PM Erdoğan calls on Kurds to say ‘enough’ to PKK fascism

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of trying to establish a “fascist system” and called on the country’s Kurds to stand against the PKK’s fascist pressure

“I ask my brothers in this region to see this fascist pressure of the PKK and its extensions. In fact they do. Parents who lose their sons [in fight with the PKK], artists, businessmen and civil society organizations are raising their voices courageously and are saying enough is enough,” Erdoğan said in the eastern province of Bitlis during an inauguration ceremony for newly opened departments at Bitlis Eren University.

“I am frequently saying this. Democracy is the antidote for terror. As democratic standards are increased in the country, investments [in the region] increase and the mistakes of the past are compensated for, my brothers in this region are also seeing the truths and standing against terror.

I hope the terrorist organization will not find a single issue to abuse. This process will continue. You will see, the PKK and its extensions will soon show their true colors and the people of this region will get rid of this terror problem,” he said.

By the extensions of the PKK, the prime minister refers to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) whom he accuses of failing to distance itself from the PKK. PKK members, who are fighting for autonomy in Turkey from their bases in northern Iraq, have escalated attacks in recent months, killing dozens of members of the security forces and many civilians since July.

In a separate speech during a party meeting on Friday in Bitlis, Erdoğan once again lashed out at critics of recent police operations against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), who he said are trying to portray the KCK as a civil society organization. He said none of those arrested as part of the KCK operations were arrested without concrete evidence.

“How can an organization who seeks a parallel state be innocent?” he asked. Prosecutors say the KCK is a political umbrella organization that includes the PKK. KCK suspects are accused of various crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the country’s unity and integrity. The detainees include mayors and municipal officials from the BDP, which has said the investigation is the government’s method of suppressing its politicians, denying any links between the suspects and any terrorist organizations.

 

 

 

18 November 2011, Friday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

‘Respect for human rights, public support a must in fighting terrorism’

Finding the two countries’ terrorist groups comparable, the Colombian president told Turkey that respect for human rights and support from the people are necessary ingredients in effectively combating terrorism ahead of his official visit on Friday.

Turkish President Gül welcomed Colombian President Santos on his first visit to Turkey with an official ceremony held at Çankaya Palace.
Turkish President Gül welcomed Colombian President Santos on his first visit to Turkey with an official ceremony held at Çankaya Palace.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who began an official visit to Turkey on Friday, offered the Turkish government advice on its decades-long struggle against the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), during an interview with Today’s Zaman ahead of his arrival. “What I can say about the lessons we have learned from our experience is that the only effective way to fight against these illegal groups is to do it with total respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, intensively using intelligence and winning over the hearts of the civilian population which, at the end of the day, is always in need of safety, security and well-being,” he said in emailed remarks.

Santos said the government tried to lead an open peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC), even establishing a de-militarized zone. When the terrorist group instead continued attacking the civilian population, the public, 98 percent of which now repudiates the FARC, was outraged and rallied in support.

But the Colombian government has not closed its doors to the FARC if it decides to cease violence and work toward a peace resolution. “If they stop resorting to violence, intimidation and terrorism, they’ll always find that the government is willing to sit down and discuss. In fact, we’re building a legal framework enabling them to return to society, provided that they meet the duties of truth, justice and reparation in favor of their victims,” Santos said.

According to Santos, Colombia’s struggle against the FARC is very similar to that of Turkey against the PKK. “In fact, while they are different organizations with different claims, we may find similarities between the fight of the Colombian state against the FARC and the fight of Turkey against the PKK, particularly because both groups have resorted to terrorism and drug trafficking,” Santos said.

The FARC, which has killed 41 of 1,300 candidates in local elections and wreaks havoc through bombings and isolated terrorist attacks, also drags down the economy by scaring investors off, while the government finds itself plugging all of its resources into combating terrorism.

The Colombian government has made tremendous strides against its separatist terrorists, Santos said, but there is definitely room for improvement.

The leader of FARC was killed recently after Santos firmly promised to fight the group when he took office last August. The country’s war on drugs has been deemed successful and, in the minds of many Colombians, the FARC has lost power. The Colombian government has been able to push the FARC out of all but the most remote areas of the country.

But this is not the end of the fight against terrorism in Colombia, Santos adds. “The demise of the top leader of the FARC does not mean, unfortunately, the end of that terrorist group. But it greatly weakens them, as the terrorist group has been weakening in recent years. My government will continue to firmly fight all illegal armed groups, promoting the demobilization of their members and strengthening the presence of public institutions throughout our territory,” he affirmed.

