US lists PKK as Turkey’s top woe about terrorism

US lists PKK as Turkey’s top woe about terrorism

US lists PKK as Turkey’s top woe about terrorism

Turkish military continues a major operation against PKK in southeastern Turkey. AA Photo

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is the most prominent “terrorist group” in Turkey, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Terrorism Report 2011.

The report also pointed out the judicial problems in Turkey due to its anti-terrorism laws. The PKK has approximately 4,000 to 5,000 militants, 3,000 to 3,500 of whom are located in northern Iraq, the report said. “The PKK carried out 61 credited attacks [in 2011]. At least 88 people were killed in the attacks and 216 wounded. Although the majority of the attacks took place in Turkey, suspected PKK members have carried out multiple attacks on the offices of a Turkish newspaper in Paris,” the report read.
The report also commented on the steps the Turkish government has taken to solve the Kurdish issue. In 2011, Turkey reiterated its intention to follow up on its 2009 “democratic initiative,” also known as the “national unity project” or the “Kurdish opening,” the report said.

“Concrete steps within the scope of the initiative were clearly devised to reduce the PKK’s support, by, for example, liberalizing laws governing the use of the Kurdish language in broadcasting, education, and state buildings; reducing the number of instances where counterterrorism laws are applied to non-violent crimes; and providing legal incentives to bring members of the PKK who have not engaged in violence back into civil society,” the report said.

However, the report also contained criticism of the Turkish judicial process occasioned by the country’s controversial anti-terrorism laws.

“Critics charged that Turkish authorities have applied counter-terrorism laws overly broadly to stifle political discourse, arresting hundreds of political activists, journalists, military officials, and others over the year for crimes under Turkey’s terrorism laws,” the report said. Turkey’s current regulations governing pre-trial detentions allow terrorism and other suspects to be held for up to five years while awaiting trial, according to the report.