More Turkish raids on Kurds

November 13, 1991

More Turkish raids on Kurds

By Steve Painter

According to the London-based Kurdistan Information Centre, about 40 Turkish bombers attacked Kurdish villages in northern Iraq towards the end of October with weapons including napalm, phosphorous bombs and poison gas. The attacks continued despite Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) assurances that its forces are no longer in Iraq but in Turkey, where the PKK is based.

The PKK claims to have killed more than 200 Turkish soldiers in recent raids on military bases. The British Independent newspaper has reported raids of up to 500 Kurdish guerillas. The Turkish military has admitted that four of its soldiers have been taken prisoner.

Kurdish representatives say the real aim of the Turkish raids is to depopulate the border region, particularly the strategically important Botan and Behdinan regions on adjacent sides of the border. The PKK claims strong support in this region and is aiming to establish a provisional government there.

The rise of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey was evident in the election of 22 Kurdish members to the national parliament in the mid-October general elections. The new deputies immediately made their allegiances clear with a visit to the graves of fallen Kurdish guerillas.

The London centre has called for a European Community committee of inquiry to visit Kurdistan. n

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