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Wednesday, August 10, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Turkey weighs boosting Iran's assault
on Kurds in Iraq

ANKARA — Turkey is examining a proposal to significantly cooperate with Iran in its war against Kurdish rebels.


Officials said Prime Minister Recep Erdogan convened the General Staff and senior members of his Cabinet to discuss an expansion of Turkish cooperation with Iran. They said Iran has sought Turkish military help against the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, which operates from neighboring Iraq.

"The officials reviewed all issues concerning foreign security in their broadest sense," a government statement said.

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The meeting on Aug. 8 was chaired by Erdogan and included new Chief of Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Officials said the participants were briefed on Iran's invasion of Iraq's Kurdistan region and Teheran's request for Turkish military assistance.

Kurdish opposition sources said the Turkish military was providing unprecedented help to Iran's invasion of the Kandil mountains in northern Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported. They said Turkey has already deployed U.S.-origin M-60A3 main battle tanks and Israeli-origin Heron unmanned aerial vehicles to track and shell PJAK bases and fighters.

So far, the Erdogan government has not confirmed reports of Turkish military cooperation with Iran in the Kandil mountains. Officials said the Turkish military leadership was complaining that Iran was withholding vital information on its counter-insurgency campaign against PJAK.

The two-hour meeting was also said to have discussed how the Turkish military could use the Iranian invasion of Kandil to help eradicate the Kurdish Workers Party from northern Iraq. The PKK, which has long targeted Turkey, was said to have deployed at least 2,500 fighters in bases in northern Iraq.

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