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Turkey fights against the PKK, not the Kurds

Dec 23,2018 - Last updated at Dec 23,2018

The article by Michael Jansen which was published in your newspaper on December 20, 2018, titled, “Proposed eastern Euphrates operation ‘existential’, but not to Turkey” has compelled me to clear up some points which were mentioned in the said article.

First of all, we need to know the background of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organisation in order to understand what the Democratic Union Party (PYD)/People's Protection Units (YPG) is.

By the early 1980s, a new kind of terrorism, sponsored by the PKK, broke out in Turkey. The PKK is a product of the Cold War era and has been established as a Marxist-Leninist group in the early 1980s, which evolved into an ethnic-separatist organisation. Since then, 41,000 civilians, including infants, pupils, security and military servicepeople, and Turkish citizens with Kurdish background, lost their lives. The PKK’s first victims were the Kurdish population and villagers who denied support and who confronted the ideology it imposed.

The PKK terrorist organisation continues to attack indiscriminately. Benefitting from a power vacuum in northern Iraq in the 1990s, it has established a presence there, where it used these uncontrolled territories as a safe haven to plot terrorist attacks against Turkey.

Let me clearly state that Turkey does not fight against the Kurds, but against the PKK. The threat posed by the emboldened presence of the PKK and its affiliates in the region is a national security threat to Turkey. However, in the past 40 years, Turkey has never defined or framed this threat as “Kurdish terrorism”. The PKK does not represent the Kurdish people from neither Turkey nor the other Kurdish communities in Iraq or Syria. The PKK is a terrorist group because it resorts to terrorism.

A proscribed terrorist organisation by the UK, the US and the EU, the PKK operates under different names in different countries.

With this strategy, it aims to diffuse attention to its activities and atrocities across the region. The PYD/YPG’s organic links with the PKK have been well-established. These links point out the necessity and urgency of our action against this terrorist organisation.

As opposed to the claims in the article, Operation Olive Branch is launched on the basis of the right to self-defence and countering the threat of terrorism emanating from Syria. 

I would strongly advise the author to have a copy of the press release of World Council of Arameans, laying out yet another example of how the PYD and the YPG aim to intimidate and suppress local people in Syria who resist to their oppression and intimidation. 

Supporting one terrorist organisation to defeat the other is an unhealthy approach that will undoubtedly have serious security ramifications in the future. It appears that the author has not hesitated to adopt this unhealthy approach.

It is very unfortunate that this manipulative article, which is full of baseless claims and far from being an objective one, found its place in your newspaper.

Turkey’s essential aim is not to occupy Syria but to clear the region from all sorts of terrorist groups. This aim should be “existential” for all of us in order to create better future for our children.


Murat Karagöz

Ambassador of Turkey to Jordan

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