Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Germans Caught in the Middle of PKK Infighting

More evidence that the PKK can hardly be considered a highly-organized, homogenous entity . . .

From Today's Zaman:
An ongoing internal power struggle within the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) appears to be the cause of the kidnapping of three German mountaineers in eastern Turkey, according to Turkish security sources.

Three Germans in a group of 13 mountaineers -- Helmut H. (65), Martin S. (47) and Lars R. (33) -- were kidnapped by the PKK last Tuesday on Mt. Ağrı (Ararat), and PKK members said they would not be released until Germany changes its "hostile" policies toward the group, designated as terrorist by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The remaining 10 mountaineers returned to Germany over the weekend.
Based on intelligence from radio communications among PKK members, Turkish security sources believe the kidnapping was ordered by a PKK faction leader, Syrian Kurd Fehman Hussein, the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday. The PKK leadership, headed by Turkish Kurd Murat Karayılan, is furious over the kidnapping because this is against the group's latest decisions not to kidnap civilians, radio communications revealed. PKK members have been recorded as saying in the radio communications, "The Syrian overstepped the line" and "He signed the decree for his own execution." They also expressed worry that Germany would "not forgive this time."

Hussein and Karayılan have long been at odds over control of the terrorist group, and there have been several reports of assassination attempts against each other circulated in the Turkish media. The PKK is planning to convene a congress soon, and Hussein is prepared to use the German hostages as a bargaining chip against those who want his dismissal from the PKK, Anatolia reported.

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