Saturday, October 6, 2012

Turkey and Syria Edge toward War, Baghdad Expels Turkish Bases from North: Kurdistan Update, 30 September - 6 October 2012

That red line runs right through Kurdistan

Land Mine in Turkish Kurdistan Kills 1 Soldier; 2 Rebels Dead in Battle in Siirt.  A land mine in Şırnak province, in the Kurdistan region of southeastern Turkeykilled a Turkish soldier and wounded a second on September 30th.  The incident occurred during a mine sweep, and the banned separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) is suspected.  Also this week, two P.K.K. fighters were reported killed in Siirt province in a clash with the military.

Local Hakkari Party Chief Released after Month of Captivity by Kurdish Rebels.  A local politician with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (A.K.P.) in Hakkari province, in the southeast’s Kurdistan region, was released October 4th after more than a month in captivity at the hands of the banned separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.).  The captive, Abdülmecit Tarhan, was the Hakkari branch chief of the A.K.P.  He appeared to have been held in Iraq, just over the border from Hakkari.

Abdülmecit Tarhan (center)

Kurds Are (Of Course) First Casualties as Turkey Edges toward Open War with Syria.  In the first fatal cross-border violence between Turkey and Syria since the Syrian civil war began last year, Turkish forces fired weapons across the frontier between Syria’s Hasaka province and Turkey’s Mardin province on October 2nd, killing one border patrolman from a Kurdish civil-defense militia that the Turkish government fears is allied with its own armed separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.).  Three Kurds were wounded in the incident.  Later, and with more attention from international media, further cross-border reprisals by the Turkish military targeted forces loyal to the embattled dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad within Syria, prompting fears that Turkey would be drawn fully into the war.


After New Bombings, Baghdad to Boot Turkish Bases Out of Iraqi Kurdistan.  This week saw a new round of Turkish bombings of supposed Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region, followed a few days later by an Iraqi government decision to phase out Turkey’s military bases in the Kurdish region.  First, on September 28th, warplanes from Turkey crossed into Iraq and bombed what it claimed were targets connected to the banned separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.), which is waging a decades-long insurgency in the Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey.  A P.K.K. spokesman said that the bombing went on for two days, in the Qandil mountains.  There were no reports of casualties.  On October 1st, the Turkish government asked parliament for an extension of its mandate to conduct such cross-border sorties.  The next day, an Iraqi government spokesman in Baghdad announced a cabinet decision “to reject the presence of any foreign bases or forces on Iraqi land and to reject the entry of any foreign military forces into Iraqi land.”  The reference to “land” seems designed to prevent Iraq from feeling committed to respond to future air sorties from Turkey, but it certainly signals the beginning of the end of Turkey’s military bases in Dohuk, one of the northern Iraqi provinces governed by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (K.R.G.)—bases that were first established at the invitation of the dictator Saddam Hussein.

Hamas Leader Mashal and Kurdish President Barzani Hold Informal Meeting in Ankara.  The head of Hamas, the Islamist terrorist militia that governs the Gaza Strip portion of the Palestinian Territoriesmet on October 1st with the president of northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (K.R.G.), Massoud Barzani, on the sidelines of a summit in Ankara of the Justice and Development Party (A.K.P.), which governs Turkey.  A Hamas source said that its leader, Khaled Mashal, discussed Palestine, the Arab Spring, and other topics with Barzani.

[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  Look for it in spring 2013.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]

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