Kurdish War: Turks And Iranians Together Again


June 14,2008: The Turkish military's pace of operations against the PKK in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey appears to have increased since the end of May. Most of the reported attacks have been delivered by Turkish Air Force strike aircraft. On June 5 Turkish forces struck PKK targets in the northeastern corner of Iraq. It is believed that Turkey and Iran were cooperating in the attack, since Iranian forces had been fighting Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) rebels in the border area. Turkey denied the allegation. On June 7, Turkish fighter-bombers hit PKK targets along the Iraq-Turkey border (Iraq's Zap region). On June 10, Turkish Air Force aircraft bombed PKK bases in the Iraqi province of Dahuk. One of the bases was near the village of Nerwa Wa Rekan. Iraqi security personnel disputed the reported aircraft attack saying the attack was delivered by army artillery.

May 28, 2008: Earlier in the month, the Turkish government announced plans to spend around two billion dollars to building infrastructure in the predominantly ethnic Kurd regions of southeastern Turkey. Turkish Kurds have long argued they do not get their fair share of the developmental budget and if the Turkish government really wants to defeat the PKK politically, they will back promises with money. Five years ago the government began to do that, but the "economic line of operation" against the PKK has really accelerated since 2007. Now the Turkish government has topped the two billion promise of early May. Turkey will commit to an $11.6 billion dollar development plan for its Kurdish regions, with the money being spent in the 2008 through 2012 national budgets. Some of the money in the initial two billion dollars promised for infrastructure will be used to expand electrical distribution facilities.

May 26, 2008: The Iraqi Kurdish regional government said that it is committed to "take measures" against the PKK. The Iraqi federal government and the Iraqi Kurdish regional government have in the past stated they would help rein in the PKK. Since February Turkey, however, has been putting a lot of political pressure on Iraqi Kurds. The latest Iraqi Kurd statement acknowledged that Turkey's demand that Iraqi territory not be used for attacks against Turkey is "just and righteous." The Turkish government welcomes the public statements because they put pressure on PKK militants to come to terms with Turkey. The Iraqi Kurd statement came a week after a Turkish diplomat said (May 19) that the Iraqi Kurdish administration had to make a "tangible" effort to help stop the PKK.

May 17, 2008: The Turks believe they have "psychologically damaged" the PKK. The major incursion launched in February and subsequent air attacks and ground probes have sapped PKK fighting capabilities. However, echoing US military statements about Iraq, the Turkish military says that the "non-military lines of operation" must be pressed – the political and economic development of southeastern Turkey (the predominantly Kurdish region) is what will ultimately defeat the PKK.


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