View Full Version : Turkey Signals It's Prepared to Enter Iraq

Jul 19, 2006, 12:54 PM
AP (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/18/AR2006071800823.html)

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkish officials signaled Tuesday they are prepared to send the army into northern Iraq if U.S. and Iraqi forces do not take steps to combat Turkish Kurdish guerrillas there _ a move that could put Turkey on a collision course with the United States.

Turkey is facing increasing domestic pressure to act after 15 soldiers, police and guards were killed fighting the guerrillas in southeastern Turkey in the past week.

"The government is really in a bind," said Seyfi Tashan, director of the Foreign Policy Institute at Bilkent University in Ankara. "On the one hand, they don't want things to break down with the United States. On the other hand, the public is crying for action."

Diplomats and experts cautioned the increasingly aggressive Turkish statements were likely aimed at calming public anger and pressing the U.S. and Iraq to act against the Turkish Kurdish guerrillas. But they also said Turkish politicians and military officers could act if nothing is done.

U.S. officials in Turkey and Washington were in contact with Turkish officials and military commanders to press them to work with Washington to combat the guerrillas and not to act alone, a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Turkey's NTV television and Hurriyet newspaper reported the government has told the military to draw up plans for a push into northern Iraq and to advise on the possibilities such an incursion could lead to a clash with Iraqi Kurds or U.S. troops.

Any operation was unlikely before the end of August, when the current military chief of staff is replaced by an officer widely regarded as a hard-liner, NTV said.

The Western diplomat said the Turkish military long has had plans for fighting guerrillas in northern Iraq. These range from limited artillery and airstrikes on guerrilla bases, to attacks by commando forces and a broader ground offensive.

American officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have repeatedly warned Turkey against entering northern Iraq, one of the few stable areas of the country.


i visited turkey in 1994. one person i met (a turk) had a conversation with me about the PKK. there was a point where he narrowed his eyes and quietly said, "turkey will take care of the kurd problem by the end of this year." clearly, it turned out to be not the case, but it was pretty chilling.

frankly, this potential move doesn't surprise me. it's been a desire for years and, with no real government and a civil war going on, the timing's pretty good. i bet the turks think the US military is too tied up to do anything about it, too.

IJ Reilly
Jul 19, 2006, 12:58 PM
Uh-oh. This is the other shoe. We'd better hope it doesn't drop.

Jul 19, 2006, 01:13 PM
Can't see it happening. Turkey are chasing EU membership. If they invade Iraq the UK will immediately join Greece and Cyprus in the group to veto their application. With one of the EU's big four against them, their attempt to join the EU is well and truly fscked.

Jul 19, 2006, 01:43 PM
Another of the predictions of the "doom and gloom" crowd is getting closer to coming true.

It sucks to be right sometimes...

Jul 19, 2006, 05:30 PM
Uh-oh. This is the other shoe. We'd better hope it doesn't drop.
i shall consider iran to be the 3rd shoe.

Jul 19, 2006, 05:53 PM
Doesn't Turkey have the right to invade and destroy their opponents in Iraq if those opponents are crossing the borders and fighting with Turkish soldiers?

Not to mention, doesn't Turkey have the right to respond to a percieved attack if there is even a 1% chance (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0711/p13s01-bogn.html) of a Kurdish attack within Turkey?

IJ Reilly
Jul 19, 2006, 07:27 PM
i shall consider iran to be the 3rd shoe.

If it fits...

Jul 19, 2006, 09:00 PM
Turkey Signals It's Prepared to Enter Iraq
There's a GW joke in there somewhere.

Jul 20, 2006, 08:34 AM
If it fits...

on the third leg?

IJ Reilly
Jul 20, 2006, 10:06 AM
on the third leg?

Somebody got it. So my efforts are not entirely futile. ;)