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Turkey rejects cease-fire by rebel Kurds


BrucePrime

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BAGHDAD - Turkey's foreign minister rejected any cease-fire by Kurdish rebels Tuesday as he met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad to press them to crack down on the guerrillas. Turkish forces massed on the border and tensions rose over a threatened military incursion.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, himself a Kurd, said Iraq's central government and authorities in its Kurdish autonomous region in the north would work together to deny the rebels freedom of movement, funds and representative offices. He said a high-level political and military delegation would travel soon to Turkey.

Iraqi officials have been saying that guerrillas with the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, which is known by its Kurdish acronym PKK, were based in inaccessible mountainous areas of northern Iraq.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said there are several ways to fight terrorism and Ankara would use them when appropriate. The buildup of troops along Turkey's border with Iraq, meanwhile, continued with military helicopters airlifting commando units into the area overnight.

The mix of diplomatic and military activity followed Sunday's rebel ambush near the Iraqi border that left 12 Turkish soldiers dead, 16 wounded and eight missing.

"We also don't wish our historical and friendly ties with Iraq to be ruined because of a terrorist organization," Babacan said at a joint news conference after meeting with Zebari. "On the other hand, we are expecting support from international community and our neighbors in struggle against terrorism."

Babacan said rebel attacks this month alone left 42 people dead.

The Turkish government on Tuesday asked television and radio stations to curb broadcasts about Sunday's ambush, saying they "have a negative impact on public order and people's morale, spreading a flawed image of security forces," according to an official at the media watchdog. The official asked not to be named because she was not allowed to speak to the media.

Babacan, meanwhile, rejected any offer of a cease-fire by the PKK.

Cease-fires are "possible between states and regular forces," a stern-faced Babacan said. "The problem here is that we're dealing with a terrorist organization."

The PKK has called on Turkey not to attack Iraq, claiming that a unilateral rebel cease-fire declared in June was still in place although it did not halt fighting.

"The position of the PKK is that we have agreed to a cease-fire but when we are attacked by the Turkish troops we will hit back," rebel spokesman Abdul-Rahman al-Chadarchi told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

He also confirmed that the rebels were holding eight Turkish soldiers captive and promised to treat them with respect, although he said it was "premature" to discuss conditions for their release.

"When they were attacking us, they were our enemies but now they are helpless captives whom we will take care of," al-Chadarchi said. "When the Turkish government asks for them, we can talk about conditions."

Turkish officials said the search was continuing for soldiers from Sunday's attack and would not comment on the rebels' claims.

If confirmed, the seizure would be the largest since 1995, when guerrillas grabbed eight soldiers and took them to northern Iraq before releasing them two years later.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, also a Kurd, told reporters after meeting with Babacan that his country had asked the PKK to stop its attacks or leave the country. He made no mention of the PKK cease-fire he announced Monday.

Zebari said a threat to the stability of Iraq's Kurdish north would have "dangerous consequences," but stressed that Turkey had "legitimate concerns."

Zebari also insisted there was a "resolve and insistence on the part of the Iraqi government" to cooperate with Turkey to resolve the border issue "and deal with the terrorists that Turkey is subjected to."

Erdogan, speaking in London, refused to set a timetable for Turkish action, warning: "We can exercise this mandate at any time."

Erdogan also was quoted Tuesday in the country's leading daily Hurriyet as saying that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had talked of a possible joint U.S.-Turkish operation against the rebels during a telephone call Sunday.

Neither Babacan or Zebari mentioned the report and the U.S. military said it was not aware of such plans.

SOURCE

Edited by BrucePrime
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I think it's turkeys right to fight these terrorists....all who harbor them..iraq has become a terrorist stronghold under bush's plan....what should he expect? you gotta clean up your own neighborhood...

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The problem is that the PKK have a very good support from Turkey´s Kurd population. Turkey have not a very good right whith its minorities, and the Kurds have a very long time claim to form their own nation. Too bad that means getting 1/4 of Turkey, 1/3 of Irak and minor territories of Siria and Iran.

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If turkey moves 60,000 troops in; what will the Iraq/US response be?....this is a situation...we need a cats perspective perhaps?..

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If turkey moves 60,000 troops in; what will the Iraq/US response be?....this is a situation...we need a cats perspective perhaps?..

DArned good question. Northern Iraq is a big territory... if Turkey DOES have 60,000 troops, then they won't go far. The PPK could just retreat into the hinterland and play a 'cat and mouse' game with them. (this is what eventually forced the Soviets to retreat from Afghanistan). The Turks may have to commit many more troops than this.

If Turkey "loses it's temper" and starts killing Kurdish civilians en masse... then what WILL the US do ? There is a precedent: when the Kurds rose up after the 1991 war, the US stood back and did nothing as Saddam massacred them with armed helicopters.

The US might sit back, but I doubt that the Iraqis will take it sitting down. The Kurds might expect informal logistics support such as weapons, munitions, food, intelligence etc from both the Iraqi government (such as it is) and the various tribal and sectarian groups. What happens if a PPK brigade flees into 'southern' Iraq with the Turkish army (or air force) in "hot pursuit" ?

Not a happy thought. Lets just hope that the Turkish Prime Minister and Minister of Defence keep cool heads.

Meow Purr.

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I think it's turkeys right to fight these terrorists....all who harbor them..iraq has become a terrorist stronghold under bush's plan....what should he expect?

You didn't actually read the article, did you?

If confirmed, the seizure would be the largest since 1995, when guerrillas grabbed eight soldiers and took them to northern Iraq before releasing them two years later.

Yup, Bush started this problem.

Edited by BrucePrime
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Yup, Bush started this problem.

Oh behave :P

Bush didn't start this problem, but he (or his successor) may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of being forced to stop it... though gawd knows how.

You can just about see a scenario (if you squint a bit) where Iraq unites to resist Turkish, Iranian and Syrian "anti-PPK" incursions, and appeals to the US forces in Iraq to help gaurentee their security. It's only a short step from that, to US/Turkish forces glaring at each other across the battlefield. NOT a happy thought.

Meow Purr.

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Oh behave :P

Bush didn't start this problem, but he (or his successor) may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of being forced to stop it

Meow Purr.

May is being very conservative. Bush and his diplomats are already running like headless chickens from one phone to the next to calm down the Turks. The problem is that they don't want to be calmed. This is the perfect occasion to show the military that the Turkish government is straight down Ataturk's line. And it is a good occasion to distract from the headscarf discussion in Turkey.

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"running around like headless chickens"

Is that another way of saying, "trying to find a diplomatic solution?" :mellow:

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"running around like headless chickens"

Is that another way of saying, "trying to find a diplomatic solution?" :mellow:

ehm... no that is another way of saying that they are looking for a diplomatic solution where there is none. :innocent:

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pfft....it was a waste of all this time then. :devil:

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Lets just hope that the Turks will satisfy their national pride by blowing up a few rocks, and then going home. :)

Hey... it could happen. :unsure2:

Stop looking at me like that :(

Meow Purr.

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