International

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Turkey Continues Military Operations in Northern Iraq

December 23, 2007 12:54 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Turkish air force conducts its second raid on suspected PKK bases; the previous bombing, on Dec. 16, was followed by a small incursion on land and heightened U.S. and Iraqi concerns about escalating regional conflict.

30-Second Summary

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The first air strike came after months of deliberations in Turkey about how to respond to rising violence from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), now operating from bases in northern Iraq.
   
American military and diplomatic forces have been dismayed by Turkey’s cross-border attacks, fearing for the relative tranquility of the largely Kurdish-controlled region.

As with the first air raid, the U.S. government stated that Turkey had notified American officials of the Dec. 22 raid.

Christopher Hitchens, author and Slate columnist, argues that the United States has a moral duty to protect northern Iraq, an area which “maintains its own security, does not require foreign troops … and maintains a high regional standard for pluralism and democracy.” He is not alone in feeling that the Kurds should be rewarded for the stability of their province.

Iraqi officials saw the first incursion as an affront to national sovereignty, with Foreign Minister Hosyar Zebari saying that “unilateral actions to destabilize the situation will harm Iraq's interests and Turkey's interests at the same time.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country did not intend to infringe upon Iraq’s independence, yet “the PKK terrorist organization’s camps there are terrorist camps, they are our enemy.”

Many countries, including the United States, categorize the PKK as a terrorist organization.

In its drive to create an independent Kurdish state, the group has attacked Turkish diplomatic installations and public targets around the world. Some 35,000 people have died in the conflict.

Headline Links: Turkey's incursions into Iraq

Background: Prior parliamentary and military moves

Historical Context: Drawing borders and the PKK

Key Players: Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abdullah Ocalan

Opinion & Analysis: Turkey and northern Iraq

Related Topics: President with Islamist Ties Wins Turkish Presidency

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