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lozengelegend

The Pkk And Terrorism In Turkey

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Certainly if you watch Turkish tv series you'd be pretty convinced the eastern mountains are filled with terrorists. But maybe it's actually true? That's certainly the suggestion made by this article on the BBC website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6899740.stmThe fact is the PKK here IS the equivalent of the IRA - ie they use terrorism to try and force their political agenda. So it's not surprising that this is a BIG issue for many people. As for suicide bombers in Marmaris, not sure, didn't hear anything! And water issues - well we have had a ridiculously dry winter here so the rumours I've heard that Istanbul only has 100 days of water left could be true too - glad that takes us up to late October when the rains could very feasibly have started again!

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One interesting thing about the PKK is that they never directly target Americans. This may also extend to the Brits, because as I understand it, the US and the UK were both involved in the northern no-fly zones in Iraq to protect the Kurds there, and a lot of aid was given to the Iraqi kurds. Since that time the PKK has had a policy not to attack any American targets. Since I'm an American, I may have only known about that aspect rather than if it extended to Brits or not, but I assume it does. Their attacks are primarily directed to Turkish government targets. The bombings in the tourism areas are meant to hurt the Turkish tourism industry, which they feel provides money to fund the Turkish efforts against the PKK. Except for some exceptions, this may account for the rather small bombs being used more for effect and newspaper headlines, but the PKK has often been less sophisticated than other groups in other parts of the World. Small consolation if you happen to be there when one goes off, however your chances of being killed in a traffic accident while driving to and from that nightspot or other location is far, far higher.

I've found that in several places I've frequented, the staff actually does a good job of knowing who's in the place, and who doesn't belong, and who to keep an eye on. I don't know if that extends to other establishments, but it might be worthwhile to ask the owner or manager of the place you go what they're doing to prevent an event from happening there.One of the issues right now is if the Turkish military should venture into Iraq and raid PKK safe havens there. The US is asking them not to, because if they do it, then other surrounding countries may also start doing it. It may also start another hotbed of fighting between the Kurds in the North and the Turks. A delicate situation, however I can certainly understand the reasons why the Turks should go in, I can't blame them at all.

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very interesting info, it seems my 'friend' says what frustrates him most is that there is no anti terrorist budget or organised group in (current) turkish gov. as such to deal with it internally. He is convinced that having no strategy means other ie. US / UK will 'persuade' an unorganised gov to back off. he says what annoys him is not being direct and turkey making its own decision for its own borders etc. to be honest he says alot and i see a lot of contrasts in his thoughts when i actually have a conversation about 'politics' , i think the point is im not supposed tio question his political beliefs or any other for that matter and that as im from the UK i 'dont undertsand'. i probably dont. i just see from a childhood filled by tv about IRA that violence fules violence. but progress has been made right? i will just wait to see about turkey.....my prob is i cant cook i cant 'do' politics but i can look a million dollar's!! :-) come on you smart one keep me up to date !appreciated:-)

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If you want to keep up to date you can read the Turkish Daily News paper or on line and the English pages of Sabah and Zaman also on line.

Do you notice that the BBC never refers to the PKK as terrorists, they are always referred to as 'separatists' or 'freedom fighters'.

A lot of Turkish people firmly believe that America supports the PKK and know 'someone' who has seen American helicopters rescuing PKK members when in danger of being captured by Turkish soldiers. Also a lot of captured PKK have American guns.

America doesn't want Turkey to go into N. Iraq because it will destabalise the most stable area of the country. Everyone really is between a rock and a hard place.

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As I understand it, the police and Jandarma have units which deal with terrorism, with specialists in that area. There isn't a national organization to deal with it, there isn't one in the US, either. It's handled by the police and the FBI. I seriously doubt the US is helping the PKK, since they're on the US list of terrorist groups, although aid and weapons given to the Kurds is probably being used by the PKK as well. I've also heard that they've been found with US weapons, it may very well be because Saddam Hussein was the last one who would ever issue arms to the Kurds in the North, it's not unlikely that US weapons distributed to the Iraqi army in the Northern Kurdish areas found their way into the hands of the PKK. It's rather predictable.

