26 February 2018
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  • » 09/04/2012, 00.00


    Kurds and Turks clash near Syrian border, 30 dead

    The incident occurred in Sirnak province, 100 km from Aleppo. Rebels attacked with machine guns and rocket launchers. Ankara blames Damascus and Teheran for pushing separatists to sow chaos in the region.

    Damascus (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - The Syrian crisis is spilling over into Turkey where Kurdish rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacked a security complex in the south-eastern part of the country, triggering fierce fighting that left about 30 people dead, including ten soldiers and 20 rebel fighters.

    By deploying troops in Aleppo (100 km from the Turkish border) to fight the rebels, Assad has energised Kurdish rebels. In the past two months, they have taken over dozens of villages and attacked various checkpoints along the border with Turkish provinces. Clashes with the military have also occurred along the border with Iran.

    Sirnak Provincial governor Vahdettin Ozkan said the militants had attacked the security complex at Beytussebap late on Sunday, killing nine members of the security forces.

    In early August, 10 people were killed in a car bomb attack blamed on separatist Kurds in the south-eastern city of Gaziantep, about 100 km from Aleppo. The PKK also claimed responsibility for that attack as well.

    According to Ankara, Damascus and Tehran forged an alliance with the PKK and its Iranian and Syrian branches in order to sow havoc in the region and limit the movements of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

    According to Hussein Celia, deputy chairman of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, the PKK is working hand in glove with Syrian intelligence.

    For Assad, Turkey is an enemy and Kurdish separatists are his ally. The towns of Afrin, west of Aleppo, and Qamishli, in the east, are controlled by the PKK and its local branch, the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The PKK flag now flies alongside the Syrian flag from government buildings. Both are no-go areas for the FSA forces.

    In recent months, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened military action against Assad if he continues to back the PKK offensive.

    The Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) is an underground armed political movement operating in the predominantly Kurdish areas of southeast Turkey. Since 2001, it has been listed as a terrorist group.

    Inspired by Marxism-Leninism, it is also present in northern Iraq, Iran and Syria. In Turkey, it calls for the autonomy for the country's 14 million Kurds.

    According to a Turkish parliamentary committee, the conflict between Turkish forces and PKK fighters has caused the death of 35-40,000 people, military and civilians, Turkish and Kurdish.

    Last year, the PKK claimed responsibility for six attacks against barracks and military checkpoints. In response, Ankara has bombed various rebel sites, sometime across the border.

    For the Turkish government, the United States and the European Union, the PKK is a terrorist organisation.

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    See also

    10/07/2007 IRAQ – TURKEY
    Turkish troop build-up along border with Iraqi Kurdistan
    Iraqi foreign minister warns against a Turkish incursion against the PKK. Ankara tries to reassure that it will not allow military to invade. US government intervenes to prevent it.

    22/03/2010 TURKEY
    Turkey’s Kurds celebrate Norouz under the watchful eye of police
    No incidents are reported, but 29 people are stopped for openly praising the PKK, the Kurdish Party fighting for Kurdish autonomy. Since 1984, 45,000 have died in the conflict.

    04/01/2008 TURKEY
    Blast in Diyarbakir further stokes the Kurdish Question
    Bomb blast is blamed on the PKK which has not however claimed responsibility. A new chapter of violence opens between Kurdish separatists and the Turkish military as the political stalemate continues.

    04/10/2008 TURKEY
    Fighting between Turkish army and PKK, 38 killed, two soldiers missing
    During the night, Ankara troops opened fire against an offensive by separatist Kurds, in the southeast area of the country on the border with Iraq. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the 20-year war between the government and the PKK, which is struggling for the independence of the Kurdish region.

    Washington asking a reluctant Turkey to do "more" against the Islamic state
    A statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry confirms that the US is putting pressure on Ankara, which however is more concerned about the possibility that Syrian Kurds autonomy alongside the largely autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan might boost a push for autonomy by Turkish Kurds. Turkey also wants the coalition to get rid of Assad.

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