CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Republican U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt's Federal Election Commission report shows she got a $1,000 contribution from the Turkish American Heritage PAC in Houston, Tex., earlier this week. The PAC has sponsored rallies and published material on its Web site that contends the Iraq-based Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, is a terrorist organization. Schmidt, who faces a GOP primary March 4 in OH-02, accepted the PAC donation three days before Turkish troops crossed the border into Iraq and began ground operations against the Kurds.
Both the U.S. and European Union consider the PKK a terrorist organization. But Washington and Europe also worry that Turkey's incursion could escalate into a wider conflict in northern Iraq. The Kurds operate a stable semi-autonomous region in Iraq that is closely allied with the Americans.
The Associated Press reported today that "it is the first conformed ground operation by the Turkish military into Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. It also raised concerns that it would trigger a wider conflict with the U.S.-backed Iraqi Kurds, despite assurances that its only target was the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK."
The Turkish PAC that made the donation to Scmidt says the PKK "has been engaging in terrorist activities for more than 25 years now, and the war between the Turkish Army and the Kurdish terrorists still goes on; thanks to the support the PKK receives from numerous European and Middle Eastern countries; Denmark, Greece and Belgium to name just a few."