July 31, 2007:
Turkey and Iraq
announced that Iraq's Prime Minister will visit Turkey, apparently to
discuss the PKK, protecting the rights of Turkomen (ie, Turks)
living in Iraq, and Iran. The impending
visit comes as approximately two corps of Turkish troops are operating in the
Iraq-Turkey border area and rumors continue about an impending Turkish strike
at PKK bases in northern Iraq. This is a signal that any impending offensive is
on hold as Turkey and Iraq practice personal diplomacy. The death toll since the Kurdish violence began
in 1983 is nearing 37,000. That number
includes PKK deaths, Turkish military and police casualties, and civilians.
July 28, 2007: The PKK denied
that four senior PKK leaders in Iraq had been killed. The story in Turkey is
that the four men died in a "suicide bombing" in Iraq's Kandil mountains, which
the PKK uses as a base area. One of the men allegedly slain was Riza Altun, a
senior PKK official who until early 2007 was in exile in France. The PKK said
the story was Turkish propaganda.
July 26, 2007: The U.S.
believes that dealing with the PKK is
"testing" U.S.-Turkey relations. With the Turkish elections over, solving the
threat posed by the PKK is a huge issue for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan and his government.
July 19, 2007: The Iraqi
government claimed that the Turkish military "heavily shelled" PKK rebel areas
in northern Iraq. The Turkish artillery fire hit targets near the northern
Iraqi town of Zakho. At least one hundred shells were fired, according to the
Iraqi report. 100 shells is roughly a battalion of guns (18 guns per battalion)
firing six rounds each. That's not harassment fire, but a serious attempt to