Santos, the first Colombian president to visit Turkey, is negotiating a free trade agreement and an investment protection treaty with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül. “Unfortunately, there is not much Turkish investment in Colombia,” Santos said, listing two Turkish companies in his country. “But we hope this will soon change,” he added.

Despite the geographical distance, Santos said business relations with Turkey are important and expanding. Last year bilateral trade between Turkey and Colombia was valued at $268 million. During the first eight months of this year, Santos said bilateral trade has exceeded $439 million. “Imagine how these figures may grow with a free trade agreement. There’s lots of potential,” he said.

Santos pointed out that The Economist included Turkey and Colombia in the so-called CIVETS group — along with Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt and South Africa — in its list of emerging economies with the highest expected growth rates. The CIVETS group fell ranked second in the emerging economies with the highest growth rates. The BRIC group, made up of Brazil, Russia, India and China, ranked first. “The time has come for us to get to know each other more, to explore the many things that unite us, to enrich each other with our differences, and to move forward together in order to achieve greater development for our people,” he said.

The leaders completed the fourth round of negotiations two weeks ago in Ankara. Santos said he hopes they will sign the agreement in the next round of negotiations, to be held next year in Bogotá. “It would be a real pleasure to sign it in Bogotá, hopefully with the presence of President Gül. It would be an honor for us,” he said.

While in Turkey, Santos also inaugurated Colombia’s embassy in Ankara. In a speech at Ankara University, Santos described Turkey as a country that is rising in economic and political stature and said the two countries must “join forces.” Santos is also scheduled to meet with Erdoğan and other leaders during his visit.

“However, the most important goal is to establish closer contact with the Turkish people and their government, in order for us to mutually cooperate hereinafter on several aspects of mutual interest,” Santos stressed.

 

 

18 November 2011, Friday / EMRAH ÜLKER, İSTANBUL

Iranian official calls for better cooperation against terrorism

An Iranian lawmaker has called for better cooperation between Turkey and Iran against terrorism, which he said requires “a serious fight, regardless of where it is staged,” as he surprisingly hailed growing relations between the nations with the hope that Iran and Turkey would fulfill their true potential in the future.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi
Alaeddin Boroujerdi

“Our true potential exceeds what we currently make of it. Relations are good, but they could be better,” the head of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, told the Anatolian news agency on Thursday before he departed for a visit to Turkey, where he will meet with Turkish officials and discuss bilateral and regional relations later in the day.

Boroujerdi spoke of great opportunities ahead for Iran and Turkey, suggesting that the countries had more common than diverging interests. Turkey and Iran are neighbors with a remittent relationship in the volatile Middle East, and diplomatic relations between the regional powers have cooled with regard to Turkey’s cooperation on a bilateral and regional level with the US, a country Boroujerdi regarded as “the Great Satan.”

Touching on the US role in the Middle East, the Iranian official suggested that the nations of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could secure the region through cooperation with each other, and there would be “no need to lean on the walking cane of the US,” Anatolia reported.

Turkey and Iran are both combating terrorism seeking autonomy in their countries, and share intelligence regarding the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Iranian offshoot, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK). Commenting on the common terrorism problem of Turkey and Iran, the official noted that the two countries were cooperating through a mutual security committee for years to find a solution to the problem, and suggested that a serious fight was needed to overcome terrorism wherever it was staged.

On Thursday, Boroujerdi met with President Abdullah Gül in Ankara and had a meeting with the chairperson of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Volkan Bozkır, with whom he discussed bilateral relations between the countries and ways of countering terrorism and illegal drug trafficking. The Iranian official, speaking to reporters after his meeting with Bozkır, also noted that the foreign trade volume between Turkey and Iran stood at $12 billion, and that it would reach $15 billion by the end of the year, as he expressed that the two countries would like to see that figure at $30 billion next year.

 

 

17 November 2011, Thursday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, ANKARA

Norway terror suspect planned attack on China embassy in Turkey

A controversial decision by Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) to begin filtering the Internet will go into effect on Nov. 22, following the end of a three month trial period that began on Aug. 22.

Defendant, Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak (C) flanked by lawyers Arvid Sjoedin (L) and Brynjar Meling, awaits the start of his trial for plotting a bomb against a Danish newspaper, in a courtroom in Oslo on Nov. 15.
Defendant, Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak (C) flanked by lawyers Arvid Sjoedin (L) and Brynjar Meling, awaits the start of his trial for plotting a bomb against a Danish newspaper, in a courtroom in Oslo on Nov. 15.

