Turkey suspects Kurd rebels-Assad links

2012-08-24 09:01
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ankara - A recent increase in Kurdish rebel attacks close to the Turkish-Syrian border is ringing alarm bells in Ankara, as Turkish experts and media say it might point to a spillover from the crisis in Syria.

Although the Turkish southeast is a frequent scene of Kurdish rebel attacks, Wednesday's bombing that killed nine people in previously unaffected Gaziantep city has sparked national fury, as well as suspicions of a Damascus hand behind the incident.

"It's known that the PKK works hand in hand with Syria's intelligence organisation al-Mukhabarat," claimed ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chairperson Huseyin Celik following the blast, referring to the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Syrian President Bashar Assad "is inclined to see Turkey's enemy the PKK as a friend on the basis that 'my enemy's enemy is my friend'", he told the daily Hurriyet.

Celik's remarks followed Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's cautious hints at Syrian involvement in the bombing, which he said showed "a parallelism in terms of mentality and approach" with the Assad regime's bloody crackdown on dissent.

The Kurdish separatist movement has denied charges that it was involved in the bombing that left civilian casualties, including four children, but Ankara insists it reflected the handiwork of the rebels.

Opportunity for terrorists

Assad is orchestrating the PKK attacks to send a "warning" to the Turkish government to reconsider its policies of assisting his own enemies, columnist Deniz Zeyrek wrote in the daily Radikal.

Another columnist, Asli Aydintasbas of the daily Milliyet, also suggested that the PKK targeted Gaziantep in a blow at the Turkish government's Syria policy.

Speaking to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet in early July, Assad rejected claims that his regime was using the PKK to undermine Ankara, while making it clear that it was angry with Turkey.

The current chaos in Syria can be expected to offer rich opportunities for armed organisations to abuse the situation for their own ends, said Kamer Kasim from the International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) in Ankara.

"If a country has a power vacuum, terrorist organisations are the first to exploit it, and in this case it will possibly be the PKK," Kasim said.

The Kurdish question has long played a role in the relations between Turkey and Syria, which both have Kurdish minorities complaining of discrimination and repression.

70 000 in Turkey camps

The neighbours came to the brink of war in the 1990s over Syria's harbouring of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan - now in jail in Turkey - and relations warmed only after Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP came to power in Ankara in 2003.

But Syria's uprising in March last year, which Assad's increasingly isolated regime has sought to crush with massive military force, turned Erdogan against his neighbour and onetime ally.

Turkey is sheltering more than 70 000 refugees in camps in the south of the country and also providing sanctuary to Syrian military defectors who have formed the Free Syrian Army to battle Assad.

Erdogan for his part has threatened military intervention if PKK bases are set up in Syria in addition to those in Iraq.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  bashar assad  |  turkey  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.