Kurdish War: Shooting At Ghosts


July 2, 2007: Turkey is once again increasing the political and rhetorical pressure on the PKK and Iraq. Over 30 Turkish soldiers and security personnel had died in the last month fighting with the PKK. Most of the action took place in southeastern Turkey. Turkish officials agree that a "cross border operation" into northern Iraq is necessary to curb violence. However, Turkey's senior leaders are being cagey, and some are considering airstrikes on PKK targets in Iraq, rather than a ground invasion. Air strikes do not require parliamentary approval. The Turkish Prime Minister takes the public position that Turkey needs to deal with the PKK in Turkish territory first. But Turkish leaders are not going to launch a large-scale ground action unless they are very sure the results could be decisive. That's the problem - achieving decisive results. The PKK is not sitting around waiting to get hit, and some PKK fighters have moved out of bases in northern Iraq and moved further south. This has happened before-it's the "melt away" effect where PKK fighters go to live with cousins or friendly Kurds in Iraq, until the Turkish soldiers leave. Turkey conducted a large cross-border operation in 1997 that involved around 50,000 Turkish troops. Those troops conducted operations in 1997 that at a couple of points went almost 200 kilometers into Iraq. At the present time Turkey has approximately 50,000 soldiers along the border. However, a large-scale operation would not be a 1997 redux. What Turkey wants is cooperation from the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Kurd security forces-to arrest the PKK fighters as they flee the Turkish incursion.

June 30, 2007: Three Turkish soldiers were killed when they detonated a landmine in Tunceli province (eastern Turkey). The min was laid by the PKK.

June 29, 2007: Turkish police found six PKK bases (or hideouts) in the Batman area. At least one of the six small camps was a bomb factory, where 90 pounds of "explosive devices," as well as batteries and cables (for wiring the bombs and detonating them) were found.

June 26, 2007: A fuel tanker truck was used as a "suicide car bomb" to attack Turkish checkpoint in Tunceli province. However, the only people killed were the two suicide bombers in the truck.

June 25, 2007: Turkish artillery fired on villages in northern Iraq, near the Turkish border. The area is regarded by many Iraqi Kurds as "PKK territory."


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