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Thread: Kurdistan IO Email

  1. #1
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Kurdistan IO Email

    From: The Other Iraq
    To: [Fellow INTELST member]
    Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 9:07 PM
    Subject: Hello from Iraqi Kurdistan!



    We wanted to send you this short note to let you know that a delegation from Iraqi Kurdistan is back in the United States - continuing our campaign to tell the American public about "The Other Iraq."
    Americans helped us to win our freedom from the oppressive rule of Saddam Hussein. Thank you so very much for that. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Kurdish civilians died from Hussein's "Anfal" campaign of genocide against our people.
    But now that is in our past, and we are charting a bright course for a new and promising future. Again, this was made possible thanks to the support and assistance of the American government and its people.
    We are looking forward now, not back to the past. We have implemented a flourishing democracy. Just last month we passed a new free market investment law - the first in our history.
    We are currently traveling through the U.S. as part of the Iraqi Kurd delegation visiting America. So far we've been to Washington, D.C. and New York and now Nashville, Tennessee. We're heading westward across America to tell our story and attract American support and investment in the new Iraqi Kurdistan.
    You might have seen our television ads that we are currently running:

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW

    We encourage you to view them online - and please pass the link along to your friends and ask them to view the ads so we can help get our message out.
    Our website: http://www.TheOtherIraq.com
    Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, and thank you for supporting the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.


    This has got to make the Turks happy

    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member Mondor's Avatar
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    <sarcasm>
    I am sure that the Turks are just very proud of the accomplishments of the "Mountain Turks" as are the Syrians, and Iranians.
    </sarcasm>

    This is the one area, anti-Kurdish state, were Iraq, Syria, and Turkey were able to work together. This may still be a unifying theme amongst the regional powers in the future.
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies
    Ovid

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    Council Member 979797's Avatar
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    I think the solution to our problems lie in Kurdistan. Let them break away, with our tacit approval, then pull out of the rest of Iraq. Kurdistan has the oil and the best chance of stability (which, obviously, doesn't say much). This could also be a springboard to destabilizing Iran and Syria using the Kurdish peoples in those countries to help.

    The only problem is Turkey. Perhaps a gentlemen's agreement that the only way we'll support this plan is if Kurdistan promises never to encourage a break from Turkey??

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    Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Focus, 7 Dec 06: The Kurdish Security Network in Northern Iraq
    In spite of escalating violence in Iraq, the very region that served as the gateway for al-Qaeda in Iraq is now one of the most secure areas in the country. Iraqi Kurdistan, formally the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), has taken the opposite trajectory than most of Iraq. While the rest of the country was under the secure repression of Saddam Hussein, Kurdistan suffered from government-sponsored chemical attacks on Kurdish civilians. Moreover, while Kurdistan in the years prior to the war served as an open gate for al-Qaeda terrorists, among them Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, terrorist insurgents had not yet infiltrated the entire country. Now, however, the Iraqi capital and most of Iraq have steadily descended into terrorist and sectarian violence while Iraqi Kurdistan has flushed out foreign fighters (aside from the PKK, which they support) and flourished, both politically and economically. The reasons for this are many and varied, but require a concerted effort to be sustained....
    ...the article provides generally a very positive view of KRG control of the north, but the author does caveat it in his last paragraph:
    ...Despite their success, Kurdish officials must retain their vigilance if security in the KRG is to continue and improve. According to Barzani, "there is still a chance for terrorists and proxies of the neighboring countries to operate in the Kurdistan region and be destructive." Kurdish officials are still concerned about Kurdish or other militants infiltrating Kurdistan's mountainous terrain to direct terrorist attacks. It would be extremely difficult to rid terrorists from the forbidding Kurdish mountains. KRG control over outlying areas is still incomplete and will remain a challenge in the coming years.
    Emphasis is mine. From the time of Xenophon to the present day, no nation has ever been able to secure the mountain terrain of what is now the border area of Turkey-Iraq-Iran. It is highly unlikely that the Kurds themselves will be able to do so in the near term.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 12-08-2006 at 08:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 979797
    ...The only problem is Turkey. Perhaps a gentlemen's agreement that the only way we'll support this plan is if Kurdistan promises never to encourage a break from Turkey??
    The Economist, 13 Dec 06: America between the Turks and Kurds
    ....Plainly, it is in America's interest to cut a deal between the Turks and the Kurds, including a plan to disarm the PKK for good, in return for wider cultural and political rights for Kurds in Turkey. Conceivably, Turkey might then be persuaded to accept the reality of an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan; optimists point to burgeoning trade links across the border. But pessimists, especially in Turkey, say the Turks (as well as the Iranians) will never tolerate Kurdish independence, which is how they see the Iraqi Kurds' present extreme autonomy.

