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Tuesday, May 24, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. providing Turkey with signals intelligence
on Kurdish insurgents

ANKARA — The United States has supplied Turkey with signals intelligence of Kurdish insurgents in neighboring Iraq.


The U.S. ambassador to Ankara, Francis Ricciardone, said the U.S. Navy was operating an advanced reconnaissance aircraft to supply intelligence to Turkey. Ricciardone identified the platform as the EP-3E aircraft produced by Boeing.

"The PKK also knows that we are [assisting Turkey," Ricciardone said. "They must be wondering why the targeting is so accurate."

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In a briefing on May 11, the U.S. ambassador did not provide details of the EP-3E, Middle East Newsline reported. Earlier, however, Ricciardone said the aircraft was diverted from the U.S. war in Afghanistan to help Turkey in the counter-insurgency campaign against the Kurdish Workers Party, based in the Kandil mountains in northern Iraq.

The EP-3E was said to have been collecting signals intelligence, including radio intercepts, from PKK strongholds in Iraq. Officials said the intelligence was processed by the U.S. Navy's Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two.

Ricciardone said U.S. intelligence assistance to Turkey costs about $400 million per year. He said he was providing these details to rebuff accusations by senior Turkey officials that Washington was withholding intelligence on the PKK, deemed a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.

On May 17, Gen., James Cartwright, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, completed a three-day visit to Turkey. Officials said Cartwright discussed military cooperation with Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner and senior officials.

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