PKK in Southern Kurdistan: The Beritan Line

Posted on January 27th, 2006 by tomjez

The “Beritan Line” is named after a kurdish woman who allegedly threw herself over a cliff in order to escape surrendering to the KDP. It defines PKK’s policy towards Kurdish parties in Souht Kurdistan: hostility and refusal of a federal system in Iraq…

Whereas PDK provided him a logistical help at his beginnings, Abdullah Öcalan’s PKK showed very quickly its hostility to a party described as « feudal » « pro imperialist » with « non scientific socialism ». Perhaps can we add that PDK was the only Kurdish mass organisation at the time, popular in all Kurdistans. A dozen of PDK members are killed in 1984 by PKK fighters, their bodies being then given to Irak. A first episode in PKK collaboration with Saddam’s regime, the last one having consisted in giving informations about American bases in Irak in 2003. During the first Kurdish elections in 1992, PKK created a party called PAK (Freedom’s party in Kurdistan) which supported PUK’s green list…

In 2005, PAK little Brother was PCDK, using kurdish flag and PKK flag and led by a doctor from Halabja. With a stunning 0,53 %, it failed to get a siege in the assembly…

PDK’s strategical alliance with Turkey (PUK being supported by Iran) infuriated Abdullah Öcalan. When PKK created camps in Iraq in spite of PDK’s interdiction in 1993, Barzani authorized Turkish troop to chase PKK fighters in his zone, and helped to fight them.
After the capture of Erbil by PUK in November 1994 and before its « reconquest » by PDK (and Iraqi army…), PKK was authorized to open dozens of “bureaux”, in fact real strongholds. When PDK, under turkish pressure asked them to leave the city, PKK fighters refuses, on Öcalan’s personal order. After bloody fights in Erbil, to PDK’s advantage, the rupture was effective.
This would explain PKK’s alliance with PUK, and their coordinated attack on PDK lines in Badinan on August 25th 1995 with 2000 “guerrillas”. “Guerrillas”, because Öcalan thought Peshmerga was a feudal archaic term. Barzani accused Öcalan of having recruited 3000 fighters among young people in Erbil Governorate, Apo talking about 300. PKK managed anyway to find some supporters in southern Kurdistan’s youth during the Kurdish civil war between 1994 and 1998.
Very angry after the American negociator Robert Deutsch forgot to invite him in Drogheda in Ireland for reconciliation talks between PDK and PUK, Öcalan launched a new offensive with PUK in the mountains north of Eril. PKK fighters entered in South Kurdistan coming from Syria and Iran, and harassed PDK forces, already in a weak position against PUK’s troops, more numerous and with better equipment.

A new offensive by PKK and PUK, with Iranian support occurred on October 13 1997, giving them the control of entire regions of Kurdistan. It is only thanks to Turkish intervention which forced PKK and PUK forces to retire to their former positions that PDK saved the situation: this will be the last major military operation of the Kurdish civil war. Statut quo and Apo’s arrest on February 15th 1999 changed the situation for PKK in Iraq: PDK refused to fight PKK, officially because of the cease fire ordered by Öcalan in September 1999. PUK tried to get closer to Turkey and received a financial support to fight their ex-ally. PKK troops retired indeed in Iraq on Apo’s order (if we forget the groups of guerrillas ordered to surrender as a “good faith” sign). Nevertheless, PKK troops resisted to PUK’s and forced them to draw back after real defeat. In July 2000 “Presidential congress” of the PKK (well Kongra Gel at the time but whatever) complained about the “agressivity” of the two Kurdish parties towards him.

PKK’s presence in Iraqi Kurdistan had heavy consequences for the population of the border zone with Turkey: dozens of thousands of civilians living in the mountains of Erbil and Dohuk governorates were forced to go south. The city of Zakho, located 20 km south of the Turkish border was bombed by Turkish army and more or less occupied by PKK. According to KRG’s estimations, 3800 iraqi kurds were killed, and 360 villages have been destroyed, mostly in Badinan.
What remains of PKK in Iraq is said to be located in the North of Suleymanye, thanks to PUK’s tolerance. Apparently PUK decided not to fight PKK anymore, provided PKK does not carry on any action in Irak. Mr Zebari, one of the PUK leader in Mossoul, interviewed in August 2005, talked about “kurdish brotherhood” to explain PUK’s attitude towards PKK, but also said that every PKK fighter wanting to leave his party was welcome in PUK’s ranks…It seems to be the case in PDK as well, or I don’t really understand why a few PDK peshmergas met in Erbil would speak Turkish fluently!

Jailed in Imralı Island, Öcalan has a lot of free time to think about the situation in southern Kurdistan. Between two laments about his very mysterious “head swellings”, he denounces, during a meeting with his lawyers on June 25th 2003, Talabani and Barzani as being “tribal chiefs”, “primitive nationalists”, and their will to create an independent Kurdistan as a “disaster” and even a “second israël”. Israël’s secret services Mossad are said to have helped to his arrest in 1999, and Apo never forgives, except Turkey.
Öcalan’s opposition to the KRG can be explained by the fact that he is far from appreciating the fact that the first sustainable experience of a Kurdish state is happening without any reference to His philosophy, His principles, particularly His enlightening concept of “democratic confederalism”, which nobody yet succeeded to decode. If I understand it right, it is something like convincing Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria to let their Kurdish regions free of creating political, economical and cultural bonds, allowing a kind of Kurdistan to emerge, respectful of the integrity of the borders of these states. It does sound great, looks like an Euroregion. I realize that I forgot to write that He would of course be the unanimously elected president of this confederation. But it seems much easier to convince France and Belgium to let Nord Pas de Calais (North-not-calais?) and Wallonie signe contracts than to gather Erdoğan, Ahmadinedjad and Bachar El Assad around a table to talk about something else than coordination of the repression. In spite of this apparent lack of feasibility, Apo doesn’t want to give up His idea, and complains about Syrian Kurds, stupid enough to riot on Newroz 2004 in Qamilso: Syrians are good guys, Öcalan “ate their bread” (quoting) and in even if they kicked him out of Syria in 1998 he will always be grateful.

