Turkey to Press Iraqi Leader

( LatWp ) -Turkish leaders this week will give visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki what Turkish military commanders and analysts said could be a final warning to act against anti-Turkey Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq--or to stand by while Turkish forces go after the rebels themselves, risking a new front in Iraq's war.

Leaders of Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party appear to be in agreement with Turkey's generals that the time has come to move against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish initials, PKK, in its bases in the mountains of northern Iraq, said former generals and a military expert close to the Turkish military's general staff.

At least 30,000 people have been killed since the Kurdish rebels launched a campaign in 1984 for an independent Kurdish homeland in eastern Turkey. Clashes and bombs this week killed 14 Turkish soldiers and rebel fighters. The rebels also kidnapped eight residents of a Kurdish village in the east.

Turkey accuses Iraq's Kurds--who have built a nearly autonomous Kurdish state in northern Iraq under protection of the U.S. military since the early 1990s--of giving the Kurdish rebels a haven and allowing them free passage back and forth across the Iraqi border into Turkey.

``The Turkish people want the government to do something, and in this case, the Turkish military and government now coincide,'' retired Turkish Maj. Gen. Armagan Kuloglu said in a telephone interview from the Turkish capital of Ankara.

``It could be any moment basically,'' said Zeyno Baran, a senior fellow and director at the Center for Eurasian Policy at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., who is familiar with the Turkish military command.

``Both the civilian and military leadership believe we really have to do something about it, that this is getting ridiculous,'' Baran said.

Turkey's military, outraged at what it says have been escalating attacks on its troops by the PKK, has been warning for months of an imminent invasion of northern Iraq in pursuit of the PKK.

The timing of a Turkish attack is a matter of ``whenever it's convenient,'' Baran said. ``August or September,'' she said.

Baran and some others expect U.S. forces to join in if Turkey does act against the rebels in northern Iraq. The scenario most often cited is an operation involving U.S. and Turkish special forces already in northern Iraq.

``I do believe that the Americans ... are probably getting ready to do something jointly with Turkey, but they really don't want the Turks to go on their own,'' Baran said.

Robert Novak wrote in a syndicated column that appeared July 30 in The Washington Post that Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and now an undersecretary of defense policy, had secretly briefed U.S. lawmakers that the United States was planning a covert action with the Turkish army against the PKK in northern Iraq. Edelman added that ``the U.S. role could be concealed and always would be denied,'' according to Novak.

The leak of the alleged plans for a U.S.-Turkish operation makes a fully covert mission now impossible, noted Strategic Forecasting, a private intelligence-analysis agency based in Austin, Texas.

With the alleged planning made public, ``the United States is betting that the Iraqi Kurdish leadership will succumb to pressure to act against the PKK itself, and thus preclude the need for a major Turkish incursion--which would be an extremely messy situation considering the bloody result of having two NATO allies, PKK rebels and battle-hardened pesh merga forces fighting it out in mountainous terrain,'' the group wrote, using the Kurdish term for fighters. Strategic Forecasting was founded in 1996 by George Friedman, a political scientist and former college professor.

U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq, for months has resisted Turkish appeals for action in Kurdish northern Iraq. Any major operation would mean diverting U.S. troops needed for operations in the rest of Iraq and risk mass defections by Kurdish forces from the Iraqi army.

U.S. action against the Kurdish separatist fighters also would expose American forces to retaliation by PKK forces in northern Iraq, one of the few relatively calm and prosperous regions in the country.

U.S. reluctance to hit the PKK has angered many in Turkey and damaged relations between the two NATO allies. A recent Pew public opinion survey showed only 9 percent of Turks viewed the United States favorably. The governing party's slowness to agree to appeals by the Turkish military for permission to invade northern Iraq helped elect a pro-invasion nationalist bloc to parliament in elections last month.

