Kurdish War: Outreach Falls Short


May 3, 2010: Iraq and Turkey are both uneasy about growing efforts by their Kurdish minorities to obtain greater autonomy. Many Kurds still talk of establishing a separate Kurdish state (composed of parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria). But the nations that would lose territory for this to happen, remain vehemently against the creating of "Kurdistan." The separatists are encouraged by the growing political power of Iraqi Kurds, and the inability of the Turks to destroy the separatist PKK organization.

May 2, 2010: Two years ago Turkey's government (led by the Justice and Development Party, AKP) decided to promote political reconciliation with Turkish Kurds as a way to end the war. Turkish leaders spoke of using democracy as means of reconciliation. Several years ago the AKP began making direct appeals to Kurdish voters as part of its own domestic political strategy. The party promised to improve roads and electrical infrastructure in southeastern Turkey (the predominantly Kurd region of Turkey). The approach was controversial, even among AKP supporters. Very few non-Kurdish Turks want to grant amnesty to senior PKK leaders. The government said that this would not happen. In mid-2009 it appeared that the government's new policy was gaining Kurdish supporters. However, in December 2009, Turkey's constitutional court banned the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party. Demonstrations broke out in southeastern Turkey, with the city of Diyarbakir the epicenter of those protests. With the end of winter, PKK activity has picked up in southeastern Turkey and PKK rebels point to the banning as of the DSP as a reason to wage war. Still, the outreach policy continues and it has not failed – at least not yet. The government says it will support new legislation to further expand Kurdish cultural and political rights. The government is also pointing out that it is prosecuting Turkish security personnel for crimes (murder) committed against Kurds in southeastern Turkey. A Turkish paramilitary police colonel is currently on trial for crimes committed in the early 1990s.

May 1, 2010: A PKK force attacked a security post near the town of Nazimiye (Tunceli province, eastern Turkey). Four Turkish Army soldiers were killed in the attack and seven were wounded. One of the men killed was the post commander. The attack began around midnight (in a dense fog) and continued until sunrise. The PKK force fired rocket-propelled grenades (using them as artillery). A security official claimed that several PKK rebels were killed in the firefight but did not provide exact casualty figures. Nazimiye is northeast of the city of Tunceli. The security post is located in what Turkish security officials described as a remote position. Tunceli province has seen an upsurge in PKK activity since the pro-Kurd Democratic Society Party was banned by the Turkish government.

April 29, 2010: The Turkish government reported the National Security Council (MGK) discussed further cooperation against the PKK with the governments of Iraq and the United States.

April 27, 2010: The Turkish military reported a PKK cadre attacked an army patrol near the town of Semdinli (Hakkari province). One soldier was killed in the attack and three soldiers were wounded.

An Iranian court in the city of Mahabad sentenced a Kurdish political activist to death. Approximately two-dozen Iranian Kurds have been sentenced to death by Iran since the Iranian government began cracking down on Kurdish separatists.

April 26, 2010: A landmine blown up on a bridge near the town of Dereli (Giresun province) killed one Turkish soldier and wounded two. Giresun province is in northeastern Turkey. Northeastern Turkey and Turkey's eastern Black Sea coast have had suffered from far-left terrorist attacks in the past. However, the government has accused PKK rebels of planning attacks in the area.

April 17, 2010: The Turkish military reported security forces killed two PKK fighters and wounded two in a firefight near the town of Eruh (Siirt province). In Sirnak province a PKK force ambushed a security vehicle and wounded three Turkish security personnel.



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