    If it comes to a stark choice, it is hard to say which way the Americans would tilt. A vigorous debate is taking place in Washington. The self-described realists favour Turkey: the country is a tested ally and far bigger, richer and more powerful than today's fledgling Iraqi Kurdistan. The neoconservatives may favour holding on, at all costs, to the only solid ally within a federal Iraq, namely the Kurdish regional government....
    ...and a companion piece on the PKK: Lonesome Rebels
    ...Unless it fights, suggests a former PKK militant in Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, the group will unravel, as it nearly did in 2003, before defectors were assassinated or silenced. But if the PKK returns to full-scale war, America and the Iraqi Kurds will find it harder to resist, as they do at present, Turkey's demands that they act against it—though senior Iraqi Kurds are wary of challenging fellow Kurds. That need not take the form of a military assault; an embargo on food, fuel and arms may be as effective. In any event, it may have been Iraq's Kurdish leaders who persuaded the PKK to announce a ceasefire.

    For its part, America wants to keep Iraqi Kurdistan, the lone bright spot in its long Iraqi night, at peace. But “no country has ever been able to secure these mountains,” smiles Mr Karayilan. “How are the Americans going to do what the Turks have struggled for years to achieve?”

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default Turkish General Calls for Military Operations in Northern Iraq against the PKK

    Turkey's top general has called for military operations in northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels hiding there.

    But Yasar Buyukanit, the head of the Turkish military's General Staff, said a political decision was needed before any such cross-border operation could be made.

    "Do we need to have an operation into northern Iraq? There are two aspects to this issue," he said. "First, from a military point of view, an operation in northern Iraq must be made. Will there be any benefits? Yes there will be. The second aspect is political. To make an operation beyond our borders, there must be a political decision."
    Possibly responding to threats by Massoud Barzani to inflame Turkish Kurds if Turkey interferes over Kirkuk. The Turkish Army has recently launched an offensive against the PKK in southeast Turkey and taken casualties.

  7. #7
    Council Member Dr Jack's Avatar
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    Default Diplomatic Note

    From the English version of the Turkish Newspaper Hurriyet dated April 13, 2007:

    http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/6323513.asp?gid=74

    Fatih Cekirge: Copy of diplomatic note to Baghdad also goes to Washington

    The sending of a sharp diplomatic "note" from Ankara to Washington, DC this week was a diplomatic first for Turkey. The note, whose intention was to both inform and warn, focused on the recent statements made by northern Iraqi leader Masud Barzani. Last night, I spoke with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. I ask him "Will the diplomatic note you sent to Baghdad elicit any results regarding Barzani's lack of discretion, and if it doesn't, what are your plans?" FM Gul pauses for a few seconds, and responds in a decisive voice:

    "We are considering everything where this matter is concerned. The note that has been sent is very serious. As the Turkish Republic, we do not want to engage in polemics with one individual. Also, we gave a copy of the note we sent to Baghdad to the US."

    Yes, this is an important point....

    Here is what this means Ankara is saying to Washington:

    "We have reminded the White House many times about the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq. We have notified the US over and over that the terrorists, which are being logistically supported there, are carrying out attacks in Turkey. We have reiterated that the administration in Baghdad is not strong enough on this subject, and we have asked the US to take precautions. But despite the passage of much time, nothing has happened on this front. Now, on top of everything else, Barzani has started making statements about how, if necessary, he will intervene in Diyarbakir. By giving a copy of the Baghdad note to America, we are saying to the US: You are directing Iraq, we are addressing you."

