Tuesday, September 13, 2011
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin hints at a cross-border land operation into northern Iraq. ‘A ground operation could be conducted at any time, depending on negotiations with the neighboring country,’ he says
Turkey is negotiating with Iraq about a cross-border military operation to crack down on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a move that could come “at any time,” a senior government member said Tuesday.
“Discussions are underway for a land operation,” Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with visiting German Migration and Integration Minister Maria Böhmer.
“A ground operation could be conducted at any time, depending on negotiations with the neighboring country [Iraq],” the minister added. The PKK has training camps and command posts in northern Iraq.
Turkey launched a fresh diplomatic campaign targeting Iraq following a rise in PKK attacks since mid-July that has killed dozens of security forces as well as civilians and pushed Ankara to adopt a new anti-terror strategy. Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu paid a two-day trip to Iraq over the weekend, a visit on which Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu briefed Turkish civilian and military officials Monday at a security summit in Ankara.
According to diplomatic sources, Sinirlioğlu’s messages to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the head of the Regional Kurdish Administration in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, aimed to impress upon Iraqi Kurdish politicians Turkey’s determination to end the terror threat posed by the PKK. The Turkish envoy reportedly made it clear that Turkey would not tolerate the militants’ seeking of shelter in northern Iraq, from where they stage attacks on Turkish soil.
He also said Turkey would not hesitate to defend itself if there is no halt in the attacks by the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
“The Turkish delegation is still in Iraq and is still in talks with Iraqi top officials. I can’t say what has been concluded from the meetings as talks are still going on,” Naseer al-Ani, Talabani’s chief of staff, was quoted as saying by Reuters on Tuesday.
One of Ankara’s most important demands from Barzani, whose “peshmerga” force of nearly 100,000 fighters controls almost all of northern Iraq, is to cut the PKK’s logistic channels.
In addition to the political moves, the Turkish military has been strengthening its forces along the Iraqi border accompanied by reconnaissance flights in the area. The PKK’s deadly attack on a military convoy in mid-August pushed the government to launch an aerial campaign targeting terrorist hideouts in northern Iraq, prompting speculation that this could be followed by a ground operation. Turkey’s last ground operation into northern Iraq was in February 2008.
A recent PKK attack in Şimdinli, part of Hakkari province on the Iraqi border, killed three civilians and two security force members, fueling anger in the capital. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denounced these attacks late Monday, vowing that military operations against the outlawed group would continue.
A parliamentary mandate permitting the government to launch a military cross-border incursion into northern Iraq will expire Oct. 17. But the government and the main opposition parties have vowed to extend the mandate for another year.
Next month, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zabari, an Iraqi Kurd, will pay a visit to Ankara to review bilateral relations as well as ongoing the anti-terror fight.
Hmm! Is this more of Muslims against Muslims?! As the U.S. slowly pulls out of Iraq, step by step, the vultures arrive bearing seeds of hate, along with murder in their hearts. Way to go Turkey - you have manage to instigate half the world overnight! Can anyone say, Ottoman Empire - Stage II?
Why isn't this being reported on national news? Where's the liberal main stream media when you need them?