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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Turkey's Air Stikes in Iraq

I have included some mainstream media Links and excerpts below. For a brief background on the problem one must look back in history.

History - Ancient period

Recognition of the existence of a Kurdish land goes back even as far as Sumerian Cuneiform Tablets, dating from about 3000 BC, which speak of the land of the Kurds.[10]

Much of Kurdistan corresponds roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Gutium (Qurti), which is mentioned in cuneiform records about 2400 BC, and had its capital at Arraphkha (modern Kirkuk).[11] (wikipedia)

Modern period

In the 16th century, the Kurdish-inhabited areas were split between Safavid Iran and the Ottoman Empire after prolonged wars. The first important division of Kurdistan occurred in the aftermath of the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514. This division was formalized in the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639.[17] Before World War I, most Kurds lived within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire in the province of Kurdistan. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Allies agreed and planned to create several countries within its former boundaries. Originally Kurdistan, along with Armenia, was to be one of them, according to the never-ratified Treaty of Sèvres. However, the reconquest of these areas by Kemal Atatürk and other pressing issues caused the Allies to accept the renegotiated Treaty of Lausanne, accepting the border of the modern Republic of Turkey and leaving the Kurds without a self-ruled region. Other Kurdish areas were assigned to the new British and French mandated states of Iraq and Syria under both treaties.

The Kurdish delegation made a proposal at the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1945, showing the geographical extent of Kurdistan as claimed by the Kurds. This proposal encompasses an area extending from the Mediterranean shores near Adana to the shores of the Persian Gulf near Bushehr, and it includes the Lur inhabited areas of southern Zagros.[18][19]

Since World War I, Kurdistan has been divided between several states, in each of which Kurds are minorities. At the end of the First Gulf War, the Allies established a safe haven in northern Iraq. Amid the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from three northern provinces, Iraqi Kurdistan emerged as an autonomous entity inside Iraq, with its own local government and parliament in 1992.

Current Events

Given the historical events it is likely there are many (including me) who are sympathetic to the thought of a re-united Kurdish Nation. Yet one must concede that in present time this would create a weakened Iraq and unstable environment in Turkey and the region. Also the PKK has been identified as a militant terrorist organization, not a political movement. It is the action the PKK uses that gives it this designation as a terrorist organization. Therefore we are not likely to see anyone other than the PKK backing any such military moves.

The only way a re-united Kurdistan could occur is through a politic movement, not a military one. The main host countries that now occupy once Kurdish lands include Syria, Iran, and Turkey. These host countries are not likely to give up valuable lands of strategic economic and political importance. Some estimates I have read estimate approximately 75% of the Kurdish population in the host countries live not in the Kurdish areas, but rather in the cities and capitals of the host countries. - Ian Bach

Turkey's air strikes in Iraq Kurdish Areas.

Time Magazine writes:
(by Andrew Purvis)

"The official U.S. line is that Washington did not approve Turkey's Sunday air strike on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq. But the U.S. does control the skies over Iraq and the Pentagon did open airspace over Iraq for at least three hours to Turkish warplanes. It was also informed of the raids beforehand, according to an American spokesperson in Ankara. "By opening its airspace, America gave its approval to the operation," Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit said"……..(Click here for the entire article)

“The Turkish government had been threatening to send its own troops across the border to crack down on PKK bases inside Iraq since last October's attacks on Turkish troops. Washington and Baghdad at the time urged restraint, fearing that a large-scale incursion into Iraq by Turkish troops would trigger a broader clash not with the PKK but with soldiers under the command of the Iraqi Kurdish administration, thus destabilizing the one part of Iraq that has managed to avoid civil conflict so far.”

“The PKK has been waging a separatist campaign against Turkish security forces since the 1970s, most recently attacking Turkish targets from bases within Iraq. On Sunday, the PKK said five of its militants were killed; according to Iraqi officials, at least one woman civilian was killed as well. Meanwhile, hundreds have been forced to flee their homes.”