Cross-border operation to take place after election in Turkey

Türkiye Materials 11 July 2007 14:09 (UTC +04:00)

( Cihan ) - The invasion which the Turkish military has considered staging in northern Iraq, to root out members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) based there, seems to have been postponed to a time after the elections, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stating "the possibility of getting parliamentary approval for an operation is not on our agenda right now."

Erdogan's statement comes after persistent statements from the military chief, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, indicating the army's expectation for a political decision to launch a military incursion into northern Iraq. Earlier, government spokespeople and senior members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had on a number of occasions stated that Parliament could be convened to discuss a possible incursion into northern Iraq before the elections; however, they recently decided that there is no need for an operation "for now" during a Cabinet meeting on Monday.

Meanwhile, sources say that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who talked to Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul last Friday on the phone, called on Turkey to wait for the steps the US and the Iraqi central government would take against the PKK before launching an operation. Earlier reports said Rice got no firm assurance from Gul that Turkey would not carry out a cross-border operation.

Speaking to the press after Monday's Cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Abdullatif Sener said there was no discussion at the meeting on a possible motion seeking parliamentary approval for a northern Iraq incursion.

In his Monday night remarks, Prime Minister Erdogan said a seeking parliamentary approval for an incursion "is not on our agenda for the time being." However, he said the government was ready to take the necessary action without hesitation if that would be needed. "Not now. We have 12 days until the elections, and we don't have seeking parliamentary approval on our agenda in these 12 days."