Tag Archives: PKK

Biden: US Ready to Impose Military Solution in Syria

by Jason Ditz

Speaking at a news conference today in Turkey, Vice President Joe Biden sought to downplay the remote chances of any sort of political settlement coming out of this week’s planned Geneva peace talks, saying the US and Turkey are fully prepared to bypass the process and impose a “military solution” on Syria.

“We do know it would be better if we can reach a political solution,” Biden told the conference, insisting that absent that the US military was still fully capable of “solving” the situation.

US officials later sought to clarify that Biden only meant to say that the US could wipe out ISIS, and not that they were planning to impose a new government on Syria as a whole absent a deal from the international community.

Even that seems like an uphill battle, particularly if it’s to be the US and Turkey working together on the war, as the primary force on the ground fighting ISIS is the Kurdish YPG, and Turkish officials have attacked them multiple times in recent weeks, and warned the US against backing them against ISIS in certain key cities.

Biden made an effort to downplay the differences between the US and Turkey on Syria, even equating ISIS to the Kurdish PKK rebels. This echoes what President Erdogan has said, but in his comments he included the YPG, a close US ally, as equal to both ISIS and the PKK.

While the Obama Administration has repeatedly insisted they intend to “wipe out” ISIS, there is no suggestion that this is anything but a hugely long-term ambition, and Biden’s comments suggest that leaving the war open-ended is something the US is perfectly comfortable with.

Protests Grow as Turkey Kills 110 Kurds in Six-Day Offensive

by Jason Ditz

Protests erupted in Istanbul and Diyarbakir today as Turkey continued its military offensive against Kurdish towns in the nation’s southeast, with security officials putting the death toll at 110 Kurds killed in the last six days.

The war against the Kurdish PKK has brought a growing amount of Turkish military force against towns in the southeast, with some of the towns under full curfew, cut off from electricity, and with locals reporting less and less food and water available within.

Turkish President Erdogan has vowed to “cleanse” Turkey of PKK rebels in the growing crackdown, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed today that Turkey would not get “tired” of waging war against the towns.

The war is dividing the country in an ever-growing way, however, with even the opposition HDP calling for open “resistance” to the Erdogan government. The government may remain eager to escalate the crackdown, but they are fueling growing opposition with the way they are carrying it out.

19 Turkish Soldiers, 34 PKK Killed in SE Turkey Attacks

by Jason Ditz

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has issued a statement today claiming that multiple ambush attacks against the Turkish military has left 19 security forces dead, including 16 soldiers and three members of the national police forces.

These attacks were carried out over the course of the last two days, and sparked another round of Turkish military retaliation, mostly in the form of airstrikes, with the military issuing a statement saying that 34 PKK fighters were killed int the attacks.

The incidents took place in Sirnak and Diyarbakir Provinces, along the Turkish border with Iraq. Turkey’s southeast is predominantly Kurdish, and the PKK is active both there and in northern Iraq, which has also been the target of multiple airstrikes.

Kurdish MP Salma Armak reported that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, still in Turkish prison, has reiterated his support for a return to the two-year ceasefire that was in place before Turkey launched airstrikes against the group in late July. Turkey has suggested that they have no intention to return to the ceasefire without a unilateral disarmament of the entire PKK and the group relocating wholly to Iraq.