Turkey’s Kurdish Calculus

September 27, 2012

(Israpundit)Ankara re-embraces its old allies in Washington, at the expense of Tehran and Damascus.
By SONER CAGAPTAY, WSJ
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, has made a bloody comeback in Turkey. According to a recent report by the International Crisis Group, PKK-related violence has killed some 700 people since the summer of 2011. This deadly toll recalls the horrors of the 1990s, when thousands of civilians were killed in PKK terror attacks and a brutal war in eastern Turkey between the government and Kurdish militants.
The resurgence of PKK violence is no accident. It is directly related to Turkey’s defiant posture in support of the Syrian uprising and against the Assad regime and its patrons in Iran. The upside for the West is that Ankara is starting to re-embrace its old friends in Washington.

The breakdown in Turkish-Syrian ties began in the summer of 2011. Since then, Damascus has once again allowed the PKK to operate in Syria. Meanwhile, to punish Ankara for its Syria policy, Iran’s leaders have made peace with the Kurdish rebels they had been fighting, letting the PKK focus its energy against Turkey.
This was not Ankara’s plan. When the Syrian uprising began in spring 2011, Turkish leaders initially encouraged Bashar Assad’s regime to reform. In August 2011, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu spent six hours in Damascus asking Assad to stop killing civilians.
The Syrian tyrant not only disregarded Turkey’s pleas; he also sent tanks into Hama hours after Mr. Davutoglu left the capital. Thereafter, Ankara broke from Assad and began calling for his ouster. Turkey began providing safe haven to Syrian opposition groups, and media reports have even indicated that Ankara has been arming the Syrian rebels.
Enlarge Image
European Pressphoto Agency
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Assad responded by letting the PKK operate in Syria after keeping a lid on the group for more than a decade. In 1998, Assad’s father had cracked down on the longtime presence of Kurdish militants in Syria, after Turkey threatened to invade if Syria continued to harbor the PKK. This spring, Assad allowed the PKK to move some 2,000 militants into Syria from their mountain enclave in northern Iraq. Assad, in effect, signaled to Ankara: “Help my enemy, and I will help yours.”
The Iranian regime has spoken in similar tones. In September 2011, immediately after Ankara started to confront the Assad regime, Tehran reconciled with the PKK’s Iranian franchise, the Party for Freedom and Life in Kurdistan. Tehran had been fighting its Kurdish rebels since 2003, as part of a strategy to take advantage of the rift between Turkey and the U.S. at the onset of the Iraq War. By helping Turkey defeat Kurdish militias, Iran had hoped to win Ankara’s favor at the expense of its own archenemy: Washington. But Iran flipped this posture last year, and by making peace Kurdish militants, it gave the PKK freedom to target Turkey.
The new stance on the PKK could not have worked so well against Turkey had the Syrian uprising not excited Kurds across the Middle East, including in Turkey. As Syrian rebels eroded the regime’s power in northern Syria this summer, Kurds started taking control of cities there, just across the border with Turkey.
Encouraged by this development, the PKK has tried to wrest control of Turkish towns, targeting especially vulnerable spots in the country’s rugged and isolated southernmost Hakkari province, which borders Iraq and Iran. Although the PKK has not yet secured any territory, the battle for Hakkari has caused hundreds of casualties over recent months.
Iran appears to be complicit in this new PKK assault, at least in part. Last month Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters that the government had “received information that [PKK] terrorists infiltrated from the Iranian side of the border” before launching a massive assault on the town of Semdinli in Hakkari. Tehran denies this.
Rejuvenated by its welcome in Syria and Iran, and also by Ankara’s stunted “Kurdish Opening”—an aborted effort in 2009 that had aimed to improve Kurds’ rights in Turkey—the PKK is now spreading tension beyond the Kurdish-majority areas of southeastern Turkey. On Aug. 20, the group killed nine people with a car bomb in Gaziantep, a prosperous and mixed Turkish-Kurdish city that had been spared from PKK violence. Once again, the Syrian-Iranian axis cast its shadow over the assault: Turkish officials alleged Syrian complicity in the Gaziantep attack, and when Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili met with Turkey’s prime minister in Istanbul on Sept. 18, he was also reportedly admonished.
Ankara’s Middle East policy rests on one basic premise: that anyone who supports the PKK is Turkey’s enemy. It follows that Ankara has a problem with Damascus until Assad falls, and a long-term problem with Tehran even after Assad falls.
Accordingly, these shifting stones in the Middle East are also bringing Ankara closer to its longtime ally the U.S. Turkey has agreed to host NATO’s missile-defense system, which aims to protect members of the Western alliance from Iranian and other nuclear threats.
After weeks of attacks and riots against their embassies elsewhere in the Middle East, Americans may well be wondering if the Arab Spring has had any positive consequences at all for the U.S. The severing of Turkish-Iranian ties, at least, can count as one.
Mr. Cagaptay is a Beyer Family Fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(image from Venitism – a pro Kurd blog)

