Iran may use PKK to threaten Turkey

Wed 12 Oct 2011 01:36 GMT | 05:36 Local Time

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Iran may use the outlawed PKK to pose a terror threat to Turkey because of Ankara's decision to host NATO's early-warning radar system.

Experts have warned that the move may rebound against Iran. Hasan Koni, professor of international law at Istanbul-based Kultur University, said Iran might use the PKK as leverage in the short run against Turkey. “I do not believe that they will go to a great length in doing so because of the boomerang effect of the terror that might hit back at Iran in the future,” he said.

There has been a wave of threatening statements from top Iranian civilian and military leaders in recent weeks, all blaming Turkey for agreeing to host NATO's early-warning radar system on its soil, warning of unspecified consequences.

In September, Turkey agreed to go ahead with a NATO plan to set up an early-warning radar system in the town of Kürecik in Malatya, in the east of the country.

Claiming that the missile shield aims to protect Israel and target Iranian missiles, Tehran criticized Ankara for its decision to deploy the NATO radar system. The latest warning came on Monday when the deputy head of the Iranian Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, Brig-Gen Massoud Jazayeri, said, “Turkey should rethink its long-term strategic interests and draw lessons from the ‘bitter historical experiences' of other countries.”

Jazayeri, warning of “adverse consequences”, urged Turkey to reconsider its decision to host the NATO radar.

Koni argued that Iran may also decide to extend support to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the PKK to destabilize Turkey. “When Turkey is busy with its domestic problems it would have no time to direct its attention either to Iran or to supporting Sunni groups in Arab countries,” he explained.

He underlined, however, that Iran has a limited role in the Kurdish issue because of Tehran’s fear of an eventual independent Kurdish state partly covering its own territory. “In the long run, Israel’s aim is to prepare the ground for the foundation of a Kurdish state and the largest Kurdish population is in Turkey. That is, until a structure is put in place in Turkey, it’s not possible for a Kurdish state to take shape - the structure in northern Iraq being inadequate for such an ideal - in which case, it’s clear the process will also cover Iranian territory, Kurds also being a minority group in Iran,” he said, noting that Iran would not want such a possibility.

Iranian security forces captured senior outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Murat Karayılan in August but later released him after negotiations with the terrorist organization, a Turkish daily reported on Tuesday.

The claim was made by Yeni Safak daily columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, who said Iran was planning operations against bases of the PKK’s Iranian offshoot, a group called the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), in the Kandil Mountains and suggested carrying out joint military operations with Turkey. Turkey reportedly preferred intelligence sharing to a joint operation and the country’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) informed Tehran of Karayılan’s location.

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