Turkey: Any Attack on Iraq Not Invasion

Turkey tried Thursday to allay fears about its plans for a possible cross-border assault on Kurdish rebels in Iraq, saying such an attack would target guerrilla bases and not amount to an "invasion."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected to arrive in Ankara, the capital, Friday as part of an intense campaign to prevent Turkey from sending troops into northern Iraq. The U.S. believes that such an operation could trigger a wider conflict with another U.S. ally, the Iraqi Kurds.

Many Turks are furious with the United States for its perceived failure to pressure Iraq into cracking down on the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Street protesters have urged the government to send forces across the border even if it means a deepening of the rift with the U.S., their Cold War-era ally.

On Wednesday, about 100 people gathered at a park in Ankara to protest Rice's visit. Some threw darts at a photograph of her. They held English-language placards that read: "Terrorist Rice, take your bloody hands from Turkey" and "Go home Rice."

Turkey's foreign minister, Ali Babacan, said the military, if it crosses the border, would try to avoid confronting the self-governing Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq. Turkish leaders suspect, however, that the administration there is assisting the PKK, or at the very least tolerating its presence at a network of mountain camps.

"Any cross-border attack would be aimed at hitting terrorist bases, and would not be an invasion," said Babacan, who has toured the Middle East to seek support from Arab leaders for Turkey's stance.

"We have doubts about the sincerity of the administration in northern Iraq in the struggle against the terrorist organization," he said. "We want to see solid steps."

The "invasion" reference recalled the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, a source of tension between Washington and Ankara because Turkey refused to allow U.S. troops to use its territory as a platform for attacking Saddam Hussein. Turkey has also been troubled by the increasingly emboldened Iraqi Kurds following Saddam's ouster, fearing their success will incite separatism among its minority Kurd population.

The Iraqi Kurds have warned Turkey against staging a cross-border offensive, saying they will defend their territory against any incursion and suggesting that Turkey's ulterior goal is to disrupt their virtual mini-state. Turkey is wary of getting bogged down in a conflict that could be militarily inconclusive and politically damaging for a country seeking to burnish its international image by joining the European Union.

Washington has pressed Turkey for restraint while urging Iraqi Kurds to crack down on the PKK bases in Iraq, where guerrillas rest, train and resupply before infiltrating Turkey again to conduct attacks. The United States says it is now sharing intelligence with Turkey to thwart the PKK threat.

"We, of course, would not want Turkey to launch its own military operations across the border because obviously there are troubles enough in Iraq," U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said Thursday in Vienna, Austria. "But it is absolutely imperative that steps be taken to prevent such PKK attacks in the future."

After meetings in Ankara, Rice will travel to Istanbul for a conference on Iraq that is likely to be dominated by talk about the crisis on the Iraqi-Turkish border. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to attend. Another delegate, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, arrived Thursday night in Ankara.

On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington. The Turkish military has indicated that it will wait for Erdogan's return before launching any operation in Iraq.

Turkey already has taken some economic measures against the PKK and those who support it, Babacan said without elaborating. He said Turkey was also considering the suspension of flights to northern Iraq, a move likely designed to press the Iraqi Kurd government to move against the PKK.

Erdogan, however, said no sanctions were in place and that there would be an announcement if they were implemented. The government did not explain the conflicting statements.

Iraq's Kurdish region relies heavily on Turkish food imports, construction works and electricity, and Turkish sanctions carry the threat of antagonizing the regional government there rather than making it compliant. Turkey has said it wants to make sure that any economic measures do not inflict suffering on the innocent on both sides of the border.

The PKK, which seeks more rights and autonomy for Turkish Kurds, is labeled a terrorist group by Europe and the United States. ( Fox )

