Turkish Parliament backs attacks against PKK terrorists
ANKARA (Oct. 17, 2007) - Turkey's parliament has given permission for the
government to launch military operations into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdistan
Workers' Party terrorists (PKK).
Turkey will exercise its right of self-defense, and right to take action against terrorism and
The Turkish Parliament today granted authorization for a cross-border
offensive to strike terrorists and bases in northern Iraq.
Turkish lawmakers voted 507 to 19 in favor of the motion.
The authorization gives the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
a year in which it can send troops across the border to fight terrorists who
carry out attacks in Turkey from northern Iraq.
* Note: Although the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the
European Union and United States, respected media sources in the EU and USA
refer to the PKK as "rebels," "militants," "freedom
fighters," and "guerillas," thus undermining the
common fight against terrorism.
* Note (for Turkish readers): AB ve
ABDye göre "terörist," basına göre "özgürlük
savaşçısı," (PKK basına göre: "isyancılar," "savaşcılar,"
"militanlar," "asiler," "ayrılıkçı Kürt grup, "aşırı Kürtler,"
"direnişçi Kürtler," ve "yasaklanmış Kürt partisi.")
AB ve ABD PKKyı terör listelerine alalı yıllar
oldu; ancak Avrupa ve ABD basını PKKya hala terör örgütü
ifadesini yakıştırmıyor. Bu çifte standart "terörle global savaşı"
Turkish warplanes targeting PKK bases bomb northern
Turkey's military chief, General Yasar Buyukanit, announced Monday that
"America gave intelligence." He added, "But more importantly,
America last night opened the [Iraqi] airspace to us. By opening the airspace,
America gave its approval to this operation."
Turkish jet fighters hit terrorists targets in northern
Iraq early Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007
The Turkish military said it had attacked targets of the separatist
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) with the approval of U.S. occupying forces in Iraq.
The United States said only that it had been informed in advance of the
Turkish ground forces also shelled areas where the rebels were based, an
army statement said. Turkey's NTV television said 50 aircraft had taken part in
the three-hour operation.
The Turkish army has up to 100,000 troops near the Iraqi border,
threatening a major operation that Washington fears could destabilize one of the
most peaceful areas of Iraq.
It was given authorization by the cabinet last month to conduct cross-border
operations against the PKK, which uses northern Iraq as a base for attacks
"In opening Iraqi airspace to this action last night America gave its
approval to the action," the head of Turkey's General Staff, General Yasar
Buyukanit, was quoted by the Anatolian news agency as saying. He
added, "But more importantly, America last night opened the [Iraqi]
airspace to us. By opening the airspace, America gave its approval to this
operation." Dec. 16, 2007
Turkey says air strikes in Iraq hit their targets
Monday Dec.17, 2007 Reuters.com
By Selcuk Gokoluk
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey said on Monday its warplanes hit their Kurdish
guerrilla targets in weekend raids on northern Iraq that raised fears of
destabilisation in one of Iraq's few peaceful regions.
The EU urged Turkey to show restraint after the raids, which officials in
northern Iraq said hit villages, killed one woman and forced hundreds to flee.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about reports of civilian
casualties, and urged Baghdad and Ankara to work together to tackle Kurdish
guerrillas using northern Iraq as a base for attacks in Turkey.
Dismissing reports the raids hit villages, Turkey's General Staff said its
targets were fixed "after it was established that they were definitely not
civilian residential areas."
The three-hour offensive, reported to involve 50 fighter jets, also included
ground forces shelling suspected positions of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
in northern Iraq.
"According to initial valuations, all the planned targets were hit
accurately," the General Staff said on its Web site.
The Turkish army has massed up to 100,000 troops near the border, raising
fears that a major cross-border operation could further destabilise Iraq and
fuel ethnic and sectarian tensions.
However, initial responses to the weekend raids from Turkey's main allies
stopped well short of condemnation.
The United States, Turkey's main military ally, has said it was informed of
the raids in advance but did not authorise them.
A Pentagon spokesman also said Washington had given Turkey intelligence to
track Kurdish fighters hiding in Iraq, but would not say whether it gave precise
targets used in the raids.
The EU, which Turkey is hoping to join, voiced concern.
It called on Turkey "to exercise restraint, to respect the territorial
integrity of Iraq and refrain from taking any military action that could
undermine regional peace and stability."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban "is concerned that Turkey has launched air
strikes into northern Iraq yesterday and that there have been reports of
possible civilian casualties," spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.
"At the same time the Secretary-General is concerned at the continued
intrusion of PKK elements carrying out terrorist attacks in Turkey from northern
Iraq," she added.
Ankara believes 3,000 PKK guerrillas are based in camps in northern Iraq and
the government has come under domestic pressure to act tough after a series of
deadly attacks against Turkish army posts in recent months.
The General Staff released black and white footage of what it said were
precision air strikes against PKK targets, which the Turkish media said included
a PKK communications centre in the Qandil mountains and other important PKK
Analysts doubt air strikes will crush the PKK, but say they are symbolically
Iraq summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad and protested against the
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said he wanted Ankara to coordinate
future cross-border strikes with Iraq.
The PKK warned the Iraqi government and the United States not to cooperate
with Turkey in its attacks, and said it could hurt Western interests in the
"If colonialist powers in Kurdistan are continued to be supported, it
should be known that the Kurdish people have the power to spoil the balances in
the Middle East and hurt the interests of Western powers," the PKK said in
a statement carried by the Firat news agency.
Analysts say a major Turkish land incursion is unlikely right now, since many
Kurdish rebels have moved into Iran and the weather in northern Iraq is
Ankara blames the PKK, which seeks a separate Kurdish homeland in
southeastern Turkey, for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people since it began its
armed struggle in 1984.
(Reporting by Daren Butler and Paul de Bendern; Editing by Myra MacDonald)
Over 150 PKK killed in Turkish Dec 16 Iraq
ANKARA, Dec. 25 2007 - Turkey's General Staff said between 150 and 175 Kurdish guerrillas were killed in a large-scale
air offensive on Dec. 16 that targeted rebel camps in northern Iraq.
The PKK's command centre, battle units, shelters, training camps in northern
Iraq were hit in the same offensive, the General Staff said in a statement.
Many wounded PKK members were brought to hospitals in northern Iraqi cities
after the air strikes, the statement said.
ready to stage new raids against PKK in northern Iraq
ANKARA, Dec. 29 2007
Turkey said Friday it would
continue its military operations against Kurdish terrorists in
northern Iraq, after several attacks this month against members
of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
"It was decided that
the operations carried out with success by our armed forces will
be pursued with determination," the country's national security
council (MGK) said in a statement published on its Internet
The council stated that Turkish forces had inflicted heavy
losses against the PKK rebels and largely destroyed their supply
and communications systems, while "the zones with civilian
populations have not experienced any losses."
The MGK statement comes after three bombing raids the army
says it has launched since December 16 and which it claims have
killed more than 160 rebels.
Turkey has massed up to 100,000 soldiers in its southeast
near the Iraqi border, and in October the government secured a
one-year parliamentary authorisation for cross-border military
action to hunt down PKK terrorists. The PKK is listed as a
terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the
Major success against terrorist group
Turkish military says further operations in the region will be carried out,
using the same determination as previously.
NTV - Dec. 25 2007
ANKARA - Military strikes against camps and
bases of the terrorist group the PKK between December 16 and 22 caused up to
175 casualties, according to a statement issued by the Turkish General Staff
This figure does not include members of the PKK who,
to use the term used in the General Staff communiqué, had been rendered
ineffective by attacks on hide outs and caves during this period, or the
dozens of injured terrorists who were taken to hospitals in Irbil, Raniyah,
Kaladiza and Choman.
During recent cross border operations, three command and two communications
centres, two training centres, nine logistics centres, 182 hide-outs/caves,
10 anti aircraft defence sites and 14 ammunition storages depots belonging
to the PKK were completely destroyed, the statement said.
The General Staff statement also denied all allegations made during an Iraqi
press conference on December 24 that Iraqi civilians had been killed due to
Such allegations do not represent the truth as no civilians were the target
of Turkish Armed Forces, the Turkish General Staff statement said.
Over 150 PKK killed in Turkish December 16 Iraq strikes
ANKARA (Reuters Dec 25, 2007) - Turkey's military said on Tuesday that
between 150 and 175 Kurdish guerrillas were killed in a large-scale air
offensive on December 16 that targeted rebel camps in northern Iraq, the
first in a series of cross-border attacks.
Turkey launched the offensive, involving some 50 war planes, against
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases after receiving intelligence and
clearance from the United States.
NATO-member Turkey says it has the right to use force to combat the PKK,
which uses the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq as a
launchpad to mount attacks in which they have killed dozens of Turkish
troops in recent months.
The General Staff said in a statement more than 200 targets were hit on
December 16, including three command centers, two communications centers,
two training camps, nine logistical areas, 182 living quarters, and 14
"All targets that were taken under fire were hit with full success in the
air operation, in which most developed target detection and strike control
systems were used."
The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey
and the European Union, has denied any of its members were killed in the
The General Staff said many wounded PKK members were brought to hospitals
in northern Iraqi cities after the air strikes. It added that the 150-175
figure of killed guerrillas did not include those killed when their camps,
many in caves, collapsed.
The military provided black and white video and still images of laser
guided missiles hitting targets as well as destroyed buildings, but offered
no images of casualties or close-ups of the camps destroyed.
Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people since the
group began its armed rebellion for a separate homeland in southeast Turkey
in 1984. Turkey says some 3,000 PKK members are based in the mountains of
northern Iraq. Turkey's government authorize the military to launch cross-border
operations following what it said were insufficient steps by Iraqi
authorities to crack down on the PKK.
Turkish warplanes bomb PKK
Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq close
to the Turkish border on Tuesday Dec. 25 in a new cross-border attack, a senior military
source told Reuters.
The military source, who declined to be named, said the jets launched the
limited strikes after spotting suspected Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
guerrillas while on a reconnaissance flight along the border.
U.S. Helps Turkey Hit Rebel Kurds In Iraq
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Washington Post - Staff Writers Ann
Scott Tyson and Robin Wright
The United States is providing Turkey with real-time intelligence that has
helped the Turkish military target a series of attacks this month against
Kurdish separatists holed up in northern Iraq,
including a large airstrike on Sunday, according to Pentagon officials.
U.S. military personnel have set up a center for sharing intelligence in
Ankara, the Turkish capital, providing imagery and other immediate information
gathered from U.S. aircraft and unmanned drones flying over the separatists'
mountain redoubts, the officials said. A senior administration official said the
goal of the U.S. program is to identify the movements and activities of the
Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), which is fighting to create an autonomous enclave
The United States is "essentially handing them their targets," one
U.S. military official said. The Turkish military then decides whether to act on
the information and notifies the United States, the official said.
"They said, 'We want to do something.' We said, 'Okay, it's your
decision,' " the official said yesterday, although he denied that the
United States had explicitly approved the strikes.
Sunday's airstrikes provoked outrage in Baghdad, particularly among Kurdish
members of the country's leadership. Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish
regional government, which administers three northern Iraqi provinces, called
the attack "a violation of Iraq's sovereignty." He blamed the U.S.
military, which controls Iraqi airspace, for allowing Turkish warplanes to cross
the border. The Iraqi parliament also condemned the attacks yesterday.
The American role in aiding Turkey, a NATO ally, could complicate U.S.
diplomatic initiatives in Iraq, particularly efforts to push Iraqi political
leaders to enact legislation aimed at promoting political reconciliation.
