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
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."