Tuesday, April 25, 2006

U.S. Will Help Turks Stop Kurdish Inroads From Iraq

ANKARA, Turkey, April 25 — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assured Turkish leaders today that the United States would step up efforts to stop the infiltration of Kurdish insurgents from Iraq into Turkey, but she cautioned the Turkish government not to send troops into Iraq to do the job.

Addressing what has become a new irritant in relations with Turkey, Ms. Rice acknowledged that the problem of infiltration by Kurdish rebels into Turkey from Kurdish regions in northern Iraq had been allowed to grow. The Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah Gül, said there had been a surge in such infiltration in recent weeks.

The Turkish media has been filled with reports of thousands of Turkish troops massing on the border of Iraq, and there has been speculation that Turkey might intervene in Iraq. Ms. Rice, without speaking directly to that threat, clearly sought to discourage the Turks from doing anything on their own.

"Of course we want anything that we do to contribute to stability in Iraq, not to threaten that stability or to make a difficult situation worse," Ms. Rice said, referring to the Turkish troop presence. "That is why a cooperative approach on this problem — cooperation between Iraqi and Turkey and the coalition forces — is very important."

Mr. Gül spoke of the Kurdish rebel situation in blunt terms, saying that the Kurdish Workers Party, which is known as the P.K.K., had turned Iraq into "a training ground" and that "like every country, Turkey will take her own precautions" to deal with the problem.

He said, however, that Turkey had "no claim on anybody's soil or any neighborly country's soil."

Ms. Rice spoke on a swing through the region, starting in the morning with meetings in Athens, where a few thousand anti-American protesters thronged the streets downtown. Perhaps a couple of dozen demonstrators turned violent, throwing Molotov cocktails and burning storefronts and bus stops.

In Greece, Ms. Rice sought to win Greek approval of a Security Council action increasing pressure on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities that are believed in the West to be a cover for a nuclear weapons program. Iran says it is developing civilian nuclear power.

Greece is currently a member of the Security Council, and the Greek foreign minister, Theodora Bakoyannis, expressed solidarity with the American objective of stopping Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program but hinted that she did not think the time was right for acting at the Security Council.

"We are in the middle of a diplomatic effort, a diplomatic effort which still has some tools to use in order to become effective," she said.

Outside the meeting, the demonstrators were protesting possible American military strikes against Iran, and inside Ms. Rice was asked by a Greek journalist whether the United States would seek the use of military bases or facilities in Greece for any military intervention against the Iranian government.

The question and the protesters suggested that the United States has to contend in Europe with reports of possible military actions and the fallout of the Iraq war.

"Let me go right to the crux of the question," Ms. Rice said. "The United States of America understands and believes that Iran is not Iraq." At another point she said: "I most certainly did not raise facilities for anything because that's not on the agenda."

In Turkey, Ms. Rice said she appreciated in general Turkey's support for the troubled efforts in recent months to get a nationally unified government in Iraq. Turkey is especially fearful of a breakup of Iraq because it is concerned that Iraq's Kurdish population in the north could help foment a Kurdish rebellion on Turkish soil.

Ms. Rice said the United States would help suppress Kurdish infiltration into Turkey by sharing intelligence information with the Turkish government.

"We believe that it is important that we make a joint effort through information sharing and other means to prevent any vacuum from being used as a way to inflict harm here in Turkey," she said, referring to the situation in northern Iraq in which a lack of American and Iraqi forces may have contributed to the problem.

"We had a trilateral mechanism to work on this issue, and I hope that we can reinvigorate it when there is a new Iraqi government," she said.


Oh oh, be careful Kurds your about to be sold down the river.


Post a Comment

<< Home