Hitting Kurdish PKK rebels in Syrian
Kurdistan dangerous for Turkey: Analysts
Osman Bahadır Dinçer is a Turkish researcher
studying on Middle East and Political Science.
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July 28, 2012
ISTANBUL,— Turkey this week cranked up
its already-heated rhetoric against Kurdish
militants in the Kurdish northern Syrian region
(western Kurdistan), saying it would not hesitate to
go after PKK fighters, just as it has in Iraq's
Analysts warn such a move would be dangerous for
Turkey and further complicate Syria's deadly
conflict and the volatile regional situation.
"If you implement a hot pursuit against the PKK
militias in northern Syria, the government in Syria
will react very differently from the Iraqi
government," Osman Bahadir Dincer of the
Ankara-based USAK thinktank said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on
Thursday said it was a "given" that Turkish troops
would pursue fleeing Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
militants inside Syria if they struck Turkey.
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.
Turkey regularly bombs suspected Kurdish rebel
hideouts in northern Iraq, with both Baghdad and the
government in the autonomous Kurdish region forced
to accept the military strikes.
Relations between the former close political allies
Turkey and Syria have disintegrated as Ankara has
lashed out against Syrian President Bashar Assad's
bloody response to the ongoing uprising against his
which so far has led to the deaths of about 19,000
people since mid-March 2011.
The relationship soured further after Syria shot
down a Turkish jet on June 22.
Though Syria is facing isolation from many Western
powers, analysts warn that Turkish military action
in Syria risks the wrath of some of the country's
"If Turkey brings soldiers onto Syrian soil by
itself and not as part of an international
operation, it would be an open provocation to Russia
and Iran," said Cengiz Candar of the daily Radikal
Hurriyet daily news writer Semih Idiz said any
military operation would be doomed to lead Turkey
into "new and unwelcome adventures, which will not
only ruin the ongoing rapprochement with Kurdish
northern Iraq, but also aggravate the Kurdish
problem in Turkey."
Analysts say Turkey must stick with diplomacy and
work with the region's Arab Sunni tribes, which hold
sway over the largely Sunni Kurdish population.
"They have an influence on these people, so if
Turkey can cooperate with these Arab Sunni tribes
then we can cut the influence of PKK and PYD on the
territory," Dincer said.
The PYD, or Kurdish Democratic Union Party, is a
Syrian Kurdish group close to the PKK.
Kurds uniting to manage region
Erdogan on Wednesday accused Assad's regime of
allotting five northern Syrian provinces to Kurds
and said he would consider creating a military
buffer zone on the border between Turkey and Syria.
Hugh Pope of the International Crisis Group said the
situation was more complex than Erdogan claimed.
"The fact is that PYD is not controlling all of the
situation in northern Syria," he said. "On the
ground they are currently working with the other
The traditional parties of Syria's Kurds have been
largely suspicious of the PYD, particularly
following an influx of Kurds from northern Iraq to
But despite the differences, the region's
communities signed an accord on July 11, under the
sponsorship of Massud Barzani, president of Iraq's
Since then, the Kurdish National Council, which
groups around a dozen traditional Kurdish Syrian
parties, has joined the People's Council of Western
Kurdistan, a PYD offshoot, under the banner of the
Supreme Kurdish Council.
Ankara could find solutions in the town of Erbil in
Iraq's Kurdish region, where officials could use
their influence among various Kurdish movements to
defuse tensions with Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is due to
head to Erbil next week.
The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem,
Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.
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.
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region 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
The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional
self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.
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 constitution.
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
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