  8. #8
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Guess we didn't learn how serious they are about Kurdish rebels when they denied the 4th ID permission to stage through Turkey in 2003.

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    "We have reminded the White House many times about the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq. We have notified the US over and over that the terrorists, which are being logistically supported there, are carrying out attacks in Turkey. We have reiterated that the administration in Baghdad is not strong enough on this subject, and we have asked the US to take precautions. But despite the passage of much time, nothing has happened on this front. Now, on top of everything else, Barzani has started making statements about how, if necessary, he will intervene in Diyarbakir. By giving a copy of the Baghdad note to America, we are saying to the US: You are directing Iraq, we are addressing you."
    Hypocrisy to the extreme. Turkish intel (MiT) and SF operatives have been working in the north to foment discord between the Kurds and the Turkmen since the fall of Saddam. Which, if it needs to be said, goes directly against coalition desires for stability in that region. We've grabbed, bagged, and handed over their operatives a few times since the highly publicized incident in '03; keeping it quiet to reduce the level of friction with what is - still and all - a valuable regional ally.

    Also to the point - the PKK would never have reached this degree of resurgence if Turkey had not failed to implement changes (thus far on paper only) toward its treatment of its Kurdish minority. After the capture of Ocalan, the PKK fragmented and became virtually incapable of conducting operations. The Turkish government failed to exploit a golden opportunity to truly bring all of its Kurdish citizens into the fold, and the re-emergence of violent Kurdish nationalism within Turkey is stark testimony to the abject failure of Turkish domestic policies.

    Having said all that, this memo is meaningless crap. We don't have the luxury of troops or time to waste running Turkish errands. As stated, if they kept their own house in order, this wouldn't be an issue.

    As a fluent TU linguist, I've had memorable times working with the soldiers of the Turkish Army in a variety of contexts. However, I do not have a single pleasant experience to relate from the years I spent working out of the MCC in northern Iraq during OPC. First off they were a constant annoyance, in that all our communications were monitored by the Turks - we knew it, and took measure to deal with it, complicating operations. Everything we needed had to come through Turkey, and everything was searched - even our mail was opened (packages and letters). Despite better relations at that time, at least publicly, they were convinced we were aiding and abetting the PKK. Our medics were always given an especially difficult time.

    The Turkish Red Crescent offices in the north served as cover for Turkish Intelligence - MiT. Through them, the regional Turkmen parties were given support and assistance. We banned them from the MCC after we caught the Turkish signal NCO with a TRC rep in the comms room - the TRC rep was switching out crypto in the Turkish military base radio. The most interesting TRC incident was at the beginning of the March '95 Turkish military incursion into Northern Iraq. We stood on the roof of the MCC and watched a clearly marked TRC ambulance drive up to the border and act as a guide vehicle for the Turkish armored column - bringing them through town to where the main road split, where it remained to provide direction to follow-on forces.

    However, for the car bomb incident the month prior, not only did the TRC not respond - but the Turks refused to permit US ambulances/medics across the border until the following day. Many died who could have been saved had doctors and equipment arrived immediately. Our two medics used up much of our store of medical supplies at the MCC that long day. And afterwards, the Turks refused to allow the US post-blast investigating team across the border for two weeks. Of course, anything that could have helped point to specific bad guys was OBE by that point.

    Many of the Americans who were assigned to the MCC were on 90 day rotations - damn near all left hating the Turks. (And most of these guys were from 10th Group - who had often worked with the Turks before under friendlier circumstances) It was obvious to everyone that our data from village assessments was being used for targeting purposes by the Turks. Their "special missions" often ended up interfering with our air cover and disrupting the humanitarian mission. What got to everyone, was that many villages that were targeted by the TAF were ones that we had recently visited and assessed - and had nothing to do with the PKK. Hell, a key element in the friendly-fire shootdown of the Blackhawk flight in '94 was the Turkish "special mission" that was in the air without knowledge of the AWACS or the fighter pilots.

    Our own Turks - the MCC co-commander, his assistant and a communications NCO were like enemies in our midst. We continually had to maintain tight security to keep them from sneaking unknown individuals into the compound at night. They were constantly trying to undermine our US trained Kurdish guard force with bribes, extortion and blackmail...I could go on, ad nauseum.

