November 17, 2008: The Turkish
government denied that the October 3, 2008 attack by the PKK on a security
outpost near Aktutun (southeast Turkey) was known in advance. Press reports
insist that the Turkish Army knew the attack was coming – in other words, an
"intel failure conspiracy theory." One press report alleged an unmanned aerial
drone had seen the attack coming. There's no doubt an intel failure occurred, but
enemy combatants (the PKK) played a role in the failure. It's called
infiltrating to avoid detection before launching an attack. The post at Aktutun
was – and remains, a forward post and a dangerous assignment in the war zone.
November 13, 2008: Culminating several
months of diplomatic discussion – and several telling public exchanges between
Iraqi Kurd leaders and Turkish government leaders – the regional government of
Iraqi Kurdistan said that it would take several new steps against PKK fighters
operating in Iraqi territory. The Iraqi Kurds have promised to help "cut links"
between the PKK and its finance and weapons sources in Europe. The agreement
also publicly ratifies the "behind the scenes protocol" between Iraq and Turkey
that has allowed Turkey to maintain observation posts in northern Iraq.
Specifically, Turkish special operations soldiers can man "strategic control
points" in northern Iraq. Iraqi Kurdish militia may also publicly cooperate
with the Turkish special ops forces.
November 11, 2008: Turkey is muting
some of its public statements regarding Iraq's internal debate over the city of
Kirkuk. This is due to many things, but anti-PKK action by Iraqi Kurds is one
reason. Turkey also supports a "federal" Iraqi state. The Turkish government
has always worried that a fragmented Iraq would strengthen Iran. A fragmented
Iraq could also lead to a wider Kurd war, as Iraqi Kurds tried to establish a
separate Kurd state, and that state would embolden the PKK. It now appears that
Turkey believes the Maliki government will succeed in keeping Iraq together and
establishing some type of federal state. This means Turkey thinks the Iraqi
government has defeated Al Qaeda and Shia gangs – and will maintain control in
Iraqi Kurdistan. Which leads back to Kirkuk. Turkey has always insisted that
the Kurds respect the Turkoman rights in the Kirkuk area, with the implicit
threat that if those rights weren't respected Turkey might intervene
militarily. Now Turkish diplomats talk about maintaining Kirkuk's "multi-ethnicity."
It may be a small modification in diplomatic rhetoric but it is one Iraqi Kurds
and Arabs understand. Turkey is also assuring Iraqis of all ethnic and
sectarian stripes that it is interested in investing in Iraq and assuring the
security of oil pipelines running from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkish seaports.
November 10, 2008: Iraq reported that Turkish Army artillery
fired on PKK positions in the Dahuk (Dahok) region. Turkish military aircraft also bombed targets
in the area.
November 8, 2008: During October, 124
members of the PKK defected to Turkey. The military believed the new round of air
attacks –which began after the attack on Aktutun on October 3?has affected PKK
morale. Intelligence provided by the US has proved helpful in the post-October
3 attacks on the PKK.
November 2, 2008: Apparently, the
February 2008 anti-PKK offensive in Iraq's Zab region, resulted in 240 PKK fighters killed.
November 1, 2008: PKK sympathizers in
southeastern Turkey (many belonging to the Democratic Society Party) staged
several demonstrations to protest a visit by senior Turkish officials to the
October 29, 2008: Massoud Barzani, one
of Iraq's most senior Kurdish leaders, said that he wants to come to Turkey on
a diplomatic mission to discuss the PKK. Barzani said that Turkey and Iraq must
"stop the bloodshed together."
October 28, 2008: Turkish military
aircraft hit PKK targets in Iraq's Zap region. A series of PKK targets were
also attacked in Kakurk.