Kurdish War: Name Calling


August 26, 2007: Turkey has lost approximately 80 soldiers and security personnel in "PKK related violence" so far this year. Most of the dead were killed by land mines or IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

August 24, 2007: A heavy firefight broke out in Sirnak province between Turkish security forces and PKK rebels. Ten PKK guerrillas died in the firefight and two Turkish soldiers were killed.

August 23, 2007: Artillery fire from Iran struck the village of Penjwin (eastern Iraq, near Sulaimaniya). Artillery fire was also reported on August 18. Two people were wounded in that attack. Every so often Iran fires at suspected Kurdish bases in the area, which Iran says supply Kurdish rebels in Iran.

August 22, 2007: Turkey acknowledged that it is encouraging Iraqi Sunni groups to reconcile with Iraq's central government. Turkey is an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim nation. In 2005 Turkey publicly encouraged Iraqi Sunnis to participate in the Iraq elections. Of course many Iraqi Sunnis failed to do so. The Turkish efforts have been quiet and under the radar. The new public mention may be a direct result of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit to Ankara in early August. Maliki agreed to call the PKK a terror group. Now Turkey wants to help Maliki stabilize his government.

August 18, 2007: An armed clash in Hakkari province (eastern Turkey) left one Turkish security officer dead and two wounded. An Iranian military helicopter crashed in northeastern Iran. The helicopter was engaged in "operations" against Iranian Kurdish rebels.

August 13, 2007: The PKK warned Iraq that it should not interfere in the PKK's war with Turkey. This is a not so subtle acknowledgement that Iraq's decision to publicly call the PKK a terrorist organization hurts the PKK politically.

August 7, 2007: After a series of meetings, including a face to face meeting with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Iraq's PM Nouri al-Maliki agreed to call the PKK a "terrorist organization." This is a political victory for Turkey. Now Turkey is urging Iraq to take "concrete steps" against the PKK. For the Turks, "concrete" means Iraq will either eliminate the PKK bases or let Turkey eliminate them. Turkey and Iraq also signed a "memorandum of understanding" to cooperate on counter-terror efforts and on combating organized crime.


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