One of the most important issues that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan has raised in his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Oct. 31 was more support against the outlawedKurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) activities in Europe.
Öcalan had been arrested in 1999 in Nairobi airport, after leaving theGreek Embassy there with a joint operation of MİT and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) upon an U.S. offer.
When Francis Ricciardone, the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, answered a long question about giving more help to Turkey (other than intelligence sharing, especially about thePKK military activities in the neighboring Iraq’s Kurdish region) since the U.S. has managed to kill al-Qaeda leader Usame bin Ladin, in Pakistan, he said the U.S. had actually offered the Turkish government a similar joint operation but Ankara had its own preferences.
There is an obvious trust issue between Turkey and its allies; the U. S. and the EU, regarding the fight against the PKK. Some Turkish officials in influential positions suspect that ‘The West’ in general do not want to finish off the PKK in order to keepTurkey from further democracy and economic welfare.
When asked, Ricciardone gave Hürriyet Daily News a detailed comment about this situation as follows:
• “I want to make it clear that the United States thinks the PKK terrorism must end. We have close cooperation with the Turkish government for this purpose, whether in diplomacy, in law enforcement, or in intelligence matters.
• “There is no basis in fact for the tendentious claims that the U.S. is somehow supporting or tolerating the PKK. We have declared the PKK as an international terrorist organization under U.S. law. We support the human rights of all citizens of Turkey, including the Kurds. We do not support terrorist violence whatever its claimed purposes, and in particular we don’t believe that the PKK has done anything to advance the cause of equality and dignity for the Kurdish citizens of Turkey. On the contrary, they are killing more Kurds, and otherwise ruining the lives of more Kurds, than anyone else.
• “Turkey is our friend and ally and we will continue to stand by Turkey in its fight against PKK terrorism while Turkey works diligently to strengthen Turkish democracy for all. Turkish authorities, who really know the operational details of our support against the PKK, know its value.
• Obviously I cannot discuss the details of our intelligence cooperation, but we are sharing all we can share, and we are also willing to share the benefit of our experience in how to further develop and to exploit such intelligence against terrorists in the most effective way.
• PKK propagandists perhaps might wish that the Turkish people will believe that thePKK enjoys substantial foreign support, and that Turkey somehow stands alone in confronting them. Such falsehoods perhaps are useful in recruiting desperate, uneducated young people to murder their own countrymen. But neither contention has any basis in truth. So it saddens me when Turkish opinion leaders engage in such out-dated and discredited ‘conspiracy thinking,’ contrary to the facts.”
(Hürriyet Daily News)