fascinating. I was about to open my arms to the Kurds about two years ago when social media rumors were hinting that we should support them as atrocity victims. I’ve no doubt that they are indeed victims, but their recent allegiance to Iran and Syria isn’t exactly the type of response I’d of hoped for. The Kurds are an interesting third or fifth,,, or maybe sixth leg in mid-east politics. I’ve heard that they all aren’t Shia either. Some of the Kurds are also Sunni Islam… or maybe I was being lied to about that as well. It’s hard to know what to believe. Often times Westerners are told they are ignorant about mid-east political matters. That might be true… but usually because the sources we ask lie to us.


Israel contemplates playing hardball with Turkey

September 9, 2011

For an entire week since the Palmer report mostly exonerating Israel for the Mavi Marmara incident was released, Turkey has been increasing its rhetoric and actions against Israel – and the only official Israeli response has been to express hope that relations between the two countries can improve. That may be about to change.

(YNet) Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has decided to adopt a series of harsh measures in response to Turkey’s latest anti-Israeli moves, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.

Senior Foreign Ministry officials convened Thursday to prepare for a meeting to be held Saturday with Lieberman on the matter. Saturday’s session will be dedicated to discussing Israel’s response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent threats and his decision to downgrade Ankara’s diplomatic ties with Jerusalem.

Following Thursday’s meeting, officials assessed that Turkey is not interested in an Israeli apology at this time and prefers to exploit the dispute with Jerusalem in order to promote Ankara’s status in the Muslim world. Lieberman therefore decided there was no point in seeking creative formulas for apologizing, instead choosing to focus Israel’s efforts on punishing Turkey.

The Foreign Ministry has now decided to proceed with the formulation of a diplomatic and security “toolbox” to be used against the Turks. The first move would be to issue a travel warning urging all Israeli military veterans to refrain from traveling to Turkey. The advisory will be especially harsh as it will also urge Israelis to refrain from boarding connections in Turkey.

Another planned Israeli move is the facilitation of cooperation with Turkey’s historic rivals, the Armenians. During Lieberman’s visit to the United States this month, the foreign minister is expected to meet with leaders of the Armenian lobby and propose anti-Turkish cooperation in Congress.

The implication of this move could be Israeli assistance in promoting international recognition of the Armenian holocaust, a measure that would gravely harm Turkey. Israel may also back Armenia in its dispute vis-à-vis Turkey over control of Mount Ararat.

Lieberman is also planning to set meetings with the heads of Kurdish rebel group PKK in Europe in order to “cooperate with them and boost them in every possible area.” In these meetings, the Kurds may ask Israel for military aid in the form of training and arms supplies, a move that would constitute a major anti-Turkish position should it materialize.

However, the violent clashes between Turkey and the Kurds only constitute one reason prompting accusations that Ankara is violating human rights. Hence, another means in Lieberman’s “toolbox” vis-à-vis Erdogan is a diplomatic campaign where Israeli missions worldwide will be instructed to join the fight and report illegal Turkish moves against minorities.

The tough response formulated by Lieberman stems, among other things, from the foreign minister’s desire to make it clear to Erdogan that his anti-Israeli moves are not a “one-way street.”

EOZ says:The current Turkish leadership is not the type to back down in face of actions like these, so there is a danger of a macho cycle of escalation that cannot be easily repaired.

EOZ has gone to Ariel Sharon land! Turkey needs to experience a little thorn before they take anyone seriously.


