Kurdish War: Turks in Iraq


October 27, 2006: A newly released document in the U.S. Army's Iraqi pre-war documents program includes a secret report on a Turkish military operation in northern Iraq. The Turkish incursion took place in 1999 and was aimed at the PKK. The document (dated March 1, 1999) is found on-line at The document says that weather hindered Turkish military operations and that "elements of the Kurdistan Labor Party" (the PKK) "sneaked outside their operations region" (ie, out of reach of the Turkish forces). The operation took place in the Zakho area. The document also mentions the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

October 26, 2006: A PKK spokesman in northern Iraq urged US special envoy Joseph Ralston to contact his group directly. The spokesman was identified as PKK leader Murat Karayilan. Karayilan is believed to be hiding in Iraq's Kandil Mountains. The appeal was designed to rattle Turkey by suggesting the US recognize the PKK as a political partner. Turkey insists that Iraq and the US work to eliminate the PKK in Iraq.

October 25, 2006: Turkey believe the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK- acronym for Tayrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan) is merely a "wing" of the PKK that is dedicated to bombing operations in western Turkey. The TAK's main target is western Turkey's lucrative tourism industry. In the last two and a half years the TAK is implicated in "several dozen" bombings. Attacks from June-September 2006 killed at least 17 civilians. The August 28, 2006 bombing attack in Marmaris (a resort town on the Mediterranean coast) is considered to be a "model" TAK attack. Three small bombs were detonated. 27 people were injured, including ten British tourists. On that same day another bomb was detonated in Antalya (another resort). Three people died in Antalya and 30 people were injured. The aim of the attacks is two fold: to get headlines and to scare tourists away. One Turkish report said that the TAK may be using explosives taken from Iraqi ammunition dumps, which could suggest some collaboration with the "former regime elements" (Saddam loyalists) who are fighting the Iraqi government.

October 23, 2006: Turkey touted a "high level defection" from the PKK. The defector was identified as Fehmi Aslan (a group commander and a logistics expert). Aslan surrendered in Siirt Province (southeastern Turkey). Turkish sources also said nine other PKK members had surrendered during the week. Six surrendered in Silopi.

October 15, 2006: Turkey claimed its security forces engaged a "group" of PKK fighters in a firefight near the town of Uludere (Sirnak province). One PKK rebel died in the battle. Another Turkish statement said the PKK's announced "ceasefire" (made September 30) is a political "tactic" designed to counter anti-PKK Turkish diplomatic efforts with the US and Iraq. The Turkish statement follows an October 14 U.S. government call for the PKK to "disarm unconditionally."

October 13, 2006: An Albanian smuggler arrested in Albania admitted that he is part of a smuggling ring, which ships arms to the PKK. The "arms trafficking channel" ran from Albania through Greece and into Turkey (presumably eventually reaching PKK fighters in southeastern Turkey). AK assault rifles are purchased in Albania for approximately $250. The weapons are "re-sold" in Greece for $700 to $1,100. Apparently the PKK pays approximately $1400 for each of the weapons. The PKK gets its money from extortion, robbery and donations from overseas supporters.


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