NEWS & ANALYSIS: The Turkish cross-border threat

Who’s bluffing on the Turkish-Iraqi border?

The dictionary definition of “terrorist” says: “A person, usually a member or group, who uses or advocates terrorism,” adding that it is a “person who terrorizes or frightens others”.

By all accounts, both definitions apply to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that is operating against Turkey from northern Iraq, with approximately 3,500 insurgents, under the watchful eye of the United States. The PKK after all “uses” and “advocates” terrorism and it does “terrorize” and “frighten” the people of Turkey. The US seemingly agrees with this terminology, and so does the European Union. Both say that the PKK is a “terrorist group” but are unable – or unwilling – to lift a finger to halt its military operations in Turkey.

Much of the world currently seems fixated on the Turkish-Iraqi border, where 60,000 Turkish troops are mobilized on high-alert, awaiting orders to carry out cross-border operations into Iraqi Kurdistan. On Wednesday, the Turkish Parliament voted in favor of a one-year mandate for the Turkish Army to carry out strikes to root out the PKK from Iraq. Out of 550 deputies, an impressive 526 voted for the military adventure. [complete article]

Iraq president assails Syria’s support for Turkish cross-border threat

President Jalal Talabani of Iraq has criticized Syria for supporting Turkey’s threat to carry out military attacks against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

Mr. Talabani said in an interview that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had crossed a “red line” by speaking approvingly of Turkey’s threat of a cross-border offensive against the rebels.

“Usually I refrain from commenting on Syrian positions to maintain our historical good relations,” Mr. Talabani, himself a Kurd, said in the interview, published Saturday in the Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. “But this time I cannot support this crossing of a red line.” [complete article]

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