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[casi] FW: Turkish troops in N. Iraq

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According to the Reuters article below, there are 1,000 Turkish   troops
in Northern Iraq. According to the Turkish daily   Cumhuriyet, however,
the actual number of troops in two brigades   stationed in Northern Iraq
has reached 14,000 in recent days. And   Cumhuriyet reports 12,000 more
just entered Northern Iraq last   night.


18 Oct 2002 19:35
Kurdish leader wants Turkish troops out of Iraq

ANKARA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - An Iraqi Kurdish leader said on Friday
he wanted Turkey to withdraw its troops from northern Iraq,
underscoring the tense relations between two potentially crucial
players in any U.S. attack on Baghdad.

NATO ally Turkey maintains a military presence in neighbouring
Iraq's northern Kurdish enclave to pursue separatists from its
own Kurdish minority.

Ankara has threatened to intervene if Iraqi Kurds use a possible
U.S. strike on Baghdad to push for independence, a move that
could stir trouble among Turkish Kurds.

This was the first time that Kurdistan Democratic Party leader
Massoud Barzani has said he wanted to see an end to Turkey's
military presence.

"They are here for their own duties, and when that is over we are
going to sit down and raise this issue with the Turkish
authorities. We want these troops to return home," Barzani said
in a live interview with news channel CNN Turk.

Barzani's party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which
jointly administer the Kurdish enclave in Iraq, deny having any
plans to push for statehood, saying they only want autonomy
within a united Iraq.

But relations with Ankara remain fraught with tension.

Turkish air bases and Iraqi Kurdish "peshmerga" fighters could
both play vital roles in any U.S. offensive to topple Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, whom Washington accuses of developing
weapons of mass destruction.

Turkey has around 1,000 soldiers in northern Iraq and officials
say they also help protect a small Turkmen minority, with whom
Turks share ethnic and linguistic ties, from attacks by Kurds or

But their main target is the Kurdistan Workers Party, which waged
a 17-year war for a Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey.

More than 30,000 people died in the fighting which largely died
down after Turkey captured rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999.
The rebels mostly withdrew to Iraq and Iran.

Radikal is one of the several Turkish dailies that belongs to
Dogan Holding owned by the media mongul Aydin Dogan. He is very
well connected with the "commanding heights" in Turkey, if he is
one of those at that "heights". Ismet Berkan is not only the head
columnist of Radikal but also the  general manager of the
newspaper. I take Ismet very seriously. His "predictions" usually
turn out to be too precise to be educated guesses. I suspect that
Ismet is very well connected with the "commanding heights" as
well but, of course, this just a guess as I am not that well
connected with anywhere. His Radikal column from yesterday
precisely "predicted" once again that the Turkish military would
"justly" increase its presence in Northern Iraq, according to
him, to counter a potential "immigration wave" when the US attack
on Iraq starts and warned the mentally unstable 77 years old
Prime Minister Ecevit, who said "Many of our youths will die", to
keep his mouth shut.


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