US backs Turkey's ground offensive against
the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan 21.10.2011
backs Turkey's 'right to self-defense'
WASHINGTON, — The United States said
Thursday that it supported Turkey after it sent its
military into Iraqi Kurdistan region to strike at
Kurdish PKK rebels in retaliation for an attack that
killed 24 Turkish soldiers.
"We very clearly support Turkey's right to self-defense,"
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told
"At the same time, there needs to be cooperation
between Turkey and Iraq and there is in fact a
mechanism in place for that cooperation to occur,
the Trilateral Security Dialogue," he said.
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner
Toner was referring to a committee set up in 2008 by
Ankara, Baghdad and Washington to take up the issue
of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), long an
irritant in Turkey's ties with Iraq and by extension
the United States.
Turkey said it was sending in 22 battalions against
PKK forces in Iraqi Kurdistan region, using both air
and ground power. Analysts said the incursion
entailed 10,000 to 15,000 troops.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday
condemned the "outrageous terrorist
attack" by the PKK and officials said that Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton spoke by telephone to
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Turkey launched a cross-border offensive against the
PKK after the group staged simultaneous attacks on
Turkish military and police targets along the border
on Wednesday, killing 24 Turkish soldiers and
wounding 18 others.
Since August 17, Turkish jets repeatedly carried out
air strikes against the Kurdish PKK separatist
group's bases in
Iraqi Kurdistan region,
under justification of chasing elements of the
anti-Ankara PKK, forcing large numbers of Kurdish
citizens of those areas to desert their home
villages, including an air raid that
Kurdish civilians in a village north
of Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah city on August 21st.
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey,
numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees,
lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the
way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within
Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader
Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against
the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
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