The cooperation with Turkey also places the United States in the position of
aiding a country that refused to allow U.S. forces to use its territory to open
a northern front against the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003. It also
alienates Iraq's Kurdish minority, whose leaders strongly support the U.S. troop
presence in Iraq.
But persistent attacks in Turkey by PKK rebels operating from bases in the
Qandil mountains have presented a thorny dilemma for U.S. policymakers. Turkey
has threatened to mount a full-scale, cross-border incursion to clear out PKK
camps in northern Iraq. That could effectively open a new front in the Iraq war
and disrupt the flow of supplies to the U.S. military in Iraq, which receives 70
percent of its air cargo and a third of its fuel through Turkey.
The intelligence cooperation comes as senior U.S. military and Pentagon
officials have engaged in talks with their Turkish counterparts to produce a
more comprehensive strategy for combating the PKK, according to a senior
military official familiar with the discussions. In addition to providing
targets, U.S. military officials said they have encouraged the Turks to employ
nonmilitary measures against the PKK and to hold a dialogue with the Iraqi
U.S. intelligence allowed the Turkish military to inflict what it called
"significant" losses on a group of scores of Kurdish rebels in Iraq in
an operation on Dec. 1. It was also decisive in another Turkish strike on Sunday,
when Iraqi officials said Turkish warplanes pounded Kurdish villages deep in
northern Iraq, killing one woman and forcing hundreds of villagers to flee their
homes in the largest aerial assault from Turkey this year.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates earlier stated that a dearth of "actionable
intelligence" was preventing more aggressive actions against the
separatists. Senior military officials acknowledged that the PKK, labeled a
terrorist organization by the United States, had not been not a priority for the
U.S. military in Iraq as it grappled with a persistent insurgency and sectarian
"We want to help the Turks with the PKK," Gates said in October.
"If we were to come up with specific information, that we and the Iraqis
would be prepared to do the appropriate thing and . . . provide that information,"
he said. Until now, however, officials had not provided details of the
intelligence provided or how it was gathered. The officials, citing the
sensitivity of the subject, spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
Turkey, according to U.S. officials, was eager to have the information.
"They wanted to go after them," a U.S. military official said. The
intelligence center was set up in Ankara with the help of U.S. military
personnel. In addition, scarce U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft and
unmanned aerial vehicles were diverted from other parts of Iraq to search for
PKK locations in the mountainous area along Iraq's border with Turkey.
Senior Pentagon officials, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S.
commander in Iraq; Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff; and Gen. John Craddock, head of the U.S. European Command, began talks
last month with the Turkish military on joint counterinsurgency efforts against
the PKK that would incorporate diplomatic, political and financial measures.
The United States is also trying to establish a regional dialogue among
Turkey, Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdish regional government.
U.S. officials said Kurdish regional forces in northern Iraq recently closed
PKK offices and set up roadblocks in an attempt to cut off supplies to rebel
The high-level talks are a response to a pledge made by President Bush to
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Nov. 5 to address a rash of cross-border
incursions into Turkey. Ankara deployed up to 100,000 troops along Turkey's
border with Iraq after more than 40 soldiers and civilians were killed in PKK
attacks this fall.
Erdogan told reporters before a trip to the United States last month that
Turkey has "run out of patience with the terrorist attacks being staged
from northern Iraq" and said relations between the United States and Turkey
were "undergoing a serious test."
But a senior U.S. administration official said the "deal on intelligence"
and military visits had created "a sense that we're in a different phase of
this relationship. The Turks want to see how this works."
Special correspondent Zaid Sabah in Baghdad contributed to this report.
US Reacts Cautiously
to Turkish Air Strikes in Iraq
The Bush administration is encouraging greater coordination between
Turkey and Iraq, following Turkish air strikes targeting Kurdish rebels in
The State Department declined to comment specifically on Turkey's air strikes,
widely reported to be the largest attack on Kurdish rebels in years.
Spokesman Tom Casey stated the United States continues to believe that militants
of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, cannot be tolerated.
"We remain concerned by the threat posed by the PKK to Turkey, to Iraq
and to the United States, and we think it is important that everything be done
to deal with that threat," said Tom Casey.
Voice of America, Dec. 17. 2007
Senior Turkish diplomat says U.S. intelligence shared with
Turkey's Ambassador to Washington, Nabi Şensoy, told reporters Wednesday
that about 50 Turkish fighter planes were involved in two waves of air strikes
early Sunday morning against PKK targets inside northern Iraq.
"As a result there is heavy damage to the infrastructure of PKK presence
in the Qandil Mountains and in the [PKK] camps along the Turkish border,"
Ambassador Sensoy said the success of the attack was due to the intelligence
the United States shared with Turkey, but he would not confirm if or when U.S.
military officials were informed of the strikes.
The White House said Tuesday the United States continues to share
intelligence on the PKK with both Turkey and Iraq. But officials refused comment
on reports that U.S. intelligence helped Turkish authorities target the PKK.
Iraq's parliament has condemned the attacks. An Iraqi government spokesman
called the airstrike "unacceptable" and warned it would lead to "complicated
problems." Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq went further, saying the attack
was a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and they accused the U.S. of approving it
because it controls Iraq's airspace.
Relations between the United States and Turkey have been strained in recent
months over the PKK and other issues, but Ambassador Sensoy says they have
improved following Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to
Washington in early November. He says the intelligence sharing that led to
Sunday's raid is the first tangible result of that renewed cooperation.
But the ambassador says this week's raids against the PKK are not likely to
be the last.
"It was declared in the past that whatever necessary will be done,"
he said. "As I said, this is not a once and for all operation, but I think
it has served its purpose, because of the fact that all of the targets have been
hit with precision - that's what we know at this point. And the ultimate target
is the elimination of the PKK terrorist organization in the north of the country,
and Turkey will do whatever is necessary to achieve that."
Ambassador Şensoy says Sunday's raid, and another small incursion on Tuesday,
send a strong message to the PKK that the Turkish military is capable of
tracking them down wherever they may be.
Voice of America, Dec.
19. 2007 VOA
Turkey's U.S.-Backed Strike in Iraq
The official U.S. line is that Washington did not approve Turkey's Sunday air
strike on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq. But the U.S. does control the skies
over Iraq and the Pentagon did open airspace over Iraq for at least three hours
to Turkish warplanes. It was also informed of the raids beforehand, according to
an American spokesperson in Ankara. "By opening its airspace, America gave
its approval to the operation," Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit said. He
also said U.S. intelligence provided targeting information for the attack. The
U.S. may not have formally approved Sunday's operation, but it did everything
short of that. In fact, the raids "show a degree of tactical cooperation
between the U.S. and Turkey that we have not seen since the beginning of the
Iraq war," according to Mark Parris, a former U.S.ambassador to Turkey now
at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. Washington may see such raids as
the best way to prevent tensions between Turkey and Iraq from spilling over into
a broader conflict.
Turkish leaders say they were pleased with the air strike, the first by
Ankara's warplanes on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq since Turkey passed a
resolution approving such cross-border raids to pursue militants of the
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) back in October. The PKK has been waging a
separatist campaign against Turkish security forces since the 1970s, most
recently attacking Turkish targets from bases within Iraq. On Sunday, the PKK
said five of its militants were killed; according to Iraqi officials, at least
one woman civilian was killed as well. Meanwhile, hundreds have been forced to
flee their homes. "This operation, which was carried out under night
conditions, was a success," the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, said. The Turkish struggle against the PKK "will continue inside
and outside Turkey," he added. But Iraqi officials have denounced the raids,
summoning the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad for consultations and calling for a
cessation of attacks that "cause harm to innocent people."
Turkey has been urging the U.S. to help crack down on PKK militants inside
Iraq itself since 2003 (the U.S. state department classifies the PKK as a
terrorist organization). Those calls became more urgent following the rash of
attacks last October by PKK militants that left some two dozen Turkish soldiers
dead in the course of two weeks, resulting in public outrage in the streets of
Turkey's cities. The U.S. declined to send its own troops. And so too did the
Iraqi Kurdish administration. The crisis placed the U.S. in a diplomatic and
strategic vice between two of its closest allies in the region.
However, following a meeting between the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and
President Bush at the White House on November 5, the U.S. pledged to provide
ongoing intelligence to Turkey to aid in that country's pursuit of "a
common enemy." The President, said a U.S. embassy spokesperson in Ankara,
"made a commitment to enhance our cooperation by intelligence sharing and
we are doing that and we will continue to do that."
Analysts say the weekend operation, which took place before dawn on Sunday,
appears to have been triggered by intelligence on the whereabouts of key Kurdish
targets and is probably not the beginning of a wider offensive. Nevertheless, it
was by far the largest Turkish incursion to date. Previous operations over the
past six weeks have involved some cross-border shelling and, in one case,
helicopter attacks. This was the first to include warplanes. With up to 50
aircraft involved, it was also one of the largest Turkey has launched in years.
The operation targeted several villages near the Turkish border and in the
Qandil mountains, about 60 miles from the Turkish frontier, straddling the
border between Iraq and Iran. Turkish newspapers reported that a PKK commander
was killed in the raid, but that report could not be confirmed. Turkey said it
chose its targets "with sensitivity" based on intelligence that there
were no civilians in the area. "Broadcasts that civilians were fired on
" said General Buyukanit, only "serve the purposes of the PKK
The Turkish government had been threatening to send its own troops across the
border to crack down on PKK bases inside Iraq since last October's attacks on
Turkish troops. Washington and Baghdad at the time urged restraint, fearing that
a large-scale incursion into Iraq by Turkish troops would trigger a broader
clash not with the PKK but with soldiers under the command of the Iraqi Kurdish
administration, thus destabilizing the one part of Iraq that has managed to
avoid civil conflict so far.
Now, says Parris, "the U.S. has finally closed the gap between what we
have been saying about the PKK and what we are actually doing." Turkish
editorial views of U.S. policy has markedly improved in recent weeks. Turkey for
its part has found a way to ease public pressure to act without raising the risk
of a wider conflict. But while the attacks appear to be achieving a diplomatic
objective, the military goal of rooting out the PKK from the high mountains of
northern Iraq will likely prove a good deal more elusive.
Turkish troops cross into Iraq to fight PKK
Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq in a series of small-scale raids
against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers's Party (PKK) terrorists, as part of an
operation that follows the large air strike over the weekend. Between 300 and
500 soldiers crossed the border.
US enables Turkish bombing of Iraq -
Says Turkish raids 'in keeping' with previous raids
The US State Department said Monday that Turkish air raids on PKK (Kurdistan
Workers' Party) bases in northern Iraq appeared "in keeping with"
past strikes. When asked if the strikes were "appropriate," Tom
Casey, a State Department spokesman, reiterated the US position stating:
"We face a common enemy -- Turkey, the United States, and Iraq -- from
Casey further stated, "It's a terrorist organization and we certainly
want to see actions taken that put it out of business," he said. "That
said, we want to make sure that the actions that are taken are done in an
appropriate way, that hit only those targets that are PKK and avoid civilian
casualties," he said.
Casey added that it was important that any actions "should be coordinated
to the extent possible between Turkey and Iraq."
In a related development, Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman,
became the first U.S. official to formally announce that Washington was
providing the Turkish military with "actionable intelligence" in the
fight against the PKK. In defense terminology, actionable intelligence means
information on which an immediate military action can be based.Whitman said
the Pentagon was providing information that would be "helpful in dealing
with this insurgent terrorist threat." When asked by reporters if his
remark meant that the Pentagon had indeed provided the Turkish military with
such "actionable intelligence," Whitman said, "That's probably
The head of Turkey's General Staff, General Yasar
Buyukanit, stated that Washington gave intelligence for the raids and opened up
northern Iraqi airspace. The Turkish general staff said warplanes had carried
out air strikes early Sunday against PKK positions in northern Iraq. Artillery
pounded the targets after the air raids.
