Turkey-Iraq Border Tension
Cross-posted from PoliBlog:
Via the BBC: Turkey-Iraq border tension grows
Tension is rising on Turkey’s border with Iraq amid speculation Ankara may be about to launch an incursion to tackle Kurdish rebels.
Turkey is continuing a military build up and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to rule out action.
Turkey blames rebels of the PKK group for a recent suicide bombing in Ankara and a landmine attack on troops.
The PKK has been fighting for an ethnic homeland since 1984. Turkey blames the group for 30,000 deaths since then.
Turkey has an ongoing military campaign against the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party, inside its borders but the US has warned Ankara that sending troops into Iraq would only complicate the situation.
Thousands of PKK members are thought to operate in mountainous regions of Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq.
Lots of factors on interest here, not the least of which being the Turkish elections that are coming up in July that will put pressure on their government to do something. There is also the fact that US fighter jets penetrated Turkish airspace this week, a move the Turks saw as a threat and that the US claimed was an error.
The Turkish PM has suggested a joint US-Turkey operation against the PKK, but one guesses that the Iraqi Kurds wouldn’t like Turkish troops in their territory under any circumstances. On the other hand, if the PKK is, indeed, sponsoring attacks on Turkey (including suicide bombings), then the US can’t exactly tell the Turks to lay off with any legitimacy.