April 29, 2011: Turkish security forces say they have evidence that the PKK intends to disrupt the June 12 parliamentary elections in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish regions (southeastern and far eastern Turkey). The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP, a pro-Kurd party) is already conducting protests throughout the region, but BDP officials point to the government’s removal of a half-dozen BDP candidates as the reason. In late March the BDP announced that it would urge Kurds to participate in a civil disobedience campaign. Still, Turkish media has reported that PKK operatives in southeastern Turkey have urged the Kurdish community to widen the scope of the civil disobedience campaign and use violent means – an example of the radicals trying to inflame an already tense situation. Over the last month there has been violence – occasional fire bombs, lots of rocks. The PKK is also urging Kurds to avoid mosques run by pro-government imams and favor mosques run by Kurdish imams. This is a cynical maneuver by the PKK. After all, it is the Kurdistan Workers Party, and is a Marxist outfit. But the PKK over the years has shown it will use any angle to get ahead.
April 28, 2011: Europol, the European Union’s police organization, has issued a report condemning the PKK for its involvement in money laundering, drug smuggling, and human trafficking (smuggling illegal migrant workers and prostitution). The Europol report also connected the PKK to credit card skimming operations. The report supports many allegations Turkey has been making for two decades. It also reflects Turkey’s recent success in getting European police forces to concentrate on PKK financial operations, particularly those involving crime. The aim is to de-legitimatize the PKK as a political organization. Guerrilla organizations have financed their operations by criminal activities for centuries (smuggling is a favorite source of funds), but electronic fund transfers have opened up a new front in guerrilla and terrorist operations. It is no surprise the PKK is exploiting credit card scams.
April 25, 2011: Iraqi troops fought with a Kurdish militia near the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. Two Iraqi Kurd internal security officers (asayesh officers) were killed in the incident. Iraqi sources portrayed the incident as an accident. The Kirkuk provincial police said that four Iraqi soldiers had been arrested and the incident was under investigation. A senior Iraqi Army officer said the incident was not a battle between Iraqi Arabs and Iraqi Kurds. It all began when a plain-clothes Kurdish security officer stopped an Iraqi Army patrol and according to witnesses a shouting match began. Whatever the real facts, incidents like this escalate all too easily. The Kurdish Regional Government and the national government in Baghdad are clearly trying to stop any escalation.
An off-duty Turkish soldier was murdered and another wounded in the town of Yukesekova (Hakkari province, Turkey), apparently by Kurdish extremists (likely the PKK).
Turkish security officers in Hakkari province arrested 35 Kurds, on suspicion that they were connected to the PKK. Three of those arrested were members of the BDP.
April 22, 2011: Iranian security forces engaged in an eight-hour long firefight with a guerrilla group near the city of Sanandaj (northwestern Iran, Iranian Kurdish area). The Iranians claimed they killed four guerrillas in the battle. Though the Iranian report did not mention the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK), Iranian security forces frequently clash with PJAK fighters in this area. PJAK is the PKK in Iran.
April 21, 2011: Turkish security forces killed three PKK rebels in a firefight outside the village of Seyrantepe (Kahramanmaras province).
April 19, 2011: Kurdish demonstrators fought Turkish police as protests in the city of Diyarbakir turned violent. Turkish police used water cannons and tear gas to control the crowd of some 3,000-4,000 demonstrators (who were calling for the removal of several BDP parliamentary candidates from the June parliamentary election ballots). Demonstrations also occurred in Istanbul as pro-Kurdish activists hurled firebombs and rocks at police.
April 14, 2011: Turkey’s National Police bureau issued a statement which warned that PKK terrorists will attempt to attack political party headquarters throughout Turkey, and also launch a series of terror bombing attacks in predominantly Kurdish areas (eastern and southeastern Turkey) as the June elections approach. The goal will be to create as much chaos as possible.
April 10, 2011: As protests against Syria’s Assad government increase, the Turkish military has beefed-up its units located along the Turkey-Syria border. More armored vehicles have been brought up to the border. Turkey and Syria have a 600-kilomter long border.
April 7, 2011: Syria granted citizenship to some 300,000 Syrian Kurds. The Syrian government is trying to appease Kurdish activists as it confronts political, ethnic and religious demonstrations throughout the country. The citizenship issue has angered Syrian Kurds since 1962 when tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds were denied citizenship. Most Syrian Kurds live in northeastern Syria, along the Iraq and Turkey borders.
April 6, 2011: Turkey’s Prime Minister, on a visit to Baghdad, said that the PKK remains an enormous problem and is an obstacle to improving ties between Turkey and Iraq. Still, Turkey continues to make political and economic overtures to Iraq’s national government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the regional government of Iraq’s Kurdistan autonomous region. Turkey and Iraq have many common interests, including keeping Iran at bay.