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 Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan say PKK rebels in Syria 'common threat'

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Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan say PKK rebels in Syria 'common threat'  2.8.2012 

The president of the autonomous Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani (R), meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Erbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region, on August 1, 2012. Photo: Getty
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August 2, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Turkey and Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region have warned that they will consider any violent group that abuses a Syrian power vacuum a "common threat", in a reference to Kurdish rebels in Syria.

"The new Syria should be free of any terrorist and extremist group or organisation," Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani said in a rare joint statement released late Wednesday.

The statement comes after the pair held talks in Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan, over the situation in Syria and reports that some parts of the country had fallen to the Kurdish rebels.

"Any attempt to exploit the power vacuum by any violent group or organisation will be considered as a common threat," said Barzani and Davutoglu in their joint statement.

Davutoglu was visiting the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Thursday, Turkish media reported, adding that the foreign minister would bring together Syrian opposition groups.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian ally of the outlawed Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), had allegedly seized control of several towns along Turkey's border with Syria, alarming Ankara, which promptly increased defences on the border.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week Ankara would not hesitate to strike Kurdish rebels in Syria.

Ankara claims some of the Kurdish rebels in Syria are those who have been forced to move from their hideouts in mountainous zones in northern Iraq, after Turkey staged several air strikes in the area to drive out the rebels.

A military drill close to the Syrian border and an increase in the firepower deployment on the border followed the movement in northern Syria.

Ankara had already fortified the border region after a Turkish plane was brought down by Syria on June 22.

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP  | | Agencies


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