Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Turkey planning operation in Iraq’s Kurdish region

The gray smoke was visible from Iraqi Kurdish hillsides Tuesday, the result, local farmers said, of artillery shells that hit close to the border with Turkey, the Associated Press reported.

“Although Ankara has not confirmed any shelling of Iraqi territory, the Turkish military has said it was carrying out an operation to track down Kurdish rebels after a deadly attack that killed 13 Turkish soldiers Sunday in a clash in the country’s southeast Turkish province of Sirnak,” the article says.

Ali al-Dabagh, the Iraqi government spokesman said that the violence in Sirnak and the killings of the Turkish soldiers was of “great concern” to Iraq. According to the article: “He extended condolences to the victims’ families and solidarity with the Turkish people, but stressed that regional cooperation is key to confronting all terrorist groups.”

A September counterterrorism agreement signed by Iraq and Turkey prohibits Turkey from sending troops to Iraq’s north. Preserving that agreement, al-Dabagh said, is the way to maintain the security and sovereignty of both countries.

According to article, Ankara announced late Tuesday after a meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top Turkish officials that instructions have been given to prepare for a possible cross-border military operation into Iraq to chase separatist Kurdish rebels – who are part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

According to the article: “The U.S. is opposed to a military move by Turkey. The U.S., along with the European Union, has branded the PKK a terrorist organization. Its members have fought Turkish government forces since 1984, seeking autonomy for Turkey’s ethnic Kurds. The fighting has claimed tens of thousands of lives.”

For the full article, click here.

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