Some facts on the Turkish military threat against PKK in Northern Iraq

20 Oct

As the Turkish Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of invading Northern Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari has appealed to the Kurdish separatist fighters to “leave Iraqi soil and leave Iraq for its people and do not bring us more problems than we’re already suffering.” According to this Al Jazeera news, dated October 18, “Iraq asks PKK fighters to leave”, it reported that the Iraq’s Kurdish administration has called for direct negotiations with Ankara as Iraqi Kurds protested against the possible Turkish military invasion.

The protestors, congregating in the regional capital of Arbil and the border town of Dohuk, were seen holding the Kurdistan red, white and green flag; and placards with words, ” We condemn the Turkish threat”.

In another interview by Al Jazeera, Hoda Abdel-Hamid interviews PKK leader, Murat Karayilan who said, “Its not true that we are crossing the border. We have fighters everywhere, even on the border, its not necessary to send any from here. How can we send them from here to the Black sea its too far. They are not telling the truth, Turkey’s aim is to attack Iraqi Kurds.”

He also implied that the attack is related to the bill on the Armenian genocide; and since the head of state in Iraq is a Kurd, Turkey does not want to recognise him. He said, “They have a problem with Kurds.”

With an imminent attack from the Turkish military, more violence is expected. Murat Karayilan reiterated that they will respond “if Turkey is going to use violence against our movement, our leader and our people”

Turkey has conducted two military invasions against Iraq in 1995 and 1997. In 2003, the government approved military action twice though it did not act on it. The 331 kilometres demarcation between the Turkey and Iraqi border is also unclear except for a narrow river linked to Syria. There are heavy military facilities on the Turkey border while the Iraqi police are few in numbers and possess old and outdated weapons.

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