[g8-sheffield] Fw: (Turkey): Possible Extensive Operations in the Southeast.

Lesley 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 

Dear Colleagues, 

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 
Northern Iraq. 

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 
writer reports. 

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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