    The Kurds of Northern Iraq hate the Turks. A large number of them were held in camps in SE Turkey where they fled from the Anfal - their treatment there by Turkey only reinforced hatred and distrust. In many cases, they also suffered worse than elements of the PKK during the Turks' annual spring-time incursions. The Turks were not there just to eliminate elements of the PKK. I was there during 3 different incursions and each time they willfully destroyed Kurdish farmland, took over and trashed schools, confiscated weapons' caches that belonged to the KDP/PUK (and many of which we had lists of serial numbers for registration), while doing little against the PKK itself - which always retreated to the most inhospitable portion of the mountains along the tri-border area. The farms, schools, and houses that were destroyed were, almost all the time, those that had been established with aid and assistance from USAID and various NGO's. Well, enough of the rant.

    Permitting them to move into the area in force again would be a grave strategic error.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-13-2007 at 07:52 PM.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    David Ignatius: A New Threat in Iraq.

    While the Bush administration struggles to stabilize Baghdad, a major new threat is emerging in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. If it isn't defused, this crisis could further erode U.S. goals in Iraq -- drawing foreign military intervention, splintering the country further and undermining U.S. hopes for long-term military bases in Kurdistan.

    The core issue is Kurdish nationalism, which worries Iraq's powerful northern neighbor, Turkey, which has a substantial Kurdish minority. The Bush administration has tried to finesse the problem, hoping to keep two friends happy: The Kurds have been America's most reliable partner in Iraq, while the Turks are a crucial ally in the region. But in recent weeks, this strategy has been breaking down.

    ...

    The administration, realizing that it was drifting toward a confrontation over the Kurdish issue, last year appointed retired Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston as a special emissary. His mission is to urge the Iraqis to crack down on the militant Kurdish political party known as the PKK, which uses Iraqi Kurdistan as a staging point. The Turks denounce the PKK as a terrorist group and threaten that if the United States doesn't take decisive action to suppress it, the Turkish army will.

    Ralston is said to have warned top administration officials in December that the Turks might invade by the end of April unless the United States contained the PKK. Other knowledgeable officials are similarly worried, and one analyst has predicted that the Turks may seize a border strip about eight miles deep into Iraq. Ralston has tried his best to defuse the crisis, clearing a Kurdish refugee camp of suspected PKK members and talking regularly with both sides. But the time bomb continues to tick.

    ...

    Turks and Kurds have fired heavy rhetorical barrages the past few weeks. Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani warned that if the Turks meddled in Kirkuk, "then we will take action for the 30 million Kurds in Turkey." The head of the Turkish general staff, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, responded that "from an exclusively military point of view," he favored an invasion of Iraq to clean out PKK havens. If the Turks do attack, counters one Kurdish official, "their own border will not be respected. They will not be the only ones to choose the battlefield."

    A wild card in the Kurdish problem is Iran. Like the Turks, the Iranians have a restless Kurdish minority and would be tempted to intervene militarily against a militant group called PJAK that operates from Iraqi Kurdistan. Indeed, top Iranian military officers met in Ankara recently for discussions with the Turkish general staff about possible military contingencies in Iraq, according to one U.S. official.

    ...

    Adding to this toxic brew is growing tension between the United States and Kurdish leaders. The Kurds were furious when they weren't given prior notice about a U.S. Special Forces raid in January that attempted to snatch two top Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers at the Irbil airport in Kurdistan. Unwitting Kurdish pesh merga troops at the airport nearly opened fire on the Americans. Although the airport raid was a failure, U.S. forces did manage to grab five Revolutionary Guard members at an Iranian consular office, which embarrassed the Kurdish leadership. The Kurds feel their friendship for America has been taken for granted ...

  11. #11
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Ankara suicide bomber identified as Kurdish. Not good.

    Update: PKK denies the Ankara attack.
    Last edited by tequila; 05-23-2007 at 08:21 PM.

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    SE European Times, 25 May 07:

    Turkey's Erdogan says he'll back military request for Iraqi incursion
    Speaking to reporters Thursday (May 24th), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed government support for the military if it decides to launch a cross-border operation against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Erdogan said he is confident that Parliament would back it as well, especially after the Ankara bomb blast Tuesday that killed six people and injured 100....

