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January 17, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8507

Turkish Journalist: Qassem Soleimani Was 'Enemy Of Turkey,' Discouraged PKK From Making Peace With Turkish Government In 1999

January 17, 2020
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8507

A January 10, 2020 article in Turkey's Yeni Akit daily, titled "A 'Soleimani' Comment From Bingöl, An Expert On The Region: He Was A Complete Enemy Of Turkey," quoted Turkish journalist Nevzat Bingöl talking about Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran's Qods Force who was killed in a January 2 airstrike, saying he was an "enemy of Turkey."[1]


Turkish journalist Nevzat Bingöl said Soleimani discouraged the PKK from making peace with the government of Turkey.

Bingöl described an event he witnessed in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq. He said: "Qassem Soleimani was entirely a Persian nationalist. He had very good relations with the PKK.[2] He was behind the actions of the PKK... When the Ali Sapan Group[3] was surrendering to Turkey, I was in the Hakurk Camp.[4] Qassem Soleimani did not want the group to surrender to Turkey. He said: 'You cannot trust the Turks... If you decline to surrender to Turkey, you can benefit from the outposts and hospitals in the border area [of Iran]. It was 1999, he was not that famous at that time. When he was given a negative answer, because [PKK leader] Abdullah Öcalan made the decision in the prison here, Qassem Soleimani played one more card. He said: 'We'll give you Katyusha rockets.' During that time, the PKK really wanted Katyusha rockets. They rejected this too because the decision had been made by Abdullah Öcalan and it would be carried out.

"When the Ali Sapan Group surrendered to Turkey from Şemdinli [district of Turkey's Hakkari province], Iran struck the Qandil [Mountains] with 200 rockets. He answered their surrendering to Turkey, their making peace with Turkey, with Katyusha rockets. To tell you the truth, for Soleimani to be aggrandized has saddened me. To be honest it has also surprised me that he has been declared a hero in nationalist circles... that an enemy of Turkey, without knowing who Qassem Soleimani was, has been exalted this much. For two tyrants [i.e., the U.S. and Iran] to strike each other is not very important from our perspective."

 

[1] Yeniakit.com.tr/haber/bolgenin-uzmani-bingolden-suleymani-yorumu-tam-bir-turkiye-dusmaniydi-1003047.html, January 10, 2020

[2] The Partiya Karkarene Kurdistan ("Kurdistan Workers' Party") is a Turkey-based Kurdish militant organization. The governments of Turkey, the U.S., the Eu, Australia, and Japan have designated it as a terrorist organization.

[3] Ali Sapan was the PKK's chief in Europe in 1994 and in 1999, at the instruction of Abdullah Öcalan, who was imprisoned at the time in the island prison of İmralı in the Marmara Sea, surrendered to the Turkish government. T24.com.tr/haber/pkknin-eski-avrupa-sorumlusu-simdi-asker,92896, August 22, 2010.

[4] The Hakurk Camp is a PKK camp in northern Iraq.

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