The PKK and Turkey

24 10 2007

I apologize for my extended and unannounced hiatus. I was sick and also incredibly busy. If this were a real blog that people read I probably couldn’t get away with that, but fortunately it is not.

I’m going to start with the gigantic news that’s all over the U.S. press -that Turkey wants to cross its border with Iraq to take out the PKK.

This is not a real countryThe PKK is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. For the uninitiated, there is, in fact, no official Kurdistan – Kurds are spread out over Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and a little bit of Syria and Russia.

Kurds have been campaigning for their sovereignty since the early 20th century, and the PKK functions somewhat like the Irish Republican Army. Their activities are primarily focused on obtaining the independence of Kurdistan, and they sometimes engage in terrorism to that end.

As you can see on the map there, a significant portion of the Kurdish population lives in what is officially Turkey, and there has historically been a lot of tension between Turkey and Kurdish nationalists.

So, some Iraqi members of the PKK crossed the Iraq-Turkey border and killed several Turkish soldiers. I think it was 12. And Turkey wants to cross the border and retaliate.

The problem for the U.S. is that the Kurds are our only friends in Iraq, and we would prefer not to piss them off. It’s a pickle.

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