ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's army chief said Thursday the military had launched several 'large scale' offensives against rebels in the predominantly Kurdish southeast, and he asked the government for approval to launch an incursion into neighboring northern Iraq.Sounds a lot like Turkey is acting the way BushCo has blamed Iran as acting: to hinder Iraqi freedom and democracy.
Washington repeatedly has cautioned Turkey against staging a cross-border offensive, fearing that it could destabilize the region and antagonize Iraqi Kurds, who are allied with the U.S.
But Iraq's government is barely able to control its own cities. U.S. commanders, who are battling the Iraqi insurgency in the middle of the country, are stretched too thin to take on Turkish Kurds hiding in remote mountains near the frontier.
Wasn't the northern region of Iraq the one place where there was some peace and progress?
Turkey launched operations into northern Iraq several times in the late 1990s, when it was out of President Saddam Hussein's control.I guess we can let go of that tiny victory now as well.
It has recently been accused of shelling Kurdish positions inside Iraq.
Turkey is especially concerned about a bid to incorporate the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk into the semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdish region, fearing that Iraqi Kurds will use revenues from the city's oil wealth to fund a bid for independence.
The Iraqi government recently decided to implement a constitutional requirement to determine the status of Kirkuk - which is disputed among several different ethnic groups - by the end of the year. The plan is expected to turn Kirkuk and its vast oil reserves over to Kurdish control, a step also rejected by many of Iraq's Arabs and ethnic Turks, who are strongly backed by the Turkish government.