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Old 08-06-2009   #121
Courtney Massengale
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Originally Posted by Team Infidel View Post
Unfortunately, only a small population of these members are really the puppet masters. The rest are the leftovers from the Iran/Iraq war or peasant farmers that were dubbed into joining. They have definitely drunk the koolaid and this will have catastrophic implications in the long run.
I'm not really sure that the MeK "matters" in the long run. Its going to be rather catastrophic if you're in the MeK, but I'm not sure that anyone will really make an issue out of the MeK going away forever.

The real question is if this will embolden the GoI to go after some other loose ends before the Americans leave. And why wouldn't they? If I was in the Sons of Iraq and didn't want to take a GoI job, I would be paying close attention to what goes on in Ashraf....
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Old 10-27-2009   #122
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Default Confidence Building Between Turks and Iraqi Kurds

The Atlantic Council, 1 Jun 09: Confidence Building Between Turks and Iraqi Kurds
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This report assesses the views and interests of Iraqis, Iraqi Kurds, regional players and other major stakeholders as the basis for cooperation when interests overlap and preventing conflict when they diverge. Since interests are shaped by history, the report considers the history of Kurds in Turkey and in Iraq. The report also evaluates opportunities for collaboration, and flash-points for conflict escalation between Iraqis, as well as between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. While the region remains volatile, the report notes significant progress in Turkey-KRG relations as a result of constructive dialogue between officials from both sides over the past year.
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Old 01-15-2011   #123
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Default Turkish COIN campaign in Kurdistan

Hello

Does anybody have any references to literature about the history of this campaign?

Regards,
uwe

Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-15-2011 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Moved to the RFI thread
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Old 01-15-2011   #124
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Default Check existing threads

UWEW,

The Turkish COIN in Kurdistan is - for SWC - largely overlooked I suspect. Try the search tools. I found at least a dozen likely places where items maybe located. Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2011   #125
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I'm exchanging email with a guy writing a Ph.D. thesis on it at the Turkish War College. I could link you up with him.
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Old 01-15-2011   #126
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If you have a local library that carries Jane's Intelligence Review, they have had a number of good pieces on that conflict over the years. You can also run a search at the Jamestown Foundation's website for "PKK" and you'll get a number of articles that you can sift through. And Human Rights Watch has published a few papers over the past two decades on issues of Kurdish displacement, war crimes, and language rights. Just select Turkey on their publications menu and scroll back through the years.

From more of a political POV, Gunter's The Kurds and the Future of Turkey, Olson's The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s and Barkey & Fuller's Turkey's Kurdish Question are useful.

A very good read providing the POV of the individual Turkish soldier during the height of the conflict in the '90s, which was eventually banned in Turkey, is Mehmedin Kitabi: Güneydoğu'da Savaşmış Askerler Anlatıyor. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of an English edition.

Finally, here's a few links to papers you may find of interest:

UNESCO, 2002: The Decline of PKK and the Viability of a One-state Solution in Turkey

U of Helsinki Dissertation, Sep 02: The Invisible War in North Kurdistan

CSIS, 31 Oct 07: Turkey’s Military Options for Dealing with the PKK: A Preliminary Assessment

GeoForum, May 08: Environmental Destruction as a Counterinsurgency Strategy in the Kurdistan region of Turkey

NPS Thesis, June 08: Turkey and PKK Terrorism

But the literature is sparse; it certainly deserves a much more thorough study than what is currently available.

Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-15-2011 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 01-15-2011   #127
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Originally Posted by uwew View Post
Hello

Does anybody have any references to literature about the history of this campaign?

Regards,
uwe
This is an extremely though subject for an academic work. There are several reasons for this:

1. It maybe surprising for most non-Turkish researchers that, the Turkish Joint Staff is very open to academic scholars for historical studies. Archives of Cyprus operation, Independence War First World War were opened to many foreign researchers and historians. However, the struggle against PKK, officially called as "Ic Guvenlik Harekati" (Operation for Internal Security) is an ongoing operation. Thus, you may not get success at getting answers from Turkish military.

