Top PKK leader claims Kurdistan Region provides intelligence to Turkey


23 June 2020 – RUDAW- ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — As Turkey continues operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kurdistan Region, a top leader of the group has claimed that the Region’s two main intelligence agencies provide information to Turkey to attack the group.

Dubbed “Operation Claw-Eagle”, Ankara launched several airstrikes last Monday against alleged PKK positions in northern Iraq followed by land operations in the early hours of Wednesday. Airstrikes continued throughout the week.

Five civilians were killed by airstrikes in Duhok’s Shildaze district and in the Sidakan area of Erbil province on Thursday and Friday. Both the PKK and Turkish army have also reported casualties.

The clashes have angered the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) which has called on Ankara to respect its sovereignty and on the PKK to leave the Region.

The PKK is a Kurdish armed group struggling for the political and cultural rights of Kurds in Turkey. It is regarded as a terrorist organization by Ankara and its allies.

For decades, both the PKK and Turkish forces have set up military installations along the Turkey-Kurdistan Region border. Villages in the border area are  often subject to Turkish airstrikes and PKK-Turkey clashes, with many emptied from the violence.

Cemil Bayik, co-chair of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella group of parties including the PKK, claimed Saturday that intelligence agencies affiliated to the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) provide Ankara with intelligence in attacks against the PKK.

“Countries which try to exterminate Kurds and invade their land create disunity among Kurds, and promote treason, disobedience and espionage,” he told the PKK-affiliated Sterk TV.

“The killing of guerrillas is not the actions of MIT [Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization]. It is true that MIT carries out these actions but there are intelligence agencies in Bashur (Kurdistan Region) which assist MIT,” the leader claimed.

Jutiyar Muhsin, a local of Duhok province’s Amedi town, has been held by the PKK since January 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey.

Mushin is accused of having provided provided coordinates of PKK locations to Turkey, a claim denied by his family.

Bayik suggested that those on the ground may believe that their information is going to Kurdish agencies, but is then passed onto Turkey without their knowledge.

“Probably, there are some cadres of the KDP, PUK or other political parties who are asked by their institutions to provide intelligence on the guerrillas. They provide the intelligence, unaware that the intelligence ends up at MIT. They think that they serve their institutions but are not aware that they are serving MIT, which uses the intelligence to hit guerrillas.”

He warned that the PKK will target anyone who spies for Ankara.

“So far we have been patient, expecting the Bashur institutions to take action, but they do not seem to be doing so. Whoever we identify [as a spy], we will target them,” he added.

A PUK leadership member, who spoke to Rudaw on Monday on condition of anonymity due to what he described as the “sensitivity” of the subject, said that such accusations will need to be responded to through an official party statement.

Neither the PUK or KDP have officially responded to the claims.

Additional reporting by Zhelwan Wali