Turkey’s Parliament voted today to give the government authority to send troops into northern Iraq, moving this NATO country one step closer to a military confrontation with Iraq over Kurdish rebels who hide there.
Turkish lawmakers voted 507 to 19 in favor of the motion, which was supported by all but one of Turkey’s political parties and seemed to reflect broadly the wishes of the Turkish public.
It gives the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a year in which it can send troops across the border to fight ethnic Kurds who carry out attacks in Turkey from northern Iraq. [complete article]
In his toughest criticism of the United States since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan told a crowd in Istanbul last Friday: ”Nobody can give us lessons on beyond-border operations. Did the United States consult us when it entered Iraq from tens of thousands of kilometres away?”
While Turks take note that the United States, along with the EU, lists the PKK as a terrorist organisation, they are also irate because the US makes no concrete moves against the group in northern Iraq, which is controlled by its Iraqi Kurdish allies. Turkey has called its ambassador to Washington home for consultations.
If a military move comes, it will be more than a hot-pursuit operation, since as Defens Minister Vecdi Gonul said, there is no need for parliamentary approval for a limited foray. Turkish forces have been in and out of northern Iraq 24 times since 1984 for limited military operations of up to 72-hours duration and up to five kilometres inside Iraq. Turkey also maintains an estimated force of 2,000 on the Iraqi side of the border under an accord with Iraq 23 years ago. [complete article]
The Iraqi army has no plan to deploy its soldiers near the rugged Turkish-Iraqi border to take on the Kurdish rebels targeting Turkey, and Iraqi authorities are satisfied with the efforts by the Iraqi Kurdish regional authorities to deal with the militants there, a top Iraqi military official told CNN Wednesday.
“It’s a mountainous area, difficult terrain and our troops are not trained for that,” said Lt. Gen. Nasier Abadi, Iraqi Armed Forces deputy chief of staff. [complete article]
Rep. Wally Herger supported an Armenian genocide resolution until Monday. Then he changed his mind.
The California Republican isn’t alone. Amid intense lobbying pressure, 17 House of Representatives members have withdrawn their support for the genocide resolution approved last week by a key House committee. The flips are coming faster, with seven lawmakers withdrawing their support Monday, and they could put the resolution’s future at risk. [complete article]