Operation Ottoman Freedom. Whose side are you on?

Interesting build-up of news:

Reuters said:
Rice pledges US help to Turkey against Kurd rebels

ANKARA, April 25 (Reuters) - The United States tried on Tuesday to ease Turkey's concerns instability in Iraq was threatening its security, pledging continued support for Ankara's fight against the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

NATO member Turkey has voiced concern the conflict in Iraq is allowing the PKK to launch more attacks against its forces in the country's southeast, and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Tuesday repeated his call for Washington to help more.
Text here: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N25385144.htm

Reuters said:
Turkey denies troops entered Iraq but tough on Kurds

ANKARA, April 26 (Reuters) - Turkey denied on Wednesday a news report that its troops had crossed into northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish militants, but it also said the new government in Baghdad must help crack down on the rebels.

Around 3,000 members of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are believed to be hiding in the mountains of mainly Kurdish northern Iraq, from where they slip across the border to attack Turkish security forces.

The head of Turkey's military General Staff, General Hilmi Ozkok, reaffirmed last Sunday Turkey's right under international law to carry out cross-border operations to root out the militants if that was deemed necessary.
Text here: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L26705090.htm

Reuters said:
From Iraq, Kurdish PKK warns Turkey and Iran

RANIYAH, Iraq, May 3 (Reuters) - A senior Turkish Kurd rebel commander on Wednesday threatened to retaliate if Turkey or Iran attacked guerrilla bases inside Iraq.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), based in the far northeast of Iraq, accuses Turkey and Iran of massing forces near their borders with Iraq and mounting coordinated operations against the rebels by troops backed by tanks and artillery.

"If Iran and Turkey continue attacking the bases of the PKK or other Kurdish factions, the PKK will launch a guerrilla war against Turkey because the PKK has forces based in Turkish areas," Murat Karayilan, a senior PKK leader told a news conference in the town of Raniyah.
Text here: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/GEO350950.htm

Reuters said:
ANALYSIS-Turkish military build-up pressures Iraq, U.S.

ISTANBUL, May 4 (Reuters) - Turkey has massed troops along its Iraqi border to increase pressure on the United States and the new government in Baghdad to act against a growing threat from Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq.

But despite a rise in guerrilla violence and media reports of some cross-border military activity, Turkey is unlikely to launch a major incursion into northern Iraq without the consent of authorities in the region, diplomats and analysts say.

The Turkish army traditionally launches a spring offensive against the rebels as they descend from their mountain hideouts, but the latest military build-up is the biggest for years.

Turkey has sent some 40,000 troops to its mainly Kurdish southeast region to reinforce some 220,000 already based there in anticipation of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant raids.
Text here: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L04614236.htm

Do we:
a) Assume the PKK to be a terrorist organisation and support the Turks?
b) Assume the PKK to be freedom fighters and support them in their fight against Turkey?
c) Support whichever hires the better lobby group and wins more influence?
d) Bury our heads in the sand?

PS. Who is responsible for border security in that area: US military, Iraqi army or local warlords?
Well as we started the fashion for bombing the kurds .I guess this time we should back them . Best we stay out of it imho.
I vote D, our last little outing in Turkey didn't turn out to well...

Turkey really aren't happy about the Kurds in north iraq getting more power, they're scared of a breakaway kurd state. Then again the treatment of kurds by the turks seems to leave much to be desired if you believe various reports etc
We should intevene politically at least to a certain extent. Lets remember the PKK have deliberatly targeted civilians as well as military / govt targets and if we want Turkey to help in any NATO operations that we are involved in it is important that we show them that we will support them when they need it.

Im not going to generalise the whole kurdish situation but given all the crap they have had to deal with Saddam, at least they now have a (relitavly) safe area which they can settle in, it may not be everything that they wanted such as the areas claimed in Iran and Turkey but at least it is something. Is it worth continuous bloodshed for the sake of a few mountains in the north? We must denounce the PKK element whilst supporting the moderate Kurds in their efforts to achive some form of peaceful existence in Iraq. Given the power they carry in the Iraqi govt and their area of Iraq tending to be a seperate issue to the Shiite / Sunni issues, surely there must be a decent chance of achieving this throught peaceful means rather then violence?

I do not support some of the methods employed by the Turkish Army and acknowledge that they have hardly been angels themselves however the fact that they launch pre-emptive strikes seems a pretty fair argument for self defence.
On a personal POV, D! Turkey has every right to fight against terrorism (never mind that its has probably exacerbated the situation its self :? ) but a quick Turkish military campaign could convince the Kurds that any separation from Iraq may not be in its best interests.

The kurdish provinces have about 1/3 of Iraqs Oil.

