2008: Turkey has sharpened its anti-PKK political offensive, to include
increased "information focus" on the sources of PKK finances. Fundraising by
Kurdish "front organizations" in Europe is a major source of PKK cash; the
Turkish government has been pressing central and western European countries to
shutdown the "fronts" operating in their territory. Turkey has especially put
pressure on its NATO allies. The other
big source of PKK money is the drug business. Yes, the PKK is involved in drug
smuggling. This is old news but the kind of news that often gets little media
coverage. Turkey has started pointing out that the PKK began smuggling opium in
1982, moving some of its "product" through PKK-controlled camps in Lebanon. The
PKK has also provided a "connection to Europe" for the Afghanistan-Iran and Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran
opium and heroin trade routes.
2008: Turkish troops and PKK guerrillas engaged in a series of small-scale
firefights in Sirnak province, near the Iraq border.
2008: Turkish troops killed 15 PKK rebels in northern Iraq as they were
attempting to enter Turkey. Apparently artillery was used, as well as aircraft.
2008: Turkish aircraft bombed several PKK targets (Haftanin, Kanemase, Amadiyah
and Nerve-Rekan) in northern Iraq..
2008: Following the completion of Operation Sun, the Turkish "limited incursion"
into northern Iraq, the Turkish government has launched a "domestic political
offensive" inside Turkey. The political offensive really began several years
when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party decided to go after the
votes of Turkish Kurds. The AKP promised, among other things, infrastructure
improvements (roads, electrical grid, etc) in southeastern Turkey. In the July
2007 election, the AKP received a lot of political support from Kurds, though
the issue of Kurdish language rights and cultural expression rights remained
contentious. On March 12 the Turkish government announced a new $12 billion
investment program in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish areas. The biggest news is
the government's decision to allow the creation of a state-run television service that will primarily
broadcast in Kurdish. Turkish Kurds have wanted one for, well, decades. The new
channel will also include Arabic and Farsi (Persian) language programming.