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Turkish army calls for Iraq raid
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Thursday Apr 12th, 2007 5:31 PM
The head of Turkey's army has called for a military operation in northern Iraq to target its Kurdish rebels hiding there.
General Yasar Buyukanit, the head of the army's general staff, made the assessment on Thursday but said the army had not asked parliament to authorise any such operation.

"From the military point of view, a [military] operation in northern Iraq must be made," Buyukanit said.

"The PKK has huge freedom of movement in Iraq... It has spread its roots in Iraq."

However Buyukanit said that even if the military favoured such an operation, it would have to be authorised by the government.

"If you ask me whether a cross-border operation is needed, yes it is needed. It would be useful," the general told a rare press conference.

"But there is a second dimension to that: it requires a political decision."

Base for attacks

Buyukanit also said that the Turkish army was already conducting substantial operations against PKK members in Turkey.

"There are several large-scale operations under way in several areas," Buyukanit told reporters.

"Our aim is to prevent them from taking positions in the region with the coming spring."

For years Turkey has urged the Iraq's national government, the Kurdish regional government and US-led forces in the country to tackle the estimated 4,000 rebels from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who shelter in Kurdish-ruled northern Iraq.

by NYT (reposted)
Saturday Apr 14th, 2007 1:38 PM
ISTANBUL, April 12 — The head of Turkey’s armed forces said publicly on Thursday, in the military’s sharpest language to date, that he was prepared to conduct operations in northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels hiding there.

It is a frightening situation for the United States, which is struggling to keep the war in Iraq from spreading beyond that country’s borders. And while the threat is not immediate — it would require approval from the country’s diverse Parliament — the issue has grown more urgent here in recent weeks, spurred by highly publicized funerals of soldiers killed in battles with rebels and by calls for action from politicians of all stripes.

“Should there be an operation into northern Iraq?” said Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Turkey’s chief of staff, speaking at a hastily convened news conference in Ankara, his first since taking the position eight months ago. “If I look at it from an exclusively military point of view, yes, there should be. Would it be profitable? Yes, it would.” Still, he added that, “For a cross-border operation, there has to be a political decision.”

by more
Saturday Apr 14th, 2007 1:38 PM
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq: Iraq's Kurds are ready for talks with Turkey but will not accept any Turkish military interference in Iraq, the prime minister of the Kurdish regional government said Saturday.

Nechervan Barzani spoke after the Kurdish parliament held a meeting to discuss rising tensions with Turkey. The leader of the Kurdish autonomous region, Massoud Barzani, has suggested Iraqi Kurds would interfere in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast if the country meddled in Iraq's affairs.

"We are ready to sit with them for a dialogue at any time and in any place," said Nechervan Barzani, who is the nephew of the Kurdish president. "We don't accept any military interference inside Iraq's territory."

On Friday, Turkish troops killed four armed Kurdish guerrillas who had crossed over the border from northern Iraq, according to Turkey's government-owned Anatolia news agency. The guerrillas were killed in a gunbattle that broke out among troops and a group of about 15 rebels near the town of Semdinli on the Iraqi border, Anatolia said.

The deaths bring to 17 the number of guerrillas killed this week in clashes in Turkey's southeast. Earlier in the week, the head of Turkey's armed forces requested permission to launch an operation into northern Iraq to attack the Kurdish rebels at their bases there.