2. The literature has a lot of articles, books and other materiel directly and indirectly financed and/or suppported by PKK and its extensions. The book "Mehmedin Kitabi" is one of them: having an incredible number of inconsistencies and mistakes about military service and the situation in the SE region of Turkey. PKK, unlike many other seperatist terrorist organzations in the world, is extremely successful at PR campaigns. So you may find it difficult to get a neutral POV. (Note: The PhD dissertation at U of Helsinki is a shame for the university to say the least. I got the feeling that I'm not living in Turkey and elsewhere while reading it. Simply unbelievable. I will not be surprised if Ms Koivunen is already a member of YJA-STAR)

3. The subject extremely complex roots within political and socio-economic history, involving Ottoman Empire, First World War, Cold War, complex tribal relations, Syrian, Bulgarian and Soviet interventions, 1st adn 2nd Gulf Wars, Saddam, Esad and Iranian revolution etc. You should be "armed" with sufficient background in order to get a better understanding. Only after than you can better understand how a Marxist-Leninist organization can have a manifestation full of ethnic bravado and anthropological explanations (in early 1980's).

As for military / tactical POV, I can only wish you good luck, since even us Turkish citizens have the slightest idea on tactics and strategy by (an increasing) number of books by former / retired personnel who served in 1990's in the region.

Summary: Good luck. But don't expect to get a good number of sources from different POV's and sides. You will be bombarded by sources directly/indirectly supported by PKK and/or a huge number of NGO-supported materiel built up with micro-nationalist motives.
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Old 01-15-2011   #128
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Mehmedin Kitabi: Güneydoğu'da Savaşmış Askerler Anlatıyor. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of an English edition.
Hey, it is available in translation: Voices from the Front: Turkish Soldiers on the War with the Kurdish Guerrillas

Now I have to pick it up and read it so I can compare it with the original Turkish.
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Originally Posted by orko_8
The literature has a lot of articles, books and other materiel directly and indirectly financed and/or suppported by PKK and its extensions. The book "Mehmedin Kitabi" is one of them: having an incredible number of inconsistencies and mistakes about military service and the situation in the SE region of Turkey.
There is certainly a certain chunk of material written on the conflict that is linked to (or supportive of) the PKK. But having worked extensively with the Turkish military since the mid-80's, I will state unequivocally that this statement is very wrong about Nadire Mater's book. The strength of Mater's work is in the spectrum of sources she interviewed: the vast majority were ethnic Turks of different backgrounds and educational levels, but she also interviewed Armenian, Greek, Kurdish (Shafii and Alevi), Laz, Greek, and Roma conscripts who served in the SE. Despite the much tighter censorship of the time, the first printing was permitted without any substantial interference. However, the rapid selling-out of that first printing, and immediate start on second and third printings, prodded the Turkish authorities to ban the book and to charge the author under Article 159 of the penal code (insulting and belittling the military).

The PKK engaged in very brutal actions, killing schoolteachers and many other civilian representatives of the Turkish state in the SE in the style of Maoist "armed propaganda", with the '90s seeing those actions implemented across a broad swathe of the region. This has been extensively documented, and there is little need to demonize the organization as they have been condemned by their own actions.

But some of the attempted revisionism that attempts to tone down what was the heavy-handed response of the Turkish military of that time period really does the Turkish military and the Turkish state no real service, and only serves to obstruct or contaminate potentially substantive lessons learned. ("Revisionism" now - at the height of the campaign there was extensive censorship as well as large numbers of journalists imprisoned while attempting to report on events) Not to mention that it makes the revisionists look foolish, as those actions were also extensively documented, and thus refusing to admit them only results in failing to learn their lessons.

This failure to learn by the Turkish state and military is currently reflected in the re-emergence of the PKK as a violent actor over the past few years, bringing armed conflict up to a simmer in the SE (along with a few scattered bombings in cities in the western part of the country).
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Old 01-16-2011   #129
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Thank you all for the info provided and thanks to the mods for moving this thread to the right subforum.

I am not planning to research this topic academically. I am just curious, because -IMHO- there are some similarities between the situation in Kurdistan and (Northern) Afghanistan and maybe we could learn something from the Turkish experiences?

As far as I can see in the sparse media coverage the conflict gets, the Turks have made some progress when changing from a kinetic to a more population centric approach, alleviating some of the grievances of the Kurdish population. And it would be interesting to know how successful the system of village guards ( koruculuk sistemi ) is. And why things started to get worse again in 2007.

Maybe some of the more knowledgeable forum members would offer some thoughts on these questions?

Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-16-2011 at 11:51 AM. Reason: Spacing
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Old 01-16-2011   #130
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Originally Posted by uwew
....I am just curious, because -IMHO- there are some similarities between the situation in Kurdistan and (Northern) Afghanistan and maybe we could learn something from the Turkish experiences?
As regards direct application to Afghanistan, there is really very little of value to be learned from the Turkish experience, aside from in a very broad and general manner - which doesn't provide much beyond what is considered "classic" COIN and a lot of this-is-what-you-should-not-do type lessons.

