Turks Get Ready to Crush the Kurds

As Turkish troops massed on the border in late October, threatening to invade Iraq to suppress Kurdish separatists, an October 20 editorial in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram asked: "Where are the Arab leaders and the Arab media regarding the incursion by Turkish troops into northern Iraq? Why are they silent? Is it because the attacked are Kurds and not Arabs?" Over 100,000 Turkish troops are deployed along the 200-mile southern border with Iraq; commandos have penetrated several miles into Iraq in hot pursuit of Kurdish fighters. Attack helicopters and F-16 fighter planes daily attack suspected guerrilla hideouts. The buildup follows a Kurdish guerrilla attack inside Turkish territory earlier in October in which 12 Turkish soldiers were killed and eight captured by the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), the militia of the Kurdish secessionist movement. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, has signaled that any major action might be put off until after he meets U.S. President George Bush in early November. In a TV interview with the ARD German TV on October 20, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq's Kurdistan regional government, accused Turkey of seeking a pretext to mount a major assault in the area. "The PKK is a justification," Barzani told Al Arabiya satellite channel. "The goal is to stop or hamper the growth of the Kurdistan region." Dr. Sami Alrabaa, a sociology professor in Germany, is a columnist for the Kuwait Times. For full story please subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here to subscribe.