View Full Version : Turkey Attacks Kurdish PKK Militants Inside Iraq

10-24-2007, 08:38 AM
Turkey Attacks Kurdish PKK Militants Inside Iraq


By Mark Bentley and Ali Berat Meric

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Turkey bombed units of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and sent troops over the border in pursuit of the militants, a lawmaker of Turkey's governing party said today.

Turkish F-16 jets and artillery pounded at least 63 suspected rebel positions inside the Kurdish-controlled region from Oct. 21 until yesterday, said the lawmaker, who attended a briefing by government spokesman Cemil Cicek to a group of government deputies late yesterday in Ankara.

The army sent 300 commandos into Iraq by helicopter on Oct. 21 to hunt down PKK militants after 12 soldiers were killed by the group the same day, the official said. The attack on PKK bases up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) into Iraq lasted about 28 hours before troops returned to the Turkish side, he added.

The PKK, designated terrorists by the U.S. and the European Union, has fought the Turkish military at the cost of almost 40,000, mostly Kurdish, lives. Turkey's parliament on Oct. 17 passed a resolution authorizing the government to send troops into Iraq to attack PKK positions there. The U.S. opposes such action on concern it would destabilize the calmest part of Iraq.

"These military operations will continue and perhaps the Turks will start economic sanctions against Iraq too,'' said Wolfango Piccoli, a political risk analyst at Eurasia Group in London. "The government really needs to do something more substantial to satisfy public opinion.''

About 80,000 Turkish troops are now lined up along the border with Iraq, the lawmaker said.

PKK militants have killed 42 Turkish soldiers and civilians this month. Tens of thousands of Turks protested in cities across the country this week, calling for an immediate military incursion into Iraq and chanting anti-PKK slogans.

Stocks Fall
Turkey's stock index dropped as much as 1.5 percent in Istanbul. Shares rose yesterday on hopes for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Turkish military helicopters and jet fighters flew over Turkey's mountainous southeast towards the Iraqi border today from an airbase at Diyarbakir, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) from Iraq, eyewitnesses said. Soldiers at roadblocks were checking identities of motorists entering the Hakkari province, where the 12 soldiers were killed four days ago.

The U.S. is urging restraint from Turkey and has called on Iraq to stop attacks by the PKK across the border. The Bush administration is sharing intelligence with Turkey's government in its fight against the PKK, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said yesterday.

"We think that the Turks are thinking through their best options for defending themselves,'' Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, said in an interview with Bloomberg News. As well as the shelling of PKK positions, Turkey is "trying to work this problem diplomatically.''

Exports at Risk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday Turkey may halt some exports to Iraq unless the Iraqi government cracks down on the militants. Water, electricity and household goods are all important items exported to Iraq by Turkey, he said without saying which exports the government might halt.

Turkey, with the second-largest army in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, sent troops into northern Iraq in pursuit of PKK militants several times in the decade before the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003. It has stopped such assaults since the U.S.-led invasion, instead attacking PKK units as they have entered Turkey.

Turkish ministers and army generals will hold a meeting of the National Security Council at 2 p.m. in Ankara to discuss measures against the armed group.

Barzani Statement
The president of Iraq's northern Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, urged the PKK to end its more than two-decade armed struggle against Turkey. Barzani said his administration didn't accept the use of Iraqi territory, including Iraqi Kurdistan, as a base to threaten the security of neighbors, an e-mailed statement by Barzani's office said.

U.S. officials have slammed Iraqi Kurdish leaders over the last few days for allowing PKK guerrillas to operate unchecked in the Kurdish region, the New York Times said on its Web site.

A team of Iraqi officials will visit Ankara tomorrow for meetings on the PKK with Turkey's government, the CNN Turk television reported. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan held talks with Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari in Baghdad yesterday.

10-24-2007, 10:14 AM
The U.S. is urging restraint from Turkey and has called on Iraq to stop attacks by the PKK across the border. The Bush administration is sharing intelligence with Turkey's government in its fight against the PKK, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said yesterday.
They're just being greedy. I kinda get the feeling that this is window dressing. Like, officially, we don't want them to, but behind the scenes, we'll givem the F-16's to DO it with..

10-24-2007, 12:12 PM
Hi AuG,

I've heard that a whole shit-load of F-14s will be getting "decommed" in the very near future. You don't necessarily need an aircraft carrier to use them (but that's the usual method).

Plus, I helped test the recently-upgraded electronics boards on an ONR contract- about a 300 hour "burn in" at extreme environments...

Be pretty easy to bring an "empty" carrier back from the Mediterranean wouldn't ya think?

10-24-2007, 12:16 PM
Oh yeah,

My nephew and I watched the 388th FTW's F-16s dogfighting out in the west desert (supersonic, about 40 miles "off base" and about 100 feet AGL) during our recent deer hunt.

It's a neat show, but I think it might acutally be Iran-related (we watched them do the exact same thing right before the 2003 Iraq Invasion).