Foreigners join PKK in fighting against Turkey, paper reveals
Britons are among foreigners attacking Turkish troops with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, a leading British paper reported yesterday.
The report in The Sunday Times also revealed that Russians, Germans, Greeks, Iranians and Arabs are helping the organization, listed as a terrorist organization by a large majority of the international community.
The Sunday Times article, sent from the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, reports that several Europeans have joined forces with the PKK, citing PKK members. "At least three Britons were in the PKK's 3,000-strong force, boasted one fighter as he and a group of men huddled in a room discussing the latest clashes with the Turkish army. Others include Russians, Germans, Greeks, Iranians and Arabs," the article said.
The article also revealed how the PKK comfortably found a safe haven in northern Iraq despite Turkish pressure on the Iraqi Kurds to root them out.
"Despite Turkey's demand that the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq clamp down on the PKK, there was no sign of any action against them. On our way to the mountain, every checkpoint manned by the Iraqi army waved us through and cheerfully provided directions on how to get to guerrilla positions. Nor have the supply lines been cut. Several four-wheel-drive vehicles steered by toothless old men crawling along the tracks ahead of us, piled high with sacks full of food," the article said.
The Kandil Mountains "are ideal guerrilla country, where fighters are familiar with every soaring peak, valley, ravine and cave, putting any attacker at a disadvantage," it said.
Parliament passed a motion last week authorizing a cross-border operation into northern Iraq to hit the PKK bases there in response to a recent surge in PKK attacks on military and civilian targets.
The Sunday Times report came just after a delegation of Iraqi officials, who had talks in Ankara on Friday and Saturday in an attempt to avert a Turkish incursion aiming to hit the PKK, failed to offer satisfactory proposals to deal with the terrorist group, dealing a serious blow to hopes that diplomacy could prevent military action. The talks were held in a tense atmosphere and saw some harsh exchanges, a Turkish diplomat said.
When Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan pressed for the closure of PKK camps, the Iraqi officials argued that the PKK bases were in remote rugged mountains that are difficult to access.
Babacan responded bluntly that "if journalists are able to find the camps, then you can certainly find them too," the diplomat said. The foreign media has recently run several interviews with PKK terrorists from their bases in northern Iraq. On Saturday, BBC News posted an article from the border city of Zakho in northern Iraq titled "A mountain meeting with the PKK."
"The soldiers at the final Iraqi border patrol checkpoint were reluctant to let us through. 'If you want to continue, you do so at your own risk,' one warned. The writ of the local authorities ended at this point and after the checkpoint, we would enter Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) territory," the article said.
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