Monday, July 09, 2007

Turkey Masses 140,000 Troops On Northern Iraq Border

We Don't Need Your Permission To Stop Terrorists, Turkey Tells US

Turkey's military leaders are now urging their government to allow them to stage an 'incursion' across the border into Northern Iraq, to deal with Kurdish PKK militants they claim are plotting terror attacks, and who have recently attacked and killed Turkish civilians. Meanwhile, large rallies have been held by nationalistic Turks openly denouncing the Kurds and the United States, who are claimed to be covertly backing PKK militants.

From Khaleej Times :
‘There is a great mobilisation on Iraq’s northern international border that the security services and intelligence (agencies) estimate at more than 140,000 military personnel with all sorts of equipment,’ Zebari told a news conference.

Tensions have soared along the mountainous border region following an upsurge in attacks across Turkey that Ankara has blamed on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

Financial markets were rattled in June by reports of a major Turkish incursion into northern Iraq, which Turkey denied. Zebari said Iraq wanted dialogue to resolve the issue.

‘The government’s stance on this is clear. We are against any interference or breach of Iraqi sovereignty from neighbouring states,’ Zebari said.

‘We understand Turkey’s legitimate fears over the activities of the Workers Party and view this issue as negotiable. There is a joint Iraqi, American and Turkish security committee and it is the appropriate body to solve all the issues and problems between the two countries. We are ready to host the activities of this committee in Baghdad.’

From Zaman :
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice phoned her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gül to prevent a possible Turkish military intervention into northern Iraq to hit the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) but received no firm assurance, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

"We don't seek permission from anyone, Turkey makes decisions and executes them on its own," Gül told reporters yesterday of his phone conversation with Rice on Friday. "We just remind the US that terrorist organizations in northern Iraq must be fought. The rest is up to us. This is what we told her."

The Washington Post article said a consensus among diplomats and observers in Washington a month ago held that a Turkish intervention is unlikely is now changing as disillusionment with US promises of dealing with the PKK in Iraq and electoral desperation take hold in Ankara. "A Turkish invasion that turns Kurdistan's relative calm into chaos and bloodshed would be the nail in the coffin for Bush's legacy in Iraq and for US public support for the American presence there. Making sure this does not happen should be Priority One for Bush in the weeks ahead," it stated.

Turkish military reportedly fired 25 shells into two villages, Merta Shesh and Gale Psagha, in northern Iraq on Friday. No casualties were reported. Local officials claim it was but the latest volley of shells fired by the Turkish military.

The United States has been frantically trying to calm Turkish government ministers, and military leaders, who want to strike at the PKK now. The United States recently had to deny that it was funnelling weapons and cash to PKK militants.

Turkey Faces Choice Between Democracy And Dictatorship In Coming Elections

Thousands Of Nationalists Turks Denounce Kurds, US In Rallies

Tehran Times : Turkish Government, Military Agree On Plans To Invade Iraq

Eastern Turkey : Turkish Soldiers Kill Five Kurd Rebels, Including Two Women

US Military Issues Stern Warning To Turkey On Launching Raids Into Northern Iraq