In October the Turkish parliament granted permission for the government to
launch a major military operation.
Intelligence center in Ankara
Meanwhile the Washington Post reported that
U.S. military personnel have set up a center for sharing intelligence in
Ankara, the Turkish capital, providing imagery and other immediate information
gathered from U.S. aircraft and unmanned drones flying over the terrorists'
mountain hideouts, in a story published yesterday. Scarce U.S. military
reconnaissance aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles were diverted from other
parts of Iraq to search for PKK locations in the mountainous area along Iraq's
border with Turkey, the paper said.
* * *
In Iraq the leader of the Iraqi Kurdish government refused to meet
Condoleezza Rice after America supported Turkish air and land attacks on
Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Rice later flew from Iraq to Turkey where she
spent the evening at the Turkish Incirlik airbase.
The decision of Iraqi Kurdish leaders Massoud Barzani not to meet with Rice
came after two days of attacks, first by Turkish planes that bombed positions
in the mountains, and then by Turkish troops who entered about two miles into
Iraq before withdrawing.
In Washington, Dana Perino, a White House spokesman, said that America
regarded the PKK as a "threat" and was working with regional allies,
including Turkey, to deal with it. "I can tell you that of course we are
co-ordinating with the Turkish and Iraqi authorities in the area," she
"The PKK is a threat to Turkey, to Iraq, and to the United States. So
we continue to share information, share intelligence, with them. The Turks
have moved forward with our co-ordination and in communication with the Iraqis
in order to eradicate that threat."
Speaking during her visit to Iraq, Miss Rice said that the
United States, Iraq and Turkey had a "common interest" in dealing
with secessionist PKK rebels. But she said that Turkey's efforts must not
destabilise the region. While stressing the attacks were the result of a
"Turkish decision", she implied that the American armed forces,
which control the airspace over Iraq, had given tacit approval. (Dec. 17,
Army: Night-time air strikes a succuss
The Turkish military confirms that the operation
proved its night-time air strike capabilities.
All pre-designated outlawed Kurdistan Workers
Party (PKK) targets inside northern Iraq successfully hit during air strikes.
ANKARA (Dec. 18, 2007)
A day following the military's cross-border
operation into northern Iraq to wipe out outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party
(PKK) bases, the military brass analyzed the results on the field as well as
the operational capability of the Turkish Armed Forces.
The office of the Chief of Staff yesterday announced
that all designated targets were eliminated, according to initial
inspections. Warplanes hit the Kandil mountains and the Zap, Avaşin and
Hakurk encampments and reached as far as 110 kilometers into northern Iraq
to show that even the Kandil mountains are not beyond the
Losses on the PKK side are still being calculated,
and Turkish forces did not suffer any casualties. The Turkish military also
tested its coordination skills for a comprehensive night-time air
strike that involved F-16s that used the Low Altitude Navigation and
Targeting Infrared for Night system for the first time (LANTIRN) and F-4s
that provided cover. Laser-guided bombs were also used against PKK
The office of the Chief of Staff handed out real-time
camera images of bombings recorded by planes that laser pointed targets, as
well as images on the results on the aftermath of the operation.
Targets were added after sound confirmation that
they were out of residential areas, the office of the Chief of Staff
said. Not a single civilian target was hit, said Büyükanıt.
Local reports confirmed that crucial PKK
targets were hit and serious damage was inflicted. The private NTV channel
said the PKK's central headquarters in Levje village was wiped out and
six PKK members were killed, according to northern Iraqi Kurdish
sources. The death toll of terrorists may be higher, as the local Kurds
indicate that terrorists left mountaintops to settle in more convenient
Büyükanıt urged the media to focus more on the
message delivered by the operation rather than its results.
Even if it's winter, even if there is snow, even
if they live in caves, we'll find them and hit them, he said. These
operations will continue all the time.
Büyükanıt said that United States intelligence was
used during the military's attack against terrorist targets. America gave
intelligence, Kanal D television quoted Büyükanit as saying.
But more importantly, America last night opened [Iraqi]
airspace to us. By opening the airspace, America gave its approval to this
Washington will continue
Concerning Turkish air strikes, the U.S. State
Department said Washington respected Turkey's right to defend itself against
the PKK terrorists.
"It's the Turkish decision. We respect Turkey's
right to defend itself against terrorism," Chase Beamer, a spokesman
for the State Department's European bureau told the Turkish Daily News."The
PKK, as a common threat for Turkey, Iraq and the U.S. must be eliminated,"
Beamer said. He said the U.S. was committed to increased intelligence
sharing with Turkey, as agreed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and
U.S. President George W. Bush at a White House meeting in early
"We understand that the targets were PKK targets.
We understand that no villages were targeted," Beamer said.
Beamer said he could not confirm the reports about
Iraqi claims of civilian casualties, but added that "of course, if
there's any loss of life, it's a tragedy."
Pentagon: U.S. was informed before Turkish air
raid in N Iraq
The United States was
informed by Turkey before its planned air raids in northern Iraq against PKK
bases took place over the weekend, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
"We had ample notification of the air strikes by the Turkish Air Force
against PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party) positions in northern Iraq,"
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said, confirming for the first time that
Washington knew of Ankara's plans.
"It was communicated to us through the Ankara coordination center, this
has been opened for some months now, in which you have Turkish personnel
along with U.S. military personnel working to share intelligence."
Turkey's Ambassador to the United States Nabi Sensoy
said on Wednesday that it was American intelligence that made Turkey's
latest raids in northern Iraq on PKK bases possible.
It was reported that Turkish chief of staff General Yasar Buyukanit said
earlier in the week that the United States gave the green light for Sunday's
air raids by providing "intelligence" and opening Iraqi airspace.
Security operations are underway in southeastern and eastern Turkey as
100,000 Turkish troops have massed along Turkish-Iraqi borders in
preparations for a possible cross-border operation to crush about 3,000-strong
In addition, Turkish troops entered the Iraqi
territories in the northern Kurdish autonomous region early on Tuesday,
The United States, supporting Ankara's effort to fight the outlawed PKK
operating at Turkey-Iraq border area, declined to condemn Turkey's
unilateral incursion into Iraq on the PKK.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and
the European Union, launched an armed campaign for an ethnic homeland in
southeastern Turkey in 1984. Sunday's attack came a month after the U.S.
promised to share intelligence with Turkey to help combat the PKK. Turkey
has massed tens of thousands of troops along its border with Iraq. In
October, the Turkish parliament voted in favor of authorizing the government
to order a cross-border operation against the group.
December 20, 2007
Turkey provided U.S. with ample warning
WASHINGTON Turkey provided the United States with ample
warning that it was making an incursion into Iraq, State and Defense
Departments officials stated on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007.
The question of whether Turkish authorities gave their counterparts
adequate warning percolated after some American officials in Washington and
Baghdad said the two countries needed to improve communication,
administration officials said. While the United States provided Turkey with
the intelligence to go after Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, there has been
some mild grumbling from the State Department that not everyone up the chain
of command was adequately informed beforehand.
Turkish troops carried out a brief attack into northern Iraq overnight
Monday. The operation took place two days after Turkey carried out broad
airstrikes in northern Iraq against the group on Dec. 16. The United States
provided intelligence and opened Iraqi airspace for the strikes, American
and Turkish officials said. The Turkish moves have placed the United States
in a delicate position between Turkey, a NATO ally, and an Iraqi government
that has refused to act against the Kurdish militants.
The senior Bush administration official said that, over all, American
officials were satisfied with the coordination between the United States and
Turkey. The United States, Iraq and Turkey have an office in Ankara, the
Turkish capital, to share intelligence.
Let me put it this way, said a Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell,
using the initials by which the Kurdistan Workers Party is known. We had
ample notification of the airstrikes by the Turkish Air Force over the
weekend on P.K.K. positions in northern Iraq. I can sit here today and tell
you emphatically there was indeed notification provided to us prior to the
bombing bombings that it was communicated to us through an apparatus
that we have set up in Ankara, the Ankara Coordination Center.
Source: New York Times, Helene Cooper - Dec. 20, 2007
Pentagon News Briefing
Subject: Turkish Air Strikes on PKK bases in Northern Iraq.
*Question concerning Turkish military informing U.S. military on operations
(as a result of news accounts that top U.S. commanders in Iraq were angered and
not informed in advance).
EXCERPT OF U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT NEWS BRIEFING (click
December 19, 2007
Turkey pre-warned US of raids on Kurd rebels: Pentagon
WASHINGTON (AFP Dec. 20, 2007) Turkey informed the United States
well in advance before launching weekend air raids into northern Iraq
against Kurdish rebel bases, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
"We had ample notification of the air strikes by the Turkish Air
Force against PKK (Kurdish separatist group) positions in northern Iraq,"
spokesman Geoff Morrell said, confirming for the first time that Washington
knew of Ankara's plans.
"It was communicated to us through the Ankara coordination center,
this has been opened for some months now, in which you have Turkish
personnel along with US military personnel working to share intelligence."
He told reporters the coordination had been "adequate" and
said the Pentagon had nothing to complain about.
Terrorism / International Law / The Right of Hot Pursuit and
AP on Turkish "Hot Pursuit"
WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. and Turkish military officials were working
Wednesday to streamline procedures for any future attacks against rebels in
northern Iraq after top American officials in Baghdad were angered about how
Sunday's Turkish bombing unfolded.
Americans have been providing Turkey with intelligence to go after the
Kurdish rebels, and a "coordination center" has been set up in
Ankara so Turks, Iraqis and Americans can share information, officials have
But State Department and Defense Department officials in Washington and
Baghdad said top U.S. commanders in Iraq didn't know about the incursion
plan until the first of two waves of Turkish planes were already on their
way either crossing the border or already over it.
The Turkish military did not inform the American military as quickly as
had been agreed. That meant the U.S. had to rush to clear air space for the
incursion, two defense officials and a State Department official said on
condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
One Washington official said the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David
Petraeus, was angered by the development. Another said American diplomats
complained to the Turks about it.
The Turks replied they were chasing rebels and there had not been time
for notification earlier, according to a senior State Department official.
Turkish officials were not immediately available to comment.
"They said it was hot pursuit," the U.S. official said.
"There are supposed to be coordinating mechanisms for this kind of
thing with us and the Iraqis, and whatever happens in the heat of the
moment, they have to tell us in a reasonable and timely manner," the
official added. "We have told them it would be extremely helpful if
they were more forthcoming on the notification."
Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman Wednesday disputed there
was a problem, saying "the right people knew at the time." He
declined to elaborate.
None of the officials gave details about precisely what procedures had
been agreed to. But one noted that the process is complex because it
involves Turkey, Iraq, the U.S. and potentially neighboring governments such
as Tehran because some rebel camps are near the Iranian border.
For the U.S. alone, the issue cuts across two military commands the
European Command that takes in Turkey and the Central Command, which is
managing the war in Iraq.
"It starts in Ankara (with the Turkish military informing the U.S.
military) ... then goes up the chain, then the air space is de-conflicted,"
or cleared, one Washington official said. "It was the Turks who on the
first go-around did not give the desired lead time."