The situation of the Kurds as an ethnic minority in Turkey for a very long time was quite unique, because not only did they suffer from the common minority complaints of political underrepresentation and regional economic neglect, but their very identity as an ethnic minority was under attack. For decades, the Kurdish language was banned, Kurds were forbidden to given their children Kurdish names, Kurdish place names were changed to Turkish, and the centralized Turkish education system even taught that there was no such people as the Kurds. Unsurprisingly, this built up a lot of resentment.

However, even with all that, only a small minority of the Kurds supported the PKK - even at the height of the conflict. Although many may have agreed with their separatist views, the vast majority just could not accept their strident Marxist ideology. As mentioned earlier, the PKK's tactic of murdering schoolteachers, other state employees and anyone they perceived as "collaborators", as well as their habit of looting villages of supplies, also did not earn them many friends among ordinary village Kurds.
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Originally Posted by uwew
....And it would be interesting to know how successful the system of village guards ( koruculuk sistemi ) is.
The village guard system forced ordinary Kurds to choose between support for the state and support for the PKK. If a given village did not choose to support the state, in many cases they were forcibly displaced by the military. Sometimes they fled due to attacks by neighboring village guards. If they did choose to support the state, they immediately became targets for the PKK. On the other hand, some villages chose to join the village guards simply because it gave them a state-sanctioned opportunity to settle old feuds with neighboring villages. These problems with the village guard system were experienced by the US to some degree with "local protection forces" in Iraq, but nowhere near the scale that they occurred in Turkey. Definitely not a program to be emulated.

Another significant difference from Afghanistan is that the PKK's leadership under Öcalan was highly centralized. When he was captured PKK operations virtually ceased. It was a true example of "beheading the snake", similar to what happened to Sendero Luminoso when Guzmán and then Ramírez were captured. The failure of HVI targeting to significantly disrupt threat operations in Afghanistan clearly demonstrates that, unlike the Maoist insurgencies, no single individual is running the show.

The slow reemergence of the PKK and violent Kurdish separatism in recent years is an indictment of Turkish state policies. The capture of Öcalan provided them with a golden opportunity to stabilize the SE and win over the Kurdish population through positive measures. This did happen to a degree, but only in fits and starts interspersed with old-fashioned Turkish refusal to accept Kurdish ethnic identity. The much-discussed "Kurdish opening" in Turkish politics has achieved some very positive gains, but it took a long time to reach that point. But the current violence is again not supported by the average Kurd in Turkey, and is still at a very low point (in comparison to the '90s), thus the state still has an opportunity to move forward and successfully interdict/disrupt the nascent insurgency before it grows into a serious military problem again.
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Old 01-20-2011   #131
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I'm writing a paper about HR and TSK's COIN strategy against the PKK for my MA. There are not much books/articles about it. Indeed, an issue is the objectivity of authors, but there is some academic research on the subject. Its not very strange that majority of the Kurdish population doesn't actively support the PKK, just like the majority of Afghans doesn't support the Taliban or the majority of the Algerians didn't support the FLN. Its not relevant. In this case both the PKK and the TSK targeted the civilian population.

Recommendations are:
Aliza Marcus, PKK Blood And Belief (war, seen from the perspective of the PKK)
Özdag, Ü., 2003. The PKK and Low Intensity Conflict in Turkey. Ankara, Frank Cass.
Pamukoglu, O., 2003. Unutulanlar Dısında Yeni Bir Sey Yok, Hakkari ve Kuzey Irak Daglarındaki Askerler. Harmony, Ankara. (Turkish general's vision)
Jongerden, J., 2007. The Settlement Issue in Turkey and the Kurds: An Analysis of Spatial Politics, Modernity and War. Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden and Boston (good analysis, also bit pro-Kurdish, but its the best on COIN).

Bruinessen has written some articles about Kurdish identity/PKK, not much about COIN
http://www.let.uu.nl/~martin.vanbrui...tml#articles#1

Turkish vision on preventing use of Children by PKK:
Preventing the PKK’s Misuse of Children by Introducing Community Policing
http://www.coedat.nato.int/publicati...i%20Dikici.pdf

Turkish Culture and its Influence on the Counter-Insurgency Campaign Against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)

Ihaneti Gördum (book of former general ): http://www.boxca.com/a5lemmgvszuo/Er...3%BCm.pdf.html (downloadable)
http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/pt...li%20paper.pdf
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Old 01-20-2011   #132
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http://www.ijbssnet.com/journals/Vol...ry_2011/13.pdf
This can be used too. Also Turkish vision on CT (Not COIN).

