In a briefing on Dec. 21, Morrell said the center was used to coordinate
the Turkish strikes against the PKK. He said the United States was provided
notification" of plans to conduct air strikes against PKK positions in the
Kandil mountains on Dec. 16.
Officials said the Ankara Coordination Center was meant to relay Turkish
and U.S. intelligence on PKK activities and positions in Iraq. They said the
center served as the conduit to relay Turkey's intentions for an air strike.
"This [intelligence center] has been open for some months now — I think
it dates back to this summer — in which you have Turkish military personnel
along with U.S. military personnel working to share intelligence," Morrell
said. "And with that system in place, I believe the actual communication
went from the Turkish General Staff to the Ankara Coordination Center.
Within the coordination center it was relayed to our folks, and from there
it goes to a wider audience within our operation."
The center was first disclosed in wake of a meeting between President
George Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan on Nov. 5. At the time,
officials said the intelligence facility was not yet operational.
"We have a cooperative relationship with this old and close ally,"
Morrell said. "There is coordination, there is notification, but there is
not permission sought. And as far as this building is concerned, the
coordination that took place was adequate."
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino echoed Morrell regarding
U.S.-Turkish intelligence cooperation. Ms. Perino said Ankara and Washington
share intelligence on the PKK.
"We are coordinating with the Turkish and Iraqi authorities in the
area," Ms. Perino said. "So we continue to share information, share
intelligence. The Turks have moved forward with our coordination and in
communication with the Iraqis in order to eradicate that threat."