The PKK (Kurdish separatists) is finding it easy to recruit young men among the Kurdish population of northern Iraq. An ancient hatred of Turks (who have been ruling Kurds for centuries), and optimism about Kurdish independence (because of over a decade of Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq) makes the young men believe that their time is now. The Kurdish and Iraqi governments do not agree, but the youthful enthusiasm of these angry Kurds guarantees there will be more bloodshed.
June 6, 2006: The Turkish "spring offensive" continues, producing two more firefights between Turk security forces and the PKK. Two Turk soldiers died in a firefight near Semdinli (southeast Turkey, the Kurd region). In Tunceli province an IED detonated near a road wounded two Turkish troops.
June 4, 2006: The PKK claimed it killed one Turk soldier and wounded another eight more in an ambush outside the town of Bingol.
June 3, 2006: There are an increasing number of reports of violent incidents involving Iranian Kurds inside Iran. Ethnic separatism deeply worries the mullahs. ABout half the Iranian population is made up of non-Persian ethnic groups. Kurds make up approximately ten percent (one source says nine percent) of the Iranian population. The PEJAK (Party of Free Life in Kurdistan) is essentially the Kurdish PKK in Iran. There are no good estimates for the "military strength" of PEJAK. One Iranian source says PEJAK has fewer than 500 members (meaning, one supposes, fewer than 500 fighters). Iranian Kurds are Sunni Muslims, and Iran is dominated by Shias. Iranian Kurds says they experience job discrimination because of their ethnicity and religion.
June 2, 2006: The Turkish military said that one Turk soldier was killed in what was described as "a military operation in southeast Turkey." The Turkish spokesman said the operation was part of Turkey's "spring offensive" against the PKK. The on-going operation involves several thousand troops backed by helicopter gunships. The Turkish government claims that it is attempting to blunt PKK infiltration into Turkey from bases in north Iraq.
May 31, 2006: Turkey reported that two Turk soldiers and three men described as "village guards" died in a firefight with PKK guerrillas in Sirnak province. The firefight erupted a day after two other Turk soldiers died in a battle PKK rebels. The first fight also took place in Sirnak.
May 23, 2006: Turkey claimed that PKK rebels attacked a natural gas pipeline in Agri province (near the Iran-Turkey border). The attack temporarily disrupted gas distribution. The pipeline is used to transport Iranian natural gas from Iran to Turkey.