Turkey’s Treachery: Missile Strikes on PKK Martyrs Cemetery

By Dr. Amy L. Beam:2013 amy beam headshot t

On July 25, 2015, Turkey launched simultaneous missile attacks into Syria against Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh) targets and into Qandil, Kurdistan, against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who have been the leading force fighting ISIS.

Turkey stated its attack in the Qandil region was to destroy arms and munitions storage bunkers in spite of a two-and-a-half-year cease-fire. One of the areas struck was the small village of eight houses in Hayes in the Barwar Bala region of about 30 or 40 villages.

As reported by eyewitness residents, Turkish war planes made approximately 16 missile strikes on a nearby PKK camp where a large martyrs cemetery is located. The missiles struck the entrance to the cemetery.

Turkish missiles struck the entrance to this PKK martyrs cemetery in Barwar Bala.

Turkish missiles struck the entrance to this PKK martyrs cemetery in Barwar Bala.

Approximately 50 PKK fled the site into the village of Hayes. A local resident gave water to one fleeing teenager who was burned from missile strikes. The resident stated most PKK were between ages 16 to 20. There is no report on the number of dead or injured PKK.

The military fired another three missiles at the fleeing youth in the apple orchard and next to houses and the Christian church in Hayes village. Contrary to Turkish government press statements, there is no munitions storage bunker in the Hayes village apple orchard or church.

Turkish fighter planes pursued the youthful PKK into Hayes village apple orchard.

Turkish fighter planes pursued the youthful PKK into Hayes village apple orchard.

Missile strike next to irrigation ditch (no ammo bunkers).

Missile strike next to irrigation ditch (no ammo bunkers).

Missiles struck near Hayes village houses.

Missiles struck near Hayes village houses.

Remnant of bomb or missile in orchard of Hayes village.

Remnant of bomb or missile in orchard of Hayes village.

Last August, when ISIS attacked Shingal region in northwest Iraq on the Syrian border, the entire population of 400,000 Yezidis fled. Over 100,000 were stranded for 8 days without enough food and water on Shingal Mountain until the PKK opened an escape route for them to Syria.

The PKK continue to be a leading force, along with YPG, YPJ, and Kurdish and Yezidi Peshmerga fighting ISIS in both Rojava (Syria) and Iraq.

Turkey’s official statements lump the PKK together with the ISIS terrorist whom PKK are fighting to defeat.

The BBC news played into Turkey’s hands by calling Turkey a “reluctant partner” who has finally joined in the coalition battle to fight the Islamic State terrorism. In the same breath, the newscaster informs us that Turkey decided to go after all the terrorists at the same time, i.e., the PKK forces fighting ISIS.

Turkey’s President Erdoğan, himself, compared PKK to ISIS terrorists. It is dangerous to let this misperception be spun into reality by mainstream media mouth pieces.

The BBC once again calls the PKK fighters “separatists” when, the truth is that the PKK has not sought a separate state for years, and BBC certainly knows this. The PKK has pushed for full constitutional rights for Kurds in Turkey, not for a divided country. In the face of intense provocation, such as allowing Kobane to be destroyed by ISIS, the PKK has held the cease-fire.

This raises the ante for double-speak. How can Turkey claim honest intentions to destroy ISIS when it targets the very fighting forces, the PKK, who are fighting ISIS?

President Masoud Barzani of Kurdistan has pushed for cooperation and dialogue with Turkey in an effort to resolve the stalled exportation of Kurdistan oil to Turkey and the delayed payment of civil servant salaries withheld from Baghdad. The PDK Kurdistan government, with its Peshmerga military forces fighting ISIS, does not support the PKK. The Peshmerga and PKK are reluctant partners fighting the same common enemy in the Islamic State.

But even Kurdistan President Barzani apparently feels that Turkey has crossed a red line by bombing PKK camps in Kurdistan. Barzani is reported to have called President Erdoğan in Turkey and asked that the bombing stop and conflict resolution be addressed through talks. PUK political party leaders joined PDK President Barzani in calling upon Turkey to end air strikes on PKK camps.

