Kurdish War: The Other Iraq


September 14, 2006: As a further assertion of their hopes for autonomy, if not full independence, the Kurdish regional government in Iraq has begun a major PR campaign. The campaign, which includes print ads in major western media and a website, http://www.theotheriraq.com/, promotes Kurdistan as "The Other Iraq," a region of peaceful progress and democracy.
September 13, 2006: A bomb detonated in Diyarbakir (southeastern Turkey) killing eight people and injured 14 more. No group took "responsibility" but the blast had the earmarks of PKK or PKK-associated activists. Diyarbakir is in Turkey's Kurdish region and the area has been plagued by violence. Bomb attacks in the last three months --mostly in tourist areas-- have killed a dozen people and wounded over 100. Diyarbakir is not in a tourist area. A group calling itself the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (also described as the Freedom Hawks) has said it is responsible for many of the anti-tourist bombing attacks.
Former US Air Force general and NATO supreme commander Joseph Ralston has been officially appointed as "coordinator" of US-Iraq-Turkey policy regarding the PKK. Ralston will be holding talks with security representatives from all three countries, with the goal of "ending the threat" of the PKK. Turkey will reportedly appoint former Gen Edip Baser to work with Ralston. Baser also served with NATO in Europe.
Turkish police completed a nation-wide round-up of leftist militants. All told, 23 suspects were arrested. The police also captured 39 weapons and over 250 kilograms of explosives. The leftists were suspected of belonging to the radical Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). Since 1994, the MLKP is believed to be responsible for over 75 bombing attacks throughout Turkey. suspects were arrested in Istanbul, Manisa, Aydin, Kayseri, Antalya, Mersin and Malatya. Malatya is in southeastern Turkey and it is conceivable that the MLKP is responsible for some of the attacks attributed to the PKK.. Turkish security officials, however, also point out that the PKK is the Kurdistan Workers Party and it was originally formed as a Marxist organization.
September 11, 2006: Three Kurdish men who tried to enter Greece illegally triggered a mine along the Turkey-Greece border. The men tried to cross near the town of Orestiada. Two were killed and one injured in the incident.
The head of Turkey's leading pro-Kurd party, the Democratic Society Party (DTP) asked the PKK to accept a ceasefire. In late August the PKK reportedly offered a ceasefire, but the PKK's bombing campaign continued. The appeal by the DTP could resonate with many Kurds in southeastern Turkey who are sympathetic to many Kurdish cultural and political goals but do not back PKK violence.
A bomb blast derailed a supply train in Turkey's Bingol province (eastern Turkey) near the town of Genc. Turkish security said the blast was caused by a remote-controlled mine. No group took responsibility for the attack. The train lines in Bingol province have been the target of bomb attacks in the past.
Turkish police arrested two suspected PKK members in Istanbul. THe two men are accused of bombing a Turkish government office in August and attacking the Justice and Development Party office in Istanbul in April.
In a village near Diyarbakir, a land mine injured two Turkish soldiers traveling in a military vehicle.
Turkish security forces claimed they killed two PKK rebels in a firefight near the town of Kozluk (near the southeastern Turkish city of Batman). The firefight took place on a road near a checkpoint.
September 9, 2006: Iraqi security forces arrested an Iraqi Kurdish politician. Turkey claims the man has "close ties" to the PKK. Iraq arrested Faik Mohammed Kolbi of the Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party. The KDS is regarded as the PKK's chief Iraqi Kurd ally. Iraqi security arrested Kolbi as a "suspect" in a 2005 murder of a former PKK member. It is no coincidence, however, that in August 2006 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the Turkish government that Iraq would act against the PKK in Iraq.
September 8, 2006: The Iraqi government asked Turkey to help train Iraqi soldiers.


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