Is the PKK 'out of control'?

The administration reacted swiftly to the sudden increase in PKK actions over the last months, and in its latest move on Oct.17 it authorized the Turkish military to engage in operations against the PKK in Iraq from Nov. 28.

Is the PKK 'out of control'?
Units connected with the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have been carrying out operations aimed at Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism for days now along the Turkish-Iraqi border.

The administration reacted swiftly to the sudden increase in PKK actions over the last months, and in its latest move on Oct.17 it authorized the Turkish military to engage in operations against the PKK in Iraq from Nov. 28.

But what will happen from this point forward? From a military perspective, these operations could continue for a while. However, the expectation that any significant gains will be made in these operations looks weak.

To wit, not only is it currently winter, but the PKK has known for months that these operations would be occurring and had long ago taken precautions against these military moves. It is also common knowledge that the US looks warmly upon this showy military operation, whose true nature lies in the desire to quell some of the public anger in Turkey.

What this in turn shows is that it is wrong to view the situation from a solely military perspective. The real situation far surpasses simply struggling against the PKK with military operations. We find ourselves instead in a new era, and what we face now is a series of deep-rooted changes of perceptions toward the PKK.

Recently, famous American journalist Seymour Hersh -- who gained renown with his revelation of details from the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq -- made the assertion that the US and Israel have been supporting the PKK and its Iranian version, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), for years now in order to foment instability in the region (Zaman, Oct. 28, 2007). According to Hersh, sources close to the administration believe that the PKK is in serious trouble, even interpreting the organization as being "out of control."

There are complicated relations in the triangle between America, Turkey and the PKK. Everyone accepts that Turkey is the largest ally of the US in the region, but despite this, in an atmosphere of increasing activity by the PKK, Washington has done everything it could to prevent Ankara from taking action. Hersh, who also underscores this point in his own writing, notes that the tight trade, political and military relations between Turkey and Israel make the entire matter even more complicated.

The growing conviction among the Turkish public that the PKK is being supported by the US is costing Washington heavily, since as it stands, anti-Americanism is already on the rise in Turkey. According to Hersh, despite the palpable tensions said to exist between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's administration and the Turkish military, the two have in fact been in complete agreement when it comes to the PKK. In other words, it could even be said that the PKK has managed to "unite the military and the administration."

What needs to be understood from this all? First of all, it is clear that both the US and Israel are supporting the PKK. No matter how much Hersh may say that the goal is to destabilize Iran, the truth we face today is that the most serious actions by the PKK have been toward Turkey, and only in recent times has the PKK aimed its damaging activities toward Iran.

Also, no matter how strong this organization is, for a dozen different reasons we could easily cite, the PKK would never be able to harm Iran the way it has Turkey. Thus, with that as the situation, we need to develop another model of explanation.

If the PKK's true destructive forces are aimed at Turkey, what would their departure from this path really mean for the nation? Has the PKK really gone "out of control"? And if it has gone out of control, in whose name is it working, and does it really believe that it can remain standing in any sort of independent fashion?

Another possibility is that powerful circles in Turkey have made the decision to finally finish off the PKK and have communicated this decision to the US -- and that the US, in turn, has decided it would rather lose the PKK than Turkey.

Since the meeting between Prime Minister Erdoğan and US President George W. Bush on Nov. 5, 2007, America's official stance on the matter could be described as follows -- "The PKK is the enemy of Turkey, America and Iraq." The main theme of this sentence, which we have heard coming straight from the mouth of Bush, is "Iraq."

This means that actually, the target of the military operation against the PKK is hidden in the phrase "Iraq's enemy, the PKK." The coming days look to be filled with many new developments on this front.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Aralık 2007, 10:12