PKK to Establish Joint Command for Four Countries

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News ID: 1714
Asia » Asia
Publish Date: 10:25 - 22 July 2013
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Tehran, YJC. -- The recent Kongre-Gel assembly made it clear once more that the PKK has not deviated from its original goals. While making changes to the Union of Kurdish Communities’ (KCK) upper levels, the assembly did not solely make decisions regarding Turkey.
In line with the original aims of the PKK, decisions were made about the "four fragments” and the goal of unifying the Kurdish fragments in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. The assembly also emphasized the goal of reinforcing the PYD-PKK structure in Syria.

Joint command
It would be misleading to think of the Kandil Mountain headquarters as only controlling the PKK’s operations in Turkey. Kandil is already operating as a kind of "joint command” by controlling the fronts in Syria, Iraq and Iran, in addition to that in Turkey.

The "four fragments and four fronts” approach of the PKK can be summarized as:
1. [The PKK command in the] Kandil mountains is now giving priority to Syria, where it is getting ready to declare an autonomous Kurdish state. The goal is to form a state structure in one of the fragments. In clashes with Jabhat al-Nusra yesterday [July 17], they captured the border posts facing Turkey’s Ceylanpinar. Now facing the Turkish army on the Syrian border is the PKK-PYD. [Meanwhile, a Turkish youth was killed by fire from the Syrian side. The Turkish army responded to the fire.]

2. The Northern Iraq Kurdish Regional Government is the fragment closest to independence. The PKK, under the protection of this structure — and also under US protection after the 2003 Iraqi invasion — has added to its power and is active there, while occasionally challenging Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani’s leadership.

3. The PKK is not fighting on the Iranian front. The PJAK has its ceased operations, either because of a deal or because of Iranian operations. Perhaps the PKK doesn’t find it wise to carry out armed operations on four fronts.

4. In Turkey, negotiations with the government are continuing through PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan. But the PKK is pursuing its efforts to create a "parallel state” in Turkey, making use of the environment of non-hostility. It is keeping its armed forces ready. Although there is a withdrawal process, the PKK is not missing any opportunity to display its units as regular forces. The PKK’s area commanders participate in public ceremonies with their armed men and with Peace and Democracy Party parliamentarians in attendance, giving speeches while other PKK units block roads to check IDs, organize a graduation ceremony for its own police forces, raid worksites, kidnap people, etc.

Pressure on the government
While the Kandil Joint Command runs operations in four countries, it is exerting pressure on Turkey from three directions.

Cemil Bayik, Duran Kalkan and BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas have called on the government to take steps for the second phase of the solution process. They said the PKK has been doing its part as agreed between the government and Ocalan, and it was now time for the government to do its part. Demirtas, addressing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that PKK armed forces were not withdrawing as a personal gesture to Erdogan and called on the government to take its steps. Duran Kalkan, speaking about the PKK police units who cut off roads to make ID checks after the Cizre "graduation ceremony,” said this was all normal. "If the process continues, the Kurds will have their law and order and defense forces,” he added.

This is how it seems when you look at the overall picture today.

al-monitor
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