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    27 July 2006

    The US comes around WRT the PKK

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    A week ago I posted a story about Turkey's frustration with the Iraqi (and US) inability to control Kurdish terrorist operating in Northern Iraq.
    Zaman newspaper (Turkey) is reporting the presence of 150,000 Turkish troops on the boarder of Iraq. They are on a high state of alert and any military leave has been canceled. Given the recent attacks on Turkish soldiers by the PKK (14 dead in recent days) this pending incursion by Turkey seems to be gaining legitimacy from Israel's recent actions and American inaction.
    Turkey told the US administration, which is opposed to Turkey launching a cross-border operation into northern Iraq "unilaterally," that "the US should fulfill its responsibilities as an ally of Turkey and stop pursuing double-standard policies."

    ...diplomatic sources said: "Turkey offered to act in cooperation with its allies to eliminate terrorism entirely. Our allies should make similar efforts also. Allies with a common vision should cooperate."

    Daveed Gartenstein-Ross fills us in on why this is such good news.
    Reader Timothy Thompson reports that he has heard from well-placed Turkish sources that the State Department's position on the PKK shifted markedly two to three days ago, ultimately resulting in the present announcement. These sources believe that the announced cooperation forestalls Turkish plans of unilateral intervention. Turkey is now committed to only crossing the Iraq border with express U.S. approval and coordination.

    Had Turkey intervened in Iraq unilaterally, it would have risked clashes with American-backed Kurdish units unaffiliated with the PKK and also would have created the possibility that a Turkish unit could accidentally engage Americans in a firefight. The fact that at least one potential flash point in the Middle East seems to have been resolved is unambiguously good news.

    Posted by Geoff

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