Designating Tak And Pjak Terrorist Groups: Need For Near-term Action

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¶1. (S) Summary: The USG should move quickly to formally
designate TAK (Kurdish Freedom Falcons) and PJAK (Party of
Free Life of Kurdistan), two terrorist groups that work in
close collaboration with the northern Iraq-based PKK.
Designation would help efforts to cut off financing to these
well-known terrorist groups, and rebut false accusations that
we are employing PJAK to undermine the Iranian regime. At
the same time, we need a more coherent approach to our visa
revocation policies. We need to extract ourselves from the
current untenable position of revoking the visas of
democratically-elected politicians because they belong to the
pro-Kurdish DTP party (a legal entity in Turkey) while we are
granting visas to the head of PJAK. End Summary.

¶2. (S) There is extensive sensitive reporting indicating
close collaboration between TAK and PKK, as well as evidence
suggesting that TAK undertakes terrorist operations in Turkey
as a subordinate unit under the instruction of the PKK. TAK
is believed to be responsible for the 2006 bombing of
Kusasahi that killed a British and an Irish citizen, and has
publicly claimed responsibility for numerous urban attacks.
TAK’s designation will assist our work with the Turks and
other European governments to cut off terrorist financing to
the PKK and its allies.

¶3. (S) PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) acts as the
PKK’s affiliate in Iran. The PKK established PJAK in 2003.
Sensitive reporting indicates that present and former PKK
members serve in PJAK, and that the PKK provides logistics
support to PJAK. There is extensive evidence concerning
PJAK’s involvement in terrorist activity.

¶4. (S) As the United States, Turkey and Iraq expand efforts
to counter PKK terrorism in northern Iraq, we cannot allow
the PKK’s affiliates to become alternate funding and supply
routes. Sensitive reporting indicates PJAK already has
discussed sharing external aid with the PKK. Failure to
designate PJAK has exposed us to charges here that the USG is
using or hopes to use the PJAK to undermine the Iranian
regime.

¶5. (S) At the same time, we must also address
inconsistencies in our visa revocation policy. In August,
the head of PJAK was granted a visa to visit the United
States, while we revoked the visa of a Turkish politician
because he is a member of a pro-Kurdish political party in
Turkey. Ref A informed post that the visitor visa of
Diyarbakir mayor Osman Baydemir had been prudentially
revoked. We later learned that the decision was based on
information from the Terrorism Screening Center that Baydemir
“is reportedly a member of the Kongra-Gel-affiliated (KGK)
Democratic Society Party (DTP).” DTP now has over 20 seats
in the Turkish parliament and DTP members are elected mayors
in over 50 Turkish cities. Baydemir has not been charged
with advocating violence or separatism, and he remains the
legally-elected mayor of the largest city in Turkey’s
southeast. Three months ago, Post requested additional review
of the Baydemir visa revocation (ref B) and we have yet to
receive a response.

Visit Ankara’s Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON