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REFERENCE CENTER
November 5, 2007

 
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PKK/KONGRA-GEL and Terrorism

Turkey and Northern Iraq

The PKK Kurdistan Workers Party, an International Terrorist Organization Based in Norhern Iraq

It is not difficult to understand the frustration of the Turkish people and Turkish republic, a close U.S. ally, if we see the scale of terror they have suffered. In terms of the U.S. population, that would mean 140,000 Americans dead and 800,000 injured due to terrorism from neighboring country. It is Turkey's legitimate right of self defense, and America's best interest to assist Turkey in specifically targeted, expeditious and successful anti-PKK cross-border operations in Iraq.

The PKK Kurdistan Workers Party is a designated terrorist organization according to the 1996 United States Anti-Terrorism Act and 2002 European Union Banned Terrorist Organizations List, and United Nations. (1)

35,000 Deaths, 200,000 Injured:  PKK terrorism has caused the deaths of over 35,000 people in Turkey, since 1984.  Last month, the PKK brutally murdered 40 Turkish citizens, including soldiers and civilians. Currently, the PKK has kidnapped eight Turkish soldier.

Based in Iraq:  The PKK is based in northern Iraq, where it obtains safe haven and logistical support under the blind-eye of the Barzani and Talabani local governments.  The PKK used to be based in Syria, until Turkey mobilized a force of 200,000 to the Syrian border.  Turkish, Israeli, and U.S. agents captured PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, as he was leaving the Greek Embassy in Kenya.  Ocalan's lieutenants command 3500 PKK forces in Iraq.

Rights Cover for Organized Crime:  The PKK purchases arms, explosives, and ammunition with revenue obtained from narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, cigarette smuggling (2), prostitution and child pornography in Europe and Eurasia.  Also, many European-based Kurdish cultural organizations serve as front organizations for financing the PKK in Europe.  Indeed, the PKK is a crude cover for a broad network of organized crime syndicates.  The United Nations and Helsinki Commission determined that the PKK violates the human rights of Turkey's Kurds by extorting, kidnapping, killing and massacring Turkish Kurds who do not provide assistance to the PKK.   

Equal Rights:  The PKK's claim of self-determination and human rights abuses is baseless.  There has never been apartheid, segregation, or statutory discrimination against Kurds in Turkey.  Kurds are proportionally represented in Parliament, the business sector and military.  Two of eight Turkish Presidents have been Kurdish.  Kurdish language papers and books are published widely in Turkey, and Kurdish language radio and TV programs are broadcast.  The vast majority of Turkey's Kurds are productively integrated with over 30 other ethnic groups that comprise the Turkish citizenry.  Turkey provided refuge to 50,000 Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s and 500,000 Iraqi Kurds in the 1990s.

Turkish Counter-Terror Legal:  In Seyhhamat Ozdemir v. INS, a U.S. federal court rejected asylum to a Turkish citizen of Kurdish origin, holding that Mr. Ozdemir had been apprehended and interrogated not because he was Kurdish, but because he was the subject of Turkey's legitimate counter-terror operations.(3)

Diplomatic and Military Cooperation:  In August 2007, Turkey and Iraq signed the Combating Terrorism Treaty to coordinate efforts to stop the PKK in Iraq.  On October 12, 2007, a high level Iraqi delegation visited Turkey to provide a long-term plan to combat the PKK.  On October 28, Turkey decided to implement economic sanctions to pressure northern Iraqi local governments to comply with anti-terror measures.  On November 2, 2007, Secretary Rice stated that it was the responsibility of the United States, as an occupying force, to arrest PKK activity and assist Turkey in its legitimate cross-border defense against PKK terrorism.  On November 2-3, Turkey will be hosting the "Neighboring Countries of Iraq Conference Summit II, which also include the G-8, United Nations Secretary General and Arab League.  On November 5, the Turkish Prime Minister, Turkish Deputy Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Minister of Defense will visit the White House to discuss plans for Turkish-US coordinated efforts against the PKK.

1-Encyclopedia Britannica defines terrorism as "the systematic use of terror (such as bombings, killings, and kidnapping) as a means of forcing some political objective."  Oxford English Dictionary defines a terrorist as a "person who uses or favors violent and intimidating methods of coercing a government or a community."  

2-EC v. RJ Reynolds (October 30, 2002), EC v. RJ Reynolds, Phillip Morris (February 1, 2002).  The European Community's complaint alleges that the tobacco companies knowingly permitted, and indeed encouraged the smuggling of their tobacco products into and through the EU in such a manner that deprived the EU of taxation revenue, and that the tobacco companies used the PKK to smuggle cigarettes into the EU and into northern Iraq in collusion with Uday Hussein, son of Saddam Hussein.  

3-Özdemir v. Immigration & Naturalization Service, 46 F.3d 6 (5th Cir. 1994).

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