Worldwide Web


Wednesday, October 10, 2007      New: Take a Stand

Congressional vote could trigger Turkey's invasion of Iraq

ANKARA Turkey is finalizing plans to invade Iraq in an effort to destroy the Kurdish Workers Party.

Turkey concluded two days of high-level discussions that focused on plans for a major military incursion of northern Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the General Staff has presented plans for an invasion by thousands of Turkish troops, backed by attack helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and armored vehicles, of Iraq's Kandil mountains, the stronghold of the PKK.

The meetings took place on the eve of a vote on a U.S. congressional resolution that would deem Turkey responsible for the killing of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. Officials said passage of the so-called Armenian Genocide resolution could prompt a decision by Ankara to invade Iraq.

"There will be a backlash and no government can be indifferent to that," Turkey's ambassador in Washington, Nabi Sensoy, said.

Also In This Edition

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 over the next few days. They said the outline of the military plan was relayed to parliament.

"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 inside Turkey.

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 this issue."

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 throughout Turkey.

"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."

About Us     l    Contact Us     l     l
Copyright © 2007    East West Services, Inc.    All rights reserved.