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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Thu, 22 May 97 11:19:06 CDT
From: Workers World <ww@wwpublish.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Workers Around the World: 5/29/97
Article: 11400

U.S.-backed Turkish massacre

By Andy McInerney, Workers World, 29 May 1997

On May 14, some 40,000 Turkish troops, backed by U.S.- supplied F-16 and F-4 jet fighters and Cobra helicopters, invaded northern Iraq to strike at Kurdish liberation forces in the area. The Turkish government claims to have killed more that 1,500 Kurds, with many more wounded.

The Turkish government says it invaded at the request of Kurdish Democratic Party leader Massoud Bar zani. The KDP owes its control of northern Iraq to the United States partition of Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War.

KDP forces joined the Turkish troops in attacking supporters of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). The anti- imperialist PKK has waged a 12-year insurgency against the Turkish government, fighting for an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey.

On May 19, the KDP attacked PKK supporters in Arbil, near the Turkey-Iraq border. Witnesses reported that the KDP forces shelled PKK offices with 106-mm anti-tank guns. Five women were raped and publicly executed during the KDP attack.

Turkish military and KDP forces barred reporters from entering the area of conflict. The Kurdish MED-TV news reported on May 19 that PKK forces had killed some 40 Turkish troops and downed three attack helicopters.

European Union and United Nations spokespeople have condemned Turkey's invasion. But the United States and NATO- -to which Turkey belongs--have been all but silent.

After the 1991 U.S. assault on Iraq, the Pentagon carved out the northern part of Iraq as a no-flight zone, prohibiting Iraqi troops to operate within their own territory. To take the place of Iraqi authority in the area, the United States propped up semi-governments of the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. U.S. military forces closely monitor all military movement in the area. Any massive and sustained operation like the Turkish assault must have had prior clearance from the Pentagon.

Iraqi newspapers blasted the invasion as a violation of their country's national sovereignty. Campaigns of condemnation and denunciation, albeit significant, are not enough, said the Baath newspaper al-Thawra on May 19. What is needed is that these campaigns turn into an organized international move to pressure Turkey to withdraw its troops.

PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was defiant. I call once more to all our people to fight, he said on May 17.