Intelligence units have warned that the Quds Force, a special unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, plans to send a group to Turkey to carry out a series of demonstrations that may include a bomb attack on the Embassy or Consulate General of the United States.
The Turkish Security General Directorate, or EGM, has warned police departments in all 81 Turkish provinces that they must be vigilant and remain alert to the existence of such a threat. The intelligence pertaining to the possibility of such an attack was delivered in a secret letter to the information department at Turkey's General Directorate of Security. The written statement indicates that a team linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard will be sent to Turkey and that it may be planning to bomb the U.S. embassy or consulate general in the country. The Quds Force is infamous for its role in attempting to export Iran's revolution to other countries through the instigation of chaos and by acting as the overseas branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp.
However, facts about the force are well-guarded and scarce. The statement further details that the team intends to stay in five-star hotels in the city where the plan is to be carried out and that as a result, caution should be exercised when dealing with non-Turkish individuals staying at such lodgings. The statement also noted that groups linked to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah may also take part in the plotted demonstrations or attacks.
Intelligence data regarding the plan have been assessed by Turkish security forces to be an effort by Iran to stir to action illegal Turkish political groups following Turkey's decision to host a NATO early-warning radar system and recent developments in Syria that have seen the establishment of a training camp for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a step interpreted as a response to Turkey's criticism of the Syrian regime for its brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests.
A number of Iranian officials pledged revenge on Turkey last year after the country approved the establishment of the NATO defense system on its soil, with prominent military and political figures saying that Turkey would be sorry for siding with the US. Iran has interpreted Turkey's role in the international community as a threat against its interests, and is convinced the U.S. and Israel are its archenemies seeking to destroy Iran. However, top Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, have assured Turkey that such threats coming from Iranian lawmakers do not reflect the official policy of the country and that Turkey should only consider information from senior Iranian authorities in office.
Salehi has also frequently expressed his concern over such "provocations" that may try to see the brotherhood of Iran and Turkey, which spans centuries, fall apart. He believes the countries should keep in close contact and cooperate regarding regional developments. Although Turkey and Iran are engaged in close cooperation when it comes to combating terrorism and sharing intelligence along their common border, the countries frequently disagree about developments in the region.
One such recent disagreement was sparked last month when U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq and left the country to submerge into a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. Turkey, a Sunni-majority country, claims to dismiss sectarian differences in its approach to the Middle East and urges Iran to work for solidarity among sects rather than allowing the Shiite bloc alone to monopolize power in the hands of the sect.
Iran is also speculated to be leading a new rise of the Shiite Crescent in the region, supporting Shiite-backed political blocs in other countries, such as Syria, while creating chaos in those ruled by Sunni leaders, such as Bahrain. Iran vehemently refutes this role in both cases and denies having connections to recent arms shipments intercepted by Turkey allegedly on their way from Iran to Syria, where pro-democracy clashes run the risk of leading to a civil war.
BDP Hints at Federalism for Turkey
Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş vowed Tuesday that his party would "defend the freedom of Kurdistan," as he called on all democratic forces in Turkey to unite against "the fascism" of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.
"If there is no justice for the Kurds, the thing they should do is resist. We will not give way to AKP fascism. We will win," Demirtaş said in a speech to his party's parliamentary group. "We want education in our mother tongue. We will not step back. We will defend the freedom of a Kurdistan which is part of the Turkish Republic."
Demirtaş said the government had yet to explain last month's botched air raid at the Iraqi border, in which 34 civilians perished, and asked why the four-hour footage of the incident which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned has not yet been revealed.
He condemned the arrest earlier in the day of Kurdish politicians Tuncer Bakırhan and Fatma Kurtalan, who are now behind bars as part of a sprawling investigation into alleged urban networks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Demirtaş said court records indicated the only question the prosecutor asked them was "Why?" they received and read emails that contained notes from meetings between jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and his lawyers.