“Users who have not issued any requests will continue to use their current Internet. There are two profiles available on the Secure Internet Service, namely the child and family profiles,” said Tayfun Acarer, the head of the BTK.

Following the end of the testing period on Nov. 22, Internet users will be able to take advantage of the service on a voluntary basis and for free, according to reports.

The infrastructure for the Secure Internet Service was set up by access providers, Acarer said, adding that members who demand the service would issue their request to Internet service providers.

“Members will be able to switch between profiles any moment they desire with the password and username obtained from Internet service providers, or discontinue the Secure Internet Service if they are dissatisfied with it, or no longer need it,” Acarer said.

The service was arranged in response to demands and complaints issued to the BTK by Internet users, he added.

The introduction of the Secure Internet Service is based on an article in the consumer rights regulation that has been effective since July 28, 2010.

Of the nearly 11.5 million active Internet users in Turkey, 22,000 are utilizing the secure Internet profile.

The decision to unveil the filters has prompted anger from Internet users who have expressed concerns that the government will use the measures to censor online information.

 

 

 

 

17 November 2011, Thursday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM WITH AP,

BDP recruiting for PKK: Prime Minister Erdoğan

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stepped up a verbal onslaught on the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), charging that its members have been instrumental in the recruitment of militants for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

BDP shares the responsibility for bloodshed in Turkey, Prime Minister Erdoğan says. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
BDP shares the responsibility for bloodshed in Turkey, Prime Minister Erdoğan says. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

“BDP lawmakers are encouraging young people, even kids as young as 14, to go to the mountains, become terrorists and kill,” Erdoğan said yesterday.

“Those ruthless people share the responsibility for bloodshed with the terrorists whom they tolerate and turn a blind eye to,” he said.

Erdoğan’s accusations followed his outburst against the BDP the previous day, in which he said the party was now openly supporting terrorism and that its eventual withdrawal from Parliament would be no loss.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

In a related development, Parliament rejected a censure motion against Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, submitted by the BDP, in a stormy Nov. 15 session that produced angry exchanges over police operations targeting Kurdish activists.

Drawing on its comfortable majority, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ensured that the motion was rejected after a preliminary debate.

The BDP had sought to censure Şahin over a massive investigation into the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the PKK’s alleged urban network, arguing that the minister was responsible for “police-state practices flouting the Constitution” and “reckless attacks on elected representatives and lawmakers.”

Adamant over the investigation, Şahin said even Kurds who had voted for the BDP were content with the government’s efforts against terrorism.

BDP lawmaker Pervin Buldan likened the hundreds of arrests in the KCK probe to the oppressive practices experienced in the wake of military coups. “The country has never seen political arrests on such a scale before,” she said.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

7 PKK members surrender to Turkish security forces in Şırnak

Seven members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization have turned themselves in to Turkish security forces in the southeastern province of Şırnak, the Cihan news agency reported on Wednesday.

Cihan said seven ex-PKK members, including a woman, entered Turkey from Iraq through the Habur border gate in the Silopi district of Şırnak province and surrendered to Turkish soldiers after leaving a PKK camp in northern Iraq. They were questioned at Silopi Gendarmerie Command and by the Silopi Prosecutor’s Office. After being questioned by prosecutors, they were referred to the Diyarbakır Specially Authorized Prosecutor’s Office.

The desertion of PKK members comes on the heels of a call by President Abdullah Gül to PKK members who are Turkish citizens to lay down their arms and return to their families and benefit from a law that guarantees amnesty. According to the popularly termed Repentance Law, or Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Law No. 221, PKK members who surrender to security officers will be released if their criminal records are found to be clean, on the basis of having left the terrorist organization without having committed any crimes.

Furthermore, Mersin police carried out an operation against a group of PKK terrorists, capturing seven of them in possession of weapons and explosives in the Aydıncık district of Mersin province on Saturday, who have been identified as having been involved in various terrorist attacks that resulted in the deaths of six soldiers and four policemen.

Police stopped the truck in Aydıncık and found 19 handguns, seven Kalashnikov rifles and numerous bullets as well as hand grenades. Seven PKK terrorists were captured in the operation, which was backed up by helicopters.

The terrorists were taken to the Mersin Police Department’s counterterrorism unit in armored vehicles. Mersin police stated that four of the seven people captured were part of the terrorist organization’s mountain forces.