It was unclear what the Turkish procedure is for informing Iraq when it
plans to move into Iraqi territory. But in Sunday's case, the American
military in Baghdad ended up notifying the Iraqi government that planes had
already been sent to strike targets of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
Source: Associated Press, By Pauline Jelinek - Dec. 20, 2007 Associated Press
Turkey: U.S. helped in PKK attack
(Dec. 20, 2007)
-- Turkey's ambassador to the United States said Wednesday his country's
air strikes this week against Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq were
the result of real-time, actionable intelligence provided by the United
"No doubt this was possible because of information provided by the
United States of America," Amb. Nabi Sensoy told reporters. Sensoy said
the operations were "tangible results" of enhanced cooperation
between the two countries since a visit to Washington last month by Turkish
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which U.S. President George W.
Bush promised the United States would do all it could to help Turkey fight
the threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), including providing
intelligence on PKK targets.
The PKK has spent two decades fighting for autonomy for Kurds in
southeastern Turkey, with some of its attacks staged from locations in
northern Iraq. The United States and European Union consider the group a
Responding to reports that Turkey didn't give the United States enough
notice before the attack, he said the United States was informed by the
Turkish military about the operation and the two sides "are in constant
contact." Although it will take time to assess the damage to the PKK
and the casualties, Sensoy said "there is no doubt" the PKK
infrastructure has been severely weakened. "This is not a once and for
all operation, but I think it has served its purpose because all targets
have been hit," he said. "The ultimate target is the elimination
of the PKK operation."
Iraq's U.S.-backed government condemned the Turkish raids, saying they
"add insult to injury." The head of northern Iraq's Kurdish
regional government boycotted a Baghdad meeting with U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice to protest U.S. support for the Turkish attacks. The United
States has been pushing for tri-lateral cooperation with the government of
Iraq, but Sensoy said such cooperation "had not produced any tangible
results" to date.
Erdogan called Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Tuesday, Sensoy
said. Zebari told Erdogan that the Iraqis understand Turkish concerns about
the PKK, and that the Iraqi government doesn't want the group on its soil.
"This shows we are all speaking the same language that the PKK must be
eliminated," Sensoy said. But he blasted the Kurdish Regional
Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, which he said is not living up to its
responsibility to crack down on the PKK.
"The fact is that the PKK presence in northern Iraq could not have
survived in northern Iraq without some assistance of course," he said.
"The regional government must assume its responsibility." Sensoy
added that Turkey was "puzzled" by the Kurdish response to Turkish
concerns, because Turkey was "very helpful to Iraqi Kurds during the
first Gulf War." "We didn't get the cooperation we thought we
deserved from the Kurdish regional government," he said. "Our
expectations have not been fulfilled by the northern authorities so
far." He did note that there have been "some signs" of
increased responsibility by the KRG in recent weeks, possibly a result of US
pressure. Turkey wants the KRG to stop giving logistical support to the PKK,
stop giving the group airtime on its broadcast networks and ban it from
creating "front parties" to take part in Kurdish elections, he
Sensoy said that the United States has promised to send an inspector to
northern Iraq to investigate charges that U.S. weapons were ending up in the
hands of PKK rebels. Sensoy said that Turkish "resentment" toward
the United States over a perceived lack of support on the PKK issue and a
House committee vote declaring the Ottoman-era killings of an estimated 1.5
million Armenians a "genocide," a sensitive topic among Turks, had
subsided and the two countries remain "friends and allies" that
cooperate on many issues.
Turkey stages new air attack on PKK terrorist bases in
"Turkish Air Force warplanes struck important targets of the PKK/KONGRA-GEL
terror group in northern Iraq" stated a General Staff statement, posted
on its website www.tsk.mil.tr.
ANKARA (Dec. 22, 2007)
Turkey's military said it attacked Kurdish separatist terrorsts
in northern Iraq Saturday for the third time in less than a week, bombing
and shelling positions and warning more will follow. It gave no
details on targets, saying further information would be given next week and
that it would carry out more operations despite harsh winter conditions in
the mountainous region. Actions over recent weeks had left "hundreds of
terrorists" dead, the military added. The Turkish television
channel NTV said the raids were in the Amadiyah area of northern Iraq.
Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish separatist terrorsts targets in
northern Iraq on Saturday in a new cross-border offensive, the General Staff
The Turkish military said the offensive against the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) inside Turkey, and across the border in northern Iraq,
"The PKK will understand through experience that northern Iraq is not a
safe place and they will understand once again that they have no chance
against the Turkish military," the General Staff statement said.
Turkey says it has the right to use force to combat separatist rebels who
shelter in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, from where they plan attacks
in which thousands of civilians and Turkish troops have been killed
over the years.
The Turkish military said its ground forces fired on the same PKK
targets two hours after the aerial bombardment.
According to news reports military sources in southeast Turkey said at least
10 warplanes participated in the air offensive, targeting approximately five
areas where the PKK are believed to take refuge during the winter months.
After a flurry of diplomatic activity, Iraq has promised to rein in
the PKK. In November US President George W. Bush said Washington would
provide Ankara with information on rebel movements from its satellites.
Turkish chief of staff General Yasar Buyukanit stated that the United States
approved the recent air raids on December 16 by providing "intelligence"
and opening Iraqi airspace.
NATO-member Turkey has stepped up its offensive against Kurdish terrorists
based in northern Iraq over the past week, launching two offensives, one
involving 50 fighter jets on Dec. 16 and the other involving several hundred
ground troops two days later. U.S. intelligence shared with Turkey led to
the Dec. 16 bombing raids, Turkey's ambassador to the United States said on
Wednesday. The General Staff stated that hundreds of PKK guerrillas were
eliminated in the recent operations.
(AFP / Reuters / Turkish news sources)
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) Dec. 23, 2007 Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish
rebel targets in northern Iraq on Saturday in the third confirmed cross-border
offensive by Turkish forces in less than a week, the military said.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara said it was informed before the assault took
place, but gave no further information. The United States and Iraq both have
urged Turkey to avoid a major operation in the area, fearing it could
destabilize what has been the calmest region in Iraq.
The bombing lasted nearly a half-hour on Saturday afternoon, and was
followed by shelling from inside Turkish borders, the military said in a
statement posted on its Web site.
Iraqi President Tells Turkey not to expect much help from Iraqi
forces in fighting PKK
International Herald Tribune (Oct. 17, 2007) - Iraqi President Jalal
Talabani cautioned Wednesday that Turkey should not expect much help in fighting
PKK rebels from bogged-down Iraqi security forces.
Talabani, who is an ethnic Kurd, spoke hours before the Turkish parliament
voted overwhelmingly to authorize a possible cross-border offensive to chase
separatists in the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
"The Iraqi government can't fight against the PKK with its armed forces,
because we are now occupied with maintaining and establishing security and peace,"
Talabani said in Paris. "We need our security forces for peace in the
streets of Baghdad not in the Kurdish mountains."
Talabani was in Paris for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
He said he hoped the "wisdom" of Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish leaders "will be so active that there will
be no military intervention" despite one being authorized.
"We have asked the PKK to stop fighting, to end the so-called military
activity," Talabani said. Otherwise, they should "please leave our
PKK attacks trigger public outrage as parliament approves
The PKK, which has been officially recognized as a terrorist
organization by Washington, the European Union, and NATO, has fought Turkish
forces since 1984. It is also responsible for
killing civilians, targeting tourists, and conducting operations in European
Union countries. PKK rebels carry out attacks on Turkish soil and then cross
the border to sanctuaries in northern Iraq. For many years Turkey has sought
U.S. and Iraqi assistance in preventing these acts of terror. Turkey has
repeatedly accused Iraqi Kurds of tolerating the situation, and has been
disturbed by the lack of U.S. action to counter PKK activitıes in northern Iraq.
Under these circumstances Ankara is seeking results and has declared that Turkey
will exercise the
right of self-defense, and the right to take action against terrorism and
In addition to the small-scale "hot pursuit" raids into Iraq by
Turkish troops, Turkey's army has staged over two dozen large-scale
incursions into northern Iraq between the late 1980s and 1997. Turkey
launched major incursions into northern Iraq in 1995 with 35,000 troops, and the
1997 operation involved tens of thousands of soldiers and government-paid
A major offensive is now being considered by Turkey to combat the PKK
terror organization in northern Iraq. As a result of the deteriorating security
situation in Iraq, and the inability of U.S. and Iraqi forces to counter PKK
terrorism, Ankara is backing a cross-border military operation. Over the
last 10 days, more than two dozen soldiers and civilians died in attacks by PKK
terrorists in the southeast.
Earlier this year, General Yasar Buyukanit, Commander of
the Turkish Armed Forces, stated that a Turkish military operation "must be
made" to hit PKK bases in northern Iraq. As Turks vowed to fight
terror, protests were held across the country to condemned a suicide bomb attack
in the capital, which killed nine people and injured more than 100.
Turkey for many years has warned allies, countries in the region, and the
international community of the dangers of the freely operating PKK training
camps in northern Iraq (which according to recent reports are now receiving
weapons intended for U.S. forces in Iraq). Ankara continues to call for
effective action in accordance with international and multinational agreements. While Turkey once again plans a major offensive against the PKK, it is calling
upon the international community to focus on the PKK's geopolitical and economic destabilization of the region,
and the new security risks posed by the PKK, if the outlawed organization's bases and
global networks are not disrupted. (Oct. 2007)
Who are the PKK?
(Reuters) - Turkey's parliament met on Wednesday Oct. 17 to authorize cross-border
operations to hunt down PKK rebels hiding in mountainous northern Iraq.
Following are facts on the rebels:
-- Abdullah Ocalan founded the party in 1974 and it was formally named the Kurdistan
Workers' Party (PKK) in 1978, a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group fighting for
an independent Kurdish state.
-- It earned a reputation for ruthlessness by killing members of rival groups,
Kurdish "aga" landlords and pro-government tribesmen.
-- The PKK took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an
ethnic homeland in the southeast. More than 30,000 people have been killed in
the conflict since then.
-- Ocalan was captured and sentenced to death by a Turkish court in 1999, but
the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in October 2002 after Turkey
abolished the death penalty.
-- Fighting dwindled after Ocalan's capture and the withdrawal of rebel
fighters from Turkey.
-- Clashes have resumed in recent years and last week Kurdish rebels shot
dead 13 Turkish soldiers.
-- Some 3,000 PKK fighters are based in northern Iraq and launch attacks on
security and civilian targets in Turkish territory.
Terrorists and seperatist rebels inside Turkey are also responsible for
killing civilians and security forces..
Turkish Protestors Demand Action
Protests held to condemn PKK
Thousands of people held protests yesterday in several cities including İzmir,
Ankara, Gaziantep, Çanakkale, Malatya, Edirne, Bayburt, Erzurum, Giresun,
Tokat, Kırşehir, Çankırı and Bolu
ANKARA Turkish Daily News
Protests condemning the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
continued across the country yesterday following the ambush of a Turkish army
patrol by Kurdish terrorists in Hakkari that that killed at least 12
Despite the heavy rain, thousands of people and many Izmir-based
NGOs held a big demonstration in İzmir yesterday. Protesters gathered
in front of a statue of the Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in
Cumhuriyet Square and denounced PKK terrorism while singing the Turkish
national anthem. They also chanted slogans against the government and the
The PKK attack was also condemned in Ankara with the
participation many citizens including students and members of trade unions and
NGOs who gathered in Ankara's busy Kızılay Square before marching to Sıhhiye
while shouting the slogans Turks and Kurds are brothers, separatists are
treacherous! and We don't want the PKK in Parliament!
