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 US cautions Turkey against intervention in Syrian Kurdistan

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US cautions Turkey against intervention in Syrian Kurdistan  3.8.2012  

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell.
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August 3, 2012

WASHINGTON/ANKARA, — The Turkish military commenced military maneuvers along its border with Syria on Wednesday, in what appears to be an effort aimed at deterring the emergence of a Kurdish entity in Syrian Kurdistan in northern Syria led by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Meanwhile, the United States has cautioned against any military intervention in the country, Today’s Zaman reported.

The military drills involving tanks and armored military vehicles are under way in seven different locations near the border, including the Suruç, Akçakale and Ceylanpınar districts of the province of Şanlıurfa as well as in the border provinces of Kilis, Hatay and Mardin in Turkey's Kurdish region (Northern Kurdistan).

The maneuvers follow a series of reinforcements made along the border, which came in the wake of seizures made by Kurdish groups, including the Syrian PKK-affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD), of several Kurdish cities in Syrian Kurdistan along the Turkish border over the past two weeks.

Turkey has repeatedly bombed and sent troops into parts of semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq's north where the PKK has camps. But there has been no indication that Turkish troops would cross the border with Syria, although NATO-member Turkey has warned any attack emanating from a PKK presence in Syrian Kurdistan could give the country reason to intervene.

The United States, Turkey’s NATO ally, on the other hand, appears to be reluctant towards any Turkish intervention in Syria. When asked about the recent Turkish military build-up along the Syrian border, Patrick Ventrell, director of the Press Office at the US State Department, said further militarization of the situation should be avoided.

“We are obviously in discussion with our Turkish ally constantly on Syria. We continue to think that we don’t want to further militarize the situation. We obviously understand that they have their national security interests as well, but we don’t think that further militarization right now is the way to go,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Ventrell said the Syrian opposition continued to “gain ground in Syria and has started to hold greater territory.”

“I don’t think we are at a point where we are going to see -- or we are hearing greater calls for an immediate external military operations into Syria,” he said.

Further asked if the US is delivering any advice to Turkey, Ventrell said: “The public message that I said here, that we don’t want and don’t think that further militarization is the way to go right now, is the same thing that we’re delivering in private.”

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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