Emough to worry the Sunni's in Baghdad and enough to give a future Kurdish state an econmically viable future. BUT they have no access to the sea and therefore would require a pipeline through either Iran, Iraq or Turkey. None of whom would support the creation of a Kurdish State.
Jailorinummqasr said:

The kurdish provinces have about 1/3 of Iraqs Oil.

Emough to worry the Sunni's in Baghdad and enough to give a future Kurdish state an econmically viable future. BUT they have no access to the sea and therefore would require a pipeline through either Iran, Iraq or Turkey. None of whom would support the creation of a Kurdish State.
Ah but remember that Kirkuk and Mosul are disputed - their is no guarantee that the non-Kurdish inhabitants would accept life in a free Kurdish state.
Best bone up on your history, Crabby.

It was the British Army that knocked Turkey out of the war. With the subsequent victory of the allies over the central powers the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

The victorious allies carved up the Turkish Empire and drew the lines on the map of the Middle East in 1922.
The Turkish/PKK problem has been around for quite some time now, the 'Kurdish Question' much, much longer.

The reason I bring up the problem now, is that the PKK are now taking shelter in a country that is nominally our, ie the Coalition, responsibility viz-a-vis security and stability. Turkey could quite legitimately accuse us of harbouring terrorists. What to do? Here's General Pace's answer to a direct question set to him by the Turks 6 weeks ago about what the US military will do about the PKK,

General Pace said:
Any attacks against the PKK in Iraq are going to have to wait until the security situation in Iraq is more stable”

See here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,188985,00.html
And that, of course, could be years away!!!

US Embassy Ankara briefing transcript said:
QUESTION: During your speech in the symposium you emphasized the partnership in the fight against terrorism. But when the subject is PKK, the Turkish people are not very much convinced that there is really an existing partnership there. Could you tell us a new single element of cooperation against the PKK rather than exchange of intelligence or activities in Europe, finance and the other things? Beside these, is there a single new element?

GENERAL PACE: I smile, because all the new things are of a nature such that I cannot talk about them in public. But my smile does not mean that I do not recognize the critical importance of the PKK to Turkey. It is a fact that the PKK is a terrorist organization. It is a fact that thousands of Turks have lost their lives to PKK terrorist acts in Turkey. We are committed alongside of your government to addressing the PKK problem. It is not an easy problem that has a simple solution. If it was easy, or had a simple solution, your government would not have been fighting them for the last thirty years. In northern Iraq, before we can tackle that problem, we must have stability for the government in Iraq. That means the Iraqi armed forces, the Iraqi police providing security for their own government, for their own people so that a sovereign Iraqi Government, a sovereign Turkish Government, and my government can work together to address the PKK problem once and for all.

See here: http://ankara.usembassy.gov/statement_032406b.html
Just what is he saying, 'we know that the PKK are terrorists, but they're not bothering us so we won't bother them'? Or is he saying 'it's an Iraqi problem, so the US isn't bothered'?

And so much in here http://ankara.usembassy.gov/statement_032406.html that I couldn't decide what to quote.... :wink:
I´m on the Kurds side,the Turks have been murdering them for years with help from German arms sales,Phantom jets(no weapons,just recce role Ha Ha Ha) and older tanks M48,s and M60´s they want the Leopard but the Green´s wont budge.

I believe there are about 40 million Kurds seeking a homeland,which is a lot more that a few previously homeless in Israel.

The Turks are Greedy and cruel and will rape Europe if allowed to become an EEC partner,I´d rather have a weaker Turkey and a fledgling Kurdish state.Ok oil is involved especially in Northern Iraq,but it´s only valuable when it can be sold,they can´t hold the West to ransom because they need the money to support themselves.

Time for work..................the world´s problems must wait!!!! :oops:
According to the Turkish press at the moment the PKK is a myth or at the very most a wanna be terrorist/resistance/freedom fighter organisation.

If the reports and the investigations which are ongoing are to be believed almost all of the attacks that have been carried out by the PKK have actually been the work of the Turkish army/ MIT.

The Turkish government say that this is all a load of drivel and the PKK are responsible for the attacks.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Semdinli on Monday and promised that his government would investigate charges that security forces were behind the bombing.

In 1996, a parliamentary report concluded that the state had hired death squads to kill people seen as threats to national security, including journalists, activists and Kurdish politicians.
Turks, they've been screwed over by the West alot and it's about time we tried and made up for our monumental pluck up's (such as, supporting Greek independance in the early 1800's, lies and demonisation over the Armenian civil war, WW1 and siezure of the ME by Anglo-French forces, screwing them over land and reneging on a treaty regarding Mosul and northern Iraq, having a go at them for trying to protect their citizens against Greek terrorists during the Cyprus affair, Gulf War, etc).