Large-scale protests also took place yesterday in Gaziantep, Çanakkale,
Malatya, Edirne, Bayburt, Erzurum, Giresun, Tokat, Kırşehir, Çankırı and
Protests reach northern Cyprus
A large number of associations and trade unions in northern
Cyprus denounced the attack by the PPK terrorist attack at a press
conference yesterday. Terrorism is the biggest crime against humanity. We
utterly condemn the PKK attack. As the people of northern Cyprus, we are
determined to give our full support to Turkish soldiers both spiritually and
financially, they said.
Women apply to do military service
An estimated 4,200 people across Turkey flocked to military
offices to enlist themselves voluntarily. Of those, close to 1,200 have
already done military service and 350 are women.
Most volunteers are from central Anatolia and the Black Sea
region. Military sources said that those who want to re-apply for
military service cannot be drafted as soldiers according to the law, but they
can apply for the positions of military specialists. Most of the applications
received by those who wish to do military service earlier than schedule have
Savaş Altay, 34, is a former soldier who did military service
in Hakkari 12 years ago. He reapplied to be drafted as a soldier in the same
region which is where the 12 soldiers were killed. Altay said that he demands
a tough incursion into northern Iraq.
Because the shelters of the PKK terrorists are there. They
take shelter in the caves in the area and these shelters should be destroyed,
he said in an interview with the Turkish Daily News. There are some
countries supporting terrorism and their intelligence agencies provide PKK
terrorists with the communication systems. It is thus essential to destroy
these communication systems in particular.
A group of women from Eğitim-Sen, an educators trade union,
applied to the military office in Ankara's Mamak district to enlist themselves
voluntarily. As Turkish mothers, we can't be silent. We want to be involved
in the defense of the country, they said.
Terror protests spread all around the country
Thousands of people took to the streets in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir,
Bilecik and Bursa in spontaneous demonstrations condemning the recent deadly
attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party
ANKARA Turkish Daily News (October 23, 2007)
An attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that
killed 12 Turkish soldiers Sunday was harshly condemned by NGOs and thousands of
people across Turkey who took to the streets waving Turkish flags and shouting
slogans against the PKK in a second day of protests yesterday.
Thousands of people took to the streets across the
country in spontaneous demonstrations Sunday, hours after terrorists ambushed a
Turkish army patrol in the mountains of Hakkari province, near the Iraqi border.
Protests in Istanbul and Ankara
Similar protests took place yesterday in several cities including
Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. An estimated 3,000 people staged a protest
yesterday in Istanbul to denounce the attack, calling on Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan's government to resign.
Demonstrators gathered at Kadıköy Square on the city's
Anatolian side at the call of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and
demanded tough action against Kurdish separatists. They also chastised the prime
minister for not striking immediately at the PKK bases in northern Iraq.
Chants of "Damn the PKK!" "Martyrs are eternal,
the nation is indivisible," were heard along with "Tayyip, send your
son to the army," in reference to the prime minister's son who was not
drafted for health reasons.
The capital witnessed similar scenes yesterday. A large number of
demonstrators gathered in different spots including Ankara's busy Sakarya and Yüksel
streets, Güvenpark, Ulus, Ümitköy and Keçiören condemning PKK terrorism and
singing the Turkish national anthem.
5,000 İzmir Citizens Condemn Terror
Close to 5,000 protesters gathered in front of a statue of the
Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in Cumhuriyet Square to condemn the
terror and applaud the 12 soldiers who became martyrs in Hakkari's Yüksekova
The protesters chanted slogans such as ''We are the soldiers of
Mustafa Kemal,'' ''Bow out, government,'' and ''We do not want the PKK in the
Ayfer Yüzgeç whose son Deniz was killed in an attack last year,
was also in the crowd. Today, I lost 12 more Deniz's, he said.
The crowd then marched to Gündoğdu Square while singing the
Turkish national anthem. Passing by the military building in 1st Kordon, the
group was shouting ''Turkey is proud of you.
Some 13,000 school children in Bilecik in eastern Turkey held a
moment of silence while people marched down the main street waving the Turkish
flag, the Anatolia news agency reported.
In the northwestern province of Bursa, some protesters walked
into a military conscription office and asked to be enlisted in order to fight
Meanwhile, NGOs that are members of the Turkish-European Union
Mixed Consultation Committee denounced the PKK terrorism.
Presidents of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities
Exchanges (TOBB), Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Türk-İş), Turkish
Confederation of Employers' Unions (TİSK), Labor Confederation (Hak-İş),
Turkish Tradesmen's and Artisans' Confederation (TESK) and Turkish Union of
Agricultural Chambers (TZOB) and the Turkish Public Workers' Labor Union (Kamusen)
came together yesterday to discuss the recent PKK attack.
The NGOs said in a joint statement after the meeting that they
will give full support to any decision made by the government and the Turkish
Armed Forces to combat terrorism.
Speaking on behalf of the Turkish Nongovernmental Organizations
Platform, the president of the platform, Hasan Ekşi, condemned the PKK attacks
and delivered messages of unity in the face of brutal terror. We want all the
terrorist attacks, which violate peace and development, to cease. Nobody has the
right to destroy the sense of peace and brotherhood within a country and the
relations with neighbor countries. We call on all the authorities and our people
to keep their common sense, he said.
Yavuz Önen, head of the Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV)
and Human Rights Association (IHD) chairman, Hüsnü Öndül, deplored the PKK
terrorism in a joint statement. Armed solution can't be a remedy to the
problems. We call on the PKK to promptly lay down its arms, the statement
Tens of thousands of Turks
protest PKK violence at soldiers' funerals, in streets
Tuesday, October 23,
KESKIN, Turkey: Thousands of Turks gathered Tuesday for the
funerals of 12 soldiers slain in a weekend Kurdish rebel attack, denouncing the
guerrillas and calling on the government to take tough action against the group.
Thousands of people also gathered in Istanbul and in cities across Turkey,
waving Turkish flags and holding up posters of modern Turkey's founding father,
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
About 10,000 people attended the funeral of Vedat Kutluca, one of those who
died in an ambush by the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, near
the border with Iraq on Sunday. The attack has increased pressure on the
government to order a cross-border military offensive into northern Iraq to hit
PKK bases there.
"Damn the PKK!" and "Hey government, don't test our patience,"
mourners protested during the funeral in Keskin, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east
of the capital, Ankara.
"We'll go into Iraq and grab Barzani," the mourners also shouted,
in reference to Massoud Barzani, the leader of Iraq's Kurdish region, where the
PKK is based.
"Our patience is running out," said Ilhan Keskes, one of those
attending the funeral. "The government must do something before the nation
People tried to touch Kutluca's Turkish flag-draped coffin. Several people
could be seen crying.
There were similar protests at funerals in the other soldiers' hometowns.
Elsewhere, people held a minute of silence in respect for the soldiers.
Around 50,000 people, marched in the western city of Aydin and burned an
effigy of Barzani, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
About 3,000 people also gathered in a main square in Istanbul, denouncing the
PKK and calling on the government to resign.
Several people were going to conscription offices around the country, asking
to enlist to fight the PKK, reports said.
Turks were replacing their profile photographs on the online social
networking Web site Facebook with pictures of the Turkish flag, in a show
respect to the slain soldiers.
Anger as Turkey buries soldiers, government edgy
Reuters - October23, 2007
By Gareth Jones
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey on Tuesday buried 12 soldiers killed by Kurdish
rebels in an outpouring of public grief and anger that unnerved the government
and prompted it to ban broadcasts about the deaths.
Funerals, held in towns and cities across the Muslim nation of 75 million,
turned into protest rallies with mourners chanting slogans against the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is battling Turkish troops near the Iraqi
The dead men were mostly conscripts in their early 20s doing their compulsory
military service. They were laid to rest in a sea of red and white Turkish flags.
The funerals and other protests have increased pressure on the government to
send troops across the border into northern Iraq where an estimated 3,000 rebels
are hiding, though Ankara says it still hopes diplomacy will prevail.
As newspapers reported clashes between pro- and anti-PKK students and other
sporadic acts of violence, Turkish President Abdullah Gul appealed for public
calm and restraint.
"However great the destruction caused by terrorism, the struggle against
terrorism can be waged by legal means and only by the state," Gul said in a
The government, keen to avoid further inflaming public opinion, imposed a ban
on all media broadcasts concerning the deaths of the 12 soldiers, whose pictures
and life stories have featured prominently in the newspapers.
RTUK, the state body that oversees television and radio in Turkey, said the
ban was necessary because broadcasting news about the deaths "hurts the
psychology of society and public order and creates an image of the security
forces as weak".
Until the ban, television channels had led news bulletins with footage of
grieving wives, mothers, fathers and children.
"ALL TURKS ARE SOLDIERS"
Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the
group launched its armed campaign for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey in
The PKK has recently stepped up attacks, killing about 40 soldiers and other
security personnel in the past month alone.
"All Turks are soldiers," was the defiant chant at a funeral in the
western Anatolian town of Eskisehir.
"We will make the PKK pay the price for our martyrs," the state
Anatolian news agency quoted Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan as telling the
The small Democratic Society Party (DTP), which campaigns for more Kurdish
political and cultural rights, has complained of attacks on its offices since
Most Turks view the DTP as a mouthpiece for the rebels, though the party
insists it does not support violence and has called for a peaceful resolution of
the Kurdish issue.
Some 300 Turkish students clashed with PKK supporters on a university campus
in the Aegean city of Izmir, newspapers said.
The home of a Kurdish family was burnt down in the western city of Bursa, the
leftist Evrensel daily reported. The windows of another Kurdish home were
smashed, it said.
(Additional reporting by Selcuk Gokoluk, Umit Bektas and Inci Ozturk)
How the world sees America
Istanbul Protests: "Curse the PKK, Curse America"
ISTANBUL - Thousands took to the streets of Istanbul today to protest the
deaths of seventeen Turkish soldiers at the hands of the Kurdistan Workers'
Party (PKK), crying, "Destroy the PKK," and "We are All Turks."
But much of their anger was directed at America: "Close down Incirlik,"
referring to America's air base in Turkey, "Tell the U.S. to get out now!"
and most emphatically, "Curse the PKK, Curse America!"
One group of protesters, organized by the Turkish Youth Organization,
demanded that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan cut ties with the U.S.
government. Young people gathered at a statue of Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's secular
founder, and unfurled a banner reading, "Americans Murder Your Darling
Mehmet. (Mehmet is a common male name in Turkey.)
Prime Minister Erdogan has assured the U.S. he will not immediately retaliate by
invading Northern Iraq. But he is under mounting public pressure to do so, and
many here believe America is holding him back from pursuing a more aggressive
course. Over the past decade, The
Pew Research Center shows U.S. favorability ratings plummeting in Turkey
from around 50% into the single digits.
"Turks were always opposed to the Second Iraq War, Turkish journalist
and Post Global panelest Soli Ozel explained. Now, many in Turkey believe the
U.S. wants an independent Kurdish state and therefore is at least complicit in
partitioning Turkey as well. So far, the U.S. has made many promises but has
done nothing against the PKK."
I was interviewing Enzer Yucel, the chairman of the Bahcesehir Education
Institution, one of Turkeys largest private education companies, when the
news broke. "Turkey and America must talk immediately and take joint action
on this issue, he said. I have never seen the view of America at such a
low, not even during the Cyprus crisis."
"Is America really at war against terrorism?" he continued. "If
so, America should capture the PKK terrorists and give their heads to Turkey.
That would improve relations." He gazed out over the Bosporus. "America
must talk as soon as possible and collaborate; otherwise, Turkey will definitely
take the necessary action. Relations will fall further."
