Kurdish War: Turks Demand Buffer Zone In Northern Iraq


November 24, 2011:  Turkey warned that it will consider sending military forces across the Turkey-Syria border if the Syrian government permitted the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to launch raids from its territory. The Syrian government has been threatening to react violently throughout the region if its neighbors get involved in growing Syrian unrest. Letting the PKK attack Turkey would be one option. The Turkish government intends to discourage that option…maybe. The Turkish government has also objected to Syrian attacks on Turkey’s consulates. A PKK attack from Syrian territory, whether facilitated by the Syrian government or not, could provide Turkey with a pretext for intervening militarily in Syria’s civil war.

November 23, 2011: The Turkish government apologized for the deaths of some 13,800 ethnic Kurds who were killed by Turkish forces in military operations near the town of Tunceli between 1936 and 1939. The government is run by the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The AKP pointed out that the deaths occurred when the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) ran the government as a one-party state. The CHP is the AKP’s chief rival.

November 22, 2011: Turkish aircraft struck targets in northern Iraq (Arbil and Sulaimaniyah provinces in Iraqi Kurdistan).

November 19, 2011: For the past week Turkish and Iraqi media have been reporting that the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is trying to negotiate a resilient ceasefire agreement between the Turkish government and the PKK. Turkey has indicated that it could support a ceasefire agreement, but the PKK must be removed from the Iraq-Turkey border region.

November 14, 2011: The US military has deployed four Predator recon unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Turkey in order to provide better intelligence in the war against the PKK. The Predators are based at the big NATO airbase at Incirlik, Turkey.

November 12, 2011: Turkish special operations soldiers killed a man identified as a member of the PKK’s Hezen Parastina Gel (HPG, Peoples Defense Force) who hijacked a sea ferry in the early evening of November 11. The terrorist, who was armed with a bomb, held some 20 passengers and crew hostage. The ferry was carrying the passengers across the Sea of Marmara, from Izmit to Golcuk.

November 3, 2011: The Turkish military is considering expanding its presence in northern Iraq and creating a buffer zone to keep the PKK from crossing the Iraq-Turkey border. The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) opposes the move and the US isn’t for it either. However, the Turkish government is arguing that unless the KRG helps curtail PKK attacks from Iraqi territory it may go ahead and order the Turkish Army to take control of several key mountain passes on the Iraqi side of the border.

November 2, 2011: The Turkish military reported that security forces had killed an estimated 250 to 270 PKK fighters in offensive operations since mid-October (after PKK attacked several Turkish border posts). Around 10,000 Turkish troops were involved in the offensive sweeps.

October 29, 2011: A female suicide bomber killed three people and wounded twenty in the town of Bingol (southeastern Turkey, a predominantly Kurdish region). The woman had a bomb strapped to her body.

October 26, 2011: The Turkish military is conducting several multi-battalion operations along the Iraq-Turkey border. Several special operations units have deployed inside Iraq to hunt senior PKK commanders. The offensive operations are in response to the PKK attacks launched October 19. PKK rebels struck eight border posts and killed two-dozen Turkish soldiers.



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