Turkey Launches Major Attack Against Kurds

Turkey's offensive included aerial attacks

ISTANBUL (Reuters)—Turkey launched air and ground assaults on Kurdish militants in Iraq, vowing to exact “great revenge” after 24 Turkish soldiers were killed Thursday in one of the deadliest Kurdish attacks in years.

Turkish officials said about 100 fighters from the PKK, or the Kurdistan Workers Party, mounted simultaneous attacks under cover of darkness on seven remote army outposts in Hakkari province, on Turkey’s rugged southeastern border with Iraq.

The PKK, waging a 27-year-old war from bases inside Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, said it lost five guerrillas in the raids.

There was alarm, too, at the prospect of a major Turkish offensive across the border of a kind which had been mooted by Turkey for months before the latest sortie by Iraqi-based PKK fighters against isolated hillside forts defended by young Turkish conscripts scattered along the mountain frontier.

As US forces prepare to quit Iraq this year, and Syria and Iran, also home to Kurdish minorities, deal with their own domestic tensions, another round of probably inconclusive blood-letting in the Kurds’ heartlands may add to instability.

Public outrage poses a risk of a backlash against Kurds in Turkey and may hamper recent parliamentary efforts to answer Kurdish grievances.

It may also put to pressure on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to unleash the armed forces, whose high command he shook up in August to impose more civilian control.

Yet as winter snows approach, many doubt the second-biggest military in NATO can rout some 4,000 PKK fighters dug in at camps in Iraq, not least while Iraqi Kurds’ own seasoned former guerrilla forces retain their ambivalence between solidarity with ethnic kin and building trade with a powerful neighbor.

Within hours of the attacks, in which 18 Turks were also wounded, some 500 Turkish commandos and other troops, some dropped by helicopter, were in “hot pursuit” up to 8 km across the Iraqi border and helicopter gunships and other aircraft were striking PKK bases on the Zab river, security sources in the regional centre of Diyarbakir said.

At least 15 Kurdish militants were killed, they added.

Erdogan, calling off a trip to huddle with senior ministers and generals, said wide-ranging operations were under way.

President Abdullah Gul warned: “No one should forget this: those that inflict this pain on us will endure far greater pain; those that think they will weaken our state with these attacks or think they will bring our state into line, they will see that the revenge for these attacks will be very great and they will endure it many times over.”

In Washington, where Erdogan’s quest for influence among fellow Muslim states has caused some unease, Obama offered clear support: “The United States will continue our strong cooperation with the Turkish government as it works to defeat the terrorist threat from the PKK and to bring peace, stability and prosperity to all the people of southeast Turkey,” he said.

The PKK said in an Internet statement: “Our guerrillas carried out simultaneous attacks starting at 1am local time on regiments in the centre of Cukurca district and at Bilican and surrounding military posts … Nearly 100 soldiers and special forces police have been killed or wounded.”

Many Kurds, however, have placed their hopes in talks with the government and have grown weary of violence.

Speaking to Reuters by telephone from the Turkish town of Cukurca, Kurdish accountant Mehmet Tek, 39, said: “It wasn’t possible to sleep last night due to heavy gunfire.

“After hearing the news about the attack last night, we were devastated. Politicians need to do something urgently.”

After three decades of conflict in which some 40,000 have been killed, the PKK, founded in the 1970s by the now captive Abdullah Ocalan, has dropped demands for a Kurdish state in favor of greater rights for Turkey’s 15 million Kurds.

The attacks on the border came as Ocalan, held in prison near Istanbul, had sent a message calling for renewed talks with Ankara.

“Negotiations will continue and everything could change in the coming process if they open the door,” the PKK quoted Ocalan as saying in is first message in months.

The government, however, has taken a harder line.

Violence since July has killed more than 50 Turkish security personnel.

Ankara’s recent step up in attacks on the PKK have fuelled concern in Baghdad that Ankara is pushing its influence south, toward rich oil deposits around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, just as US forces which overthrew Saddam Hussein prepare to leave.

Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan and once a leader of guerrillas who fought Saddam’s Iraqi forces with US help, condemned the raids as a criminal act: “This action is first and foremost against the interests of the people of Kurdistan … Violence and conflict are not a solution.”

Iraqi officials in Baghdad say it is difficult for them to control the rugged area where PKK guerrillas have their camps.


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  1. David Boyajian said:

    If there were still a considerable number of Armenians in Turkey, and they were protesting their oppression, lease have no doubt that that the bloodyTurks of today would be bombing, death marching, and massacring Armenians with impunity – worse than what they are doing to Kurds today.

    Has any country ever intervened in Turkey or outside Turkey to stop that country’s killing of Kurds? No. So the same would be true if Turks were massacring Armenians roday under some pretext or another – separatism, treason, whatever.

    What some Armenians do not understand is that nothing has changed except that some Armenians outside of Turkey think that Turkey is now a wonderful country and would never harm a hair on the head of any Armenian.

    Those Armenians are the “reconciliation” groupies.

  2. Arman said:

    These Kurds are fighting with their hands and feet in a primitive style, and killing Turks….just imagine if they had more powerful weapons, how they wound make the Turks pay.

  3. Sossi Değirmenciyan said:

    It’s not the “Kurds” Asbarez! It’s a group of terrorists, not guerrillas, and it’s called PKK. Guerrillas do not murder babies, civilian children, or teachers, or doctors, or engineers, or does not murder hundreds of villagers in a matter of hours. PKK DOES! But neither you nor others would agree to be represented by a bunch of terrorists. Or do you?!

    • Camel Anaturk said:

      Dearest Sassy djan allahtan-you`re 100% percent right-guerrillas do not murder babies,civilians,etc,etc. -turkeys do !!! Now all armenians want to be represnted by peaceful and freedom loving turkeys like you dear Sassy,we`re begging you down on our knees five times a day, day after day,please will you do it for us and many shukran if you do.

  4. manooshag said:

    WOW, the militarily advanced nation of a Turkey is still bullying their Kurdish citizens… having used such
    against all the Genocides which Turks have committed since they came down from the Asian mountains… against the Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Pontics and more…. over these many years against their Kurds citizens/victims whose armaments cannot compare to all the great military strengths as acquired by a Turkey. Obviously, a Turkey has learned NOT to ever declare wars (having been the losers in the wars they declared (too their losses in World War WWI) too, more recently their clash at sea with the Israelis. Instead, their ongoing years of Genocides has been so much more successful… Bully Turkey is assured via Genocides pursued against all under-armed victims as evidenced by their own Turkish history of all the successes via Genocides in the last century.

    Bully Turkey does ‘send – on occasion – a presence of Turks’ military at various times’… but NEVER a Turkey has declared a war. Not any need to declare any wars – Genocidal policies against victims serve the purposes of the Turk leaderships their assured successes against their unarmed victims.

    Thus our so-called ‘civilized’ nations the world over still allow Genocides to continue – Turkey is a leader in this pursuit of the inhumanity to humans – ongoing/unending – still. Worthy of note is the fact the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians – in early 20th century – if then recognized as inhumanity to humans – and too, reparations had been made by the Turks to Armenians via the efforts of our President Woodrow Wilson…IMAGINE.. ALL the Genocides since their Turkish Genocides of the Armenians, Greeks, Pontics, Assyrians and so many more, shall never have been…

    Beginning with the Jewish Genocide – which followed merely 20 years the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation – NONE OF THE GENOCIDES SHALL FOLLOWED… Too, these hordes of Turks shall have been returned to their own origins – from they came – returned to their lands and cultures from the Asian mountains… their own homeland – their own origins.

  5. Ahmet said:

    The US is leaving Iraq end of this year. The Kurds were relying on America. Lets see what they are going to do. By the way, Iran will want to (has already been) fill the gap that US will create on leaving Iraq.
    Who will do you think US will support more in the region?