This has been a hectic first day in Turkey. Im eager to see how widespread
the sentiments expressed by Yucel and the protesters are, what cause them, and
how they change in different parts of the country. Tomorrow Ill report from
Hakkari, the site of the PKK attack, on what villagers there think of the
prospect of war and what they want America to do.
US says Iraqi Kurds must do more against PKK
The Iraqi Kurdish administration should constrain the ability of the PKK
to operate in the north of Iraq, Satterfield said.
WASHINGTON (NTV Oct.24, 2007) - The US
is not pleased with the lack of action by the regional Kurdish administration
against the terrorist organization PKK, a senior US official said late Tuesday.
Recent statements by the regional Kurdish administration condemning the
PKK were good but were not sufficient, said David Satterfield, the US
coordinator for Iraq and senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Action is required here and it has been too long without meaningful action
directed against this terrorist group, Satterfield said while speaking to
journalists. This is not anything that the Kurdish leadership is not aware of
from our own voice, we are not pleased with the lack of action undertaken
against the PKK.
However, Satterfield said the US did not believe that a cross-border operation
by Turkish forces to strike at the PKK would serve the interests of any party,
Kurdish, Iraqi or Turkish.
Angry Turks protest at
Thousands of Turks gathered today for the funerals of 12
soldiers killed in the weekends Kurdish rebel attack.
Crowds also gathered in Istanbul and in cities across Turkey, waving flags and
holding up posters of modern Turkeys founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Around 10,000 people attended the funeral of Vedat Kutluca, one of those who
died in an ambush by the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), near
the border with Iraq on Sunday.
Damn the PKK! and Hey government, dont test our patience,
mourners protested during the funeral in Keskin, 60 miles east of the capital,
Well go into Iraq and grab Barzani, the mourners also shouted, in
reference to Massoud Barzani, the leader of Iraqs Kurdish region, where the
PKK is based.
Our patience is running out, said Ilhan Keskes,
one of those attending the funeral. The government must do something before
the nation explodes.
People tried to touch Kutlucas Turkish flag-draped coffin. Several people
could be seen crying.
There were similar protests at funerals in the other soldiers hometowns.
Elsewhere, people held a minute of silence.
Some 3,000 people also gathered in a main square in Istanbul, denouncing the PKK
and calling on the government to resign. 23/10/2007
Thousands condemn terror in nationwide
Iraqi President Celal Talabani, and Kurdish leader Mesud Barzani, are
accused of not doing anything to prevent the PKK from attacking Turkey.
Spontaneous protests against terrorism erupt in several cites around
Turkey, including Ankara, Istanbul, Adana, Eskisehir, Kocaeli, Bursa, Mugla,
Nigde, Edirne, Izmir, Tekirdag, Karabük, Zonguldak, Aksaray, Hatay, Mersin,
Antalya, Afyon, Erzurum, Elazig, Trabzon, Malatya and Adana.
Carrying Turkish flags and pictures of Kemal Atatürk, the protesters shouted
slogans against the PKK. In some provinces, citizens went to gendarmerie command
centres and asked to be taken into military service to fight against the PKK.
Dozens of protests were staged in almost all
of Turkey's 81 provinces to protest against PKK terrorism. While some demonstrations
were organized by non-governmental organizations, others were composed of small
groups which later grew into mass rallies condemning terrorism.
In Istanbul, the Republican Peoples Partys
(CHP) Istanbul branch organized a demonstration in Kadıköy where a crowd of
5,000 chanted slogans condemning the
terrorists while holding Turkish flags and
photographs of martyred Turkish soldiers.
Kadıköy Mayor Selami Öztürk said Turkey was under the threat of religious
and ethnic discrimination, saying the two were merging. We will not fall into
the trap of ethnic discrimination, the mayor told the crowd. Journalist
Tuncay Özkan, President of the Union of İstanbuls Womens Organizations
Nazan Moroğlu and the wife of recently martyred Pvt. Hasan Güreşen also gave
speeches during the demonstration. In addition to Kadıköy residents, CHP
members, members of the Support for Contemporary Life Association (ÇYYD) and
the Turkey Youth Union attended the demonstration.
In Taksim, a group left a wreath in front of the Republican Monument. Another
group in İstanbul put up a Turkish flag on Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, which
spans the Bosporus.
In Ankara, 25,000 marched from Gazi University in the Beşevler district to
the Mausoleum of Atatürk, chanting slogans that denounced terrorism.
In Adana, a group of 300 high school students from Hacı Ahmet Atıl High
School participated in a march protesting terrorism. The students silently dispersed after
singing the national anthem.
An angry group in Bursa dismantled a sign at the pro-Kurdish Democratic
Society Party (DTP) headquarters. About 150 people in Erzurum, who also gathered
in front of the DTP building in their district.
In Antalya, a group stood for 12 minutes of silence in remembrance of the
martyred soldiers, one minute for each martyr.
About 3,500 gathered in the Türkoğlu district of Kahramanmaraş to protest
the terrorist attacks. In Manisa, members of the judiciary, as well as workers
of the municipality marched in protest. The citys Chief Prosecutor Sait Gürlek
said in a speech that they deeply condemned the treacherous attacks of the
terrorist organization, but also called on citizens to act with common sense.
Our state has the power to overcome any difficulty. We should not fall into
the trap of the terrorist organization, he stated.
Meanwhile, 85 workers from the Manisa Municipality filed petitions demanding
that they be drafted into the armed forces to fight the terrorists.
In the Black Sea port city of Trabzon, thousands of residents were involved
in protests across the city. A large crowd gathered in front of the Atatürk
Monument in Atatürk Square to condemn the terrorist acts. Representatives from
civil society organizations gave speeches expressing strong remarks against
third parties who are giving support to the terrorist organization.
gathering in honor of the 12 martyrs killed in Sundays attacks, each martyrs'
name was read aloud. After each name was read, the crowd of demonstrators
dutifully responded in unison Im here! demonstating their shared
allegience and endless devotion. The anti-terror
rally ended with thousands of participants dispersing quietly. In the
central Anatolian town of Eskişehir, city buses were decorated with black
banners to protest the killings. A number of demonstrations in many parts of the
city were held in which small groups protested the recent attacks.
In Kastamonu, about 200 university students filed petitions with the military
to volunteer to be drafted. Many other residents joined the demonstration of the
university students. Also in Kastamonu, about 500 vehicles formed a long convoy
to protest the attacks.
In Baku, the Azeri capital, university students held demonstrations
condemning the terrorist attacks. 23/10/2007
Crude oil climbs to more than $90 a barrel
An attack by Kurdish rebels on Sunday killed 12 Turkish soldiers, only days
after the Turkish parliament gave the government the authority to use military
action against Kurdish rebels in Northern Iraq.
Protests across Turkey following Sunday's attack have stepped up pressure
on the Turkish government to act, according to media reports.
Oil prices touched record levels amid fears the stand-off between Turkey and
the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) on the Iraqi border could impact oil supply
from the war-torn country.
Oil hits another record high after rising tensions between
Turkey and PKK
Crude oil futures reached another record on Oct.23 in electronic trading in New
York after PKK terrorist attacks and rising tensions between
Turkey and northern Iraq
. In the Kirkuk region of Iraq,
oil production declined by 100,000 barrels per day as threat of an incursion to
fight the PKK from Turkey rose. Traders are worried that fighting in the region
could further dampen Iraq's daily production of 1.68 million barrels which would
cut into world supplies as winter heating demand comes into play. Oil pipelines
run through southern Turkey where many attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party
LONDON (Oct 12 2007 - Thomson Financial) - Oil surged to a new record high above 84 usd in
New York following reports of increasing tensions between Turkey and the Kurdish
rebels in northern Iraq who reside near some of the world's largest crude oil
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier he was ready to
"act" against Kurdish bases in northern Iraq despite international
pressure against any such incursion.
Meanwhile, the autonomous Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq has
warned Turkey against making good its threat to mount a cross-border incursion
to flush out the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Iraq has the world's third-largest oil reserves, many of which are located in
the north of the country, the same place where it is suspected the PKK has its
"The reason the market is strong is concerns over increasing tensions
between Turkey and the Kurds. There's a strong possibility if we close above 84
usd this market could go higher yet," said Alaron trading analyst Phil
If Turkey makes good on its threat to attack PKK bases in northern Iraq,
there is a good chance the rebels will target the Iraq to Ceyhan oil pipeline,
which runs through Turkey, and the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.
Turkey carries out air sorties against Kurdish rebel
positions inside northern Iraq
Mark Tran October 24, 2007
Reuters said Turkish war planes flew as deep as 13 miles into Iraqi
territory and some 300 ground troops advanced about six miles, killing 34
rebels from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers party.
"Further 'hot pursuit' raids into northern Iraq can be expected,
though none have taken place so far today," a military official said,
adding that all Turkish troops involved in the operations were now back in
Officials said the sorties were small, similar to those conducted in the past
across the mountainous border, not the large-scale offensive that US and Iraqi
authorities are trying to avert.
Turkish troops also shelled suspected Kurdish rebel positions across the
border as recently as last night, the Associated Press reported.
The report of small-scale incursions into northern Iraq came as Turkey's
civilian and military leaders met to discuss the scope and duration of a
possible large-scale offensive amid mounting pressure for action.
Several newspapers printed the pictures of eight missing soldiers,
allegedly held hostage by the separatist rebels. During funerals for 12
soldiers yesterday, tens of thousands of mourners chanted slogans, pushing the
government to order an offensive against Kurdish fighters.
Turkey's parliament last week approved a military attack, and the prime
minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said yesterday his country "cannot wait
forever" to strike at the PKK.
The European Union today repeated its condemnation of attacks on Turkey
launched by Kurdish guerrillas hiding across the border in Iraq, but urged
Turkey and Iraq to work out joint measures to end the hostilities.
Turkey is negotiating to join the EU and the Turkish government has to
consider the damage that military action could inflict on accession talks.
US officials yesterday publicly rebuked Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq
for failing to curb the Kurdish guerrillas based in the autonomous region.
"We are not pleased with the lack of action," David Satterfield,
the US state department's senior Iraq adviser, told reporters in Washington.
He said Kurdish leaders had to take responsibility for dealing with the
rebels, although he did not go as far as calling on them to take military
action against the PKK.
LEADING STORIES IN THE TURKISH PRESS
ANKARA, Oct 24 2007 (Reuters) - These are the leading stories in the
Turkish press on Wed Oct 24.
Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
- Foreign Minister Ali Babacan presents six concrete demands to Baghdad -- stop
PKK Kurdish rebels using Iraqi territory, halt logistical support for them,
block all its activities, limit its freedom of movement, arrest its leaders and
hand them over to Turkey and shut down the PKK camps.
- "One nation, one body" -- Hundreds of thousands of Turks, waving
national flags and pictures of slain soldiers, rally against the PKK and also
curse the Kurdish administration of northern Iraq for sheltering the rebels.
- General Yasar Buyukanit, head of the military General Staff, adds his voice to
calls for public calm and restraint following the latest clashes with Kurdish
- "Let this be the last," says the paper, above a picture of
grieving relatives at Tuesday's funerals for the 12 slain soldiers.
- Turkish F16 warplanes have staged "hot pursuit" forays across the
Iraq border against PKK rebels, the paper says.
- A rebel commander called Kadri Celik, code name "Ape", gave the
order for Sunday's attack that killed 12 soldiers, the paper says.
