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US Embassy Fails to Link PKK to Armenia

February 28th, 2008 by hyeoctane

In September of 2007, Dr. Mark Yoffe, a Slavic Languages specialist at George Washington University (GWU), arrived in Armenia with an IREX fellowship to do research on the Yezidi Kurdish community there. His assumption was that his fieldwork would focus on Yezidi culture and folklore but, after visiting the US Embassy in Yerevan and being taken aside by the Political Affairs Officer there, he was told that what they really wanted him to look at was Yezidi political activism and any traces of PKK activity among Kurds living in Armenia.

After spending a month in Armenia doing what the Embassy asked him to, Yoffe returned to the US and, on February 19, gave a presentation of his findings to an audience of about fifty at The Gelman Library of GWU. The title of his talk was “Yezidis, Kurds and the PKK in Armenia: Notes of an Accidental Undercover Operative.”

Not only did Yoffe reveal that the PKK has no significant presence in Armenia but that, in his words, “there is not even any anecdotal evidence” of PKK activity in the country. When Yoffe went back to the Embassy with this information, the officials there were not the least bit interested in his findings. Obviously, some in the State Department and US Foreign Service have nothing better to do than try to concoct negative stories about Armenia out of thin air.

The timing of all this should also not be overlooked—it was at the same time that the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res. 106) was advancing its way in the US House and eventually passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October.

Interestingly enough, since he quickly found that there was absolutely no basis for saying the PKK exists in Armenia, Yoffe spent the rest of his presentation emphatically describing how Armenia is the most hospitable place for Kurds in the entire region. He repeats the same points in his report with such passages as, “Both groups, Yezidi and Kurds, stated on numerous occasions that they are happy and comfortable in Armenia, that it is the best country for people of Yezidi faith where they are not persecuted.”

Category: Armenia, Armenian Genocide, Kurds | No Comments »

Yet Another Turkish Invasion

February 26th, 2008 by hyeoctane

As the US continues to seek ways to stabilize Iraq, Turkey has launched yet another offensive aimed at destabilizing northern Iraq. In what is the largest Turkish incursion of Iraq since the 2003 US-led removal of Saddam Hussein, over 10,000 troops moved across the border under the pretext of combating PKK rebels.

Although the US was aware of the incursion, it has had clear reservations about the operation and has signaled to Turkey that such military attacks will not solve the situation. Indeed, similar invasions in the past have done little to stop the PKK, an organization spawned out of Turkey’s years of oppression and ethnic cleansing of its Kurdish citizenry.

For its part, the Iraqi government has vociferously condemned Turkey’s actions and demanded an immediate withdrawal, citing the destruction of five bridges “contrary to the promises made by the Americans or other sides that the Turkish forces won’t target the infrastructure or population.”

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has been even more outspoken in its opposition to Turkey’s latest illegal violation of Iraqi sovereignty. “This is against international protocols, and it is a violation of international laws,” spokesman Fouad Hussein said.

With local Kurdish residents fearing for their lives, KRG forces have reportedly taken up positions and warned Turkey not to target innocent people or cross deeper into their territory. Iraqi Kurdish forces have already warned that forays into civilian areas and further Turkish advances will be met by Kurdish counter-attacks.

With the local government and Kurdish population convinced that Turkey’s real intent is to destroy the autonomy of the KRG, Ankara’s invasion is greatly endangering one of the most peaceful and stable parts of Iraq.

Category: Kurds, Turkey | No Comments »

Turkey Attacks Iraq

December 17th, 2007 by hyeoctane

After blocking the US from opening a northern front on Iraq, amassing 100,000 troops along the Turkish-Iraqi border, and threatening to invade the Kurdish region of Iraq if a referendum on Kirkuk goes forward as planned, Turkey is now intensifying its cross-border attacks deep into the territory of Iraq.

On Sunday, the Turkish military ordered a three-hour aerial bombardment of ten villages in northern Iraq, which it claimed was aimed at bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Several innocent civilians were killed by the strike and hundreds were forced to flee the region. Various homes, school buildings, and bridges were also destroyed in the Kurdish populated villages that were targeted.

The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution on Monday sharply condemning Turkey’s actions as a “cruel attack on Iraqi sovereignty.” The EU called on Turkey to “refrain from taking any military action that could undermine regional peace and stability.”

As can be seen, Turkey is moving forward with its sinister plan against the Kurds and proceeding to destabilize the calmest region of Iraq. With ‘allies’ like this, who needs enemies?

Category: Kurds, Turkey | No Comments »

Phillips Talks Turkey

November 14th, 2007 by hyeoctane

Last Thursday, November 8, David L. Phillips—the architect behind the State Department’s discredited Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC)—gave a talk on Turkey and the PKK at American University in Washington, DC. The title of his presentation was “Turkey in Crisis: Strategies for Disarming, Demobilizing, and Reintegrating the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)” and was based on a recent report he prepared for the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.

Although his presentation failed to highlight the heart of the problem between the Kurds and Turkey—namely the latter’s repression and refusal to recognize the rights of the former—it did urge Turkey to come to terms with (and embrace) the reality of an Iraqi Kurdistan being formed to its south. At the moment, such an outcome doesn’t seem so likely given the latest Turkish bombardments of Kurdish villages and the fact that Turkey has not only refused to recognize the Kurdish Region of Iraq, it has threatened to invade it if a referendum on the oil-rich city of Kirkuk takes place, as scheduled, later this year.

And all this time, the administration thought our “ally” Turkey would make trouble in Iraq over reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. As usual, Ankara has its own plans.

Category: Armenian Genocide, Denial, Kurds, Turkey | No Comments »