Turkey approves sanctions on PKK and Iraqi
November 1, 2007
ANKARA, -- The Turkish cabinet has approved
sanctions targeting Turkey's PKK Kurdish rebels and
their associates, the vice prime minister said
Wednesday, announcing a move expected to affect
members of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan
Cemil Cicek, who acts as a spokesman for the
government, said the cabinet had adoped
"simultaneous military, political, diplomatic and
economic measures" targeting the Kurdistan Workers'
Party (PKK) and "its associates."
Cicek defined associates as "those who help it and
who shield it."
Ankara accuses the Iraqi Kurdistan administration of
harboring the Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
rebels in its territory. Kurdish authorities in
Kurdistan region strongly reject the claim.
According to earlier press reports, possible
sanctions against Iraq could include restricting
trade through the Habur border gate and cutting off
electricity supplies to Kurdistan region 'northern
Iraq is a lucrative market for Turkey and one of the
few countries with which Ankara has a trade surplus.
Turkish exports to Iraq -- including construction
materials, food, household appliances and
electricity -- totalled 1.7 billion dollars (1.2
billion Euros) in the first eight months of this
year and 2.5 billion dollars for 2006,www.ekurd.net according to
On Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan had warned Massoud Barzani, the president of
Kurdistan region 'northern Iraq', that tolerating
the PKK could have a cost.
"What they (Barzani and his followers) are doing
there is quite simply harbouring a terrorist
organisation," Erdogan said during a reception for
Turkey's national day.
"If terrorist organisations encroach on Turkish
territory we will use all means available to us
under international law," he added.
Turkey rejects direct talks with Iraqi Kurdistan
government, Officially, Turkey does not recognise
the regional government of Kurdistan led by
president Massoud Barzani.
Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan regional
government that holds sway in northern Iraq,
regretted Ankara's refusal to hold direct talks on
the crisis over the Turkey's separatist Kurdistan
Workers' Party (PKK) rebels.
Turkey has never, and still does not, recognize the
Kurdistan region government (KRG) and refuses to
meet with its representatives in any official
capacity. That reflects Ankara's fear that any
international respect shown to the autonomous Iraqi
Kurdistan region would only embolden Turkey's own
large Kurdish minority to seek similar home-rule
Fouad Hussein, the chief of staff for Iraqi
Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani, thinks that the
Turks are using the PKK as a pretext to attack the
Kurds. "The PKK is not the target. The target is
Kurdistan regional government," Hussein said.
Since 1984 the PKK [Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan] took
up arms for greater rights and autonomy in the
mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey
[Turkey-Kurdistan] which has claimed around 45,000
lives of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK
The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas, the
party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination
in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds,
ranting them full political freedoms.
A large Turkey's Kurdish community estimate to over
20 million openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK
Since 1991, the Kurds of Iraq achieved self-rule in
part of the country. Today's teenagers are the first
generation to grow up under Kurdish rule. In the new
Iraqi Constitution, it is referred to as Kurdistan
region. Kurdistan region has all the trappings of an
independent state -- its own constitution, its own
parliament, its own flag, its own army, its own
border, its own border patrol, its own national
anthem, its own education system, its own
International airports, even its own stamp inked
into the passports of visitors.
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