The deal cut between the United States and Turkey is transparent and treacherous. The United States has for years lobbied for use of Incirlik Air Force base in southern Turkey to launch attacks into Syria. In exchange for Turkey’s agreement, the U.S. will allow Turkey to launch cross-border aerial missile attacks in the Qandil Mountains, headquarters of the PKK which has abided by a two-and-a-half-year truce.

In addition, the U.S. will back Turkey in creating a buffer zone (now referred to as a “moat”) to divide the Kurds in Rojava, Syria, from the Kurds in Turkey. It is unclear whether this moat will be made with water or high double walls.

Mainstream media partners of the U.S. and Turkish governments are playing their role in this treachery by spinning the story and repeating the government press release. They tell the public that this planned buffer zone is a necessary barrier to prevent fighters from entering Syria from Turkey to join ISIS. Turkey has, for many months, turned a blind eye to this. Turkey quite successfully prevented Kurds from crossing the border from Turkey into Syria last October to defend Kobane from the ISIS attack. They did not need a moat. Turkish tanks and water hoses filled with acid were sufficient.

Now suddenly, Turkey announces it wants to close its border to stop fighters from joining ISIS. And they need a moat. Yes, a MOAT!

Far from being a move to defeat ISIS, this is a transparent campaign to destroy Kurdish strength and self-determination in Rojava and prevent Kurds in Syria and Turkey from joining forces. It is another Palestinian blockade in-the-making. Far from being reluctant, Turkish aggression against the Kurds is blatant and dangerous.

The U.S.-Turkey horse-trading deal has nothing to do with defeating ISIS and everything to do with defeating Kurdish autonomy and getting that coveted Kurdistan oil to flow. They never dreamed it would take so long. They never understood the Kurds cannot be defeated, because they are willing to die for their belief in freedom, democracy, and self-determination.

It is an amazing testament to Kurds (either by loyalty or naiveté) that they continue to proclaim unwaivering love for the United States. If the United States’ policy continues to support Turkey’s aggression against the Kurds, this blind devotion to America may be lost.

Dr. Amy L. Beam promotes tourism in eastern Turkey at Mount Ararat Trek and writes political and historical commentary on Kurds and Yazidi refugees in Turkey and Kurdistan.  Follow her on Twitter@amybeam or email her at amybeam@yahoo.comRead her many other articles at Kurdistan Tribune

5 Responses to Turkey’s Treachery: Missile Strikes on PKK Martyrs Cemetery
  1. kawa
    July 27, 2015 | 14:36

    Excellent article
    it is not devoted love but a lack of alternative support driving Kurds to continue to proclaim unwavering love for the United States. This is in my opinion

  2. Geziza Khaneqa Eller
    July 28, 2015 | 00:40

    You nail it!!! Sadly it is just a horse trading deal between US & Turkey. I’m so disappointed :-(, I don’t know why, but I just expected more from a democratic president, I guess he’s just another hollow politician.
    Zore Supass! We are greatfull and very lucky to have you on our side! Stay safe, please be careful. Hugs!

  3. Azad
    July 30, 2015 | 22:03

    ISIL destroys ruins, cemeteries and churches, and Turkey also destroys Kurdish cemeteries! Same roots!

  4. Amanj
    August 2, 2015 | 03:25

    Kick out American military in South. Obama betrayed the Kurds! I am glad finally the Kurds could see his true face. He was never pro-Kurdish independence. He needed the Kurds to help him win his wars. Humanity? Human Rights? Minority Rights? Democracy? You saw it with your own eyes. 300 civilians killed in matter of minutes. Where was his administration condemnation? When Turks carry out acts of terrorism, it’s considered self-defense. A civilian life is a civilian life. What difference does it make to international community? And now Mr. Erdogun is concerned about Kurdish peace and prosperity in Rojava!
    Independence for South! Do not linger it any more.

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