Turkish conspiracy theory: PKK pawn of NATO?
Just a week after Baghdad and Ankara made a public show of pledging cooperation against the PKK, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his military staff Oct. 9 for the first time formally approved unilateral incursions into Iraqi territory to route the Kurdish separatist guerillas. “To put an end to the terrorist organization operating in Iraq, the order has been given to take every kind of measure, legal, economic, political, including also a cross-border operation if necessary," said an official statement issued after the security summit in Ankara. The decision came after 15 Turkish soldiers were killed in guerilla attacks Oct. 7 and 8. The White House reacted by again stressing the need for co-operation between the US, Turkey and Iraq. (AKI, Italy, Oct. 9)
A spokesman for the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan dismissed the move as "media scaremongering" aimed at "exerting pressure on the United States and the Iraqi government so they take part in the military operations against the PKK." The spokesman, Jamal Abdallah added: "The language of threats will not resolve a problem that has existed for many years." (AKI, Oct. 10)
But the Turkish daily Zaman charged that NATO is "using the PKK against Turkey" to derail its democratic process, noting that in the two months leading to the recent presidential election, some 100 Turkish soldiers or security personnel were killed in clashes with the PKK. The report alleged that the US is shipping weapons to the PKK in northern Iraq by helicopter, and providing the rebels with logistical aid. The claims were picked up by Iran's Press TV, which noted: "The Pentagon, however, floats the claim that the PKK has acquired US weapons on the black market." (Press TV, Oct. 10)