"The prime minister, ministers, parliamentary members, governors read the same notes, but if the BDP read them they are sent behind bars. This reveals the fascist mentality of the AKP," he said.
He appealed to the Turkish people to understand that Kurdish youths were joining the PKK because they were left without other options.
"There's no justice for us. Instead, there are bombs, massacres, arrests and prisons," he said. "We will be organized in every street and resist. All democratic forces should unite and stand up against this [AKP] fascism. This is an obligation for everybody who has honor and self-respect, no matter whether Turk or Kurd. Those who win are always those who resist the tyrants."
Kurdish Intellectual Slams PKK, Favors Federation
Renowned Kurdish writer Kemal Burkay Tuesday denounced the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, for suppressing dissenting opinion among Kurds, and argued that a federation could be a solution to the Kurdish conflict.
Burkay, who returned from self-exile last year, was speaking at Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Commission, which has been tasked with collecting input on possible ways to resolve the Kurdish issue. He lent support to the government's "Kurdish opening," but disapproved of its hardening policy on the issue.
"I want the arms to be silenced. I don't believe the state can get rid of this problem through oppression," he said.
Burkay also stressed that the majority of Kurds wished to remain as part of Turkey, but argued that they should be granted a degree of self-rule.
"We could discuss whether the solution should be a federation or extensive autonomy," he said.
Uncovering the truth behind bloodshed and abuses in the southeast requires shedding light not only on the deeds of rogue elements of the state but also "the PKK murders of Kurdish intellectuals," Burkay said.
"The PKK does not allow democracy within itself. The Kurdish movement needs to have different colors. The Kurdish movement is not made solely of the PKK," he added.
Burkay claimed the PKK was a creation of the Turkish state, which had at the time hoped to divide and weaken Kurdish movements. Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan fell under the influence of military officials linked to the shadowy Ergenekon network in the years after his capture in 1999, he argued. He also alleged that some 2,000 PKK militants had crossed from Iraq to Syria to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A robust supporter of non-violence, Burkay founded the Socialist Party of Turkish Kurdistan in 1974. He fled in March 1980, before the military coup that took place in September, and was granted political asylum in Sweden. He returned to Turkey last July, following an appeal by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Kurdish exiles.
Israeli Herons Give Intelligence to PKK, Intelligence Officers Say
The detection of two Israeli Herons in Hatay and Adana roughly two months ago are collecting intelligence on Turkish military units in order to aid PKK operations in those regions, Turkish intelligence agencies have claimed.
The report asserts that the Kurdistan Worker's Party, or PKK, training camps in northern Syria, near Turkey's Hatay border, "where Turkish military border posts are relatively weak," were established in those locations based on intelligence collected by the UAVs.
The report also claims that Kenan Yıldızbakan, a PKK member who commanded an assault against a Turkish naval base in İskenderun in 2010, has made repeated trips into Israeli territory, reinforcing suspicions of a possible link between Israeli and the PKK.
A rocket attack by PKK terrorists on the naval base killed seven soldiers and wounded six others in the southern province of Hatay's İskenderun district in June 2010.
Turkish-Americans Uneasy with Rick Perry's Terrorist Accusation
One of the largest Turkish-American organizations has condemned what it said were "uninformed comments" about Turkey by Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry during Monday night's debate ahead of the South Carolina primaries.
The Turkish Coalition of America, or TCA, said Perry offended Turkish-Americans by insulting Turkey's democratically elected government officials and threatening Turkey's membership in NATO. In a statement released by its president, Lincoln McCurdy, the TCA said it respectfully requests that Perry apologize for "his divisive and uneducated remarks."
"Turkey is one of the largest contributors of support to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, including providing the second-largest NATO army on the ground, leading the NATO troops in Afghanistan three times, and providing over 70 percent of the international logistics support to US troops in Iraq," McCurdy said, adding that the "level of ignorance" shown by the governor of such an important state as Texas is "appalling."