WHO says COVID-19 vaccine supply hitches could reignite upticks in Africa
WHO says COVID-19 vaccine supply hitches could reignite upticks in Africa
Ambedkar remembered on birth anniversary in Dubai
Ambedkar remembered on birth anniversary in Dubai
AzTV releases video on April 2016 battles: "We honor the April victory with pride!"
AzTV releases video on April 2016 battles: "We honor the April victory with pride!"
Loading Bars
Latest
Establishment of free trade zone in Iran's Ardabil Province to improve trade - MP
Chief of ADB's Energy Sector Group unveils details on ADB Draft Energy Policy
Azerbaijani team express satisfaction for participating in Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup
Azerbaijani team in group exercises reaches final of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku
Revenues from customs duties increase in Azerbaijan
Austrian IT company discloses volume of entire internet traffic accounting for people in 2020
Azerbaijan's 4M2021 revenues from State Customs Committee unveiled
Azerbaijan almost doubles export of aluminum
Azerbaijan partially resuming traditional form of education
Armenia experiences continuous population decline
EU to continue activity in Azerbaijan in field of green economy - Head of EU delegation
Head of EU Delegation to Azerbaijan talks possibilities of resuming int'l travel
Group teams perform at National Gymnastics Arena as part of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan names finalists in exercises with ball within Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku
Azerbaijan names finalists in exercises with hoop within Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku
Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku - results of performance of Azerbaijani gymnasts in exercise with hoop and ball (PHOTO)
Italian gymnast talks about friendly relations with Azerbaijani gymnast
Best moments of first day of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku (PHOTO)
World Cup in Baku - most long-awaited competition, says Lithuanian gymnast
WB plans to issue loan for road project in Azerbaijan
Georgian SME program aims digitization and environmental initiative to address climate change
Georgia to build enterprise for production of cleaning and detergents
Presidents of Uzbekistan, Russia consider strengthening of strategic partnership
Trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Belarus significantly increases
Hungarian lab confirms reliability of Sputnik V jab delivered to Slovakia
France's Macron: Vaccine patents not the issue, it's getting jabs out
Monday.com files for Wall Street IPO
Georgia, Ukraine emphasize European and Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations
Organizing committee of World Cup in Azerbaijan’s Baku doing its job perfectly - Hungarian gymnast
Hotel price index up in Georgia for April 2021
Qatar Airways to resume flights from Doha to Baku soon
Uzbekistan reveals financial performance of Uzbek mobile operators
Iran's sees increase in petrochemical exports
Indian Embassy in Baku introduced a new Sanskrit learning App, ‘Little Guru’ (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan discloses number of views of President Aliyev’s interview on Twitter (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 7
Azerbaijan issues data on 1Q2021 export of fruits, vegetables
Azerbaijan confirms 722 more COVID-19 cases, 1,854 recoveries
Iran-Syria trade increases - Chamber of Commerce
Heydar Aliyev Foundation to organize legendary Khary Bulbul music festival in Shusha
Azerbaijan State Security Service talks arrest of illegal armed groups' members
VISA, Central Bank of Azerbaijan sign agreement on development of non-cash payments in Azerbaijan
Pakistan PM Khan in Saudi Arabia to discuss relations
Georgian Formula Construction exports building materials to Lithuania
Firefighters tackle blaze at 19-storey London tower block
Iran increases amount of jobs in free economic zones
Azerbaijan creates best conditions in National Gymnastics Arena - Uzbek gymnast
Greece, Estonia have biggest decrease in CO2 emissions from energy use
Iran says no need for direct or indirect talks with US
Georgia sees increase in international visitors
AzerGold discloses results of tender for software installation
Highest rate of inactive loans recorded in Georgian Cartu Bank
Russia documents 8,386 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours
U.S. administers nearly 252 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Georgia needs investments for faster economic recovery - PM
Azerbaijan has lower COVID-19 death rate compared to global indicators - professor
Kazakhstan sees decrease in petroleum oil exports to Spain
Baku hosts opening ceremony of Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup (PHOTO)
Former serviceman accused of treason and espionage in Armenia
Azerbaijan plans to withdraw its peacekeepers from Afghanistan – Defense ministry
India grants permission for 5G trials to telecom service providers
Armenian side does not fulfill obligations upon int’l humanitarian law - MFA
Japan pledges $50.3 million to help India combat COVID-19
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan developing analogy of Schengen visa for Silk Road countries
Azerbaijan forming perspective industrial complex
Azerbaijan - important int’l transport hub - chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC (PHOTO)
ADB to no longer finance coal mining, oil, and natural gas field exploration
Successful policy on development of sports in Azerbaijan bearing fruit - Deputy Sports Minister
All gymnasts provided with necessary time to train for Rhythmic Gymnastics FIG World Cup in Baku - Greek gymnast
Germany says production capacity, not patents, key to upping vaccine output
Saudi to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all workers
Georgia shares data on number of citizen registered for temporary employment in Germany and Israel
Uzbekneftegaz increases natural gas output at field of Gazli oil and gas production dep’t
Uzbekistan to increase copper sulfate exports to Poland
Several investment projects to be implemented in Kazakhstan's Zhambyl in 2021
Iran continues to strengthen ties with China, Russia
Winners of ‘Sustainable Development in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering’ conference awarded (PHOTO)
Very exciting to perform in Rhythmic Gymnastics FIG World Cup in Baku - Polish gymnast
Global Affairs Canada welcomes release of Armenian detainees by Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's SME Dev't Agency holds training for female entrepreneurs (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani PulPal payment system receives purchase offer
Georgia begins renovating buildings and infrastructure in Gardabani
Azerbaijan eyes to launch WeChat payment solution
Azerbaijan's Central Bank unveils results of tender launched to support database platform
SOCAR’s Petkim reveals profit in Q1 2021
S.Korea to set up training center for advanced technologies of fruit, vegetable production in Uzbekistan
Oil prices set for weekly gain despite India virus surge
Azerbaijan boosts steel imports from Turkey
No 'Indian' strain of COVID-19 detected in Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan-China Pipeline LLP opens tender on repairs of pipelines
Uzbekistan, Ireland consider establishing co-op in tourism sector
Egyptian gymnast talks AGF's organization of World Cup in Baku
Nuvei acquires Israeli fintech co Simplex for $250m
SOCAR’s Petkim increases production capacity to 92%
Kazakhstan decreases imports of Belgium-made goods
Thailand expects up to 20 mln doses of Pfizer vaccine from July
Kazakhstan's inflation rate for April 2021 revealed
Shusha declared cultural capital of Azerbaijan - presidential order
Number of ships received at Turkish Gemlik port in 1Q2021 revealed
Putin instructs government to support international Arctic expedition
All news