A Turkish army of 10,000 soldiers backed by jet planes swooping over the area and conducting bombing attacks is moving further into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels. The Turkish General Staff insists the operation is one of short range and its forces “will return home in the shortest time possible after its goals have been achieved.” Prime Minister Erdogan made his first statement and emphasized “the target of the cross-border attack is the terrorist organization, not the Iraqis.” He also noted the United States has been cooperating with the operation by providing important intelligence information. The official Turkish estimate is that its forces have gone about 10 kilometers although CNN claims they are at least 20-25 kilometers into Iraqi territory. CNN showed film of Turkish trucks carrying soldiers moving at a rapid rate to support its assertion.
Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish area of Iraq, visited the site where Turkish troops are now fighting, but refused to do anything like ordering Kurdish peshmerge forces to respond to the invasion. Apparently, the Kurdish government will watch and ponder hoping Turk troops will quickly return.
The invasion of Iraq– that is what is happening– came during a relatively quiet time on the Turkish-Kurdistan border region. There have not been any recent examples of Kurd rebels attacking Turkish troops. Erdogan’s government continues insisting there are short-term goals to be achieved. What if the goals are not achieved? What if Turkish forces find themselves confronted by guerrlla forces which will not come out and fight, but prefer clandestine operations? Will Turkish soldiers remain? In the meantime, has anyone asked permission of the Iraq government for such warlike actions on its territory?