During interrogation, the terrorists confessed to more than 20 terrorist attacks in the last two years in the southern provinces of Antalya, Adana and Mersin. The terrorists also confessed to the attack in which six Turkish soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a rocket attack on a naval base in the Mediterranean port city of İskenderun.

The PKK, which is fighting for autonomy in Turkey from bases in northern Iraq, has escalated attacks in recent months, killing dozens of members of the Turkish security forces and many civilians since July. Turkey has responded to the attacks with air and ground offensives against PKK bases in Turkey and northern Iraq.

 

 

 

 

16 November 2011, Wednesday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,

Ankara gives double-barrel anti-PKK fight

Turkey will raise the pressure on both Arbil and Baghdad to further cooperate in its fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Turkish foreign minister said yesterday. “While launching an intensified and deep relationship with all segments of Iraq, we have also intensified our contacts with the Iraqi central government and northern Iraqi regional government for the full elimination of the terror organization from Iraq,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks at meeting. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks at meeting. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

“We will continue to increase our demands and pressure on them,” Davutoğlu added.

Masoud Barzani, leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), recently paid a three-day visit to Istanbul on Turkey’s invitation to discuss possible means to jointly fight the PKK. Barzani, himself a Kurd whose fundamental political goal is to establish an independent Kurdish state, did not promise much but acknowledged Turkey’s concerns.

The fight against terror is among the top priorities of Turkey’s foreign policy, Davutoğlu said, vowing to prevent the PKK from raising funds in European countries.

“It is not just the physical existence of the terror organization in northern Iraq, but the financial support coming from these EU countries that makes these terror acts happen,” he said.

Cooperation between Turkey and the United States was also strengthened by fresh steps taken during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in New York that made the transfer of four Predators to Adana’s İncirlik Base possible, Davutoğlu said. “We will not allow any vacuum in Iraq during the U.S. withdrawal process from the country.”

Davutoğlu also linked the increase in terror acts with Turkey’s rise as a democratic and economic power and hinted that these attacks were used by powers who wanted to prevent Turkey from realizing its vision of becoming a regional leader.

Monday, November 14, 2011
ANKARA- Hürriyet Daily News

PKK finances terrorism through drug trafficking

The terrorist Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) and its armed wing, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), have entered the ranks of the world’s biggest drug cartels, narcotics operations in recent years show. 

Turkish police units seized 44 tons of marijuana in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, worth an estimated of TL 28 million. (PHOTOS SUNDAY’S ZAMAN)
Turkish police units seized 44 tons of marijuana in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, worth an estimated of TL 28 million. (PHOTOS SUNDAY’S ZAMAN)

Last week, in the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakır in southeast Turkey, 44 tons of marijuana were seized, worth an estimated TL 28 million. This was the largest operation into the KCK/PKK’s illegal drug business. This is important as KCK/PKK administrators have always claimed their struggle only concerns the Kurdish cause and that the financing was not illegal. Murat Karayılan, the PKK’s number two after its jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan, once said, “Even smoking is prohibited by the PKK, let alone doing drugs,” which was met with an ironic smile by anyone familiar with the terrorist organization’s multi-million dollar narcotics business in the region.

Karayılan’s statement, however, is highly inconsistent, as it is known that illegal narcotics have been one of the organization’s primary financial resources since its beginnings. The US lists Karayılan as a major drug baron; PKK leaders such as Sabri Ok are also listed as drug traffickers. The PKK has become increasingly dominant and important in the global narcotics trade and is now involved at every stage of narcotics production and trafficking. Weapons and ammunition are financed with drug money, but being in this business also makes the PKK the top dog in the Middle East, especially along important drug routes.

The PKK’s rise in narco-terrorism has a long background story. Its members once acted as couriers for important drug lords in the region. When Kurdish businessman Behçet Cantürk — who was no stranger to the narcotics business himself — was suspiciously killed in January 1994, a new era for the PKK began. They took over most of his business, forcing mafia lords dealing narcotics to cooperate with them. Even Cumhur Yakut, labeled by the US as a drug smuggling kingpin in 2008, had to smuggle narcotics for the PKK. Yakut, who is still at large, and many others, don’t have the leeway to take a single step without the knowledge of the PKK, indicating the influence of the PKK in the underground world of the long-time, established drug mafia.

