The New War in the Middle East: Turkey's War against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
August 6, 2012 • 6:38PM

Obama and his British masters' war against the Syrian government of Bashar Assad has spawned a new war in the Middle East, this time where its "sub-contractor" Turkey finds itself battling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The latter has now launched a major offensive inside Turkey, where in the last two weeks government troops have killed 115 PKK members according to Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin. Battles are taking place in Semdini in Hakkari province on the border with Iraq. There are as many as 10,000 Turkish troops involved in the bloodiest fighting in years.

The Turkish opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) sent a delegation to the region and demanded more transparency on what is actually happening. The operation has been going on for three weeks. The CHP members went to Semdini, the capital of the region, where the operation is taking place. While the city itself was calm, one could hear sounds of military operations. The PKK had claimed they captured the town, which was obviously untrue.

The Turkish press across the political spectrum is filled with editorials and commentaries critical of the government's policy. One example is a commentary in Today's Zaman by Omer Taspinar, who writes under the headline "Syria Lessons for Turkey," that the ruling Justice and Development Party policy of trying to be the "most important central player" in the region is "now history" as a result of events in Syria. He writes that it was "naive" and "absurd to believe that Turkey could replace Iran's influence over Syria." Another lesson was a failure to see the relationship between the Turkey's backing of the Saudi-financed Syrian opposition, and the Kurdish problem inside Turkey itself, which has now led not only to the prospect of a PKK-controlled region within Syria bordering Turkey, but also to the current upsurge of attacks by the PKK within Turkey itself.

Yet another failure is to see the that the Sunni-Alawite conflict, between the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Sunni opposition and the Alawite minority that is part of the current Syrian government, will blow back against Turkey itself. Indeed Turkey has 15-20 million Alawite citizens who now fear that sectarian violence will spread from Syria to Turkey itself. He writes that it is disturbing to see that today "Turkey is perceived in the region and by its own population as a Sunni actor that is particularly close to the Muslim Brotherhood."

This commentary should be seen as particularly biting since Today's Zaman is itself linked to Turkish Fethullah Gulen, a moderate Islamic movement close to the AKP party.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has responded with a flight forward that promises to bring even greater disasters. Speaking on Turkish television, he blamed the Syrian government, claiming that it is supporting the PKK, and warning that Turkey could launch military attacks against the PKK inside Syria to stop its alleged infiltration into Turkey from Syrian territory. These allegations have been coordinated with the Turkish- and Saudi-backed Syrian opposition. Khaled Abu Saleh, spokesman of the so-called Homs Revolutionary Council, claimed that Damascus released 1,200 PKK terrorists from Syrian jails.