[g8-sheffield] Fw: (Turkey): Possible Extensive Operations in the Southeast.
lesley at peopleandplanet.co.uk
Mon Apr 24 17:34:51 BST 2006
This message was sent today to world bank staff in the MENA region ...
Subject: Fw: Warden Message: Possible Extensive Operations in the Southeast.
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 14:24:52 +0000
Yesterday's news broadcasts and today's papers in Turkey have given
extensive coverage to reports that the army is deploying a significant
number of troops to the Southeast, more precisely some 250,000 which
is a quarter to a third of the army. After the United States, Turkey
has the second largest army in NATO.
The above could be a significant indication that the army is getting
ready to launch a major spring operation against the PKK/KONGRA-GEL. Some
sources believe these would indeed be the biggest ever operations against the
PKK/KONGRA-GEL. According to newspaper reports, troops from Kayseri
have been deployed to Yüksekova and ?emdinli, Hakkari province, near the borders
with Iran and Iraq. Troops from Isparta have been deployed to Çukurca,
also in Hakkari province, on the border with Iraq. A division from Bolu
was reported to have been deployed to ??rnak which is close to the main Habur
border-crossing to Iraq. Despite some newspaper reports which reject
these claims, other reports say that yesterday, 20 April 2006, early in the
morning, tanks, artillery, armoured vehicles and ammunition were forwarded
to the Iraqi border. It was also reported that the Land Forces Commander
General Yasar Büyükanit will go to the region, more specifically to ??rnak.
The Ak?am daily newspaper says that Turkey would bargain for a cross-border
operation against the PKK/KONGRA-GEL during the visit to Turkey on 26 April
of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. According to the same
newspaper, the Secretary of State will be given the message that since the US is not
intervening to stop the PKK/KONGRA-GEL terrorism, it should leave this
task to Turkey. NTV today, however, reported that the Turkish authorities
have declared that they will not make any major move before this has been cleared
with the Secretary of State. They also assured that there would be
no cross-border operations or hot pursuit into Iraq.
We request all staff to keep the above in mind, particularly staff who
are already in or planning to go to the Southeast in the near future. Staff
in the Southeast should be extra vigilant and check carefully with the security
forces in the area before going on any mission outside their duty station.
For further information, please also see the below article from today's
Turkish Press Scanner.
Murat Yetkin: The Army Confirms Reports About Operations In the Southeast
General Staff sources have confirmed reports that there were intensive
operations against PKK at the Turkish borders with Iran and Iraq, Radikal
columnist Murat Yetkin says. An anonymous General Staff official is quoted
as saying that additional troops had been deployed in the region and that
the operations would continue.
Yesterday Turkish daily Posta announced that the army was planning to start
operations with the participation of 250,000 troops and that the operations
would be orchestrated from ??rnak. General Staff sources say that the
location of the Land Forces headquarters will not change, but add that
the operation command center would be located in the region. They add that
the operations were planned by Land Forces Staff Commander General Ergin Saygun
and would be headed by Land Forces Commander General Ya?ar Büyükan?t.
General ?ükrü Sar????k's Second Army is to play a key role in the
operations, but troops from various parts of the country have been moved
to the Southeast for the operations, the sources add. The observer notes that
usually the General Staff was not confirming reports about transfers of
The attitudes of the General Staff give clues about the scope of the
operations, the writer notes. He says that the new operation in the
Southeast could be bigger than Operation Sledgehammer launched in 1997.
This operation was the biggest campaign carried out by the Turkish army since
the founding of the Turkish Republic and it included cross-border actions in
It is not clear whether the new operation will stretch to Northern Iraq.
Nevertheless, anonymous sources say that the measures undertaken at the
Iraqi border were similar to the measures in the previous operation, the
Specialists say that satellite information given to Turkey by the US had
played an important role for Sledgehammer Operation in 1997. They add that
operation with the US was needed for such a big operation in Iraq. The
writer says that General Staff confirmation of reports about a big-scale
operation had come on the eve of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's
trip to Turkey.
The writer links the developments to the visits of US national security
adviser Stephen Hadley last September, CIA director Porter Goss in December
and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace last month.
On March 23 Pace met Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and Turkish Chief
of the General Staff General Hilmi Özkök in Ankara.
On March 24 Land Forces Commander Büyükan?t was invited to meet Erdo?an.
The same day Özkök announced that the meeting had focused on internal security.
It was not announced whether the Prime Minister had pushed the button for
the operation during this meeting or not. Nevertheless, the writer says
the decision about the operation must have been adopted in the autumn and
that the preparations had taken months.
He adds that the preparations were linked to the preparations of a new
anti-terror law, to the revival of the High Board for Combating Terrorism
and the plans for the establishment of a special Prime Ministry General
Directorate for Security to coordinate the fight against terrorism.
The writer says that the operations in the Southeast will probably reach
its highest point when the new anti-terror bill is approved by parliament and
ratified by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
We are following the situation closely and will revert if and when we get
any further substantial information.
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