Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 04:57 am (KSA) 01:57 am (GMT)

Turkey, Israel and the PKK


Itai Anghel, a journalist working for the Israeli Channel 2 program “Uvda,” published an article in yesterday’s issue of the Haaretz daily about an interview he had with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) leader in the mountains, Murat Karayılan.

The article aims to attract more and more viewers to the actual airing of the Uvda (fact) program, where Karayılan will have a chance to appeal to the Israeli public. Already from the bits of information Anghel has shared with Haaretz readers we understand that Karayılan is questioning military cooperation between Turkey and Israel. “It is really a big mystery to me.

Because, more than any other people in the world, I would have expected Israel to understand and identify with us. After all, you who have experienced the Holocaust, massacres, expulsions and persecution, now see our people, the Kurdish people, experiencing that same fate. Everyone in this area -- Syrians, Turks and Iranians -- wants to and is trying to destroy us, and you, of all people, are the ones providing them with the weapons to destroy us,” says Karayılan.

He suggests: “More than any other Turkish head of state, this prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, openly shows how he is improving relations with Hezbollah and Syria. He hugs [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and praises Hamas.” He then asks a seemingly legitimate question: “Are you sure this is your friend?”

First of all, it is a democratic right for a journalist to interview a terrorist leader and broadcast that interview. There is nothing wrong with this and Turkey must not enter into unnecessary polemics with Israel over the broadcasting of this interview, reminding us of Israeli interference in programs broadcast by Turkish television stations.

Second, Karayılan seems to have found the worst ally against Turkey. The question is not why on earth would an Israeli journalist go and speak with a terrorist leader and flatter him as a “mountain fighter”; the question is why would Karayılan prefer to speak with an Israeli journalist while any journalist, including Turkish ones, would love to interview him? Why did he chose an Israeli journalist?

Maybe the drones are killing “too many of their boys” and he hoped to appeal to the Israeli public so as to prevent Turkish-Israeli military cooperation. As he does not clarify his intention, I will use the freedom of speculation. I claim that he is planning to move to Israel and work within the ranks of the Israeli army as a mercenary commander after the inescapable disintegration of the PKK.

It is good to have journalist friends in the country you are planning to live in and serve for the rest of your life.

This speculation is not baseless speculation. There were rumors of ex-PKK soldiers being utilized as mercenaries in Israeli military cover operations by the end of the 1990s. Such things usually stay rumors forever, but Karayılan might have found the idea attractive. This is not to claim that Israel has offered such a possibility to Karayılan. I am speculating on Karayılan’s motives, not those of Israel.

In fact, a Karayılan that would go to a Scandinavian country and continue to dream of participating in Turkish politics would be less harmful to Turkey than a Karayılan that fights Hezbullah. Karayılan should even consider the possibility of making Aliyah [immigration]. All he needs is to find is a remote Jewish ancestor and a series of lies about why his mother kept her Jewish faith secret due to “social pressure” in the mountains. A $5,000-20,000 of drug money will fix the rest.

*Published by the Turkey-based TODAY'S ZAMAN on Sep. 23, 2010

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