Turks and Kurds Protest Invasion Policy
by Joel Wendland, October 21, 2007
Protests erupted this past week in Turkey and Iraq over Turkey’s decision to authorize an invasion of Iraq in order to fight Kurdish separatists.
In addition to the Kurdish Parties in Turkey, both the Labor Party of Turkey and the Communist Party of Turkey rejected a bill put forward by Prime Minister Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party to authorize an invasion of Iraq to pursue Kurdish separatists affiliated with the Kurdish Workers’ Party or PKK.
Evoking Bush-style demagoguery, Erdogan accused opponents of the bill of supporting terrorism.
In a statement released on Thursday (10-18), the Labor Party said an invasion of Iraq was no solution to the conflict over Kurdistan, and “a new operation into North Iraq will only antagonize the peoples of the same region.”
The statement went on: “Our country and our peoples – both Kurds and Turks – will suffer from the results of this war.”
The Communist Party saw the vote not as a break with the Bush administration’s policies in the Middle East but as a collaboration with US imperialism and Bush administration aims in the Middle East.
The Communists, who held protests on Wednesday of this week in Ankara over the invasion bill, said, “Our country faces security problems but this problem comes from dependency on the USA, the love of the European Union, the NATO membership, the secret agreements with Israel and from sending our troops to death in order to serve the US imperialism in Afghanistan. “
Weighing in on the the issue and describing the likely results of a Turkish invasion of Iraq, northern Iraq International Committee of the Red Crescent spokesperson Flamerz Mohammed said, “Any military conflict in the region will bring about a humanitarian crisis as civilians will be killed or displaced due to shelling and troop incursions.”
In an interview with Al-Jazeerah, Murat Karayilan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, accused the Turkish government of lying about Kurdish fighters crossing the border from Iraq into Turkey. There are enough Kurdish separatists in Turkey to conduct their operations there, he said. PKK members or supporters do not need to cross the border.
Accusing Turkey of using the threat to attack Iraq and subsequent destabilization as a tactic to pressure President Bush to speak out against a US congressional resolution condemning the Armenian genocide, Murat Karayilan added, “Turkey’s aim is to attack Iraqi Kurds” not PKK members.
Many Kurds in both turkey and Iraq seek the formation of an independent Kurdistan whose territory would include portions of present-day Turkey.
In a statement released earlier in the week, the Iraqi Communist Party denounced the Erdogan policy of invading Iraq and the ongoing shelling in mountainous regions in northern Iraq.
“While rejecting and denouncing this escalation,” read an Iraqi Communist Party statement, “we call for putting an immediate end to it, and to stop, fully and once and for all, the use of violent means and military force. The only means to achieve an effective and just resolution of emerging problems is through dialog between the two neighboring countries, and through peaceful negotiations that avoid solving the problems of one side at the expense of the other.”
Under pressure from the Bush administration, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared the PKK a terrorist organization and has offered to allow the Turkish invasion of Kurdistan, including northern Iraq and even to conduct joint operations there.
Hundreds of Iraqi Kurds in Arbil, Iraq, in the semiautonomous region of Kurdistan, took to the streets on Wednesday to protest Erdogan’s invasion policy.
Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, called for talks between Turkey and his government in order to resolve the conflict peacefully, but also promised to fight any aggression by Turkey, according to the Associated Press.
— Reach Joel Wendland at firstname.lastname@example.org.