Turkish Warplanes Bomb Kurdish Bases in Northern Iraq
Turkish warplanes began bombing Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraqi mountains on Wednesday night, a few hours after the ambush in the Hakkari province that killed seven Turkish soldiers and wounded eleven. Turkish military also reported on Thursday morning that the artillery shelled over 100 targets in the border zone. The military announced that the Turkish Armed Forces would continue their raids in the domestic region with the Kurdish population and abroad until the terrorist organization that attacks military targets has been eliminated, alluding to the Kurdistan Workers Party.
These attacks come after the ambush that killed seven Turkish soldiers in the southwestern province Hakkari of Turkey.
Immediately after the attack, the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised that those who did the attack would pay a high price. The same thing was said by the president of Turkey Abdullah Gull.
There are media reports that say that Turkish leadership is considering the idea of attacking the PKK bases soon after the Muslim month of Ramadan. Between Turkey and PKK there was a ceasefire signed in February.
Kurds are the most important minority in Turkey, and have large communities in other countries in the region: Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
The Kurds in Iraq obtained their autonomy in Iraq, as a result of the American invasion in 2003, and gained even the office of president of Iraq, held by Jalal Talabani, former Kurd fighter for independence.
Turkish Armed Forces and PKK have been engaged in deadly combat since the 1980s, when the Kurds demanded that they have a state of their own. Turkey went to great lengths to capture the leader of PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, who was captured in Kenya in February 1999.
The capture of Ocalan was expected to be a deadly blow to the Kurdish organization, and the Turkish were able to keep them in check for quite a while, hinting to the possibility that attacks on Turks may affect Ocalan’s life.
Ocalan was kept on a remote island and was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison in 2002, when death penalty was abolished in Turkey.
Since then Ocalan’s lawyer convinced the European Court for Human Rights to convict Turkey for not observing the human rights, and allowing Ocalan a chance to defend himself.
Since he came to power, Recep Tayyip Erdogan attempted to make steps toward reconciliation with the Kurds. Thus, a channel of the state television was opened in the zone where Kurds live in their own language, and the officials admitted that “mistakes have been made.”
However, the elections in June proved to be a cornerstone for the relations between Turks and Kurds. When the Turkish electoral commission refused to permit a prominent Kurdish personality to participate in the elections, the rest of the Kurdish representatives in the parliament refused to be sworn-in. The man whose access was barred to the elections had a 20-month sentence and could not run according to the law.
Soon after that, the terrorist attacks have been resumed and PKK has claimed responsibility for the bloody attack last month that killed 13 people, the most serious such attack this year. At least three soldiers were killed in an ambush on Saturday.
The same organization claimed responsibility for the sabotage of a very important oil pipeline between Turkey and Iran.11