Tag Archives: Turkey invasion

Turkey Defends Invasion Of Iraq

The Turkish invasion of Iraq is now in its fifth day with no sign soldiers will soon be leaving the territory of their neighbor. Yesterday, Iraq condemned Turkey’s incursion of their land in search of Kurdish rebels and demanded an immediate withdrawal. The Iraq government statement said: “The cabinet expressed its rejection and condemnation of the Turkish military interference, which is considered a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.” Prime Minister Erdogan immediately responded claiming “Turkey’s cross-border operation is the result of its legitimate right to self-defense.” Ironically, the Turkish argument is close to that of the Bush administration which claimed the right to invade Iraq due to alleged threats from Saddam Hussein’s infamous weapons of mass destruction.

Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek responded to criticism by American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who advised Turkey to deal with terrorism not soley through military means by arguing his nation had a right of self defense. President Bush, and other Republican leaders like John McCain, simply do not grasp how the invasion of Iraq has destabilized the entire region. The United States used the argument it was responding to terrorism by launching an invasion. Why should Bush now be surprised if other nations use his “right of defense” in order to pursue their own anti-terrorism pursuits? It is somewhat ironic that Gates is suggesting avoiding military action and use of other means to fight terrorism. Perhaps, he should reprimand Bush and the Republican party which continues supporting war instead of peaceful means of resolving issues.

Turkish Offense Continues In Iraq

On the third day of the Turkish military operation in Iraq to crush the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party, fighting intensified between both parties. An estimated 113 terrorists and fifteen soldiers have died as troops battled in northern Iraq. The Turkish military warned the local populace not to provide assistance to Kurdish rebels. “What we expect from the local groups is not to protect the terrorists escaping to the sourthern parts of Iraq.” Air raids continue even as ground forces are attempting to crush the Kurdish rebels. Prime Minister Erdogan emphasized to Iraqis there was no intention of trying to take over their land and the object was Kurdish camps.

Ncchirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq lowered his rhetoric and acknowledged Turkey had a right to defend itself against rebel attacks. However, he expressed concern “that the infrastructure of the region ws targeted.” Barzaini called on President Bush to assist efforts to restore peace to the region. The Iraq government also agreed Turkey had a right of self defense, but also was worried the attack might result in further destabilization of a destablized society.

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded Turkey cease its invasion of Iraq terriroty and withdraw. The unknown factor in this invasion equation is how militant Shiites will react to an invasion of their nation. What will be Turkey’s reaction if large numbers of the PKK escape to southern Iraq– will they be pursued?

Turkish Troops Deep Into Iraq

Turkish troops continued their advance into Iraq in pursuit of members of the Kurdish Workers Party(PKK) and despite earlier claims the incursion was only proceeding into immediate border areas, the Turkish army has gone much further into Iraq. There are reports of shelling by Turkish units in the Kandil Mountains, a Kurdish stronghold which is located about 100 kilometers inside Iraq. The Kandil Mountains border on Iran which indicates Turkish troops are almost fighting within sight of Iran.

High ranking Turkish military officials claim ‘intelligence we have received suggests the so-called leaders(of the PKK) are in a panic and trying to flee the region by moving rapidly to the south.” This raises the question as to whether Turkish troops will move further into Iraq territory or will they end the incursion at the Kandil Mountains. A reported 79 Kurds and 7 soldiers have been killed.

One can only wonder at the Iranian reaction to military fighting on its borders. Of course, the Iranian government shares the Turkish feeling of hostility towards the PKK.