Iran, also combating Kurdish rebels on its soil, has used the situation to court an alliance with Turkey. The two countries signed a major gas line proposal last month.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Maliki to the Turkish capital last month, after the Turkish leader's party triumphed in the elections. Erdogan accompanied his invitation with a new public warning that Turkey's military would strike the PKK in northern Iraq if the United States and their Iraqi allies failed to do so. Maliki is due in Ankara on Tuesday.

Iraqi Kurdish lawmakers have urged Maliki to tell the Turkish leader to stay out of Iraq's affairs.

Turkish forces for years have launched occasional, small-scale raids and artillery strikes into northern Iraq in pursuit of the PKK.

Kurdish leaders now in the Iraqi government at times in the past paired up with Turkey to fight the PKK. But while Iraq's two main Kurdish parties have their own objections to the PKK, there also is sympathy for the PKK among Iraqi Kurds, making it politically difficult for Kurdish leaders to be seen as endorsing an attack on the rebels.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders also appear to regard the PKK as providing useful leverage in any negotiations over Kirkuk, an oil center in northern Iraq, said Omer Taspinar, a Turkish expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Kirkuk residents are to vote by the end of this year whether to annex the city to Iraq's Kurdish north. Many Turks object to the annexation, in part out of concern for the fate of Kirkuk's Turkmen population.

Some Iraqi Kurds want to trade their agreement to crack down on the PKK ``as a quid pro quo for Kirkuk,'' Taspinar said.

A former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, urged the Iraqi Kurds to move against the PKK. The United States should press the Iraqi Kurds to do so--and send U.S. forces into action against the Kurdish rebels if the Iraqi Kurds refuse, Abramowitz said by telephone from the Washington area.

``It's time for the Kurds to act,'' Abramowitz said. ``If they don't, I hope the Americans will act. And if there's another serious incident, I think the Turks will act. I think you have a very dangerous situation.''

