Disagreements between government and army of Turkey hinder destroying PKK terrorists

Politics Materials 17 June 2009 09:20 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 17 / Trend U.Sadikhova, R.Hafizoglu /

The struggle of Turkey and Iraq against the terrorist organization Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is complicated by differences within Iraq, as well as the differences in the fighting plans the Turkish government and army

"While the Turkish government proposes to solve the PKK issue peacefully, the army supports the military destruction of PKK, Mustafa Ozjan, a leading Turkish analyst on the Middle East, told Trend by telephone from Istanbul. - But the Turkish government and army have to harmonize their actions".

During his visit to Ankara, Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashimi said that the central government in Baghdad would not allow the establishment of an independent Kurdistan state in northern Iraq, Turkish Anadolu news agency reported.

"We will not allow the establishment of a Kurdistan state," - Al-Hashimi said at a meeting with President of Turkey Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Rajap Tayyip Erdogan.
The Vice President said that the terrorist organization PKK will be either destroyed or will be withdrawn from Iraq, because it imposes a threat not only for Turkey, but also Iraq.

PKK, established in the late 70s with the support of the Soviet Union, seeks to create an independent Kurdish state in south-eastern Turkey and northern Iraq. Due to a series of terrorist attacks against Turkish army and civilians, the organization was recognized as terrorist by the USA, Europe and several countries in the Middle East.

The main base of PKK is located in northern Iraq in the Kandil Mountains. Despite the joint anti-terrorist operation of Turkey and Iraq against Kurdish separatists, because of internal instability in Iraq, the strategic cooperation has not brought results.

Observers believe that the strategic agreement signed between Ankara and Baghdad is inefficient because of the differences in Iraq with regards to PKK.

Ahmed al-Tagi, head of Kirkuk Center for Strategic Studies, thinks that the government of the Kurdish administration seeks to weaken the central power in Baghdad, and therefore, wants to weaken Iraq's cooperation with Turkey against the terrorists.

"The administration of Northern Iraq complicates the process of struggle of Turkey and Iraq against terrorists - al-Tagi told Trend by telephone. - Northern Iraq is controlled by the Kurds, and this creates a problem for the central government. Therefore, Baghdad wants to intervene in the fight against the PKK."

Ozjan also believes that using a national factor, the Kurdish administration defends PKK, and therefore, Baghdad is not capable to pressure on the administration to destroy the PKK.  

However, for Ankara it will be more profitable to cooperate with the Kurdish administration, than with Baghdad.

It will be difficult for Ankara and Baghdad to resolve the PKK issue without the participation of the Kurdistan regional government, said Joost Hiltermann, an analyst on Iraq.  

"Baghdad plays only a marginal role, as it has no effective control in the Kurdistan region, Hiltermann, deputy director of Middle East program at International Crisis Group, told Trend via e-mail. - The PKK issue is high on the agenda of ongoing talks between the Turkish government and the KRG, and if there is to be any workable and durable solution, it will have to come from such talks." 

Kurdish administration, chaired by Masoud Barzani, was established after the overthrow of the regime of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003. The former Iraqi leader was a strong opponent of the Kurdish government and independent state.

In 1988, due to statements by Kurdish leaders of Iraq regarding establishment of an independent government in the country's north, Hussein's government used chemical weapons against the Kurdish population of Halabadzha, killing about one million civilians.

However, Turkey considers that it will be easier to destroy the terrorist PKK if the Ankara government and the army coordinate their actions.

President of Turkey Abdullah Gul said that the ruling Justice and Development Party has prepared a series of fights against Kurdish terrorists, but the details are not reported.

But the Head of General Staff of the Army Ulker Bashbug said that Turkey would fight against the PKK by the end, regardless of where the terrorists are based, Turkish Anadolu news agency reported.
His words were a response to the appeal of the leader of the combat wing of the PKK Murat Karayylan to Ankara to begin talks with Kurdish separatists.

"If it is missing, more such opportunities will not appear," said Karayylan.

Head of General Staff of Turkey said that Ankara would never negotiate with the PKK and will fight by the end, because the Kurdish terrorists are dangerous not only for Turkey, but also for Iraq.

However, Ozjan believes that the pressure on the PKK in Iraq would lead to the relocation of members of the party to Turkey and Iran, which could lead to weakening of the terrorists.

"Turkish intelligence will not allow them [the members of the PKK] to move to Turkey, and therefore, they can settle in the uncontrolled territories of Iran," said Ozjan.

Iran also constantly conducts military operations in northern Iraq against the members of the PKK and the fighters of the Kurdish terrorist movement PJAK.

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