Wednesday, October 31, 2007
It took six months, 100,000 troops massed on the border, and the threat of an invasion, but Turkey has finally started getting some cooperation on the PKK question, both from the US and the Iraqi Kurds:
"We have given them more and more intelligence as a result of the recent concerns," said Defense Department Press Secretary Geoff Morrell...
He did not say specifically when the increase started or how the intelligence was being gathered.
But the military in the last week or so has sent manned U-2 spy planes to the border region used by rebels, said a second defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about it on the record.
The official also said that the U.S. military saw a battalion of several hundred Peshmerga - the militia of the Kurdish Iraqi regional authorities - moving toward the border over the weekend. That could represent a notable change from last week when the top U.S. military commander in the area said he was not aware of any Kurdish attempts to rein in the PKK.
The next major benchmark comes on November 5, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in Washington to meet with President Bush. The outcome of that meeting should determine whether and how aggressively Turkey will pursue economic sanctions against the Kurdish north. But between the Turkish military's announcement that no invasion would take place before the meeting and the onset of winter in the Qandil mountains, it looks less and less likely that Turkey will resort to force to resolve the issue.