With all the semi-ethnic wars, terrorist explosions and al-Qa'eda, US brutality occupation, a pethatic muppet government, now the Iraqis have Turkey to worry about:
(article taken from the Daily Star Dec. 24, 2007)
Turkey stages third round of attacks on PKK positions in Iraqi Kurdish villages (AFP)
ANKARA: Turkey's military said it attacked Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq Saturday for the third time in less than a week, bombing and shelling positions and warning that more attacks will follow. "Turkish aircraft attacked between 1:35 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. major positions of the terrorist organization [Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK]," after which the Turkish artillery shelled the area for 15 minutes, the military said in a statement on its Web site.
It added that it would carry out more operations despite harsh winter conditions in the mountainous region.
Turkish television channel NTV said the raids were in the Al-Amadiyya area of northern Iraq.
"It will become well understood how effective the operations against the terrorist operations are," the military's statement said, adding that the PKK "no longer has a chance of success" against the Turkish Army.
Actions over recent weeks had left "hundreds of terrorists" dead, it said.
In northern Iraq, Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga security force, said Turkish warplanes had hit isolated Kurdish villages.
"In the afternoon Turkish warplanes entered northern Iraqi airspace in Al-Amadiyya. Later at around 4:00 p.m. they bombed Iraqi Kurdish villages. We do not know the extent of the damage. But these areas are largely deserted and are along the border with Turkey," Yawar told AFP.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and many other countries, has waged a bloody campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey since 1984. The conflict has claimed more than 37,000 lives.
Turkey has been stepping up pressure since its Parliament approved in October cross-border raids on PKK bases, with Ankara saying the Iraqi government and its US backers were not doing enough to halt PKK attacks.
Asked for a reaction, US State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson said in Washington: "The US does view the PKK as a terrorist group and is against any acts of violence against Turkey or Iraq. It will continue to work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq on how they can work together to deal with the PKK."
The new raids followed attacks on December 16 on the Qandil mountains near the border with Iran where Ankara says 3,500 PKK rebels are holed up, using the area as a springboard for attacks in Turkey.
On Tuesday, Turkish troops penetrated into northern Iraq from the southeast Turkish province of Hakkari, the army said. Iraqi officials said about 500 Turkish troops took part in the ground operation.
Ankara has accused Iraqi Kurds, who run an autonomous administration in the north of the country, of tolerating and even supporting the PKK.
Turkey, which has the second-largest army in the NATO military alliance after the US with 515,000 troops, has moved around 100,000 soldiers up to its 380-kilometer border with Iraq.
The United States fears that Turkey could launch a major cross-border operation and destabilize the relatively peaceful northern part of Iraq.
After a flurry of diplomatic activity, Iraq has promised to rein in the PKK and, in November, US President George W. Bush said Washington would provide Ankara with information on rebel movements from its satellites.
The US administration said Wednesday that it had been informed about the December 16 raids in advance.
Turkish Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit said earlier that the United States approved the December 16 air raids by providing "intelligence" and opening Iraqi airspace.
Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq's Kurdish region, refused to meet visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Baghdad Tuesday in protest of US support for Turkey's strikes, a top Kurdish official said.
Ankara has denied that civilians were hit on December 16, blaming reports of villages being bombed and hospitals and schools destroyed on PKK sympathizers among Iraqi officials seeking to mislead the international community.
The UN refugee agency has said some 1,800 people fled their homes in Suleimaniyya and Irbil provinces in northern Iraq following the attacks. - AFP