Friday, July 08, 2005

Turkey's Kurdish rebels strain regional politics

Turkey's Kurds admire the self-rule their Iraqi cousins enjoy, but the safe haven accorded to Turkish Kurd rebels in northern Iraq fuels Ankara's fears of Kurdish separatism and keeps the region under strain.

With the resurgence of violence in Turkey's southeast by the rebel Kurdish Labour Party (PKK), based in neighbouring Kurdish-held northern Iraq since 1999, Ankara believes the Iraqi Kurds are also accountable.

US reluctance to clamp down on PKK camps in the Qandil mountains along the Iranian border has already frustrated Ankara and burdened ties between the two NATO allies.

The Turkish army, which lost at least 32 men since clashes intensified in April, says the PKK — blacklisted as a terror group by the United States and the European Union — enjoys “ideal conditions” in the region thanks to foreign support.

“We are watching carefully how the new Iraqi administration will approach the activities of this organisation and what steps it will take to prevent them,” land forces commander Yasar Buyukanit was quoted as saying earlier this month.

Read the rest of the article on the Jordan Times

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