One should also think of Sri Lanka as an example. Sri Lanka and Turkey are very much comparable. Exclusion of ethnic identity and ethnic nationalist/communist organizations trying to control territory in an insurgency strategy similar to the Vietcong in Vietnam. Sri Lanka defeated the LTTE, but Turkey didn't 'defeat' the PKK yet.
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Old 01-20-2011   #133
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http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf
Actually a paper 'what we can learn from COIN in Turkey for Iraq/Afgh'. There are more papers if you search on google.com/scholar
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Old 03-17-2011   #134
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Default Winds of change in Kurdistan?

An IISS Strategic Comment on the changes in Kurdistan:http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...aqi-kurdistan/
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Old 10-24-2011   #135
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Default Turkish Tanks Cross Into Iraq to target PKK

Reuters) - Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles crossed into northern Iraq headed in the direction of a Kurdish militant camp, Turkish security sources said on Monday.

The incursion came as cross-border operations continued in the wake of last week's attack by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters that killed 24 Turkish soldiers.

The armoured column, with hundreds of troops, was moving towards a militant camp at Haftanin, around 20 km (12 miles) from the Habur border post and near the Iraqi city of Zakho, the sources said.

Several hundred PKK fighters were believed to be based at Haftanin, the sources said. Warplanes took off earlier from bases in Diyarbakir and Malatya to launch airstrikes on the camp as the latest phase of operations began on Monday afternoon.

Separately, the head of Turkey's armed forces, General Necdet Ozel, offered a review of recent military operations for NTV news channel.

"The cross border operation that started on October 20 continues in a number of regions, within the framework of a determined struggle against terrorism," Ozel said in written answers to questions from NTV and posted on its website.

Turkish air strikes have killed 250 to 270 Kurdish militants, wounded 210 and destroyed many arms stores in northern Iraq since August 17, Ozel said in the text.

Turkish warplanes launched air strikes against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas in northern Iraq in mid-August in retaliation for a string of PKK attacks in southeast Turkey.

The military launched fresh air-backed ground operations against the militants last week on both sides of the mountainous Turkey-Iraq border after simultaneous PKK attacks killed 24 Turkish soldiers in Hakkari province on the Iraqi border.

On Saturday, the military said it had killed 49 militants during two days of fighting in a valley on the Turkish side of the frontier.

Ankara's reaction to one of the deadliest attacks on its security forces in a conflict that began three decades ago had fuelled speculation that Turkey could move to a full-blown incursion to clear out PKK camps deeper inside northern Iraq.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in 1984. The United States, the European Union and Turkey designate the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

(Istanbul newsroom; Edited by Roger Atwood)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/1...79N5I420111024
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Old 08-31-2012   #136
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Default The Kurds: a complex dynamic factor

A wide ranging article:
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The middle-east’s power-balance is in flux amid state tensions and political conflicts. In a two-part article, Bill Park - who was recently in Ankara and Erbil - examines the impact of these changes on Turkey and its neighbours, especially the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq.

In part one, he looks at the Iraqi dimension; in part two, at Syria’s conflict, sectarianism and the wider Kurdish question.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/bill-pa...gional-dynamic

I'd not say it was a 'new' factor, just one that persists and every so often raises its profile. I can recall the time when Iran and Israel supported the Kurds in Iraq, then suddenly Iran and Iraq made an agreement, leaving the Kurds somewhat exposed.
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Old 10-15-2012   #137
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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Kurdish militants killed 10 soldiers and wounded at least 60 when they fired rockets at a military convoy in eastern Turkey on Tuesday, security sources said.

The past few months have seen some of the heaviest fighting since the PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Mid...#ixzz29O3XjMOS
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
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Old 10-17-2012   #138
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Iraq urges the Kurdish autonomy to approve the deployment of troops on the border with Turkey to prevent the Turkish troops' entering Iraq, as well as to stop air strikes on the country against the militants of Kurdistan Workers' Party, head of the Iraqi parliamentary security committee Iskander Witwit told Trend on Wednesday.
http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/14...perations.html
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Old 10-22-2012   #139
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As the confrontation between Turkey and Syria escalates, Ankara is readying not only for possible war against Syrian President Bashar Assad, but also against Kurdish separatists. Turkey fears they may be emboldened by the situation in Syria and resurrect their cause.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-861396.html
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Old 10-30-2012   #140
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Update on Syrian Kurdistan
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2...oops-flee?lite
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