STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
And, Ivan, what's happening where you are?
IVAN WATSON: Steve, we've got several thousand ethnic Kurds marching, so far peacefully, through the streets of Diyarbakir. They're waving portraits, many of them, of the imprisoned PKK rebel Abdullah Ocalan. They're waving victory signs and denouncing basically the Turkish state - the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling him a murderer. The Turkish military incursion into neighboring Iraq against the PKK is deeply unpopular here. Many of these demonstrators here have friends or relatives in the PKK.
INSKEEP: Now, of course, Kurds are a minority within Turkey, but aren't you in a region in southeastern Turkey there where Kurds are actually the predominant group?
WATSON: And even as this incursion is going on into neighboring Iraq where the Turkish military is trying to, as they say, wipe out the rebel camps. There have been clashes on this side of the border here in southeastern Turkey. Two soldiers were killed in two separate clashes over the weekend here in Turkish territory.
INSKEEP: Well, Ivan, as best you can determine, what is it that these protestors, or Kurds at large, seem to want? Do they want Turkey to lay off the rebels? Do they want independence from Turkey? What are they pushing for at this moment?
WATSON: Some of them want the release of their imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan, which the Turkish state has said is just never going to happen.
INSKEEP: Is there also some confusion about the United States, which has an ally in Turkey, but also an ally in Iraq's Kurds?
WATSON: No, Steve. I think it's been made very clear that the U.S. has given the green light for this cross-border operation and for previous Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish rebel camps. The U.S. has said that it had advance warning of the ground incursion last week. A lot of these people are saying that they feel betrayed by the U.S. That they've never done anything against U.S. troops in Iraq. Why would the U.S. side with the Turks on this? And many of them also are accusing the Iraqi Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, of making some kind of a deal with the Turks and the Americans against the PKK as well.
INSKEEP: NPR's Ivan Watson is in the ancient eastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, where a demonstration is taking place in favor apparently of Kurdish rebels. Ivan, thanks very much.
WATSON: You're welcome, Steve.
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