In 1999, the PKK leader Abdullah Ocelan was captured, and the PKK threatened to target US facilities and citizens because they believed the US helped Turkey with the operation to capture him. Many Turks I know believed this, too. I can say that there's one thing always in abundance in Turkey: rumors, especially about conspiracies, and they sometimes contradict each other. I've met a few people who are convinced that there is a massive international conspiracy against Turkey, and through that lens they form their world view.

Here's an excellent article showing where the PKK gets its weapons from (apparently LOTS of different countries make the weapons and explosives they use): DEAD LINK

Here's an article about PKK members being found with US registered weapons: DEAD LINK

Here's the US response to allegations that they are helping the PKK: DEAD LINK

I've actually been rather impressed with Turkey's counter-terrorism efforts. They often find out about plots before they occur, hence the capture of this suicide bomber, if it's true. The PKK has certainly used them before, but until now mostly to attack police and Jandarma stations, not tourists. Last year they stopped a planned bombing in Izmir of a bar/restaurant, but the target was a place where no expats or tourists go. The planned one in Marmaris may very well have been targeting a police station rather than a tourist area, but I don't know the details on it. The only successful bombings I've ever heard of in a tourist area had to do with a package bomb left behind by someone, and that's happened in Cesme a few years ago (small one in a trash can, I think one person was injured), and since then in Marmaris, Kusadasi, Istanbul, and Antalya. Thankfully there have been none this season, that I know of, and the mastermind of the bombings last year was caught. They usually are, since the Turks seem to have a very good intelligence network in place to deal with the PKK, and a recent more radical offshoot of the PKK, called the TAK.

I couldn't find anything about the alleged suicide bomber being stopped, but here are a few articles from last year regarding bombings in 2006 DEAD LINK

Here's one about a "noise bomb" which went off in Izmir. These go off from time to time, creating a very big "bang" while not causing injuries, probably placed just to make a point. DEAD LINK

Other articles about the 2006 bombings: DEAD LINK

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Ankara has to enter into truce agreement with the PKK. Recently the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party leader, Abdullah Ocalan, has invited Kurds to change from period of armed resistance to democratic forms of struggle against Ankara (DEAD LINK). After the end of Kurdish armed struggle against Turkish authorities the Kurdish Workers' Party was removed from the list of terrorist organizations.

But obviously the Turkish government has decided to support the peace process with the PKK and to end a three-decade-old conflict with local Kurds under the pressure of Turkish overseas allies, who has become so active in this region now.

And in fact, this is no to say that such steps are aimed at real resolving conflict between Turks and Kurds, because it is clear to everyone in the Middle East that Washington never throw away a chance to use Kurdish separatism for maintaining pressure on current Turkey, which tries to be more and more independent from Washington now.

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Ken, regarding your comment about Mr. Ocalan: "In 1999, the PKK leader Abdullah Ocelan was captured, and the PKK threatened to target US facilities and citizens because they believed the US helped Turkey with the operation to capture him."

It appears there is at least some circumstantial evidence to support the view that the US, directly or indirectly, aided in the capture of Ocalan:

An old NY Times article from 1999: U.S. Helped Turkey Find and Capture Kurd Rebel
"The United States worked for four months to help Turkey arrest Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish rebel leader, American officials said today. American diplomatic pressure backed by intelligence-gathering helped to put Mr. Ocalan in flight from a safe haven in Syria, to persuade nation after nation to refuse him sanctuary, and to drive him into an increasingly desperate search for a city of refuge, the officials said. ..

Despite American insistence in the last few days that the United States had no ''direct involvement'' in the Ocalan case, the surveillance information gave Turkish commandos the chance to capture Mr. Ocalan with the help of Kenyan security officers, the officials said."

Abdullan Ocalan
"Speaking to Can Dündar on NTV Turkey, the Deputy Undersecretary of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization, Cevat Öneş, said...The Americans transferred him to the Turkish authorities, who flew him back to Turkey for trial."

Bülent Ecevit was PM then, Turkey was seen as a loyal US ally, it seems logical they would have given a lot of assistance in the hunt for and capture of Mr Ocalan.

Ken wrote, "As I understand it, the police and Jandarma have units which deal with terrorism, with specialists in that area. There isn't a national organization to deal with it, there isn't one in the US, either. It's handled by the police and the FBI."

Ken, Indeed the FBI and police are in on the act, however, since you have been away from the USA for a while now, perhaps you have not heard of the Department of Homeland Security?
"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the United States and its territories (including protectorates) from and responding to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters. The Department of Homeland Security, and not the United States Department of the Interior, is equivalent to the Interior ministries of other countries."

"Where the Department of Defense is charged with military actions abroad, the Department of Homeland Security works in the civilian sphere to protect the United States within, at, and outside its borders. Its stated goal is to prepare for, prevent, and respond to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism."


And...what about these VIPR’s? They did not just come out of the woodwork, searching cars without probable cause or warrants...

TSA is also part of "Homeland Security" and the VIPR's are under it...
"A Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response team (VIPR, or VIPER)

"Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program. Various government sources have differing descriptions of VIPR’s exact mission. It is specifically authorized by 6 U.S.

C. § 1112 which says that the program is to ‘augment the security of any mode of transportation at any location within the United States’." It seems that few people in the USA, especially in the government, know exactly what is their mission...

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It appears there is at least some circumstantial evidence to support the view that the US, directly or indirectly, aided in the capture of Ocalan:

This is a topic from 2007. I said:

In 1999, the PKK leader Abdullah Ocelan was captured, and the PKK threatened to target US facilities and citizens because they believed the US helped Turkey with the operation to capture him.

What I said was true. I didn't say whether or not the US helped, I said the PKK had threatened to target US facilities because this is what they thought.

I also said:

As I understand it, the police and Jandarma have units which deal with terrorism, with specialists in that area. There isn't a national organization to deal with it, there isn't one in the US, either. It's handled by the police and the FBI.

In 2007, I believe the mission of the Department of Homeland Security was anti-terrorism, not counter-terrorism. Those are two different things. What I was referring to is counter-terrorism. To give you an example, here is the mission of the Department of Homeland Security regarding terrorism:

Protecting the American people from terrorist threats is our founding principle and our highest priority. The Department of Homeland Security's counterterrorism responsibilities focus on three goals:

    [*]Prevent terrorist attacks;

    [*]Prevent the unauthorized acquisition, importation, movement, or use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials and capabilities within the United States; and

    [*]Reduce the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and key resources, essential leadership, and major events to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

The focus is on protection, prevention and minimizing risk. That's anti-terrorism.

Here's the FBI's mission regarding terrorism:

Our goal is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the threats and penetrate national and transnational networks that have a desire and capability to harm us. Such networks include: terrorist organizations, foreign intelligence services, those that seek to proliferate weapons of mass destruction, and criminal enterprises.

The focus is on actively targeting and penetrating terrorist groups. That's counter-terrorism. Of course these missions merge, and have probably merged a lot more recently. But it is the FBI who is the lead agency for counter-terrorism, and it would be they who would take the lead in cases to which I was referring. Perhaps DHS is also doing counter-terrorism, but I'd bet you dollars to doughnuts that they would be working jointly with the FBI, and the FBI would have the lead.

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Homeland Security is a cabinet level department. The FBI allegedly reports to the Justice Department which is at cabinet-level. Which tail wags which dog probably depends upon the situation. You simply said terrorism in your original post, not anti- vs counter-... It would be difficult to believe that HS does not have its fingers in all of it.

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