Kyle Orton Profile picture
Jul 9, 2018 17 tweets 15 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
<Brief Thread> on some CIA reports as the #PKK insurgency was beginning in #Turkey.
HT @Ayei_Eloheichem, who found these materials. He covers Russia, Israel, terrorism, espionage, and more. Give him a #FF.
In August 1985, the CIA believed that the #PKK insurgency in #Turkey that had begun exactly a year before was all-but finished because of the internal divisions in the Kurdish population and the gangsterism of the PKK, plus no support from Iraqi Kurds.
The Kurds in #Turkey were the first to revolt against Ataturk, citing both Islam and nationalism. By the 1970s, the Marxist students had captured the movement and with #Iran's intrusion into northern #Iraq it created a vacuum of authority the #PKK exploited to begin its war.
Even early the CIA was able to detect two broad #PKK trends: a significant hinterland in [then-West] Germany and a ferocious hatred of other Left-wing groups.
The CIA was able to detect support from Clerical #Iran and Muammar al-Qaddafi's #Libya for the #PKK in the summer of 1985.

[Perhaps it is in the redacted text: the biggest supporter of the PKK was Asad's #Syria, acting in part as an intermediary for the Soviet Union.]
The CIA (1985) worried that the #PKK insurgency would divert #Turkey from its #NATO obligations.

This was the purpose of the Soviet Union in backing the PKK, though, interestingly, while the CIA sees a Soviet hand, it quite strongly denies the possibility of Soviet support.
The CIA (1985) concludes it's "probably unrealistic" that Asad's #Syria or Qaddafi's #Libya would provide "large-scale" support for the #PKK.
This was flatly mistaken with respect to #Syria, which built the #PKK into a viable insurgency and sheltered and supported it ever-afterwards. In Cold War terms, Syria acted as a cut-out for the Soviets, especially in dealing with terrorist groups.
By late 1986, CIA seems to have a better handle on the #PKK, particularly its support from Asad's #Syria and its near-total dominance of a sustainable insurgency against #Turkey, as well as its ruthlessness towards Kurds who dissent from their doctrine.
The CIA makes a specific reference to Cetin Gungor as one of the #PKK dissidents who was murdered in Europe. He had set up the group's European wing in 1981.
Even by 1986, the extent of the #PKK's surveillance of the Kurdish diaspora and its own operations in Europe, and its willingness to murder [suspected] dissenters is clear, as is the extortion of these populations and the front-groups used to get do it.
The CIA report [1986] includes a section on the "circumstantial evidence" the #PKK was involved in killing Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme in February of that year.
The CIA concludes [Dec. 1986] that whatever success #Turkey was having in suppressing #PKK terrorism internally was not affecting the PKK abroad; that even in Turkey the PKK was able to attack #NATO installations; and #Syria was providing the PKK crucial cross-border assistance.
CIA gives a list of people the #PKK assassinated in Europe between 1979 and 1986.
CIA report: in Jan. 1996, the #PKK:

- assassinated one of its members in Adana, #Turkey

- stopped a bus in Kocyurdu, "shot and killed one of the passengers" before they "set the vehicle on fire, killing the remaining passengers trapped in the bus"
Less brief than intended, but hopefully underlines some points about #PKK:

- It was on the other side in the Cold War

- It always focused on dissident Kurds and Leftists as much as #Turkey

- It's foreign terrorism apparatus in Europe is extensive [and extant]

<End thread>

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