The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (“PKK”) have become more frequent in their attacks. Thus, Gen. İlker Başbuğ, the commander of the Turkish Land Forces promised to increase his force to crush the rebels.
The Kurds are the largest people group in the Middle East without their own nation. They originate from an area located within Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Syria. In 1920, when the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Allies, the Kurds were split up into multiple different nations. Their strong desire for an independent nation has remained since 1920. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party has actively tried to make that desire into a reality.
The PKK was founded in 1978 by Abdullah Ocalan. He was a Leninist revolutionary. He has fought the Turkish government since 1984, using guerrilla warfare tactics. Recently, some of their members were arrested trying to place bombs. Their leader, Ocalan, was captured by Turkey and was placed in prison for life in 1999. The group currently has more than 5,000 members, and has its own unrecognized parliament.
In response to the actions by the PKK the Turkish government has promised to quell the rebellious Kurds. In just his year alone, the PKK has killed 65-70 of the Turkish soldiers. The weapon of choice for the PKK is land mines. The Turkish Government hopes its response will be able to completely defeat the PKK and avenge some of the 30,000 lives lost since the party’s inception.
This new major offensive will be long, brutal and demanding. It will force the Turkish government and the Kurds into a deep civil war, which cannot not be resolved soon. It will cause many to die, and will create more open hostility in an already unstable region. The Kurds will not be satisfied until they get their own land. And so even if the Turkish government is successful in accomplishing its goal, it will only be a stop-gap measure.
Time Magazine. Nationalists without a Nation. 1 March 1999.
Washington Post. Who are the Kurds? 1999.
Reuters. Turkey’s army chief renews call to crush Kurd rebels in Iraq. 27 June 2007.
Today’s Zaman. Army to restructure to step up fight against PKK. 28 June 2007.
Trend News Agency. PKK terrorists fail to plant mine trap on highway in eastern Turkey. 26 June 2007.
Associated Press. 2 Kurds Die in Failed Suicide Attack. 24 June 2007.