ATAA Condemns PKK Terrorist Attack that Killed 24 Soldiers

The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) strongly condemns the latest PKK terrorist attack in Çukurca, Hakkari near the Iraqi border, which killed 24 Turkish soldiers and wounded 18.

The attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was one of the bloodiest against the Turkish military and came 5 days after President Abdullah Gül visited the troops in a neighboring region. The attack caused both national and international outrage and condemnation of PKK terrorism. U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the incident, describing it as an “outrageous terrorist attack”. NATO Secretary General Rasmussen also condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” on the official NATO website.

A day before the attack, a PKK roadside bomb claimed the lives of 5 police officers and 4 civilians -including a two year old girl, near Bitlis. The Turkish Parliament will hold an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the surge in PKK attacks in the Southeastern region.

The PKK is a terrorist organization according to the laws of the United States, Turkey and Western European countries. In 2010, the United States Supreme Court held that any type of support to the PKK constitutes a violation of United States anti-terror laws. The US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held that the PKK was a racist organization that persecutes people who are not Kurdish as well as Kurds who do not support the PKK’s violent agenda. The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held that Turkey’s military and police actions against the PKK are not ethnic-based and constitute legitimate anti-terror operations.

The PKK has caused the deaths of over 30,500 people, including Americans, since 1984. The PKK has caused hundreds of millions of property damage to Turkey and its allies. The PKK claims to represent Kurds, but includes a sliver of 5000 or more radicals and militants. Mainstream Turkish citizens of Kurdish heritage, who contribute to Turkey’s rich diversity of over 30 ethnic groups and 75 million people, do not support the PKK and do not support violence. There has never been apartheid, segregation, or statute based discrimination against Turkish citizens of Kurdish heritage. The vast majority of Turkish Kurds have integrated with the diverse ethnicity of Turkey and significantly contribute to Turkey’s economic, political, and cultural strength.

The ATAA welcomes the US court decisions as well as the application of the rule of law to bring all terrorists to justice. The ATAA supports greater cooperation between the United States and Turkey to combat international terrorism, particularly the PKK.

As the preeminent organization representing the Turkish American community, ATAA mourns the loss of the 24 courageous Turkish soldiers and 5 police officers. We offer our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends and to the Turkish nation.