Turkish Army launches ground offensive in northern Iraq against Kurdish PKK.



Yet another unwelcome spin off from GW Bush and Tony Blair’s disastrous decision to invade and occupy Iraq began last night, when the Turkish Armed Forces began to move into northern Iraq in large numbers in search and destroy operations against the Kurdish PKK, who have been engaged in an armed insurgency against the Turkish State since 1984.

A military spokesman issued a statement on behalf of the Turkish General Staff, “A ground operation backed by the Air Force was launched at 1900, [1700 GMT on Thursday] the offensive began on Thursday evening, following shelling and aerial assaults against PKK targets in the region. After the successful bombing, a cross-border ground incursion backed by the Air Force started at 1900” (1700 GMT). The spokesman went on to say, “Two divisions of the Turkish Army, 10,000 troops had been sent into northern Iraq overnight as part of the land operation.

With this invasion of northern Iraq it seems the will of the Turkish military has finally prevailed over that of the AK Party led democratically elected government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who were hoping to avoid a military incursion with land forces across the Iraqi border. The rank and file of the AK Party along with many Turks have been taken by surprise by the General Staffs decision to invade northern Iraq at this time, as earlier this week Government Ministers were telling the media that due to the weather there would be no invasion until the early spring. Which they hoped would give Erdoğan enough time to reach and agreement with the PKK to come down from the mountains.

It is not the first time the Turkish military have launched a major land-force into northern Iraq with the aim of destroying the PKK, seven divisions of the Turkish army were sent into northern Iraq in 1995 and six in 1997, neither were successful in destroying the PKK. Most military analysts doubt the Turkish military will be any more successful this time, at best they can hope to disrupt the PKK chain of command and supply.

Not least because it is thought following recent Turkish military air strikes the PKK has withdrawn its fighters from their bases in northern Iraq’s Kandil Mountains and moved them across the eastern Iraqi border into Iran, whilst setting up small bases in the Sincar Mountains in northern Iraq. Unless the Turkish military has made some sort of agreement with their Iranian counterparts to expel the PKK fighters back across the Iraqi border, it is difficult to see how the current invasion will be any more successful than the previous two I mention above. Indeed for the Turkish Government it can only make a bad situation worse as past history has shown that any military incursion to attack the PKK in Iraq has acted as a recruiting sergeant for that organization.*

Photos above are of
1/ Map of where the Kurds live in the region.
2/PKK fighters
3/ Turkish troops in northern Iraq.

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11 Comments

Filed under Democracy/Elections/democratic accountability/Turkey/Is, equality, GWBush, Northern-Iraq, PKK, Turkey, Turkish-army, war-crimes

11 responses to “Turkish Army launches ground offensive in northern Iraq against Kurdish PKK.

  1. Anonymous

    The AKP is no different from previous governments in Turkey – if the generals want their way, in the end they get it.
    Turkish TV tonight was remarkably jingoist even by their fascist standards. Turkish commandoes on the border with maroon berets were approvingly described as “death machines” as they engaged in target practice.

  2. Anonymous

    This is really sad seeing Turk’s go into Iraq without anyone trying to stop such invasion..what will it solve by attacking the pkk nothing more death’s and more innocent civilians will be dead…I think they need to find a resolution and sit with pkk and ask them what they really want and why such thing keeps occuring over and over…i dont think anyone would enjoy living in mountains in fear for there lives…..I think the kurds from turkey need to be recognized as kurds and human beings with freedom and democracy till 1991 kurds from turkey will not allowed to speak kurdish they were arrested beaten for just speaking kurdish lets face the facts and find out why these people are really fighting Turkey,what Turks have done to armenians is nothing compare to what they have done to the kurds in turkey it’s so sad that no country has recognized what the turks are really doing to innocent people…….it’s time to stand up and end war and ask for peace nobody disorves to die

  3. Ara

    I thought you be intrested in seeing Responce of Kurdish regional Governemnt in Iraq
    araalan@gmail.com
    KRG.org, 20:28:52 22 Feb. 2008
    Kurdistan Regional Government calls on Turkey to withdraw troops

    Statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government
    22 February 2008

    Erbil, Kurdistan – Iraq (KRG.org) The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) condemns yesterday’s military operations in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq and joins the federal Iraqi government in Baghdad in calling on Turkey to end its violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

    It is imperative that Turkey immediately withdraw its military forces from the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

    Turkey has sought a military solution to the problem of the PKK for 24 years. This approach has not worked; the problem can only be solved through dialogue and diplomacy.

    The KRG in no way supports the PKK. The KRG has taken significant steps to restrict the PKK’s ability to act inside the region. It calls for immediate four-party talks between Washington, Ankara, Baghdad and Erbil to solve this issue.

    The United States, the United Nations, the European Union and others with long-standing and vested interests in the political stability of Iraq should join the KRG in pressing for an immediate Turkish withdrawal, together with a commitment by all parties to a comprehensive solution to the problem.

    The people of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq must not yet again be made to suffer as a result of what is in reality an internal Turkish political issue.

  4. Mick Hall

    Ara

    Thanks for this, I totally agree the Turkish army should immediately withdraw from northern Iraq. Only a fair, just and open political solution can solve Turkeys problem with the PKK. The military option, whether from the PKK or Turkish military has proved disastrous for all involved.

