US Takes Sides with Turkey on Kurdish Struggle
The United States is taking sides with Turkey on the issue of the Kurdish struggle for freedom.
Kurdish rebels blew up a military bus in Istanbul on Wednesday, killing four people in a daring attack likely to intensify the conflict between Turkish occupation forces and Kurdish resistance fighters. The attack came in the wake of a violent weekend in which 12 Turkish soldiers and policemen were killed by Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) guerrillas, who have recently stepped up resistance efforts in areas of northern Kurdistan currently occupied by Turkey.
In addition to responding with harsh military operations against the Kurds, Turkey has attempted to deflect blame for the violence from its occupation of Kurdistan to Israeli intrigue in the region. Turkish sources told the Jordanian daily al-Majd on Monday that its security forces are investigating a Mossad connection to the PKK attacks on a Turkish airbase that took place on May 31. Israel denies any involvement.
The sources further claimed that the Turkish security apparatuses had recently thwarted an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by Mossad-connected Kurdish rebels.
The Qatari daily al-Sharq also reported on Wednesday that media elements in Turkey were attempting to link the upsurge in PKK attacks to Turkey's anti-Israel positions on the Gaza blockade and on Iran's nuclear ambitions.
US Supports Turkish Anti-Kurd Efforts
The United States ambassador to Turkey, meanwhile, released a statement earlier this week that America supports Turkey's efforts to clamp down on Kurdish resistance fighters and is ready to "urgently" consider any new request for help from Ankara. "We stand ready to review urgently any new requests from the Turkish military or government regarding the PKK," Ambassador James Jeffrey said in a written statement on Monday.
"The PKK is a common enemy of both Turkey and the U.S. and we actively support the efforts of our Turkish allies to defeat this terrorist threat," Jeffrey said, stressing that "there has been no change in the level of U.S.-Turkey intelligence sharing regarding the PKK in northern Iraq."
The United States has reportedly been supplying Turkey, a NATO ally, with intelligence on rebel movements in northern Iraq, used particularly in Turkish air raids on PKK hideouts and Kurdish civilian areas in the region.
Israel and the Kurds
The Kurds - whose country is currently occupied by Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria - are a non-Arab Middle Eastern nation who generally hold pro-Israel views. During the reign of Saddam Hussein, who killed over 5000 Kurds in poison gas attacks, Israel helped the Kurds in their battle for independence from Iraq.
Since 1984, the PKK has been engaged in a war of liberation for the mainly Kurdish-populated territories that make up the north of historic Kurdistan but currently exist as Turkey’s southeast. The war for Kurdish independence has since claimed roughly 45,000 lives, with Kurds making up the vast majority of casualties.
"Every time Syria, Turkey, Iran or Iraq - and now America too - talk about the 'occupation' of Palestinians, we should be throwing the Kurdistan issue in their faces," said Israeli activist Benny Katz. "The Kurds weren't invented, as the Palestinians were, in the 1960's. They are an ancient nation deserving of their homeland.
The PKK has demanded an end to all discrimination in Turkish laws against ethnic Kurds, hoping instead to be granted full political freedoms. The party has also demanded Turkey’s recognition of the Kurds’ identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in Kurdish populated areas. Most Kurds currently living under Turkish occupation openly sympathize with the PKK despite it being considered a ‘terrorist’ organization by both Ankara and Washington.