Turkey Strikes PKK

August 19, 2011
[PKK Flag]
PKK Flag
[PKK old Flag]

Turkish jets and artillery pounded targets in northern Iraq overnight Wednesday amid an escalation in violence that could dash hopes of a resolution to the conflict between the Turkish state and the country’s Kurdish minority.
The Turkish general staff said the airstrikes hit 60 targets in the Kandil and Zap regions of Iraq, where officials in Ankara say Kurdish rebels have established a haven.

Turkey’s military on Thursday confirmed that its warplanes struck Kurdish rebel targets during cross-border raids into northern Iraq, and vowed to continue operations until the guerrilla group is “rendered ineffective.”

A military statement said fighter jets hit 60 suspected rebel targets across the mountainous region near the border with Turkey late Wednesday, as well as targets on Mt. Qandil along the Iraq-Iran border, where the leadership of the outlawed rebel group Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, is believed to be hiding.

How about an air flotilla for the Kurds? yeah…OK… so they are Commies. No one is perfect!

Taxi Driver to children outside of Yeshiva: ‘All Jewish children must die!’

July 19, 2011

(Manchester) Taha Osman is an Iraqi Kurd who sought and gained asylum in the UK. He settled in the north of the country and found employment as a Taxis driver. (For all the claims of Islam was a champion of science’s in the past, it appears that the only thing these clever people are able to do, is drive a Taxis)

Taha Osman, 36, shrieked 'All Jewish children must die' at shocked mums outside King David School in Crumpsall
Taha Osman

Anyway while off duty Taha decided to go shopping during the evening school run and found himself stuck in traffic outside King David School. Angry at been caught up in Traffic, Taha like all Muslims decided to vent all his frustration out on Jewish women and children. Which is why shocked Children asked their mothers why that man was shouting at them. Not known for intelligent banter Taha proceeded too shout out of his car window : ‘All Jewish children must die!’ which was followed up by: ‘Jewish people were ‘animals’ who ‘should not be allowed in this country’.
For acting like only a Muslim can towards Jewish women and children, Taha pleaded not guilty to causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm and distress . Unfortunately for Taha people in the UK have woken up to the lie that is ‘Islam is a religion of peace and he was found guilty.
However as this is the UK, his punishment was a community order. Thankfully the taxi firm which employed him had more of a backbone than the courts and he was sacked. Me I would deport his Islamic arse back to Iraq where he can blame the jews as much as he wants. from an Eye on the World: Iraqi asylum seeker: “Jewish people are ‘animals’ who ‘should not be allowed in this country”


A Two State Solution for Turkey?

June 21, 2011

The Erdogan regime should not be allowed to imagine that like China it will be able to buy its way out of any uncomfortable questions about human rights using economic leverage. Turkey is not China and its high level of debt increase mean that it will not be able to outproduce and out-export its troubles. With budget deficits as high as 20 percent of its GDP and a troubled bond market, the Turkish future is not as bright as the AKP’s oligarchs like to pretend. And domestic instability in the form of a large scale Kurdish uprising could easily bring Istanbul’s house of cards tumbling down…

rumor has it that Turkey is in a situation that is exponentially worse then what is happening in Greece, Portugal and Ireland.  The only difference is that there is no media to report about it.

Accepting Kurdish autonomy in Northern Kurdistan will allow Turkey to avoid a full fledged civil war and a two state solution which will see portions of its territory annexed to Kurdistan. While the Erdogan regime is confident that Europe and the rest of the world will continue turning a blind eye to its repression of the Kurds, there is no doubt that this will change in the event of a civil war. The world will not stand by and witness another genocide carried out by Turkey. And it will certainly destroy Turkey’s prospects for EU membership.

Autonomy or a two state solution is in Turkey’s own best interests as well. Kurds have a higher birth rate than ethnic Turks do. Almost double. And that means that if Turkey fails to separate itself from the larger portion of its Kurdish population– then all of Turkey will eventually be Kurdistan.
 

of course this sounds a lot like what was said about Israel and Palestine, but the Demographics in Israel turned out to be a fabrication. The same can not be said about Turkey

With Turkey increasingly dependent on IMF aid, that aid should come with preconditions, including Turkish willingness to participate in a peace conference with legitimate representatives of the Kurdish people.