  13. #13
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    This could be a shrewd political move by Erdogan. Especially given that he and Gul are facing serious concerns about their Islamist tendencies and have already been warned that the Turkish army will enforce what it views as an appropriate separation of church and state. One way to deflect the people's attention is to get his countrymen refocused on those nasty Kurds who keep blowing up Turks.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    This could be a shrewd political move by Erdogan. Especially given that he and Gul are facing serious concerns about their Islamist tendencies and have already been warned that the Turkish army will enforce what it views as an appropriate separation of church and state. One way to deflect the people's attention is to get his countrymen refocused on those nasty Kurds who keep blowing up Turks.
    Actually based on what I have read and heard from my one Turkish-American friend (rabidly anti-AK, former Turkish Army infantry officer) is that the anti-Kurdish push is largely the province of the secular nationalist officer corps. The AK Party is viewed by the officer corps as soft on Kurdish terrorism as part of their program to join the EU --- this is in line with the reforms AK has instituted regarding human rights. There were some initiatives which AK introduced in the southeast, for instance allowing Kurdish-language broadcasts, that were adamantly opposed and ultimately rolled back by the military in the late 1990s.

    AK has largely sacrificed what pro-Kurdish tendencies it may have had since the Iraq War. The gains made by Iraqi Kurds and the military's increasing paranoia over this, as well as possibly related increasing militancy on the part of the PKK and the Kurdish terror groups, have put the kibosh on any possible Kurdish rights in Turkey. Suicide bombs going off in Ankara have a way of doing that, I suppose.

    Of course whether the military is using the Kurdish issue as a way to regain its dominance over the government is also a major question, not least among Turks themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila
    ....The AK Party is viewed by the officer corps as soft on Kurdish terrorism as part of their program to join the EU --- this is in line with the reforms AK has instituted regarding human rights. There were some initiatives which AK introduced in the southeast, for instance allowing Kurdish-language broadcasts, that were adamantly opposed and ultimately rolled back by the military in the late 1990s....
    The Turkish officer corps is heavily indoctrinated in the unique brand of Kemalist ethno-nationalism that makes up the mythology of the modern Turkish state. Of course they will view any party or individual who deviates from those lines as "soft on terrorism" and often as a threat to the state itself.

    In any case, the AKP didn't come to power in Turkey until late 2002 - so how could they have introduced reforms that were rolled back in the "late 1990s"?

    But getting to the point, the bans on Kurdish broadcasting and education were lifted in Aug 02 - before the AKP had their big electoral victory in Nov of that year. These bans have not yet been "rolled back", but they are sorely lacking in implementation. Significant obstacles have repeatedly been thrown in the way of any meaningful education in the Kurdish language, and what little Kurdish language broadcasting does go over the airwaves must pass through stern censor hurdles. It is easy to see how someone working in any branch of the Turkish military and security services would claim that they have "rolled back" the reforms....

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Actually based on what I have read and heard from my one Turkish-American friend (rabidly anti-AK, former Turkish Army infantry officer) is that the anti-Kurdish push is largely the province of the secular nationalist officer corps. The AK Party is viewed by the officer corps as soft on Kurdish terrorism as part of their program to join the EU --- this is in line with the reforms AK has instituted regarding human rights. There were some initiatives which AK introduced in the southeast, for instance allowing Kurdish-language broadcasts, that were adamantly opposed and ultimately rolled back by the military in the late 1990s.

    AK has largely sacrificed what pro-Kurdish tendencies it may have had since the Iraq War. The gains made by Iraqi Kurds and the military's increasing paranoia over this, as well as possibly related increasing militancy on the part of the PKK and the Kurdish terror groups, have put the kibosh on any possible Kurdish rights in Turkey. Suicide bombs going off in Ankara have a way of doing that, I suppose.

    Of course whether the military is using the Kurdish issue as a way to regain its dominance over the government is also a major question, not least among Turks themselves.
    The antipathy for Kurds within the Turkish military is well known. They really do not like getting shot or blown up by the PKK rebels. (Can you blame them? I would not have been too partial to having my troops shot at by Louisiana Cajun separatists.) Erdogan may be trying to play to this tendency by his statements about supporting a cross-border incursion, buying the military off from intervening in his efforts to secure the presidency for his party.

