Kurdish War: Radicals In Retreat

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September 21, 2011: The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has agreed to cooperate more closely with Turkey in curbing Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla activities. The KRG recently held talks with Iran on the same subject. The PKK in Iran is called the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK). The KRG has increased its public criticism of the PKK. A senior KRG leader has called on the PKK and PJAK to surrender. One report claimed that the KRG has blocked PKK supply routes inside Iraq (in the Qandil Mountain region). If so, this is a significant development.

September 20, 2011: PKK rebels attacked a police installation in Siirt province (southeastern Turkey). Four people were killed in the crossfire. The Turkish government claimed one PKK rebel was killed in a firefight after the attack.

A gas canister bomb exploded on a crowded street in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, not far from the presidential palace. The bomb was dropped from a building onto a liquid-propane fueled vehicle. Three people were killed and 15 injured. Several nearby buildings were damaged and some vehicles were destroyed. The government said this was probably a terrorist attack. In the past the PKK has threatened to escalate attacks in Turkish cities as a response to Turkish military attacks on PKK base areas.

September 19, 2011: A pro-PKK political organization accused the Turkish government of conducting a war of annihilation against ethnic Kurds.

September 15, 2011: A bus driver in Istanbul found a suspicious package on his bus. He tossed it from the bus and it exploded. No one was injured. Police believe the driver found a bomb planted by the PKK.

September 14, 2011: Another leaked tape has turned up, this one very embarrassing to the Turkish government and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). On the tape two senior Turkish intelligence officers are overheard holding secret negotiations with PKK commanders. The intel officers work for Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT). Turkish opposition groups have accused the government of deceiving the Turkish people by publicly claiming it refuses to negotiate with terrorists then conducting clandestine discussions with the PKK.

September 13, 2011: Here’s a bizarre story with a lot of inside plot twists. The PKK is demanding that Israel admit it played a role in the capture of PKK senior commander Abdullah Apo Ocalan in 1999. The PKK is also angry that a senior Israeli official said Israel should provide the PKK with support if Turkey threatens Israeli security (for example, using its navy to escort aid ships to Hamas-controlled Gaza). The PKK claims it is an organization committed to its own principles and cannot be used by any state.

September 9, 2011: Turkish diplomats are urging European Union nations to crack down on PKK financing operations in their territories. Turkey is willing to provide the EU countries with police evidence and intelligence data identifying specific PKK economic operations.

September 4, 2011: Turkish Air Force aircraft bombed PKK bases in northern Iraq (near Soran).

September 3, 2011: A Turkish Army unit operating in Tunceli province (near Geyiksu, far eastern Turkey) was ambushed by a PKK guerrilla force. Two soldiers died in the ambush. Turkish attack helicopters counter-attacked the PKK unit.

The Iranian government claimed that its security forces have killed or wounded 30 PJAK rebel fighters in recent counter-insurgent operations. The Turkish military estimates that in the month of August it killed between 145 to 160 PKK rebels in various attacks on PKK installations in northern Iraq.

 

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