    The way the Kurds have been treated within Turkey has been the democratic deficit at the heart of the Turkish Republic. All rational Turkish politicians now understand this, and most Kurds who are citizens of Turkey would welcome a political solution that would bring the PKK insurgency to an end.

  5. Anonymous

    Ara,
    you are right, I think they need to end this asap so innocent people wont get hurt in all this so called invasion. I am sure pkk will come to some agreement if turks really recognize them as human beings and not terroist’s i do not believe that kurds from turkey are capable of hurting innocent people because they just want freedom

  6. El Ch�

    Why do people here think that the imperialists give the least hoot what people think? Other than when it costs them, politically somehow, that is? Stop always looking at these things from personal, moralistic points of view. The wringing of hands is worse than useless. We’re getting nowhere that way — just look at the legacy of the petit-bourgeois Left, to date. I mean YOU people.

    While the PKK is not really much of a marxist organization, looking for peaceful solutions under the bourgeois international world order is definitely not the way we should be approaching these situations.

  7. TurkishTVwatch

    There are a lot more democratic deficits in Turkey than just the treatment of the Kurds, but it is certainly one of the major ones.

    The Republic of Turkey was set up as a mono-ethnic state. It would require a radical alteration in its essence for it to make peaceful steps to resolve the issue. In fact, it is more likely to resort to a genocide option than say, grant autonomy. (The huge battle it puts up rather than admit to the Armenian genocide of 1915 is IMO because it has not ruled out using the same steps in the future.)

    As to treating the PKK as human beings, I posted the first “Anonymous” item on this thread, and judging from Turkish TV coverage I watched, treating the PKK as anything other than vermin to be exterminated is not on the agenda of the Turkish state (it was a private TV channel but that does not matter in Turkey – they are all under state supervision).

  8. Sys64738

    >>even by their fascist standards

    they are not fascist, they are against PKK terrorists, not us, Kurdish Turks. we fight together against violence, I’m a Kurdish Turk whose sister was murdered by a PKK time-bomb. Like all those Aegian Turks, Mediterranean Turks, and others, I love my friends, and no one can divide us using our ethnical roots.

    >>This is really sad seeing Turk’s go into Iraq without anyone trying to stop such invasion

    nobody stops PKK invading turkey, intentionally killing civillians

    >> what will it solve by attacking the pkk nothing more death’s and more innocent civilians will be dead

    They are not PKK, they make point operations, targeting the PKK camps.

    >>I think they need to find a resolution and sit with pkk and ask them what they really want

    have you ever seen a country sitting on the desk with terrorists who killed thousands of civillians? you just can’t ask a murderer what s/he wants to stop.

    >>I think the kurds from turkey need to be recognized as kurds and human beings with freedom and democracy till 1991 kurds from turkey will not allowed to speak kurdish

    it was a wrong political move, against people who use kurdish language to seperate us, stop us communicating with non kurdish people. And it ended 20 years ago. Now we are recognized as Kurdish Turks, much more than any other Turk, they won’t call an Aegian Turk as “Aegian” or an Albanian Turk as “Albanian” but they do call us “Kurd”.

    And yes, we have democracy, we have any rights any other Turks have, so we also have the choosing rights.

    PKK is a terrorist group just looking anything to use to divide us. And we will never allow them succeed.

    Not everything is great here of course. The most important thing is financial support to the region. But this issue is hard to resolve because of PKK, they threaden teachers to make them escape, attack commercial places who make investments on the region. In attempts to keep us in their side, and to have some pretext like “investors don’t invest on our region”

  9. Sys64738

    >> I am sure pkk will come to some agreement if turks really recognize them as human beings and not terroist’s

    would you make an agreement with me if I came to your country with a big force, kill thousands of civillians, bomb buildings, stop vehicles and execute civilians with guns depending on their IDs, and want to take over a part of your country, would you ask me politely?

    Please don’t call us PKK, we are Kurdish Turks, Kurds in short, PKK is a terrorist group, which is founded by a non kurdish turk, and has non kurdish turks and foreigners. They try to give the impression they represent us.

    >>i do not believe that kurds from turkey are capable of hurting innocent people because they just want freedom

    We HAVE freedom, which lawsuits are you talking about? It’s not a matter of capability, we just DON’T hurt people, we have all the rights any other turk has. we just need PEACE, like other turks, and need investors to make INVESTMENTS on our region, and people are simply afraid to build commercial places in a terror zone, just because of PKK itself. Lots of foreign commercial places were destroyed by PKK already.

  10. Sys64738

    It’s sad to see that foreign people think we are PKK. Using their name when talking about us. Who recognized Osama as a human being and asked him what he wants politely, when he demolished World Trade Center? We don’t do that, we are not PKK, we don’t kill our brothers. What PKK wants? It’s simply a hand of the outer forces which is used to divide countries, and a tool for some action people to feed their egoes.

    God bless my beloved one, and all those innocents dead in terror attacks.

  11. Mick Hall

    sys64738

    Thank you for your comments, they are articulate and heart felt, on one point, I do not believe all foreigners think all Kurds support PKK, many of us understand that the Kurdish people support a variety of political parties, for example many voted for the AK Party at the last election.

    regards

    Mick

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