- U.S. President George W. Bush tells Turkey's President Abdullah Gul by
telephone that U.S. forces in Iraq may launch air strikes against PKK camps.
They may also send commandos to hunt out the rebels.
- The government resorts to censorship to cover up its failure to tackle the PKK
rebels, the paper says, referring to a ban imposed on TV and radio broadcasts
concerning the deaths of 12 soldiers. The authorities say the ban is aimed at
preserving public peace as Turkish anger grows over the violence.
- Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey may impose some economic sanctions
against Iraq over the PKK problem.
- Turkish F16 warplanes dropped bombs on PKK camps some 30 km inside Iraq last
weekend after the attacks that killed 12 soldiers, the paper says.
- The paper publishes "disgusting" pictures of the eight soldiers
taken captive by the PKK guerrillas.
- The paper claims 8,000 Turkish soldiers have advanced some 50 km (30 miles)
into northern Iraq and are attacking Kurdish camps. The claims have not been
Turkey's PM criticizes U.S. and EU countries for inconsistent policies on
ANKARA, Turkey (Oct. 27, 2007) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan criticized U.S. and EU countries for inconsistent policies on fighting
He urged European Union countries on Saturday to extradite Kurdish terrorists
to Turkey, saying the EU was failing to support Turkey's struggle.
"No EU country has extradited members of the PKK to Turkey, despite
labeling it as a terrorist organization," Erdogan said. Although it is
rarely reported in the western media, PKK terrorists and their collaborators
take refuge and raise money in Europe.
"We would like to see our friends beside us in this struggle," he
Ethnic Turks in Brussels protest against Kurdish rebel
International Herald Tribune / AP - Nov. 3, 2007
About 2,000 ethnic Turks demonstrated in front of European Union headquarters
on Saturday to protest recent Kurdish rebel attacks on Turkey and to seek
tougher action by EU countries against the separatists.
The EU's executive, the European Commission, has sided with Turkey against
the Kurdish rebels, but has cautioned Ankara against sending troops into Iraq to
pursue them to their bases.
Mehmet Alparslan Saygun, head of the Union of European Turkish Democrats,
which helped to organize the protest, said the rally was also meant to speak out
against violence and to try to improve Turkish communities' damaged reputation
in Belgium after rioting by Turkish youths last month.
"There is no such thing as bad terror or good terror; terror is terror,
... we have to name it as it is," he said.
About 100 youths were detained two weeks ago by police after rioting in
several neighborhoods. The violent protests damaged cars, trams, buses and bus
shelters, and several businesses also were ransacked.
Belgian government officials have appealed to Belgium's ethnic Turkish
community to show restraint in their outrage over the Kurdish rebel attacks and
to respect Belgian law.
Turkish-Kurdish conflict reaches Europe
By STEFAN NICOLA
BERLIN, Oct. 29, 2007 (UPI) -- As the Turkish-Kurdish conflict
threatens to escalate into a military invasion of northern Iraq, the violence
has reached other countries in Europe.
Over the weekend tens of thousands of Turks and a
smaller number of Kurds demonstrated in Western Europe.
Some 7,000 Turks from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany took to the streets
in the Dutch city of Utrecht; though windows were smashed, the demonstration
remained largely peaceful, and police managed to keep the situation under
Yet in Brussels some 100 protesters of Turkish origin were arrested Sunday after
an illegal demonstration ended in clashes with Belgian police.
In Berlin, a city home to an estimated 200,000 Turks, a protest against the
Kurdistan Workers Party, known by its acronym PKK, on Sunday also turned violent.
The demonstration in Berlins immigrant-dominated districts of Kreuzberg and
Neukoelln was organized under the slogan Unity and fraternity between Turks
and Kurds, but that changed when a group of young Turks began to yell
extremist chants and throw stones into Kurdish restaurants.
According to the Berliner Zeitung newspaper, the situation escalated when a
small group of protesters believed to be members of the extremist Turkish
nationalist group Gray Wolves tried to free a man arrested by police. A street
battle ensued around Kottbusser Tor, an urban square dotted with Kebab
restaurants and Turkish cafes. Demonstrators injured 18 police; 15 protesters
This reporter tried to reach the scene of the demonstrations via subway, yet
several trains were canceled because subway stations were overcrowded with young
Turkish protesters waving Turkeys flag and chanting anti-PKK, pro-Turkey and
On Saturday some 500 Kurds demonstrated in Berlins posh Charlottenburg
district against a Turkish military operation in Iraq, but things remained
On Monday German security officials said they expected more violence if the
conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish rebels hiding in mountainous northern
Claudia Schmid, head of Berlins Office for the Protection of the Constitution,
a domestic intelligence and security agency, said Berlin is home to some 1,000
members of the Kurdish rebel group PKK, branded by the United Nations and the
European Union a terror organization.
"The conflict in the border region of Iraq has come to Berlin, and we need
to be very careful and keep our eyes open," she told a Berlin-based radio
While some criticized police for arriving at the scene too late and in too few
numbers, police officials said officers were able to prevent an even larger
outbreak of violence. They spoke of Turkish gangs armed with machetes, ready to
use them against Kurds.
The violence in Europe demonstrates how tensions are rising in the conflict that
started on Oct. 21 when 12 Turkish soldiers were killed in an ambush by PKK
fighters, some 3,500 of whom are believed to be hiding in mountainous northern
Iraq, right at the border with Turkey.
The public pressure in Turkey to act against the PKK rebels is increasing each
day, reflected by massive -- partly violent -- demonstrations in several Turkish
cities with hundreds of thousands of participants.
Iraqi and U.S. authorities have not been able to stop the violence originating
from northern Iraq; they have also denied Turkish calls to hand over PKK leaders.
Faced with little progress within Iraq, Turkish lawmakers earlier this month
gave the formal green light to a Turkish military operation against the rebels.
Senior Turkish politicians, however, have said they would not rush into a
military mission but would rather lead an operation together with the United
States. Experts have also said the PKK is doing everything it can to provoke
Turkey into marching across the Iraqi border.
Washington is trying to defuse tensions between some of its staunchest allies in
the region: On the one hand NATO member Turkey, which fosters close ties with
the United States, and on the other hand the Iraqi Kurds, who after years of
oppression after the U.S.-led Iraq war established a self-governed, pro-American,
pro-business province in northern Iraq.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Istanbul on Friday, and
President Bush will visit the Turkish capital three days later. The U.S.
diplomatic offensive intends to prevent a military one, which all observers
agree would have terrible consequences for the entire region.
Activity in Germany Intensifies
German Kurds are pressured to contribute to the PKK cause
Deutsche Welle www.dw-world.de
While the tensions
between Turkey and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels continue, reports in
Germany suggest that Kurds living in the country are forced to hand over
millions of euros to the group.
Experts have been
monitoring an intensification of PKK activities in Germany, which is home to
2.5 million Turks -- the biggest Turkish community outside Turkey. PKK
activity slowed down in 2003 but has gradually been picking up in the four
years since, according to reports.
According to German
police sources, the PKK is also involved in drug trafficking in Germany and
uses the spoils to fund its separatist struggle. Police have confirmed that
several investigations have revealed a link between the PKK and drug dealers.
services believe that the PKK raises 300 million euros ($430 million) a year
and last year spent 15 million euros on arms, notably in Iraq. In April,
police confiscated 16,000 euros in banknotes in a raid on 32 suspected members
of the PKK in Bavaria in southern Germany.
In recent years, a
number of PKK members have been arrested in Germany for securing financing for
the group, which has been branded a terrorist organization by Turkey, the
United States and the European Union. Last year German police arrested a Turk
of Kurdish origin suspected of being the leader of the PKK and KONGRA-GEL in
Germany and heading its fundraising and propaganda activities here.
slams Germany for playing down PKK
However, the Turkish community in Germany has recently accused the country's
media of playing down the threat posed by the PKK.
Turkish-language newspaper, Hürriyet
wrote last week that "the German media have a blind spot when it
comes to the PKK, referring to repeated descriptions of the organization as
"Kurdish rebels," "PKK members", "separatists"
and "radical Kurds."
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also criticized European countries
recently for failing to arrest and extradite wanted Kurdish militants to
has regularly asked countries to do more against the PKK which is considered a
terrorist organization both by the European Union and the US.
no EU country has extradited members of the PKK to Turkey, despite labeling it
as a terrorist organization," Erdogan said at a symposium in Istanbul
fact there has been no improvement shows clearly how sincere our Western
friends are on this issue. Erdogan criticized what he called an approach of
"your terrorist is good, my terrorist is bad," he said.
in Europe fear violence at demonstrations as PKK activities scrutnized
Experts believe that
while some of Germany's 600,000 Kurdish immigrants willingly provide the PKK
(Kurdistan Workers' Party) with money to fund its violent separatist
campaign in southeastern Turkey, others are pressured into contributing
under duress. A spokesman for Germany's BfV domestic intelligence services,
commented on recent reports, stating that the PKK is blackmailing Kurdish
immigrants with mafia-like demands for protection money of one month's
salary a year or much more in the case of wealthy businessmen. "In this
way they collect millions of euros in Germany every year," the
The reports came to
light in the wake of violent clashes between Kurds and Turkish nationalists
in Berlin, Heilbronn, and Mülheim last weekend. In Berlin, 18 policemen
were injured trying to break up fighting between the two sides, after
Turkish nationalists held a march in support of Ankara's threat to launch
strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq.
intelligence services have since stepped up their surveillance of PKK
activists in Germany. They estimate that there are 11,500 PKK members in
Germany, of whom 1,000 live in Berlin.
Germany banned the
PKK in 1993 after it carried out a campaign of fire-bombings on Turkish and
German institutions in Berlin.
of Turks hold protests against "terrorist" attacks by the PKK
demonstration in Berlin was one of several across Europe this weekend which
drew a total of over 30,000 people. Five people were injured -- two of them
seriously -- at a rally in the Austrian capital Vienna, but demonstrations in
Brussels and some 15 German cities remained peaceful.
There were fears that the rallies might turn violent after volence
broke out between Turks and Kurds in Berlin last weekend, and police were
deployed for additional security at each demonstration. Clashes between
Kurds and nationalist Turks in the German capital last week left 18 policemen
injured. In Berlin's Hermannplatz, around 600 protesting Kurds were
flanked by more than 1,000 police officers on all sides.
rallies took place as Turkish leaders voiced dissatisfaction with efforts by
the Iraqi government to contain the PKK, who have been attacking Turkey from
strongholds in northern Iraq. PKK terrorists in northern Iraq have been
conducting violent raids across the Turkish border,
In Cologne, thousands of Turks protested against terrorist attacks by the
PKK on Turkish forces. A few hundred Kurds gathered in Berlin's Neukoelln
district, but were outnumbered by police. German Interior Minister Wolfgang
Schaeuble, at the weekend warned that the country "will not tolerate
violence" between Turks and Kurds on its soil.
Germany is home to about 2.4 million Turks, the biggest Turkish community
outside Turkey, which includes about 600,000 Kurds. Turks and Kurds also held
protests in several German cities on Saturday.
A gathering organised by a Turkish association in Nuremberg drew 7,000
people, while in Hamburg police seized PKK flags from some 1,850 Kurds who
marched to the Turkish consulate.
