Monday, December 17, 2007

Turkey & Iraq

Turkey's military said it bombed Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq before dawn on Sunday, as part of an American-sanctioned effort to weaken the Kurdish guerrilla group that hides there. An Iraqi official said one woman had been killed.
Turkish fighter jets struck targets in the Zap, Avashin and Hakurk regions, in Dohuk Province along the border with Iraq, and troops followed up with artillery strikes, the Turkish military said on its Web site.
The commander of the Turkish Army, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, said the United States had helped the operation by offering intelligence and clearance to enter Iraqi airspace Saturday night.
"Turkish Armed Forces gave one message to Turkish people and rest of the world," General Buyukanit said. "It can be winter, snowing or them hiding in caves, but we would ultimately find and hit them."

The above is from Sabrina Tavernise's "Turkey Bombs Kurdish Militants in Northern Iraq" in this morning's New York Times. CNN notes that the Iraqi central (puppet) government isn't thrilled:

The presidency of Iraq's Council of Representatives, which includes senior government figures, condemned Sunday's Turkish air strikes on Iraqi border areas in the Kurdish region.
In a statement deplored the bombardment and urged Turkey to use "dialogue and wisdom in resolving its internal issues" It said Turkey should respect Iraq's sovereignty and it called on the U.N. Security Council to put a stop such military operations inside Iraq's border.

They site "[a] press attache at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara" who tells them "that the United States had been told about the plans for the strikes and reiterated that it is Turkey's decision on whether to carry out such actions." That echoes what was being reported last night:

And Reuters is reporting that Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit ("head of Turkey's military General Staff") states the bombings took place with US approval, "America last night opened Iraqi airspace to us. By opening Iraqi airspace to us last night America gave its approval to the operation." The US currently denies that they gave their approval. Sherko Raouf (Reuters) notes that while denying granting approval, "The United States said only that it had been informed in advance of the operation."

AFP reports that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, has hailed the military attack as a "success" and quotes US State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack declaring that the US "welcomes such efforts by Turkey's leaders to resolve the PKK problem and eliminate terrorism. The United States supports Turkey in its efforts to end the PKK terrorist threat to its citizens and will continue to use all diplomatic, military, and intelligence means to do so."

The Turkish Daily News reports this morning:

It was the first confirmed operation with fighter jets against terrorist targets across the border since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, although Turkey has since hit Iraqi territory with ground-based artillery and with helicopters. The attack follows a promise last month by the United States to share intelligence on the terrorists with Turkey.
The warplanes bombed PKK targets, in regions close to the border with Turkey as well as in the Kandil mountain range, further away from the frontier, the military's statement said. All planes are said to have returned to their bases safely.
After the planes left the operation zone, the army continued to fire at the targets with long-range weapons, the military said.
The raid was the second such operation this month. Earlier, the military said it fired on a group of about 50 to 60 PKK terrorists inside Iraqi territory, inflicting significant losses.

So tensions continue, a military attack was launched over the weekend by Turkey and the US approved it.

This week's Law and Disorder (which airs at 10:00 a.m. EST today on WBAI and airs at various times on other stations throughout the week) looks at the CIA destruction of tapes recording torture, addresses torture, the latest efforts by Congress to criminalize thought 'crimes,' features a speech by Michael Ratner (co-host and also president of the Center for Constitutional Rights) and among the guests are Peter Erlinder.

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