KNK: New Turkish threat, same old war

The KNK said that "whenever the Turkish state faced economic, social, domestic, and foreign policy crises, it utilized warfare against the Kurds to distract the Turkish people from its own failures."


The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) released a comprehensive analysis titled "New Turkish threat, same old war".

We publish excerpts of the first part of the analysis. Excerpts from part two will be published tomorrow.

The analysis recalled how "since 1978, the Turkish state has been engaged in an armed conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Over the past four decades, the Turkish military has burned down more than 4,000 Kurdish villages. Historically, the goal of such war crimes has been to “defeat the PKK.” But in actuality, Turkey’s genocidal policies are as old as the Republic itself (founded in 1923). For the last century, Turkey has tried to discredit Kurdish freedom struggles, both within Turkey and to the outside world, slandering resistance leaders as uncivilized bandits, criminals, and separatists. The Turkish state has used such defamation as pretexts to commit many atrocities, such as the Zilan Massacre (1930) and Dersim Genocide (1938), and to hang Kurdish leaders such as Sheikh Said (1925) and Seyid Riza (1937)."

The document underlined that "the Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was abducted in 1999 and has been held in a state of illegal and inhumane isolation on a Turkish prison island for the past 25 years. Moreover, since March 25, 2021, Mr. Öcalan has been intentionally disappeared, as Turkey has barred him from speaking with his lawyers or family, while providing no public information on his health or safety. It pursues this policy of incommunicado detention and solitary confinement - defined as torture under international law - to cause psychological trauma to the Kurdish people and to collectively punish them for following his political philosophy of liberation."

Indeed, continued the KNK, "whenever the Turkish state faced economic, social, domestic, and foreign policy crises, it utilized warfare against the Kurds to distract the Turkish people from its own failures. To justify its attacks, the Turkish state has weaponized a new epithet against the Kurds: “terrorists.” Today it uses this term much as it once wielded the terms “bandits” and “separatists” but with much more potent affect. Turkey has invested huge amounts of its wealth in propping up the notion that the Kurdish activists who protested its torture chambers, as well as the murder of Kurdish journalists in broad daylight by JITEM death squads, were all “terrorists” with no human rights to due legal process.

The Kurdish struggle for self-determination resulted inevitably from such depravities and continues to this day, but regrettably, a nationalist backlash and Kurdish phobia has also emerged within Turkey. The PKK, like its predecessor movements, is not the cause but the consequence of Turkish colonialism and the brutalities it inflicts in order to sustain its own power. But unlike other mass uprisings of the last century, the PKK enjoys the sympathy and support of Kurds in all four parts of occupied Kurdistan and the Kurdish diaspora. This is because the PKK has given the Kurds a sense of national self-confidence and motivates them to unapologetically fight for their destiny against all obstacles."

Turkey plans a renewed war on Kurds

The analysis then continued, underlining that "since October 2023, Turkey has been carrying out a relentless barrage against the Kurds of Syria and Rojava, in an attempt to eradicate all infrastructure and means of productive life in the region. On February 29, 2024, the internationally renowned organization Human Rights Watch published a report showing that Turkey is responsible for apparent war crimes in occupied Syria.

Now Erdoğan’s regime is planning a renewed war against the Kurds. A military offensive in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is set to begin immediately after the local elections on March 31, 2024. Turkey will launch a major military attack on the PKK guerrillas in the mountains of Southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq). Already some 161 villages in the region have already been forcibly evacuated and a further 602 are facing imminent displacement, journalist Botan Germiyanî reported.

After a cabinet meeting on March 4, Erdoğan declared: “Hopefully, this summer, we will have permanently resolved the issue regarding our Iraqi borders. Our will to create a security corridor 30-40 kilometres deep along our Syrian borders remains intact. We have preparations that will give new nightmares to those who think that they will bring Turkey to its knees with a ‘terroristan’ along its southern borders.”

Turkey’s governing coalition of AKP-MHP Islamists and ultranationalists needs external support for this new war, geopolitical cover for this unprovoked planned aggression. So diplomatic traffic between Ankara and Washington, Ankara and Baghdad, and Ankara and Erbil has recently intensified. Meanwhile, the Turkish intelligence agency MIT, the foreign ministry, and the army have been preparing for the covert illegalities and assassinations that typically accompany such operations.

On March 6-8 the Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan visited Washington to help plan the new war against the Kurds. Relatedly, the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK ) issued a response to allegations made by US Secretary of State Blinken Concerning the PKK” and asked for clarification: Was the United States giving the green light for future Turkish military aggression?"

The KNK underlined that "Turkey is trying to force the Iraqi government to actively participate in its renewed war on the Kurds, as revealed in a barrage of diplomatic traffic between Ankara and Baghdad. The Kurdish issue has thus risen on the agenda of Iraqi politics as well, as The New Arab has announced with the headline: Turkey is considering a military incursion into Iraqi Kurdistan, aiming to penetrate 40 kilometers into the region to pursue PKK militants.

On 14 March the Foreign Relations Committee of KCK (Kurdistan Democratic Communities Union) warned of a Turkish war against Southern Kurdistan and Iraq and called on all organizations to refuse to be a party to the Turkish state’s calls for genocide, proclaiming: The Turkish state under the fascist chief Erdoğan is the biggest security threat for Iraq."