Kurdish War: All Together Now

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February 10, 2009:  The Turkish government continues to pursue its “anti-PKK  finance offensive” with members of the European Union. Turkey is working with the EU’s counter-terrorism office and wants an EU-wide ban on PKK funding operations. The situation is complex. The EU identifies the PKK as a terrorist organization, but Kurdish cultural organizations, educational organizations, and “émigré support” charities continue to operate through the EU. Turkey claims many of these groups are “fronts” for raising money for weapons and other supplies for PKK guerrillas in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq. Turkey is also stressing the PKK’s connections with drug smuggling in southeastern Europe and western Europe.

February 9, 2009: Turkish security troops raided a warehouse in Bingol province and found a PKK arms cache. The ache consisted of ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades, “Kalashnikov assault rifles,” M-16s, and C-4 plastic explosive.

February 8, 2009: The Turkish Air Force bombed several targets in northern Iraq over the past week. Planes specifically struck bases in the Khakurk area. The Qandil Mountains were also hit.

February 1, 2009: A fight broke out between a group PKK supporters and an Islamist group in Adana province. Police reported 20 people were injured, and seven arrested.

January 27, 2009: Turkey, Iraq, and the US are operating a “joint coordination center” in the Iraqi city of Irbil for the purposes of “coordinating” policies and plans to fight the PKK. The Iraqi government made the announcement first, which is in itself something of a political plus for the Turkish government. The “coordination center” serves several purposes. First and foremost it is a public political statement by Iraq that it is committed to working with Turkey to stop the PKK from using bases in northern Iraq. The Iraqis have mentioned it will coordinate plans to “stop cross border attacks.” It will also serve as an “intelligence fusion” office.

January 21, 2009: The Turkish government insists that it is pleased with Iraq’s promises to coordinate efforts against the PKK in northern Iraq. The recent exchanges by senior Turkish and Iraqi officials and the new coordination office in northern Iraq are “positive” according to Turkish diplomats. That said the security authorities now want to see active “steps” (ie, measures taken in the field) by Iraq against the PKK.

 

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