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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Steps to take against Kongra-Gel

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I join the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA) and the U.S. Turkic Network (USTN) in expressing outrage and condemnation of the continually brutal acts by the Kongra-Gel (formerly Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK and KADEK) terrorist organization.

Their latest large-scale terrorist act took place Oct.19, killing at least 24 Turkish soldiers and wounding 18. The attacks were carried out in eight locations in Cukurca and Yuksekova, both in Hakkari province in Turkey. That day was the deadliest day for the Turkish military since May 24, 1993.

Another deadly attack that USTN protested was July 14, where the terror group killed 13 Turkish soldiers and wounded seven in an ambush in Diyarbakir's Silvan district in Turkey.

The Kongra-Gel is a foreign terrorist organization, as designated by the U.S. secretary of state in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In addition to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel and Turkey, the European Union and NATO have classified the Kongra-Gel as a terrorist organization, which has taken the lives of as many as 40,000 innocents, including Americans, since 1984.

Concrete actions that can help reduce and prevent such situations in the future are as follows: better understanding of the Turkish position against Kongra-Gel terrorism through more joint research between U.S. and Turkish think tanks and research centers, and the strengthening of the antiterrorism cooperation between the United States and Turkey. This should include sharing of actionable military and financial intelligence, as well as extradition of PKK members to Turkey.

We should also place members and sympathizers of the Kongra-Gel in European countries, the United States and Canada under the special supervision of Aliens Commensurate with Risk list managed by the Department of Homeland Security, and review all U.S. government grants and loans provided to any U.S. or foreign nonprofit organizations dealing with Kurdish issues in Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

In addition, we ought to provide greater protection and assistance to the Turkmans of Iraq, who are being ethnically cleansed by various radical and terrorist Kurdish organizations from their ancestral homeland in northern Iraq. We should sanction and freeze assets of all commercial and nonprofit groups operating in the United States and providing direct and indirect support to the PKK and its offshoots.

Lastly, we must deny refugee status and naturalization to anyone who served in the Kongra-Gel ranks and ban all of their present and past members from visiting the United States.

SEMA MUSLU

Falls Church

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