A few months ago, former Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit took observers by surprise when he stated that 6 years after the capture of Abdullah Ocalan, he did not understand yet why the U.S. had transferred him under Turkish custody. Such remarks are stunning since Washington has always supported the Ankara’s campaign against the PKK. However, a couple of weeks ago, Turkish Land Forces Commander Aytac Yalman, who has just retired, gave Evecit an answer: The U.S. transferred Ocalan so that it did not have and adverse effect on Massoud Barzani’s and Jalal Talabani’s promotion. Once Ocalan was removed, these two men would be able to raise their influence depending on the U.S. all the time.
Many editorialists have laughed at this interpretation, but if one ignored its connection to the conspiracy theory, it would clearly reveal the feeling of uncertainty of the Turks in the face of the European integration and the possible emergence of a Kurdish entity. The Turks have always feared the materialization of a Kurdish state in Iraq that could cause their country to get contaminated someway. Such fear became more pronounced after the PKK restarted its violent actions – this time with operations better organized than in the past. The U.S. has refused to interfere with the Iraqi Kurdistan where the PKK has its shelter because the U.S. is busy somewhere else. This has led to the development of the conspiracy theories. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is subjected to increasing pressures in favor of a military intervention in northern Iraq. In the meantime, he would rather negotiate.
The U.S. should organize tripartite negotiations with Iraqis and Turks in order to eliminate the PKK in Iraq.

Daily Star (Lebanon)

The U.S. and Turkey may soon clash over the PKK”, by Henri J. Barkey, Daily Star, September 1st, 2005.