Turkey is Drawn into the Vortex; Sends Tanks to Iraq Border
May 31, 2007 (LPAC)--Turkey has been beefing up its military forces on the Iraqi border, according to the Turkish Daily News and other wires. Yesterday it sent twenty tanks loaded on trucks from the army barracks in Mardin, near Syria, as well as APCs, towards the Iraq border in southeast Turkey. This is an area where Turkey has been fighting Kurdish PKK guerrillas. Iraq-based Kurdish leader Mahmoud Barzani protested the possible move across the border. But what can he do? Turkey is being pulled into the quicksand as an intended result of the "Bernard Lewis Plan" being dictated to Vice President Cheney from London.
Pressure for such anti-PKK action has been increasing in Turkey, following an Ankara suicide bombing last week which killed six, followed a day later by a land mine explosion that killed six soldiers.
Turkey has been demanding that US forces in Iraq move against the PKK terrorists. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated this on Tuesday, adding that Turkey would cross the border if necessary: "Our expectation from the United States and Iraq is to scatter and destroy the bases of the terrorist organization in northern Iraq," Erdogan said, according to AP and Al Jazeera . "They either turn them over or send them elsewhere." He added that the technical, military and diplomatic aspects of a possible cross-border incursion were being evaluated. "The target is to achieve results," Erdogan was quoted by TDN . "Our patience has run out. The necessary steps will be taken when needed."
Turkey's special envoy to Iraq, Oguz Celikkol, visiting Iraq to discuss Turkish demands, told CNN-Turk yesterday: "The PKK must be eliminated as a problem between Iraq and Turkey." Asked whether Turkey could take unilateral action, Celikkol said: "Our expectation is that this issue will be resolved before it comes to that point." According to Turkish military estimates, 3,800 PKK fighters are now based across the border in Iraq, and up to 2,300 operate inside Turkey.
But under orders from Cheney in Washington, the U.S. military command has made a mockery of Turkey's demands, by turning over the security of the three northern provinces that border Syria, Iran and Turkey, to local Iraqi authorities.