In all fairness to the Turks they've already lost a lot of land over the past 100 years and their side of the story is usually ignored in Europe.

I think it's in our interests to try and engage the Turks and keep them friendly to the west.
Turkey, I do think the Yanks gave sum sort of unofficial 'Promise' to the Kurds to help them gain their 'Independance' of some sort and promised to the Turk that 'They' would get them into Europe, hence the actions of TCB.
I do feel sorry for the Kurds who have definitely had a bad a time, but strategically Turkey would be an unacceptable loss. I'm not thrilled about them joining the EU - because they are not, imho, European - but they are one of the few Muslim countries prepared to cooperate with the West. If they are not with us - NATO - they will be with someone else, how will that play with Greece/Cyprus/Balkans/ Wider ME?

An Independent Kurdish State = regional war. A can of worms we can do without.
More from Reuters.

Reuters said:
Bomb kills two children in eastern Turkey

TUNCELI, Turkey, May 13 (Reuters) - Two children were killed on Saturday in a bomb explosion in eastern Turkey blamed by authorities on the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Full text: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L13481869.htm

Reuters said:
Four soldiers and rebel killed in southeast Turkey

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, May 13 (Reuters) - Four soldiers and a Kurdish rebel were killed on Saturday in an operation by the Turkish army against guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey, local authorities said.

Full text: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L13316128.htm
An interesting, albeit dated, paper worth a read for those interested in this particular conundrum.

Bill Park said:
Iraq’s Kurds and Turkey: Challenges for US Policy

In November 2003, Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, persuaded Washington to speed up the transfer of power to representative Iraqi bodies, not least as a response to the worsening security situation in the country. Bremer’s initial proposals were partly abandoned in the face of opposition on the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) and particularly from Iraq’s Shiite leadership. The interim agreement eventually arrived at by the IGC’s membership in early March 2004 determined that direct elections must take place by 31 January 2005. In early June 2004 the membership of Iraq’s interim government to take over on 1 July was announced.


In the wake of the US invasion, and with a tightening Kurdish grip on northern Iraq, the Turks have been largely on the outside looking in, seemingly without a clearly defined policy. This frustrating and unstable situation has sometimes put the relationship between the two NATO allies at further risk. This was amply demonstrated by the furor surrounding the 4 July 2003 arrest by US forces of 11 Turkish special forces commandos and a number of Turkish and Turkmen civilians during a raid on a building in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq, on the basis of intelligence reports that the Turks were engaged in “disturbing activities.” The establishment of a US-Turkish commission to investigate the incident did not prevent General Hilmi Ozkok, Chief of Turkey’s General Staff, from characterizing the incident as heralding “the biggest crisis of confidence” between the two sides.

Turkey’s enforced reliance on US troops and Kurdish peshmerga to confront the estimated 5,000 or so PKK separatists holding out in the mountains of northern Iraq has further augmented Ankara’s displeasure. In autumn 2003 Washington agreed to take on the PKK presence in Iraq on Ankara’s behalf. Although this gesture enjoyed the declared support of the Iraqi Kurdish leadership, little will or capacity to invest in this mission has been evident. In January 2004, Turkish General Ilker Basburg, who had helped negotiate the agreement, declared that “the US’s fight against the PKK is not meeting our expectation.” Abdullah Gul repeated the complaint in May. Ankara’s discontent could mount were this issue to remain unaddressed, particularly in light of the recent revival of PKK violence.

Full text: http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/04autumn/park.htm
However, being dated allows for a quick assessment of what has happened in the intervening period. Has the situation improved or deteriorated in the past 2-3 years? Has the US stepped-up its efforts as 'agreed' with the Turks, or not?
The problem rumbles on...

Reuters said:
Iraqi Kurds say Turkey shells area inside Iraq

BAGHDAD, May 17 (Reuters) - The government of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region accused Turkish forces of shelling an area inside northern Iraq on Wednesday.

Khaled Salih, a senior official of the Kurdish regional government in Arbil, said by telephone that no one was hurt when three shells slammed into a mountainous area close to the town of Kani Masi a few kilometres (miles) inside Iraq.

Full text: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/DAH760022.htm
... or is it just a war of words?

Reuters said:
Kurds say Turkish shells land in Iraq, Turkey denies

SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, May 17 (Reuters) - The government of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region accused Turkish forces of shelling an area inside northern Iraq on Wednesday.

A Turkish government official dismissed the accusation as "total fabrication."

Full text: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L1710785.htm
Armenian civil war is that when the turks commited genocide ?:twisted: (ohh must not mention that they get upset) sod em lets stay out of it .

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