"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Turkish ties entangle Israel in Kurd struggle

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Israel's growing military ties with Turkey have suddenly and sharply embroiled the Jewish state in the Kurdish people's autonomy struggle against Turkey.
That conflict reached the boiling point Tuesday following Turkey's arrest of the Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya. Kurdish protesters reacted by seizing consulates, battling police and threatening mass suicides across Europe.
On Wednesday, the Kurds turned their anger on Israel.
Hundreds stormed the Israeli Consulate in Berlin. At one point, Israeli guards at the Berlin consulate fired on the crowd, killing three Kurds. Another 16 protesters and 27 police officers were wounded.
No Israelis were hurt, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. One Israeli woman who was a relative of an employee at the Berlin consulate was briefly taken hostage but later released unharmed.
The German government called Wednesday's attack "shocking" and appealed for calm.
Israel ordered all its diplomatic missions in Europe closed. Israel's missions in the United States continued to operate normally, but its New York consulate requested increased security from local officials, according to a consular official.
In Berlin, leading Jewish organizations also closed their offices.
And Israel dispatched security and Foreign Ministry officials to Germany to investigate the incident.
Israeli public security official Avigdor Kahalani said the response -- or lack of one -- by German police stationed outside the consulate is one issue that would be investigated.
German police said they were not at the scene at the time of the incident. They later arrested more than 180 demonstrators.
The Kurdish protesters were angered by news reports -- vehemently denied by Israel -- that Israeli intelligence officials in the Mossad had helped Turkey arrest Ocalan.
It is "unfortunate" that Israel has been dragged into the situation, said an official with a Jewish organization in Europe. The official noted that Wednesday's developments were ironic, given Israel's previous "warm and sympathetic" relationship with Iraqi Kurds.
The official even noted that one of Israel's candidates for prime minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, is of Iraqi Kurdish origin.
But because of Israel's growing relations with Turkey, the official said, there has not been the same relationship with Turkish Kurds.
In recent years, relations between Israel and Turkey have improved considerably. As part of those relations, the two countries have signed military agreements and conducted joint military training exercises.
Kurd suspicions against Israel were partly based on an article from a German news agency and a column written earlier this month by New York Times columnist William Safire.
"U.S. and Israeli intelligence and diplomats [are] help[ing] track down the Turks' most wanted Kurd, Abdullah Ocalan, forced out of Damascus after a threat by Turkey to invade Syria and now seeking refuge everywhere," Safire wrote.
The German news agency, DPA, likewise quoted a Western intelligence source as saying that the Mossad played a key role in tracking Ocalan, whose whereabouts were unknown after he left Rome in January.
Turkey regards Ocalan as a traitor and terrorist. He could face charges of ordering the killing of more than 30,000 civilians during a 15-year war for Kurdish autonomy. He could face the death penalty.
The consulate incident took place on a cold, snowy day in Berlin.
Kurdish eyewitnesses reportedly claimed that the crowd of 300 demonstrators were proceeding peacefully and were planning to send a delegation inside to meet Israeli officials.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli guards at the Berlin consulate fired in self-defense when Kurds broke in.
"Israeli security personnel are instructed in such circumstances to act with all force -- if necessary also by opening fire in self-defense -- and in order to prevent the taking of hostages," Netanyahu said.
"While Israel regrets any loss of life, we are committed to defending Israeli citizens and Israeli missions throughout the world."
The prime minister maintained Wednesday that "at least 10 persons wielding hammers and bats" broke into the consulate, "passing through the German police responsible for external security.
"Climbing on the barred windows of the first floor of the building, they broke into the second-story windows and entered the consulate. Inside the consulate, they tried to seize weapons, resulting in gunfire and the first casualty," Netanyahu said.
He also reiterated that Mossad "had no part whatsoever" in the capture of Ocalan.
Hours after the shootings took place, all was quiet outside the consulate. Fresh-falling snow had covered all traces of blood outside the four-story villa that houses the consulate's offices.
Although the street on which the consulate is located had been closed off, a few curious onlookers could be spotted near the 6-foot fence that surrounds the consulate.
A heavy police presence was patrolling the residential, affluent area of southwestern Berlin. They could also be seen guarding nearby subway stations.
German officials have been treading carefully since the Kurdish protests erupted Tuesday. Germany has an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 Kurds and Germans of Kurdish origin living in the country -- the largest concentration of Kurds residing in Europe.
Tuesday's protests by the Kurds, which appeared to be a coordinated effort, included demonstrations in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow and Sydney, Australia.
At least three Kurds were seriously injured when they set themselves on fire, including a 17-year-old girl in Germany.
Much of the Kurds' anger was directed against Greece. The Greek Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, had been giving Ocalan protection after he was forced to leave Italy last month. Greek officials in Athens and Nairobi denied that they had turned the Kurdish leader over to Turkey.

This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Milton Frihetsson, 04:54


Post a Comment