Kurdistan and the pkk Essay

This essay has a total of 1467 words and 6 pages.

kurdistan and the pkk


Kurdistan is a region that has existed in turmoil and is the "never was" country. The
Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group of the Middle East, numbering between 20 and 25
million. Approximately 15 million live in the regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, an
area they called Kurdistan, yet they do not have a country of their own. Formal attempts
to establish such a state were crushed by the larger and more powerful countries in the
region after both world wars. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed after World War I, the
Kurds were promised their own independent nation under the Treaty of Sevres. In 1923
however, the treaty was broken allowing Turkey to maintain its status and not allowing the
Kurdish people to have a nation to call their own. The end of the Gulf war, Iran-Iraq war,
the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of the cold war has reinvigorated a Kurdish
Nationalist movement.

The movement is a powder keg ready to explode. With the majority of Kurds living within
its boundaries, no country faces this threat more than Turkey. Because of Turkey's concept
of unified, cohesive nationhood-in which the existence of minorities are not acknowledged-
these tensions in Turkey are more difficult to handle than else where. In southeastern
Turkey, extreme fighting and guerilla tactics are used by the Kurds in support of their
political parties. The Turkish military is actively stationed in this area now.

There are several political parties that represent the needs of the Kurdish people. They
are the Kurdistan's Workers Party (PKK) who represent the needs of Turkish Kurds and are
the most violent terrorist like group, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) who is
active politically but not militarily, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) composed of
Iraqi Kurds, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) who is also representing the Iraqi
Kurds.

The PKK was created in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group primarily composed of
Turkish Kurds searching for an independence movement. Its first and only leader, Abdullah
Ocalan, or Apo as he came to be called, was at that time a student of political science at
Ankara University.

From the late 1970s, Ocalan worked closely with both the then Soviet Union and with Syria,
whose governments were attempting to generate a political breakdown in Turkey.

In 1977, the PKK published a series of "communiques" demanding the separation of Kurdistan
from Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. These communiques condemned the Turkish government for
engaging in repressive "exploitation" of the Kurds and "denial" of their educational and
cultural heritage. Apo claims his main goal is the creation of a country for the world's
20 to 25 million Kurds, more than half of whom live in Turkey, the rest in Iraq, Iran and
other neighboring countries. Roughly, a million are in Europe, in exile or as migrants,
the bulk of whom are in Germany. He stated also that he wanted to put an end to Turkish
colonialism and all forms of imperialist domination over Kurdistan.

Turkey has been a key player against the PKK. Geography, politics and history have
conspired to render 30 million Kurds the largest stateless people in the Middle East. The
Government of Turkey has long denied the Kurdish population, located largely in the
southeast, basic political, cultural, and linguistic rights. The government of Turkey has
in turn waged an intense campaign to suppress PKK terrorism, targeting active PKK units as
well as persons they believe support or sympathize with the PKK. As part of its fight
against the PKK, the Government forcibly displaced noncombatants, failed to resolve extra
judicial killings, tortured civilians, and abridged freedom of expression. The Turkish
government has also managed to burn over 4,000 villages forcing Kurds to flee from their
homeland. Finally, the Turkish government estimates that the conflict with the PKK has
exacted a high financial drain on the national treasury. The government estimates that
battling the PKK costs about $10 billion per year.

Turkey does support Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
(PUK). Both parties are composed of Iraqi Kurds. Turkey sought to protect and in effect
promote the Iraqi Kurds for a variety of reasons. If the Iraqi Kurds were dependant on
Turkish goodwill, Turkey might be able to influence the parties from establishing an
independent nation that would lead to the PKK (Turkish Kurds) trying to establish their
own. This would prevent the PUK and KDP from aiding the PKK. Turkish belief also stated
that by helping the Iraqi Kurds it might influence them to become pro-Turkish and be able
to aid against the PKK warfare.
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