Turkey may launch ground offensive into northern Iraq at any time

Today’s Zaman reports:

Turkey said on Tuesday that its military may launch a ground offensive against terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq at any time in accordance with ongoing talks with Iraqi Kurdish officials as part of cooperation against the PKK.

Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin said in response to questions from reporters as to whether Turkey is pondering a ground operation in northern Iraq that talks with the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq are still under way and that a cross-border ground offensive could be launched at any time just like aerial strikes. In August, the Turkish military launched aerial attacks on PKK targets in northern Iraq, killing up to 160 terrorists.

The PKK uses its bases in northern Iraq to launch attacks on Turkey. Its Iranian wing, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), is also involved in clashes with Iranian forces.

Last week, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu travelled to Iraq and discussed the issue of the fight against terrorism, as well as bilateral and regional issues, with Iraqi Kurdish officials. Sinirlioğlu’s visit to Iraq comes amid a surge in PKK attacks on Turkish troops. Dozens of troops were killed in PKK attacks over the past couple of months.

The Turkish daily newspaper also reports:

Leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has demanded an apology from Israel for helping the capture of PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan back in 1999 after reports that Israel may use the PKK against Turkey in the face of increasing tensions between the two countries.

Karayılan’s remarks came three days after a report suggesting that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman offered to hold meetings with leaders of the PKK in response to Turkey’s sanctions on Israel due to its refusal to apologize for flotilla deaths.

Karayılan told pro-PKK Firat news agency on Monday that the PKK is a “principled organization” and that it is not a movement that “could be used against any state.”

Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Friday that the hawkish Israeli foreign minister had been planning to meet with PKK leaders in Europe to discuss cooperation with the terrorist group in every possible way. Lieberman has been planning a series of measures to retaliate against Turkey over an apology row, including providing military aid to the outlawed PKK, the daily said.

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One thought on “Turkey may launch ground offensive into northern Iraq at any time

  1. Christopher Hoare

    So a Lieberman led Israeli government would become a sponsor of terrorism? Go ahead—it will be be a stinking morsel to stick down the gullets of the US Congress and Administration.

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