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Targeting the PKK, with or without U.S. help
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a stern message for President Bush this week, said Ertugrul Ozkok in Turkey
 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a stern message for President Bush this week, said Ertugrul Ozkok in Turkey’s Hurriyet. At a meeting in Washington, Erdogan said it was time for the U.S. to take PKK terrorism as seriously as Turkey does. The PKK, separatist Kurds from Turkey who operate from bases in northern Iraq, have been raiding Turkish military bases for weeks, killing Turkish soldiers. So far, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s Kurdish province, has done nothing to stop these terrorists from using his territory. The Americans have been pretending that they have no sway with Barzani, but we don’t believe that for a second. Erdogan was clear. The U.S. has to order Barzani to stop giving sanctuary to the PKK. Otherwise, this crisis could kill Turkey’s half-century alliance with the United States. While Turkey would clearly be the loser in the case of such a break, the U.S., too, would lose.

Most Turks are skeptical of the U.S. alliance anyway, said Rahmi Turan, also in Hurriyet. We’ve all heard the allegations that the CIA gives information to PKK terrorists. How else could the PKK get such accurate information on the operations of Turkish soldiers and lay traps for them? Turkish soldiers have even reported seeing U.S. weapons in PKK hands. At this point, Turkey has no choice but to send in commandos to attack PKK positions in Iraq. The U.S. can either help us or stay out of our way. The deaths of so many soldiers have ignited Turks with a cold fury. We’re like a clenched fist and poised bayonet.

Iraqi Kurds won’t be bullied by threats, said Salah-al-Din Muhtadi in Iraq’s Kurdistan Nuwe. The Turks and Americans want us Iraqi Kurds to do their dirty work. To avert a Turkish invasion of our homeland, we are supposed to turn on our Kurdish brothers of the PKK. This is the worst alternative in my opinion. The effects of an invasion will one day be forgotten, but the wound of fratricide will bleed forever. Of course, that’s just what Turkey wants. Its aims are twofold: to destroy the PKK and also to destroy Kurdish solidarity.

Kurds are Kurds, wherever they happen to live, said PKK commander Bahoz Erdel in an interview with the pan- Arab Al-Hayat. PKK militants have been based in the mountains on the border between Turkey and Iraq for 25 years. We are part of the Iraqi-Kurdish community, as we are part of the Turkish- Kurdish community. Our presence is not a source of embarrassment for the Kurdistan Regional Government or the Kurdish population in Iraq; on the contrary, our presence supports and strongly guarantees their protection. If the Turkish army invades, it will only spur Kurds to come together in solidarity. Millions of Kurds who live in Turkey’s major cities would rise up, and Turkey itself would be plunged into conflict.

 

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