Warplanes: U-2s For Turks Against Kurds


November 18, 2007: The U.S. Air Force is flying U-2 aircraft recon missions for the Turkish forces fighting PKK Kurdish rebels along the Iraqi border. The U-2 carries spy satellite grade sensors, so it can give a very detailed view of what is down there, even if people are hiding under cover. PKK rebels often use caves to hide out in, but sufficiently sensitive sensors can even detect if people are camping out in a cave.

Turkey has been complaining, for several years, about the PKK hiding out in northern Iraq camps, then crossing into Turkey to ambush soldiers and police. The Turkish parliament recently authorized the Turkish military to enter Iraq in force to root out the PKK. The Turks have not made such a move yet, but over 20,000 Turkish combat troops are on the border and ready to go.

Turkey does not have the kind of UAVs, spy satellites and recon aircraft the U.S. possesses, and apparently called in some favors to get the U-2s, and apparently some other photo and electronic recon aircraft, to help with this counter-terrorism effort. Moreover, the U.S. has operated U-2s from Turkish airbases for half a century, so the Turks can feel it's time that their hospitality was reciprocated.


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