Five injured in fight between Turks and Kurds in
Five people were injured in a fight involving between 20 and 30
people of Turkish and Kurdish origin Sunday evening in a district in the south
of Vienna, police said. Two men suffered serious knife injuries, while three
others were lightly wounded. Police said they were still searching for the
Suspected PKK leader goes on trial in Germany
BERLIN, Oct 31, 2007 (Reuters) - A 58-year-old Kurdish man went on trial on
Wednesday in Berlin, accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation and
ordering arson attacks in southern Germany in the mid-1990s. German
authorities believe the man, identified only as Muharrem A., led an arm of the
banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southwest Germany between 1994 and
Federal prosecutors say he ordered Molotov cocktail attacks on three police
stations, a post office and a bank in September 1994 after authorities
prohibited a PKK demonstration. Prosecutors have not said what punishment they
are seeking. The suspect went into hiding for 12 years before surrendering to
authorities in Berlin in March.
The European Union and the United States consider the PKK a terrorist group,
and Turkey attributes more than 30,000 deaths to the organisation since its
armed separatist campaign began in 1984.
The trial comes as Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops along the Iraqi
border in readiness for a possible large-scale incursion to hunt down some
3,000 suspected PKK fighters who are using northern Iraq as a base.
Nov. 5, 2007
MILITARISM IN THE KURDISH DIASPORA
PKK Circumverts Ban in Germany
By Yassin Musharbash, Berlin - Oct. 30, 2007 Spiegel
There are fears that the conflict currently brewing between Turkey and
the Kurdish separatist group the PKK has spread to Germany amid violent
clashes in Berlin. Now a prominent politician has slammed the ineffectiveness
of the supposed ban on the PKK in Germany.
The ongoing tenison between Turkey and the Kurdish separatist group the PKK
has been making headlines in recent weeks as fears grow of a Turkish invasion
into northern Iraq. The conflict even appears to have spread to Germany as an
anti-PKK demonstration in Berlin degenerated into violence on Sunday afternoon.
Now a German politician has questioned the effectiveness of the supposed
ban on the PKK in Germany. "There is effectively no prohibition of the
PKK in Germany," Cem Özdemir, a Green Party member of the European
Parliament, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "It is openly known that the PKK
agitates and recruits in Germany. What's the use of such a ban?" The
politician, who is of Turkish origin, wonders "whether security forces
are, for some reason, deliberately turning a blind eye."
It was almost exactly 14 years ago -- on November 26, 1993 -- that the
Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) was prohibited in Germany. But in the minds of Özdemir
and many others, not much has changed since then. Even the authorities that Özdemir
is attacking tend to agree.
As far back as 1995, Germany's police union was complaining that the ban
was complicating their work because the people they were after had gone
underground. In the same year, intelligence officials in the German state of
North Rhine-Westphalia said that the ban had created an "aggressive
attitude among PKK followers towards the German state." Meanwhile in
Lower Saxony intelligence agents claimed that the number of PKK members had
doubled since the ban had taken affect.
In March 2007, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office
for the Protection of the Constitution, reported that the successor
organisation to the PKK "is still functioning as an illegal, conspirative
group" in Germany.
Back in 1993, a ban on the PKK seemed urgently necessary. The PKK had begun
importing its terrorism into Germany at the beginning of the 1990s. On Nov. 4,
1993, 60 Turkish properties in Germany were vandalized. Travel agencies, banks
and restaurants were attacked and one person was killed.
There was no doubt that the PKK, a Marxist-Leninist group with terrorist
leanings, was behind the violence. The group had been active in Germany in
previous years; in one instance, PKK fighters had occupied Turkish consulates.
Many Kurds in Germany saw the ban as evidence that Germany was siding with
Turkey in the dispute. In 1996, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan pronounced: "Germany
has declared war on the PKK. We can fight back. Every Kurd is a potential
suicide bomber." Shortly thereafter, he watered down the threat: The
enemy was Turks in Germany, not Germans, he said.
After Öcalan's arrest in 1999, the PKK adopted a less aggressive line. It
started propagating democracy and peaceful forms of resistance. But a cloud of
suspicion still hangs over the movement, especially in Germany. The country
offers an ideal additional front for the Kurdish conflict: Nowhere in Europe
is home to more Kurds and Turks.
But it's not only the Kurds who threaten to bring the conflict to Germany,
as became evident last weekend in Berlin. On Saturday, Kurds demonstrated
peacefully against a possible Turkish invasion of northern Iraq. Then on
Sunday, stones and bottles began flying as Turkish ultra-nationalists
surrounded a Kurdish cultural center in Berlin's Kreuzberg district.
The "Gray Wolves" -- the unofficial militant arm of what used to
be the National Movement Party, which was banned in Turkey in 1980 -- are
thought to have fanned the anti-Kurdish flames. There are an estimated 8,000
Gray Wolves members in Germany. While regarded as not particularly active,
their ideas enjoy widespread acceptance. It's safe to assume that this group
could be roused to action if the PKK or its successor group, Kongra Gel, were
to re-surface in Germany.
For the time being, Kongra Gel, which is thought to have 11,500 members in
Germany, is showing a peaceful face, but it is far from inactive. It is
constantly founding new groups whose connections to PKK circles are
According to security authorities, Kongra Gel discretely collects money --
in the millions -- for Kurdish causes. Those who don't contribute receive a
friendly reminder to pay their "taxes." It organizes large meetings,
attended by thousands of Kurds. The public broadcaster Westdeutscher Rundfunk
and other media have revealed that recruiters from militant Kurdish groups --
such as the PJAK which launches attacks on Iran from Iraq -- can often be seen
at such events.
According to sources in German security circles, the groups hold meetings
in other European countries, where they're likely to be observed less closely
than in Germany -- even though the EU declared Kongra Gel to be a terrorist
organization in 2004.
In a March 2007 report, the Federal Office for the Protection of the
Constitution estimates that roughly 10 percent of the Kurdish population in
Germany "could be mobilized for the Kongra Gel cause." The current
one-sided ceasefire could, theoretically, be reversed at any moment.
In Turkey, the organizations that have succeeded or are associated with the
PKK are in no way wed to the principle of non-violence. The Kurdistan Freedom
Falcons (TAK), a militant new grouping within the PKK spectrum, staged a
bloody attack in August 2006 on the Turkish tourist destination of Antalya.
There is nothing to suggest that Kongra Gel is preparing violent activity
in or against Germany. The vast majority of the group's members "have for
years stayed within the law with their activites," as Berlin's Interior
Minister Eckart Körthing commented last week.
Nonetheless, Cem Özdemir warns: "Anyone who means well with the Kurds
cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the PKK." With reference to the
riots on Sunday, he demands clear limits. "It's legitimate for Turks and
Kurds to express and demonstrate their political views here -- but violence in
any form is unacceptable," he says.
The state and its security forces must send very clear signals, he feels:
"Otherwise, the conflict will spill over into Germany."
Riots in Berlin
Turkish-Iraq Conflict Spills Over
Oct. 29, 2007 Spiegel Online
For most Germans, the conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish separatist
group PKK on the country's border with Iraq seems, no doubt, far away. But
Berliners on Sunday got a taste of the tiff up close and personal.
It may seem a long way from the front, but Berlin on Sunday got into the
Turkish-Kurd conflict now flaring on the Iraqi border. A demonstration in the
German capital turned violent and a number of police were injured.
An anti-PKK demonstration in Berlin's Kreuzberg district degenerated into
violence between young Turks and Kurds on Sunday afternoon. By evening, a
threatening mass of nationalist Turks had gathered around a Kurdish cultural
Several hundred people took part in the demonstration, which ran under the
banner of "Unity and Fraternity between Kurds and Turks." Roughly
one hundred demonstrators were protesting peacefully, waving Turkish flags and
calling out anti-PKK slogans. Several hundred police tried to dispel or round
up the protestors.
"Bottles and stones were flying everywhere," said a police
spokesman. According to police sources, 18 police were injured and 15
demonstrators arrested, eight of whom remain in custody.
Claudia Schmid, head of Berlin's security police, expects that the conflict
on the border between Turkey and Irak will be catalyst for further violence on
the streets of Berlin. She estimates that roughly 1,000 members of the
prohibited Kurdish PKK party are living in Germany's capital.
"The conflict in the border region with Iraq has already spilled over
into Berlin. We have to be careful and look the problem straight in the eye,"
she said on German radio.
At the root of the violence are Turkish nationalist groups close to the
"Gray Wolves," the unofficial militant arm of what used to be the
National Movement Party, which was banned in Turkey in 1980. Schmid said that
rowdy German youth who traditionally take part in the annual May 1 riots in
Kreuzberg also entered the fray.
Interior Senator Ehrhart Körting (SPD) said: "This is not what we
want here." People are allowed to demonstrate in Berlin but they have to
stick to the democratic rules. The young Turks -- in particular right wing
extremist, nationalist Turks -- did not.
The police union explained that it was the Turks that went after the Kurds
after the demonstration. Its press statement read: "Only the massive
contingent of armed police could prevent uncontrolled violence on Berlin's
streets." Helmut Sarwas, deputy chairman of the union, said: "People
running in a mob with machetes through Kreuzberg, injuring police, must be
made to feel the full force of the democratic state." He claimed that
Berlin police are having to deal with an increasing number of conflicts of
international origin, in which they often end up between enemy fronts.
On Saturday, roughly 500 Kurds demonstrated in Berlin against Turkey's
threatening military intervention in northern Iraq. Three people were arrested.
Turkey's Erdogan leaves for Washington for crucial talks with
A top retired U.S. general, who until recently had been the United States
special envoy for countering the PKK terrorist organization, admitted that a
diplomatic process he had led against the PKK had failed.
Ankara (Nov. 4, 2007) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan left
Istanbul for Washington Saturday for a crucial meeting with US President George
Bush. The Prime Minister has been urging the United States to take concrete
steps to crack down on Kurdish terrorist groups based in northern Iraq from
where they launch attacks on Turkey. Erdogan said that US-Turkey relations were
going through a serious test and that Turkey's patience on the matter was
The Turkish prime minister's visit to Washington comes after a visit to
Ankara and Istanbul over the last two days by US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice in which Rice said that discussions were held on a comprehensive plan on
how to deal with the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist network based in
Turkish troops are massed on the border with Iraq and the government is ready to
order a large-scale operation into northern Iraq to wipe-out PKK bases. The
Turkish military estimates there are around 3,500 PKK terrorists in northern
Public pressure on the government to launch an operation reached a high point
last month when PKK members killed 12 soldiers.
Opinion polls have shown
Turkish public support for the United States has plummeted in recent years due
to Washington's failure to deal as promised with the PKK. European Union and
NATO member states have also not taken sufficient action against PKK activities
and organizations in Europe.
At an Iraqi neighbours conference in Istanbul on Saturday Iraqi Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised to cooperate with Turkey in its fight against
the PKK, but it was not clear whether his promises would lead to action that
would satisfy Turkish demands. "It is not in our capacity for us to capture
the rebels," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.
retired U.S. general, who until recently had been the United States special
envoy for countering the PKK terrorist organization, admitted that a diplomatic
process he had led against the PKK had failed to bring any visible success.
Throughout his one-year tenure, Ralston had sought to promote a tripartite
mechanism of cooperation among Turkey, the United States and Iraq for joint
measures against the Iraq-based PKK. "No," said Ralston, a
former NATO supreme commander in Europe, when asked if the process had worked.
officials said that Ralston submitted his resignation after the Washington
administration had declined to follow his advice on steps to be taken against
the terrorist group, which has been attacking Turkish targets from bases in
neighboring northern Iraq.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the
THROUGHOUT TURKEY DAILY PROTESTS CONTINUE TO CONDEMN THE PKK AND THOSE WHO
TOLERATE PKK ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING THE IRAQI LEADERSHIP, AS WELL AS U.S. AND EU