The Turkish government is increasing playing hardball with the U.S.
when it comes to the PKK. Turkey has insisted since mid-2006 that the U.S. and
Iraq help it fight PKK cadres in northern Iraq. Turkey does not want to face
another PKK "spring offensive" or another summer of PKK-inspired terror bombs
aimed at the tourist industry. Turkey refers to the U.S. policy vis a vis the
PKK as "wait and see" - that is, wait and see how the political situation in
Iraq develops. Turkey may be planning its own spring military offensive to
pre-empt PKK activities.
16, 2007: Turkey reported that three PKK rebels and one Turkish soldier died in
a firefight in Bingol province. Another "series of clashes" took place on
January 13 and 14 near Diyarkbakir (southeastern Turkey). The Turkish
government has said that the continuing incidents demonstrate that the PKK's
"October ceasefire" was propaganda. This is one of the few reported
"significant" incidents since late December. As noted in the January 2 post,
the winter weather has set in and reduced the operations tempo.
9, 2007: Turkey said that it would "not stand idle" if Iraqi Kurds gain control
of Iraq's Kirkuk region. Turkey will not permit an independent Kurdish state.
Kirkuk has significant petroleum reserves. The Turkish government is also angry
over what it considers US "inaction" against the PKK. Turkey believes
that the US and Iraq know where two senior PKK commanders ( Murat Karayilan and
Cemil Bayik) are hiding out in northern Iraq, yet the men have not been
2, 2007: Winter weather in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey has limited
PKK infiltration into Turkey. The number of contacts and incidents between
Turkish security forces and PKK rebels usually decline during the winter. No
one wants to fight (or infiltrate) in the cold.