Turkish army drafts cross-border operation scenarios for Iraq
( RIA Novosti ) - Turkey's army has prepared several scenarios of a trans-border operation in north Iraq to counter Kurdish insurgents, which the government will pass to parliament on Thursday, a local newspaper said.
Turkey's government announced on Tuesday the possibility of a military incursion into Iraq to track down Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters, who have killed 15 Turkish troops since Sunday. The country has been amassing troops near Iraq, and shelling and air-raiding suspected rebel positions along the border.
The scenarios include an advance of 5- 10 km into Iraq to gain full control of the border; pinpoint air attacks on suspected separatist bases; air raids on PKK strongholds in the mountains; and combined land operations and air attacks, Hurriyet newspaper reported on Thursday.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on television on Wednesday that the operation would aim to clear the region of PKK fighters, who currently number about 3,500, but did not say when it could be launched.
He said the government wanted parliamentary approval for the operation to be valid within a year, so the army can "tackle problems as they arise."
Iraq has protested against a Turkish military operation on its territory, calling it "aggression against Iraq and its territorial integrity." Erdogan responded that Ankara was not after Iraq's territory or sovereignty, but sought to counter the mounting terrorism threat emanating from the country.
Local media said the Turkish leadership was considering imposing sanctions against Massoud Barzani, president of the Autonomous Kurdish Government in Iraq and leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, accusing him of supporting the PKK. The party has been fighting for an autonomy in southeast Turkey for nearly 25 years. The conflict has claimed the lives of about 40,000 people.
Cumhurriyet said the Turkish government could freeze Barzini's bank accounts in Turkey and seize his property. Barzini is reported to control Turkey's imported alcohol market, estimated at $300 million, and to own or control about 180 companies in the Mediterranean province of Mercin, Turkey's free trade zone.