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Cablegate: Is the Pkk Ceasefire About to End?

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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001179

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/16/2027
TAGS: PTER MOPS PREL PGOV TU IZ
SUBJECT: IS THE PKK CEASEFIRE ABOUT TO END?

Classified By: DCM Nancy McEldowney for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S/NF) Summary: There is increasing speculation that the
PKK's unilateral ceasefire, which it declared in October 2006
and has somewhat observed, may end as soon as May 18. Even
after declaring the ceasefire -- on jailed leader Abdullah
Ocalan's instructions -- the PKK publicly warned that it
would end in the spring absent GOT action to improve
conditions in the southeast. With significant Turkish
counterinsurgency operations underway since early April --
and GOT leaders taking a hard line on terrorism in the
current highly-charged political environment -- there seems
to be little incentive for the PKK to maintain the ceasefire.
Increased PKK violence would add pressure on the Erdogan
government to approve a cross-border operation into northern
Iraq. End summary.

Efforts to Maintain Ceasefire Continue...
-----------------------------------------

2. (S/NF) The PUK's Ankara Representative, Bahros Galali,
told us May 16 that he and pro-Kurdish Democratic Society
Party (DTP) leader Ahmet Turk recently met Iraqi President
Talabani in Suleimaniyah, who agreed to prevail upon the PKK
to maintain the ceasefire. Turk requested to meet (secretly)
with the PKK's leader in northern Iraq, Murat Karayilan, but
was only able to send a message through intermediaries.
Galali reported that tensions are high over the ceasefire
issue between Karayilan and the other senior PKK leader,
Cemil Bayik, who wants to maintain it. Galali is concerned
that the Turkish military will use casualties at the hands of
the PKK to goad PM Erdogan into approving a cross-border
operation.

3. (S/NF) Orhan Miroglu, DTP's Vice President for
International Relations, told us May 16 that the cease fire
had de facto ended due to the military's provocative actions
in the southeast. Despite this, DTP is still pushing for
continuation of the ceasefire. Ocalan's attorneys meet with
him each Wednesday, and will probably get word from him today
on his wishes. There is a chance Ocalan will extend the
cease fire due to the drawn-out elections process. The May
18 date was chosen as an arbitrary date after the
presidential elections should have been over. DTP is hopeful
Ocalan will order the cease fire be held in place.

...Even as Military Steps Up Ops in the Southeast
--------------------------------------------- ----

4. (S) The GOT -- especially the military -- has never
acknowledged the PKK's ceasefire ("nations declare
ceasefires, not terrorists"), and would likely ignore or
treat with disdain any PKK announcement that it is over. In
contrast to previous years, and despite the unilateral PKK
ceasefire, the military did not curtail counter-PKK
operations during the winter but rather kept up a steady
operational tempo aimed at rooting the terrorists out of
their winter camps in southeast Turkey and keeping the
organization on the defensive. In March, the military
deployed additional troops to the region to prepare for an
expected PKK spring offensive. In April, the military
increased the pressure, losing 10 troops in significant
clashes with the terrorists on April 8 and 9. In early May,
following the loss of four troops in a five day period in
Sirnak province, the press reported the deployment of 20,000
additional troops and air support to Sirnak as part of
"Operation Sledgehammer."

5. (S) During a May 9 visit to the Second Army Command
headquarters in Malatya, Land Forces Commander GEN Basbug
said the military would continue the operations "until the
outlawed PKK is totally destroyed." Our military contacts
acknowledge the on-going military offensive and express
optimism that it will be successful.

The Key Word is "Pressure"
--------------------------

6. (S/NF) Some Kurdish contacts describe increasing military
pressure in some parts of the southeast. One told us that
residents in the Turkey-Iraq border town of Cukurca (in
Hakkari province) are so frightened of the military's
presence that they are essentially locked down. Another
contact, from the DTP, spoke of 10,000 soldiers with air
support going after a band of 20 PKKers in Tunceli province.
He accused the military of returning the bodies of dead PKK
terrorists to their families without fingers and ears; this
only increases tensions, he asserted. While these claims are
difficult to substantiate, the fact that they are making the
rounds in the region is significant.

7. (S) An end to the ceasefire would mean renewed attacks on
Turkish security forces in the southeast and perhaps bombings
in western and southern cities, including against tourist
sites. Public calls for a cross-border operation into
northern Iraq to take out PKK camps would also increase. In
a highly-charged political climate on the eve of elections,
this could spell real trouble.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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