News / Europe

Turkey Takes Strong Stance Against Kurdish Rebel PKK

Turkish soldiers in armored vehicles patrol in Sirnak province on the Turkish-Iraqi border, October 21, 2011.
Turkish soldiers in armored vehicles patrol in Sirnak province on the Turkish-Iraqi border, October 21, 2011.
Dorian Jones

Turkey's recent military operations against the Kurdish rebel PKK - reportedly was one of the largest in the past decade - is the latest step in Ankara's battle against the terrorist group, which has bases in neighboring northern Iraq. Previous operations have proved to have limited effect, however, and Turkey is now considering its options in ending the violent insurgency.

Thousands of soldiers backed by tanks and helicopters spent a week tracking down rebels, who killed 24 soldiers and led a series of cross-border raids earlier this month. The PKK has been battling the Turkish state for greater minority rights and local autonomy since 1984.

Metehan Demir, who reports on defense issues for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, said that like the previous 30 or so military operations since the 1990's, the latest military response will have limited results. He said Turkey is considering the idea of creating a buffer zone in Iraq to prevent future rebel incursions, but there are problems with this idea.

"Turkey has been thinking this solution for a long time, but it has not been that easy for Turkey [to] establish a buffer zone, because the Iraqi administration will not accept it, as well," said Demir. "If you look at today's condition, they don't even accept Turkey's current cross-border operation. Also, behind the scenes the U.S. will not allow Turkey to establish a buffer zone."

Controlling mountain passes on the Iraqi side of the border has long been seen as the only way of curtailing PKK insurgents entering Turkey from their bases in Iraq. Turkey has had a military presence in the Iraqi border region for more than a decade. But observers say that expanding that presence and establishing a buffer zone will meet with resistance from the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdish administration, which controls the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said last week that Ankara's patience was running out. He said the regional administration in the north of Iraq should either prevent the terrorist structure or cooperate with Turkey. If not, he said Turkish forces will enter and stop them themselves. He said that is a right that stems from international law.

Turkey's increasingly strong stance against the PKK rebel threat is backed by Washington. Former Turkish Brigadier General Haldun Solmazturk, a veteran of previous Iraqi incursions, said Ankara would only have attempted such an operation with tacit U.S. support.

"Now we understand there is a common understanding reached by both sides, Turks and Americans, on which such operations could be conducted," said Solmazturk.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the recent attacks by the PKK and expressed the United States' continued cooperation with Turkey to combat violent extremism.

Washington offered no criticism of Turkey's latest operations, despite increasing concern from Baghdad and the local Iraqi Kurdish leadership.


You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs