKK in the month of July has been intense. Officially, the Turkish government disdains any discussion (even through the press) with the PKK. The government considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization. The Turkish press noted, however, that this PKK statement did not demand the release of Abdullah Apo Ocallan, the head of the PKK who is in jail in Turkey. The Turkish government acknowledged in 2008 that there is no military solution to the Kurdish War. The main opposition party, the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) actually agrees with this point. The government, led by the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), has promised extended cultural and political rights. The AKP has allowed Kurdish language education in public schools. But popular opinion (led by the ethnic Turk majority) opposes autonomy for the Kurds, who are the majority in many parts of southeastern Turkey.
July 23, 2010: Eight Turkish security personnel (five soldiers and three policemen) were wounded in a PKK attack in the town of Pervari (Siirt province, southeastern Turkey).
July 21, 2010: The Turkish government claimed PKK rebels blew up a natural gas pipeline in eastern Turkey. The pipeline ships Iranian natural gas into Turkey.
July 20, 2010: Six Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack in Hakkari province. The attack occurred at the Hantepe outpost near the Iraqi border. The Turkish military said the firefight lasted several hours. The PKK assault force consisted of at least 60 guerrillas. Another soldier was killed in a vehicle ambush in Van province.
July 16, 2010: The European Court of Human Rights rejected a plea by PKK leader Abdullah Apo Ocalan for a new trial. Ocalan is serving a life sentence for terrorism in Turkey. He has been in prison since 1999.
July 15, 2010: Turkish Air Force jets struck targets in southeastern Turkey, supporting several small ongoing army operations. Approximately 10,000 Turkish troops have been involved in the operations since the first week of July. Much of the fighting has occurred in Sirnak province.
July 14, 2010: The Turkey unveiled a plan to create a professional military force devoted to border security. The force would not have draftees. Security personnel in the special border units would receive special training in border police operations. Soldiers serving in the units might be required to enlist for up to ten years. The government also proposed building approximately another 150 new border defense outposts in southeastern and eastern Turkey's mountains.
July 12, 2010: The Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq (KRG, the semi-autonomous government of Iraqi Kurdistan) insists that it is all but impossible to drive the PKK and PJAK (the Iranian PKK) fighters out of the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq. One reason is that the PKK is holed up in an area that is only accessible on foot or by mules.
July 11, 2010: Turkish air strikes since July 1 had struck a number of villages in the border area and in Iraq's Irbil province. The airstrikes allegedly destroyed a bridge in Irbil province.
July 10, 2010: Turkish aircraft struck targets near the village of Sidakan (northern Iraq, Iranian border area). One civilian was wounded in the bombing attacks.
July 6, 2010: PKK rebels struck a Turkish security post in Hakkari province (southeastern Turkey). Twelve PKK guerrillas and three Turkish soldiers died in the firefight near the town of Semdinli.
July 3, 2010: Turkish Air Force aircraft struck targets in northern Iraq. Iraqi sources said the bombers hit PKK positions in the Qandil and Hakurk mountains in Iraq.
July 1, 2010: PKK guerrillas attacked Turkish security forces in Siirt province (southeastern Turkey). Twelve PKK fighters, two soldiers, and three Turkish militia men died in the battle. Attack helicopters reinforced Turkish forces.
Syria has arrested 400 people it claims are connected to the PKK. Turkey has put a lot of pressure on Syria to act against the PKK. The ugly truth is that the Syrian dictatorship has used the PKK as a tool against Turkey.