PKK main camp is today located in the north of Suleymanye, Qandil Mountains. The troops move from Iran to Irak. This camp is a nice open-air museum, praised by journalists who are offered guided visits: a typical article about “PKK fighters in Irak” describes generally the fact that there are a lot of women, portraits of Apo everywhere and a Volley-ball playground were Boys and Girls play happily. Some notice that the fighters are scarcely thin and strangely repeating the same sentences in the same order, which leads the journalist to think that there is a bit of propaganda. Since the end of the cease fire in June 2004, a big part of PKK forces were sent back to Turkey.

Posted in History | 21 Comments

21 Responses to “PKK in Southern Kurdistan: The Beritan Line”

  1. piling says:

    “and Apo never forgives, except Turkey.”

    i adore it ! So true…

  2. kamil says:

    I dont think that it is right to blame PKK for the current situation in the Kurdish region. It is a known fact that the Turkish government has disregarded PKK’s every attempt for ceasefire and peace. PKK is an organisation that advocates the freedom of Kurdistan and peace within the region.

    It is a sad fact that PDK and PUK have thought against PKK for the interest of USA and many people have died from each side. The thing that bothers me the most is that Kurds are fighting against Kurds instead of joining their strengths to form an allience.

    PKK may have lost milliatary power since the capture of Abdullah ocalan but they have certainly gained more support from the Kurdish community than ever before. I think that the new Kurdish parties in Turkey should continue with PKK’s legacy in the political platform and find new formulas for advocating the Kurdish cause to the international community.

  3. tomjez says:

    Well personnaly I think, and a lot of kurdish and turkish intellectuals think, that northern kurds should get rid of PKK “legacy” if they want to build something for their children (something else than blind propaganda, war, poverty, discrimination and racism)

  4. Hejar says:

    All those malconcepts (blind propaganda, war, poverty,
    discrimination and racism) are the legacy of a regime which
    PKK reacted against.
    To the hell with you and your… “kurdish” and “turkish”

  5. Hejar says:

    All those malconcepts (blind propaganda, war, poverty,
    discrimination and racism) are the legacy of a regime which
    PKK reacted against, and that is why it has the support of millions of Kurds.
    Seeing PKK crushed is a grim dream. Hands off PKK.

  6. piling says:

    “To the hell with you and your… “kurdish” and “turkish”

    According to your Party Line, you mean : The hell with intellectuals in general ? Be generous, why only Turks and Kurds ?

  7. Hejar says:

    You should change your nome de Gurre from Piling to
    Lady Impossible !

  8. tomjez says:

    Hein? Your comments are getting less and less scientificly socialists Heval Hejar…

  9. piling says:

    Tom> he is like is guru, sometimes, brain’s swelling 🙂 It is a sign of solidarity perhaps…

  10. Hejar says:

    Tomjez ! First of all I am not your Heval,
    Secondly I do not have time to spend arguing with people
    who can not engage in a sound discussion.

  11. piling says:

    “Secondly I do not have time to spend arguing with people
    who can not engage in a sound discussion.”

    Well you seem very talkative, through ! 😀 I suppose that if you have time it would be 100 comments under each posts…

  12. hejar says:

    Piling !
    I was not addressing you !

  13. piling says:

    I think that you write my name 5 times per day, though 😉 Are you a bit obsessed ?

  14. tomjez says:

    Hey this is supposed to be a serious blog! Stop bickering!

    And Hejar I call you Heval out of respect for a great future fighter. Will join the PKK soon, or directly the TAK???
    I would not advice you to go for PWD though, looks dangerous

  15. Hejar says:

    Mr ! Tomjez !
    The one who is bickring is you !
    You better keep yoour tasteless jockes for people like yourself.
    Let kurds alone. Talk about politics in France instead!

  16. piling says:

    Hey Hejar, you seem very fond of this blog, are not you ? I’m sure is is your first reading since you get up at morning.

  17. hejar says:

    No ! I am not fond of this blog, I just wonder why you hate a special section of Kurdish people. and you have failed to explain it so far!

  18. tomjez says:

    We don’t “hate” it, we write about it in a criticizin way, because it is a totalitarian party working currently AGAINST kurdish interests.

  19. hejar says:

    You do not possess the ability to define the KURDISH interest.
    You are just insisting in your hatred ,that is all.

  20. Rojhelat says:

    Nice fairy tale…

    When I started to read the post I was actually about to correct the “mistakes” in the post. But after reading a third of I was thiking that there are better things to do than spending an hour correcting and discuss with someone that is apparantly not interested in giving a objective view of PKK.

    So I will leave this short message and be happy of the fact that your fairy tale can not change the fact the PKK has more support today, and is far more stronger then they ever been 🙂

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