    • arto said:

      Actually the US will never really leave Iraq. They will always maintain tight control over the security apparatus and governing of the country. As far as PKK, I think everyone knows that they are funded and trained by Mossad as a weapon at their disposal against all countries in that region. They are using that weapon against Turkey right now as revenge. Therefore, the US will always call the PKK terrorists to support Turkey, but they won’t be able to do much as long as Israel is involved. The real losers are the Kurdish people who are being set up for massacres.

    • bigmoustache said:

      really? the turks have been raiding the kurds in iraq, the US isnt doing anything.
      but you pose a good argument, iran will fill hte vacuum in iraq, probably muqtada al sadr. and since turkey and iran dont get along, who do you think will pour money and guns into the kurds to attack turkey, and to keep the kurds in iran peaceful…iran.
      so in a situation with the US gone, the kurds may have closer links to iran and heavier military equipment, lets hope that happens

    • Camel Anaturk said:

      Dearest ahmak djan,the Us of A will support those who will service their hindparts best and I suppose you and all of us know who are best experienced for this noble job.The kurds already have their state in Iraq,the next one will be in turkey.Its high time you take the Midnite express back to Mongolia,as real estate prices there will go up too and you will have to live in tents and huts as befits you.Greetings to your MIT colleagues and many shukran.

  6. Stew said:

    David B. & Mamoooshag,

    Gee, it sounds like the whiners are back! Armenians would do well to keep their noses out of our affairs, lest we kick your tushies over and over again (or, maybe we’ll just say the heck with it and take over Armenia in 96 hours, then turn it over to our Azerbaijani brothers [we understand that they have some unfinished business with you]. Putin won’t do a thing [he’s tired of constantly being Armenia’s babysitter]). So stay out of our business! BTW, must we remind you again how many thousands of Kurds the ARF dashnak Armenian rebels massacred between 1880-1922!!

  7. Gary_S said:

    Syria and Iran use the Kurds on Turkey when Turkey gives them a hard time. Turkey is giving Syria a hard time right not, so you’ll see more of these clashes.

  8. sam said:

    the wondering part for the turks discovering that there are a nation that is more savage than them selves and that nation is kurdistan so here we go another never ending conflict worse than arab and jews .

  9. The Truth said:

    The ongoing Turkish-Kurdish war is not about Human rights or about autonomy or fight ‎against terrorism, but the war is onlx and only over Armenian property , merly about Armenian land about loot ‎reached during Armenian Genocide- and nothing else !‎

  10. Grish Begian said:

    Sossi, you are like parrot repeating what Turks telling you in the news “baby killers”..they call Armenians same words 95 years ago and, today, when Mongol Turks wiped out your defenseless Armenian ancestors!! (if you are an Armenian)…….

    Turks are murdering Kurdish children with their newly received cobra chopter from USA, and telling in the news “rebel casualties” …Turks are creating their own future huge war with Kurdish people, instead of sitting down and accept Kurds, are not “mountain Turks” they are killing Kurdish children and women with the help of US weaponry.

    Just few weeks ago Turks were whining to have attack helicopter (they have lost 3 to Kurds) from US, and Mr. “Accordion” US Ambassador approved 3 more “cobra snake” for his faithfuls…shame on US, those brave Kurds helped US forces to brought down Saddam regime down now they are killing them, I wonder if one Turkish soldier killed or wounded during Iraqi invasion!!! what a reward from Obama administration!!

  11. Realist said:


    • Kirk said:

      Dear Realist,
      I don’t think they are Turks.They are armenians disguised as Turks.This is my personal opinion.
      Second,even if they are really Turks,then let them post their comments.We are civilized and smart.
      If only one of them changes his/her mind ,then it’s a winning situation for us.

  12. sebouh nazarian said:

    Nice to see how the US sits backs and allows these animals(Turks) to do what they want…what an evil country they are, both of them

  13. Hye said:

    I can’t believe there is so much support for the Kurds on here. The saying “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” does not apply here. Did we all forget who helped the turks massacre our forefathers? Do you realize that this proposed “Kurdistan” lays claims to OUR lands?! Western Armenia is not Turkey, but neither should we ever allow it to become “Kurdistan.” Some of you have very shallow perspectives.