Kurd PKK rebels threaten Turkey if it
enters Syrian Kurdistan
March 22, 2012
Murat Karayilan is the acting commander of the PKK
and chairman of the executive council of the Kurdish
Democratic Confederation (Koma Civaken Kurdistan.
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
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ANKARA, — Turkish Kurd militants
threatened on Thursday to turn all Kurdish populated
areas into a "war zone" if Turkish troops entered
Syria, a sign the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
which has allies in Syria may be taking sides in the
conflict there, Reuters reported.
A renewed alliance between Damascus and the PKK
would anger Turkey and could prompt it to take an
even stronger line against Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad over his brutal repression of
PKK field commander Murat Karayilan said Turkey was
preparing the ground for an intervention in Syria.
"The Turkish state is planning an intervention
against our people," the Europe-based Firat news
agency, close to the militants, quoted him as
"Let me state clearly, if the Turkish state
intervenes against our people in western Kurdistan,
all of Kurdistan will turn into a war zone," he
Western Kurdistan is the term Kurdish nationalists
use to describe Kurdish areas of northeast Syria
[Syrian Kurdistan], while by Kurdistan they mean the
Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said last week
that setting up a "safe zone" or a "buffer zone"
along the border with Syria to protect civilians
from Assad's forces was among the options being
considered should the stream of refugees turn into a
Setting up such a zone would involve troops entering
Syria to secure territory. Turkey has turned sharply
against its former friend Assad and has taken a lead
in trying to forge international agreement on the
need for stronger action on Syria.
While Syrian government forces are clashing daily
with insurgents demanding the downfall of Assad,
Syrian Kurdish areas have remained relatively calm,www.ekurd.net
despite many Kurds' long-standing opposition to the
Some Syrian Kurdish groups opposed to Assad have
formed their own umbrella group after complaining of
being sidelined by the main opposition Syrian
National Council (SNC), which they say is dominated
by Arab nationalists.
But the comparative calm in Syria's Kurdish
northeast may also be related to what some Kurdish
analysts say is the growing influence of the
Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Syrian Kurdish group
allied to the PKK which has kept away from the
TURKEY WARNS SYRIA ON PKK
The PKK, set up in 1984 to fight for Kurdish home
rule in southeast Turkey, is commanded from bases in
the remote mountains of northern Iraq, but was once
backed by Syria.
Though Turkey has the second biggest army in NATO,
it has failed to quash the PKK in 27 years of bitter
fighting. More than 40,000 militants, soldiers and
civilians have been killed in the conflict. Turkey,
the United States and the European Union all list
the PKK as a terrorist organization.
Turkish officials say they are watching closely for
signs Syria may renew its support for the PKK, which
it dropped in late 1998 after Turkish tanks massed
on the Syrian border. Damascus was forced to deport
PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan who was later seized by
Turkish special forces in Kenya.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has
repeatedly said Syria "would not dare" make such a
Kurds make up at least 10 percent of Syria's
population. Like the majority of Syrians, they are
Sunni Muslims, but have struggled to assert their
ethnic identity under 40 years of Arab nationalist
Ba'ath Party rule.
The Assad regime had denied some stateless Kurds
Syrian nationality documents but it has made
concessions since the start of the uprising to ease
unrest in Kurdish areas.
Some Arabs are concerned that the Kurds, mostly
based in northeast Syria on the borders with Turkey
and Iraq, secretly seek a separate state that
includes cross border territories.
Syrian Kurd opposition groups deny wanting a
separate state, but say they want autonomy similar
to that of the Iraqi Kurds.
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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