– A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog: Occasional Musings –

Yesterday the centre of Turkey’s capital was rocked by a violent explosion, causing death and destruction.[1]  The PKK immediately distanced itself from the attack, but in the evening then, the PKK did strike another target: a bus carrying six women on their way to a wedding in Siirt. In Hürriyet Daily News, one can read: ‘[a]lleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, attacked a civilian vehicle near a police college in the southeastern province of Siirt on Tuesday, killing four women Doğan News Agency, or DHA, reported’, adding that ‘[o]ne PKK militant was killed in a subsequent firefight between the police and the militants. Two other civilians were wounded in the attack’.[2]

Giving some more detail, the report continues that the PKK ‘militants attacked a civilian vehicle, mistaking it for an undercover police vehicle, the report on [the Turkish-language] Hürriyet daily website said, in which six women were headed to a wedding. Militants ambushed the vehicle 100 meters away from the police college, spraying it with machine gun fire and launching a rocket at it. Police officers on duty at the police college responded to the attack and a clash between the militants erupted. Special police forces were deployed in the area to stop the militants from escaping under cover of darkness. One PKK militant was killed in the firefight while the rest of the assailants escaped. Security forces launched an operation to apprehend the escaped PKK members, while checkpoints were deployed at roads leading to Siirt. The women who were injured in the PKK attack were rescued from the wrecked car and taken to Siirt State Hospital, where Zeynep Evin, Nergis Evin, Kevser Çekin and Nurcan Olgaç died due to their injuries, while Gülcan Olgaç and Nuran Evin remained in critical condition’.[3]  This Hürriyet Daily News rendering of the attack leads to the question whether the daily Hürriyet, which represents Turkish public opinion, has now decided that “PKK terrorists” are really “militants”, comparable to the ones in Libya that have now become the officially-recognised authority in the land (the NTC, in other words), or whether the usage of the expression “militants” should be regarded as a copy-editorial oversight???  The fact that the report ends with the sentence “The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union” probably indicates that the latter must have taken place . . .

And Turkey’s unending fight against the evil that is terrorism leads to the acquisition of more and more technical assistance and the realisation of more and more cooperation. I heard it on the radio yesterday, and the Cihan News agency has this report: ‘The Sabah daily in a story published on Monday [, 19 September] claimed Ankara had asked to use the services of this controversial spy network [called ECHELON]. Turkey has reportedly asked to use the US-operated ECHELON — a secretive and officially nonexistent spy network — to help capture 120 of the most influential Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants higher up in the organization’s hierarchy in return for the deployment of an early warning radar on Turkish soil as part of a NATO missile defense system. ECHELON is the codename given to a system that can eavesdrop on global satellite and phone communications as well as computers. The system was created by the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in a secret treaty signed in 1943. Although its existence has been officially denied, a report in 2001 by the European Parliament, which investigated ECHELON’s activities on  suspicion that it might be tapping into phones in Europe to steal industrial and commercial data, attested to its existence. There has also been other evidence about ECHELON’s existence in addition to the EP report. The Sabah daily in a story published on Monday claimed Ankara had asked to use the services of this controversial spy network. The paper said the system, operated by the US National Security Agency (NSA), has four ground stations in the Middle East. It also claimed that it was this system that helped to capture PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in Nairobi in 1999. The 2001 EP report listed a number of suspected ground stations, but none of them were in the Middle East’.[4]  Turkey really does not shy away from cultivating its special relationship with the United States . . .

The Sabah scoop came just days ahead of Tayyip Erdoğan’s trip to New York and his meeting with the U.S. President. On its English-language website, the Turkish daily notes that ‘[t]heir talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly came as a showdown loomed this week over Palestinian statehood at the world body, another source of rising tensions in a region in political upheaval. Washington has watched with concern as NATO ally Turkey’s once-friendly ties with Israel have deteriorated rapidly over Israel’s 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a Gaza-bound aid convoy. The crisis has underscored Israel’s growing isolation and the new limits of U.S. influence in the Middle East. “The president underscored his interest in seeing a resolution of that issue between those two countries and encouraged continuing work toward that end,” White House adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall told reporters after the meeting, saying Obama also emphasized the need to calm tensions throughout the region. White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama would make the same points to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he meets him on Wednesday [, 21 September]. The two leaders [,Erdoğan and Obama] also discussed Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s unrelenting crackdown on anti-government protests has alarmed neighboring Turkey and led to U.S. calls he step aside’.[5]  The Sabah report adds that ‘Erdoğan said the United States and Turkey needed to “work together in planning, use technology so that we can continue to take more steps in trying to fight against terrorism”. Turkey is in talks with the United States to provide a base for a fleet of U.S. Predator drones now stationed in Iraq. It is reported to want surveillance drones to carry out operations against Kurdish separatist rebels based in northern Iraq’.[6]  In other words, the Turkish government wants to employ ECHELON in its fight against the PKK, as well as U.S. drones, apparently in an effort to execute targeted assassinations of PKK leaders hiding in the mountainous reaches of northern Iraq (KRG). And, it would seem, Turkey is now using its new pseudo-Ottoman stance in the Arab world as a bargaining ploy to gain full U.S. backing of the Turkish determination to annihilate the PKK.


[1] “Ankara Bomb Blast” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (21 September 2011). http://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/ankara-bomb-blast/.

[2] “Four civilians die in PKK attack in SE Turkey” Hürriyet Daily News (21 September 2011). http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkey-kurds–0920-08-2011-09-21.

[3] “Four civilians die in PKK attack in SE Turkey”.

[4] “Report: Turkey seeks US secretive spy network help in capturing PKK leaders” World Bulletin (19 September 2011). http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=79100.

[5] “Erdoğan, Obama seek common ground on Middle East” Sabah (21 September 2011). http://english.sabah.com.tr/National/2011/09/21/erdogan-obama-seek-common-ground-on-middle-east.

[6] “Erdoğan, Obama seek common ground on Middle East”.

Comments on: "Another Terrorist Attack in Turkey: PKK, ECHELON, & Tayyip in New York" (1)

  1. [...] French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “When … Another Terrorist Attack in Turkey: PKK, ECHELON, & Tayyip in New … White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama would make the same points to [...]

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