In fact, police operations also show that there has been a major transition in terms of the average drug boss’ profile. There are new families, mostly Kurdish clans, who are in the drug business. About 350 smaller and 30 large clans are believed to be working with the KCK/PKK as their partners, according to intelligence sources. This basically means that the PKK is practically a monopoly in the Turkish and European narcotics trade.

They usually rely on individual couriers in narcotics trafficking, allowing the KCK/PKK to remain behind the scene. If anyone involved is captured, they testify that they are in the business on their own, but recent operations have established that many of those who have been captured are KCK/PKK members, even militants. A report prepared by İ.B., a suspect currently in jail on charges of membership in the KCK, that was seized by police during the investigation clearly indicates that many of the Southeast’s established clans and families as well as district mayors are also in the business, which takes place in Yüksekova, in Hakkari province. İ.B.’s report, which was written under the pseudonym Gever, also shows that Yüksekova, Çukurcu and Şemdinli — all in Hakkari province — are important transitional routes for drug traffickers. Experts say the only possible way to stop drug trafficking is to minimize taxes for trade conducted on Turkey’s borders. This would minimize smuggling, meaning that the PKK’s profiteering by money extorted from smugglers active in the area could not take place. As legal trade routes move to illegal lines because of high customs taxes, smugglers often include illegal narcotics in their cargo, which would normally include legal items.

Drugs, particularly soft drugs such as marijuana, are also part of the PKK’s reward system for its militants. PKK militant K., who was captured by security forces, testified to a court saying: “The organization as of late has been the only dominant power in the drugs trade. All drug lords have to pay a share to the organization. In fact, most of the [narcotics] goods are relocated only through the organization. For example, the organization earned TL 100 million from a batch that was transported only through me. Especially in Europe, nobody can sell drugs without the PKK’s permission. They are the ones who bring buyers and sellers together. That’s not all. They have dealers, their own dealers in large cities, because this brings more money — because this is hot money and is immediately in the house. Those dealing drugs in cities also have to pay a certain commission to the organization. I know that about 10 percent of every sale is given to the organization.” Other PKK militants and informants have confirmed K.’s account.

However, the problem is that the KCK/PKK is not only selling narcotics to Western cities but also poisoning Kurdish children whose rights it claims to defend. According to data from the narcotics police, the average age for starting drug use in the region has fallen significantly in recent years. In Van and Hakkari, the average age is 14, down from 15 just two years ago. An estimated 45 percent of the people in this age group are addicted to illegal substances. This average is estimated to be 60 percent in Hakkari districts and 30 percent among young people in Hakkari.

Mustafa Ç. and Metin Y., two drug dealers in the region whose testimony is included in an indictment of the KCK, say drugs are often a reward given to young people in the East and the Southeast who participate in pro-PKK demonstrations. Mustafa Ç. says: “We give them substances to keep them more energetic. This helps us to direct the masses. This is a policy of [the PKK] and it is something that’s done all the time.”

When asked if he ever used narcotics while he was with the PKK., R.K., another militant who was captured by Turkish security forces, said: “They deal in drugs. They also have plantations in villages. … Some militants are addicted. They can have them do anything in return for drugs. It is getting more and more common inside the organization.”

Narcotics operations have revealed that the PKK has production plantations, particularly since 2004, when it was having trouble financing its activities in spite of money extorted from locals and businessmen. There are known opium and cannabis plantations in Osmaniye and Hatay, in mountain villages, as well as Lice (Diyarbakır) and a large area stretching from Kup to Muş and Bingöl. Rural areas of Hakkari and Van are also replete with such plantations. However, they have no production units for cocaine, which they only trade in as couriers. It is very difficult to produce cocaine for those outside South America because about 300 kilograms of coca leaves are needed to manufacture just one kilogram of cocaine. The world’s cocaine mostly comes from South Africa but is exported to Europe usually through Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey to divert attention to different regions.

 

 

 

 

 

13 November 2011, Sunday / HAŞIM SÖYLEMEZ, ISTANBUL

Report: US drones deployed in Turkey

The United States has deployed four Predator drones at an air base in southern Turkey, a news report said on Friday.

This undated handout image provided by the US Air Force shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. (Photo: Reuters)
This undated handout image provided by the US Air Force shows a MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. (Photo: Reuters)

The report, published in the Taraf daily, said a total of four drones arrived at İncirlik Air Base on Oct. 16 and Oct. 23, several days before Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed a Turkish request to purchase drones to be used in the fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a G-20 summit in Paris.

