Thursday, December 29, 2011

Turkey's continued Elmer Fudd approach to the PKK

As if Iraq didn't have enough to deal with already . . . the Turkish military continues to attack northern Iraq.

BBC News (link has text and video) reports on last night's bombing, "An air strike by Turkish warplanes near a Kurdish village close to the border with Iraq has left 35 people dead, officials say. One report said that smugglers had been spotted by unmanned drones and were mistaken for Kurdish rebels." Reuters quotes Uludere Mayor Fehmi Yaman explaining that they have recovered 30 corpses, all smugglers, not PKK, and he declares, "This kind of incident is unacceptable. They were hit from the air." AFP adds, "Local security sources said the dead were among a group smuggling gas and sugar into Turkey from northern Iraq and may have been mistaken for Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels." Uludere is in the Turkish province of Sirnak which borders Iraq.

The attack demonstrates yet again how drones are not answers and how futile the Turkish government's response to the PKK has been. 35 people are dead, not one of them PKK. All were killed by the Turkish government in what the government insists (and believes) was a worthwhile action.

The PKK is one of many Kurdish groups which supports and fights for a Kurdish homeland. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described them in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq has been a concern to Turkey because they fear that if it ever moves from semi-autonomous to fully independent -- such as if Iraq was to break up into three regions -- then that would encourage the Kurdish population in Turkey. For that reason, Turkey is overly interested in all things Iraq. So much so that they signed an agreement with the US government in 2007 to share intelligence which the Turkish military has been using when launching bomb raids. However, this has not prevented the loss of civilian life in northern Iraq. Aaron Hess noted, "The Turkish establishment sees growing Kurdish power in Iraq as one step down the road to a mass separatist movement of Kurds within Turkey itself, fighting to unify a greater Kurdistan. In late October 2007, Turkey's daily newspaper Hurriyet accused the prime minister of the KRG, Massoud Barzani, of turning the 'Kurdish dream' into a 'Turkish nightmare'."

27 years of doing the Turkish government doing the same thing and getting no change in results. You really think the answer is better hardware? By refusing to grant Kurds full inclusion in Turkey, the government created the PKK. All the bullets and bombs in the world won't kill it. The only way you do away with the PKK is take away the reason they were created by bringing the Kurds in Turkey into the political process and making them citizens with full equality.

After 27 years, you'd think they'd have grasped how futile to ending the PKK and how deadly to people their response has been. Instead, they make new deals with the US for drones and other weapons and agree to host a new CIA station close to the border of Iraq. None of that solves the problem. It's scratching a rash, not treating it.

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