Thursday, April 27, 2006

Turkey to Iraq: Stop PKK Using Your Territory

Disturbed by the Turkish Armed Forces’ troop deployment to the border to prevention terrorist infiltration, Iraq issued a diplomatic note asking Turkey “to stop hot pursuit.”

Iraq Ambassador to Ankara Umran Sabah delivered the note to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry yesterday.

Turkey’s Ambassador to Bagdat (Baghdad) Unal Cevikoz was also given a note on Tuesday.

Rejecting the allegation of a “hot pursuit”, Turkey told that “the terror network the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) had recently increased its activities and obtained weapons from Iraq.

“There are infiltrations, and we are protecting our border. We are taking the necessary measures in this regard. Do not allow the terror network use your territory. Fight against the terrorists who will only terrorize you in the future. Take the necessary measures there,” responded Turkey.

The uneasiness that Turkey experiences was also communicated to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who paid a surprise visit to the Iraqi capital, Bagdat (Baghdad), after her contacts in Ankara. Rice reportedly conveyed this message to the Iraqi authorities that she met with yesterday.

The Iraqi administration based its reaction against Ankara on the assumption that “Turkish troops cross the border at times and conduct small-scale operations on Iraqi territory.”

Ambassador Sabah questioned Ankara regarding whether these allegations were accurate or not.

The Bagdat (Baghdad) administration maintained that the operations are direct violation of Iraq’s right of sovereignty. The Turkish Foreign Ministry, in a statement, did not use any expression concerning the allegations of “trans-border operation” and “hot pursuit”.

During the Oguz Celikkol-Umran Sabah talks held at the Foreign Ministry, the reason for the border deployment and other security measures was accounted for. “We take measures to protect our own border. We expect you to take the same measures,” Ankara responded.

Celikkol told the Iraqi ambassador that the prevention of the “PKK’s presence and its activities in Iraq, which are also on the agenda’s of the Turkey-Iraq-US talks, make these operations compulsory. He said the terror network, taking the advantage of the authority gap in Iraq, used the region as a camp, and therefore, Iraq is being asked to “end the PKK’s presence and activities in Iraq.”

Ankara also expects similar steps from the new government in Iraq. The Baghdad administration was sent the warning, “protect your borders.”

Turkey wants an extensive discussion on the subject with the new Iraqi government being initiated.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, following his talks with US Secretary of State Rice, said, they were highlighting “the importance of border safety as much as possible,” and were calling on Iraq to contribute to the efforts and not allow the terrorist organization to use its territory. Turkey does not have its eye on anybody’s land, he clarified.

National Security Council to discuss ‘trans-border’

A Turkish military operation against the PKK will also be handled at a National Security Council (MGK) meeting today.

The latest situation regarding the activities of the Turkish troops along the border will be discussed, and the strategy regarding a trans-border operation will be clarified.

Rice’s contacts in Ankara, the new government in Iraq and Iran’s nuclear crisis will also be on the agenda of today’s MGK meeting.



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