    It will be interesting to see whether this is operating as a subtext and whether the Turkish Army will go for the bait.
    Disclaimer
    [Lest someone take offense here, my choice of Cajuns is a purely silly example--I could have opted for a host of other groups in the US but they would have been even much less PC than the one I chose].

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    In any case, the AKP didn't come to power in Turkey until late 2002 - so how could they have introduced reforms that were rolled back in the "late 1990s"?
    Yes, you are right, I am confusing a few trends here. The reforms passed under Ecevit's DSP.

    Nonetheless I do stand behind the idea that it is the military who are the drivers of anti-Kurdish sentiment in Turkey. Historically it has always been the Islamic-based party, whether Welfare or AKP, who have reached out to Turkey's unassimilated Kurds, though Erdogan appears to be throwing them under the bus here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    The antipathy for Kurds within the Turkish military is well known. They really do not like getting shot or blown up by the PKK rebels. (Can you blame them? I would not have been too partial to having my troops shot at by Louisiana Cajun separatists)...
    ....I saw that movie!



    Seriously though, its important to keep in mind that the "antipathy" for Kurds in Turkey long predates the PKK. The Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey, and, since the foundation of the state, the only one that potentially threatens its territorial integrity. Almost immediately after Mustafa Kemal rallied the nation, kicked out the Greeks and forced the WWI allies to recognize the new Turkey at the Treaty of Lausanne, the country was wracked with major Kurdish revolts. The Sheikh Said rebellion in 1925, the Agri Dag revolt that lasted from 1927 to 1930 and the Dersim rebellion in 1937 all cemented in the minds of the government and the military that the Kurds were "the" internal threat to the Turkish nation.

  19. #19
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Disclaimer
    [Lest someone take offense here, my choice of Cajuns is a purely silly example--I could have opted for a host of other groups in the US but they would have been even much less PC than the one I chose].
    As a near-Cajun, I would say never fear; Cajuns are not into PC

    There really are 3 "third rails" when it comes to the Turks:

    a. Encroachment on Kemalism, especially the thread that separates the State from Islam

    b. Pushing an Armemenian genocide agenda

    c. Pushing a Kurdish identity inside the country of modern day Turkey; this too, challenges Kemalist thought. The PKK is viewed--rightly--as the armed wing of this movement.


    Rails A and C are buzzing right now.

    Tom

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Pank--No It's Not Aerosmith

    here is another vew
    Kurdish resort an oasis of peace in Iraq
    WORLD BRIEFINGS
    By Jason Motlagh
    THE WASHINGTON TIMES
    May 30, 2007


    RAWANDUZ, Iraq
    If the sight of jagged peaks towering above red-roofed chalets fails to conjure up the Swiss Alps, the screams of children riding the imported alpine toboggan make the comparison hard to avoid.
    But armed guards at the gate betray what visitors would like to forget: The newly opened Pank Resort is located in Iraq, a country fractured by war.
    Owner Hazem Kurda, a Kurd who fled to Sweden during the Saddam Hussein-era and opened a successful rice-processing plant, knows he took a huge risk when he decided to invest tens of millions of dollars of his own money to build a sprawling modern complex nestled high in the northeast of Iraqi Kurdistan.
    "To speak of [Iraq] and tourism in the same breath may sound crazy to many people," Mr. Kurda said. "But I made up my mind to do something unique in my country. I thought somebody should take the initiative, and others will follow."
    Coming attractions include a cable car across the limestone gorge that plunges from the edge of his property, an 18-hole mini-golf course and a camping site for those on tighter budgets. If all goes well, he thinks Hilton or Sheraton might one day lend its name.
    Today, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and a growing number of bold entrepreneurs are going to great lengths to promote the north as "the other Iraq," a haven of relative calm where Iraqi Kurds, Arabs and foreigners alike are free to do business, retreat to nature or just live normally for a few days. See full report
    According to the report, the Turks are the biggest investors.

    Best

    tom

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