But the deployment of the US drones on Turkish territory is separate from the Turkish request to purchase drones from the US. In September, the Washington Post reported that Turkey sought the deployment of a fleet of US drones on its territory as a measure to be used against the PKK following US withdrawal from Iraq. Later in September, Erdoğan said the US has agreed in principle to the Turkish request to deploy its drones on Turkish soil.

In addition to hosting US drones in its soil, Turkey also seeks to buy its own armed drones from the United States, seeking to purchase MQ-9 Reapers, a larger and more modern version of the Predator. The request, however, has been controversial, with some in Congress refusing to sell the aircraft to Turkey given Ankara’s deteriorating relations with Israel, a close US ally. The US administration, on the other hand, is reportedly willing to sell Reapers to Turkey and is trying to persuade the Congress not to block the sale.

Taraf said the drones, now based in İncirlik, will be used to monitor the PKK’s movements, but they will not provide real-time data from their surveillance flights for Turkish authorities. Data from the drones’ flights will be sent to the United States before reaching Turkish officials. No Turkish personnel will be involved in the command of the flights of the drones and no guarantee has been offered to Turkish hosts that the drones will not be used against third countries, Taraf said, citing anonymous military sources.

The lack of Turkish control over flights of US drones, according to the report, means they could change their route and spy on Turkish targets, such as critical military buildings, instead of the PKK targets, without Turkish authorities even noticing.

Turkey’s requests to host US drones and buy its own drones from the US has surfaced as Washington prepares to withdraw its forces from Iraq by end of 2011. US drones based in Iraq as part of the Iraqi operation have been providing Turkish officials with data regarding the PKK’s movements since 2007, as part of Turkish-US cooperation against the terrorist group.

The US administration has also agreed to sell attack helicopters to Turkey. The administration formally notified the Congress on Oct. 28 of a proposal to sell Turkey three attack helicopters, which will reportedly replace those Turkey lost in the fight against the PKK.

Under the $111-million deal, the US will take three AH-1W “SuperCobra” attack helicopters from the US Marine Corps inventory and sell them to Turkey. The sale would boost Turkey’s self-defense as well as regional security and its ability to operate with US forces and other NATO members, a Pentagon notice to lawmakers said.

 

 

 

 

11 November 2011, Friday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,

PKK to raise power in Germany, report says

A German institute has predicted that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party is likely to grow its support and donation base in the EU’s most populous country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan adress the media during a news conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany Nov. 2, when Erdoğan complained about the presence of the outlawed PKK in Germany which is also mentioned in a recent report. AP photo
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan adress the media during a news conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany Nov. 2, when Erdoğan complained about the presence of the outlawed PKK in Germany which is also mentioned in a recent report. AP photo

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is likely to increase the size of its support network in Germany in the coming years, according to a recent report authored by a German foundation.

An estimated 11,500 people in Germany are already believed to provide the group with millions of euros in support every year, but the number is expected to rise, according to a recent report from the Institute to Protect the Federal Constitution.

“A significant financial source for the PKK consists of the donations collected from sympathizers in Europe, particularly in Germany. The revenues of the annual Kurdistan festival while sales of books [and other items] also provide significant contributions to the PKK,” said the report.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan noted the report’s findings when he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week and asked the German leader to lend greater support to Turkey’s war on terror.

The PKK is the largest non-Islamist terror organization in Germany, the report said, adding that all its activities were banned on Nov. 22, 1993, in the federal republic. Recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the United States, the PKK was also added to the European Union’s terror list in 2002.

‘PKK has a finance office’ 

The report said the PKK had a finance and economy bureau in Germany to facilitate the transfer of money from to the organization for its 30-year-long fight against Turkey.

Because the organization is banned from engaging in activities under the name of the PKK, the group operates under aliases such as the Federation of Kurdish Associations in Germany (YEK-KOM).

YEK-KOM gives open support to the PKK’s fight against the Turkish army, said the report.

Other organizations, such as Komalen Ciwan and the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) are also working under different names to increase the number of young PKK sympathizers.

The report also said some of these young people were sent to northern Iraq to receive training from PKK militants. Komalen Ciwan also organized a festival on July 10, 2010, in Cologne that attracted 5,000 sympathizers.

In Europe, the PKK presents itself differently than in Turkey, the institute said.

“The organization depicts itself as an unarmed group searching for its rights through the democratic means,” the report said.

“However, it shows its real face by failing to commit to its cease-fire declarations and by fighting against Turkey along the country’s border with Iraq,” the report alleged.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Uğur Erdan
ANKARA – Hürriyet