Officials said the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan
has urged the Bush administration to block a vote in Congress on the
Armenian Genocide resolution. On Oct. 10, the resolution was scheduled for a
vote by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which could lead to another
vote by the full House.
Turkey has directed U.S. military contractors to oppose the resolution
in the Democratic-controlled House, where it was expected to pass. Ankara
has also recruited Israel and its lobby to work against the resolution.
"The lobbying has been the most intense that I have ever seen it," Rep.
Adam Schiff, the sponsor of the House resolution, said.
The calls for a Turkish invasion have intensified in wake of the killing
of 15 Turkish soldiers and police officers over the weekend. The soldiers
were killed in PKK improvised explosive device operations in the Sirnak
province along the Iraqi border.
"Institutions concerned have been given the necessary orders and
instructions to make all kinds of legal, economic and political preparations
to end the presence of the terror organization in a neighboring country in
the upcoming period, including if necessary a cross-border operation," the
government statement said on Tuesday.
The PKK attacks triggered a military offensive against Kurdish
insurgents along the Iraqi border. Officials said the military has amassed
tens of thousands of troops for an invasion of Iraq that could take place
next few days. They said the outline of the military plan was relayed to
"If we're talking about hot pursuit, then there is no need for
parliamentary authorization," Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said. "If
it's a cross-border operation, then there is need for one."
Over the last six months, Turkey has conducted a series of exercises and
operations along the 500-kilometer border with Iraq. Officials said Ankara
has carried out small-scale incursions into northern Iraq to attack
suspected PKK strongholds.
Under the latest plans, Ankara would launch a major operation in the
Kandil mountains meant to destroy PKK bases before the onset
of winter, where ground maneuvers would be virtually impossible. Turkey has
assessed that about 5,000 PKK fighters were in the Kandil mountains or
Turkey's General Staff has sought approval from the government of Prime
Minister Recep Erdogan for an invasion of Iraq. But Erdogan, under pressure
from the European Union and the United States, has demurred, and instead
sought to obtain cooperation from Iraq for operations against the PKK.
"I am not sure that unilateral incursions are the way to go, the way to
resolve the issue," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on
Tuesday. "We have counseled them both in public and private for many, many
months [on] the idea that it is important to work cooperatively to resolve
On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in Ankara warned Americans in Turkey of the
prospect of violence in wake of House passage of the Armenian genocide
resolution. The embassy said anti-American demonstrations could take place
"The Department of State advises U.S. citizens traveling or residing in
Turkey to be alert to the potential for demonstrations, and to avoid large
gatherings," the embassy said. "Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful
can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American
citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if
possible, and to avoid areas of demonstrations if possible. Particular
caution should be exercised in places known to be frequented by Americans."