Tag Archives: PKK

Turkey Demands Iraq Hand Over Kurd Rebel Leaders

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Cemil Cicek, told a television audience his government was demanding Iraq turn over the top Kurdish rebel leaders. He said a list of 18 prominent Kurdish leaders had been turned over to the Iraq government in hope it would take action. Turkey is expecting cooperation from the United States in quelling the actions of Kurdish rebels, but General Benjamin Mixon, who heads US forces in northern Iraq, said he would do “absolutely nothing” regarding containing or capturing Kurdish rebels. There are no reports of any Iraq officials taking action against the PKK rebels.

There is a stand off for a moment in the Turkish-Kurd conflict. The Turkish government apparently is allowing the United States and the Iraq government to do something about the continued attacks by PKK forces into Turkey. If nothing is done, this allows the Iraq government to claim it has exhausted all opportunities for peaceful resolution of the problem and must now take action. On the flip side, it would be extremely difficult for the Iraq government to pursue and capture Kurdish rebels. The PKK is well armed and they are located in mountainous areas where air power will have scant effect. The Iraq armed forces have enough problems dealing with insurgents and terrorists in Iraq to go chasing Kurds in northern mountains.

One wonders if prior to America’s invasion of Iraq anyone in the Bush administration actually explored problems and issues that would arise if Iraq was defeated. The Turkey-Kurd issue was known to just about every Middle Eastern analyst and everyone of them would have forecast the present problem.

Kurdish Rebels Promise Cease Fire Today

Iraq’s esident, Jalal Talabani assured the world that Kurdish rebels were ready to end fighting in Turkey. “The PKK has decided to declare a ceasefire from their side tonight.” The United States has been urging the Iraq government to exert pressure on Kurdish rebels in order to end their incursions into Turkey. However, the Iraq government believes the problem of security within Iraq rests upon the shoulders of the U.S. military, not Iraq forces. A leading figure in Iraq’s defense ministry, Abdel Qader al-Obeidi, pointed out Iraq’s military was strained to the utmost and there simply were not enough troops available to handle Kurdish rebels in the north. He argued the United States military must take on that role and responsibility. In the meantime, the United States has been urging restraint on Turkey. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Vecdi Gonul of Turkey’s defense ministry, “that lacking actionable intelligence for them to send a large force across the border without any specific targets was likely to lead to a lot of collateral damage.”

One can only wonder where was Robert Gates in 2003 when Bush sent an army into Iraq to find WMD without any specific evidence of their existence, let alone where they were located. The rest of the world is smiling today as President George Bush urges restraint before attacking across borders. It is unfortunate 2007 Bush was not present when 2003 Bush plunged America into the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reason.

Turkish General Vows To Protect Secularism

Turkish Cheif of Staff General Yasar Buyukant told members of the War Academies Command that the armed forces are guardians of secularism in Turkey and will defend it against any attempt to make changes leading to Islamization of the nation. Prime Minister Erdogan assured the military his government is committed to those principles. “The government and Parliament are safeguards of the secular and democratic republic.”

Prime Minister Erdogan most probably is sincere in his desire to maintain secularism in Turkey, but he does not help to achieve those goals by having a new constitution drafted behind closed doors without any consultation by members of parties opposing his Justice and Development Party. His party only obtained 47% of the popular vote and it would be helpful if it reached out to secular political parties to obtain their assistance in drafting a new constitution. His words say one thing, but his behavior says something else.