Turkish State Seeks to Annihilate Kurdish Aspirations

Turkish forces bomb a KRG village

By Arian Mufid:

As the PKK enters its 42nd year of guerrilla warfare against the Turkish state, Erdogan continues to use their resistance as an excuse to install the Turkish military junta in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

1984, 1986 and 1987 saw several attacks made against the PKK by the Turkish military. However, the PKK remained undefeated, even achieving worldwide recognition as pioneers of Kurdish resistance against Turkish state terrorism.

1983 marked the cooperation agreement between Turkey and Iraq, whereby Turkey granted Iraq access of 5km within its border space and vice versa. This agreement was made to ‘protect’ both states’ national interests against Kurdish aspirations for independence. However, the need for both states to allow each other such latitude diminished during 1984-1991 when the Kurdish revolutionary factions in Iraq were weakened by civil war involving two rival Kurdish parties, PUK and KDP. As the Kurds lacked a united front, Iraq revoked Turkey’s access within its borders prohibiting the Turkish military from access to the PKK within Iraq.

Following the establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government in 1992 with the help of the UK and US, Turkey felt itself threatened and thus restarted its attack on the PKK within the KRG, but this time with the help of KDP and PUK, around the areas of Hafanin, Kukurk and Kandil. The Turkish military Junta agreed to recognise the Kurdistan Regional Government on the condition that the KRG would align itself with Turkey in the fight against the PKK. Turkish military attacks on PKK continued and they called it Operation Sandwich, meaning they attacked the PKK from the ground and air, rolled into the sandwich. The aim of the attack was to destroy PKK for once and for all but in fact it wasn’t successful. According to a KRG Peshmarga department statement, between 1992 to 2008 Turkey attacked PKK 26 times via KRG territories. According to the same report, thousands of Turkish soldiers accompanied by fighter jets and tanks supported these attacks.

2012-2015 marked the peace process between the PKK and the Turkish state. The ceasefire was broken in the summer of 2015. Since 2017 the Turkish strategy of fighting PKK has advanced by incorporating the use of drones, chemical weapons, and also spying networks within KRG territory to target and kill leaders of the PKK. The Turkish military has executed several attacks and manged to do it with the help of local networks of “MIT” Turkish intelligence services. KRG places blame on the PKK for the fighting happening within the KRG, and the region’s politicians have gone as far as to ask the PKK to leave KRG areas and go back to their own territory within Northern Kurdistan.

However, the PKK sees all Kurdish lands as theirs to operate the resistance and thus continue to mobilise within the KRG. Turkey has set up almost 30 military bases within the KRG, allegedly in a bid to counteract the perceived threat of PKK presence on its borders. According to KRG sources in Peshmarga Department, Turkey has launched 397 fighter jet attack and 425 artillery attack from 2015 to 2018 resulting in the destruction of 288 villages and 165 civilian deaths/ injuries. Turkey’s latest attack operation ‘Claw Lock’ took place on 15th May 2022 using 26 F16 fighter jets, several tanks and artillery.

Throughout history up to the present day, it is apparent that the Turkish state is committed to the annihilation of all Kurdish political aspirations that don’t serve its own agenda. History also shows that the Turkish state will not defeat the PKK militarily and must withdraw its invasion forces and resume the peace process in Turkey that it abandoned in 2015.

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