Turkmenistan develops packers to increase oil field productivity
Turkmenistan develops packers to increase oil field productivity
Turkmenistans Turkmenstandartlary extends tender to buy lab equipment
Turkmenistans Turkmenstandartlary extends tender to buy lab equipment
Turkmenistan's Kaakhkinsky district expands areas for vegetable, fruit crops
Turkmenistan's Kaakhkinsky district expands areas for vegetable, fruit crops
Loading Bars
Azerbaijan plans to increase Virginia tobacco production
Central Bank of Iran seeks to unfreeze foreign currency sources abroad
Azerbaijan Wine Producers & Exporters Association eyes new markets for export
Kazakhstan's Shymkent to oversee implementation of various agro-industrial projects
Azerbaijan’s Technol plant talks about production plans
Georgia begins construction of Namakhvani HPP cascade
Azerbaijan’s Elektrogas company testing latest models of heating equipment
Industrial parks to appear in Kazakhstan's Almaty
Agrarian Credit & Development Agency talks subsidies issued to Azerbaijani farmers
Turkmenistan develops packers to increase oil field productivity
Construction of Georgian Kutaisi bypass road nearing completion
Embassy: Romania, Georgia enjoy excellent relations
More than half of financial irregularities in Azerbaijan fall on accounting and reporting
Wind power plant construction underway in Kazakhstan's Zhambyl
Azerbaijan extends project on supporting women's entrepreneurship
Polish company installing new systems at Kutaisi int'l airport in Georgia
Azerbaijan eyes exporting textile products to Russia, Arab countries
One more professional participant registered in Azerbaijan's insurance market
Uzbek United Processing Center to improve e-business environment in country
Georgia, Poland discuss resumption of air traffic
Federal Ministry: Germany seeks to further expand its relations with Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani association talks planned volume of hazelnut export
Users of fixed internet doubles in Georgia
Global Environment Facility supports environmental project of Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan detects 338 new COVID-19 cases
WeWork Global to invest $100 million in India business
Azerbaijani Tax Service comments on changes to Tax Code
TAP project’s schedule remains unchanged
Canada gains surprise 289,600 jobs in May, jobless rate hits record
Georgia to open skies to international flights
Turkmenistans Turkmenstandartlary extends tender to buy lab equipment
144 Azerbaijani citizens return from Ankara to Baku via Azerbaijan Airlines' flight (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan's Kaakhkinsky district expands areas for vegetable, fruit crops
Solar plant capacity to be increased in Kazakhstan's Karaganda
Kazakh FlyArystan suspends flights to regional center of West Kazakhstan
Uzbekistan sells state shares in wine cluster of Samarkand region
Georgia discloses amount of funds spent on quarantine space
Uzbekistan may lock co-op with Israeli geotechnical engineering company
Review of microfinance organizations' ratings in Georgia
Azerbaijan’s AccessBank ended 2019 with profit
Germany strengthens cooperation with Uzbekistan
Volume of fuel oil shipment via Turkish ports from Jan. through Apr. 2020 announced
Azerbaijani AccessBank’s liabilities decrease
Uzbekistan to upgrade infrastructure of Fergana region's district
Volume of Turkish mining industry products export declines
Azerbaijan's ministry talks postal services work during quarantine
No progress in latest round of EU-Brexit talks
LVMH backs down on renegotiating Tiffany deal
Azerbaijani MFA: Armenia may face severe consequences of its policy
Azerbaijani Energy Minister to attend OPEC+ Ministerial Meeting
Turnover of electric power surges in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's textile factory discloses knitwear production capabilities
Spain to open to foreign tourism from July 1
Cargo shipment volume from Ukraine via Turkish ports announced
Google Chrome's share in Azerbaijan's browser market grows
Nine insurance companies’ claims shrink in Azerbaijan
Turkmenistan, Russia discuss co-op within int'l organizations
Turkmenistan assesses environment, following 'day without cars'
France's import of grain, legumes from Turkey down
Coal railway cargo transportation up in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan's AIFC to bring more revenue to state budget by project co-funding
Jewelry export from Turkey to foreign markets downgrades
South Korean Sejin G&E to bring gas-based power production to Uzbekistan
Turkmenistan's Health Ministry to buy medicines via tender
Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for procurement of mobile lifting machinery
British luxury carmaker Bentley to cut quarter of workforce
Presidents of Georgia, Albania may open direct flights
Canada interested in cooperation with Uzbekistan
WoodMac expects significant increase in 2021 oil demand
Azerbaijani parliament approves bill on 2019 budget fulfillment in first reading
Turkmenistan strives for saving Caspian Sea resources during COVID-19
Kazakhstan's KAZ Minerals ups funding for copper project in Russia
Volume of jet fuel transshipment through Turkish ports announced
Azerbaijan’s Elektrogas LLC talks manufacturing gas-fired water heaters
Azerbaijan creating its first biosphere reserve
Georgia, Germany, France discuss creating safe travel corridors
Iran restoring water level in Lake Urmia
All permits in place for new technology at Azerbaijan’s Kursangi, Garabagli fields
Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business boosting cooperation with Israeli LAHAV
Bombardier to cut 2,500 aviation jobs as COVID-19 hurts sales
Ambassador: Open market economy to help Georgia to become richer
Iran to discuss details of budget plan reform
Kulevi oil terminal holds annual inspection of all safety equipment
Assets of Azerbaijan’s AccessBank surge
Malaysia reports 19 new coronavirus cases, one new death
Kazakh-German oil extracting JV to buy spare parts via tender
Singapore heading for record unemployment in 2020
Uzbekistan sells state shares in Shahrisabz Star Hotel
Trade turnover between Turkey, Tajikistan slides
Iran reports COVID-19 data for June 5
Azerbaijan explains rules for shopping prior to weekends, amid hard quarantine
Businessmen from Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan to hold online forum
Kazakh Gas Refinery to buy pumps via tender
Turkish export of fruit, vegetables spikes
Indonesia reports 703 new coronavirus infections, 49 new deaths
Crude market to be in deficit also in August
Turkey reveals volume of diesel transshipped through country ports
European Investment Bank talks recent projects in Georgia
Kazakhstan considering approaches to unify some social payments
Azerbaijan has all prospects for economic growth in post-pandemic period
All news