Members of the Iraqi government
remain concerned that Turkey will conduct extensive military operations against
the PKK in northern Iraq. Turkish armored units are definitely on the border in
the Sirnak area. At the same time, Iraqi Kurds believe that many PKK guerrillas
in the Khandil area are interested in surrendering. Iraqi security forces recently handed over three
PKK fighters to Turkish forces at the Iraq-Turkey border. The Iraqis had
captured the PKK fighters in an area outside the Khandil Mountains. Iraq continues to say that it will cooperate
with Turkey against the PKK, but resent Turkish interference in Iraq's "Kirkuk
issue" (ie, who will control Kirkuk). Iraqis remain concerned about water
rights on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This is an old concern. In the 1980s
Turkey began constructing a series of large power dams on the headwaters of
these rivers, which are in Turkey.
May 18, 2007: Some 50,000 Turkish troops are
involved in an operation in Sirnak province, near the Iraq border. The troops
are attempting to halt PKK infiltration from Iraq. There have been several
incidents where Turkish security personnel (including gendarmes) and special
forces units have identified and isolated infiltrating PKK groups. Armed
helicopters then launch attacks on the PKK. Turkey is also improving support
bases in the region. During the first eleven days of May, six PKK fighters were
killed in these operations.
May 17, 2007: Two Turkish soldiers were killed when
they detonated a mine southeast of the city of Diyarbakir. The soldiers were
involved in an operation targeting PKK rebels in the area.
May 16, 2007: Turkey accused Iraq of failing to
adequately deal with the PKK in Iraq. Turkey believes that Iraq lacks the
political will to stop the PKK. The Turkish government is taking the position
that Iraq can arrest senior members of the PKK within Iraq.
May 11, 2007: A Turkish soldier died in a firefight
in eastern Turkey.