Iraqi Kurds fortify border to block PKK infiltration

The Iraqi Kurdish administration has established security outposts on the border with Turkey to prevent infiltration of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants into Turkish territory.

Iraqi Kurds fortify border to block PKK infiltration
The Kurdish administration has built 40 security outposts along the border, CNN Türk reported yesterday, citing a report from Voice of Iraq radio. These outposts will be used both in protection of the border between the Iraqi Kurdish administration and Turkey and in preventing PKK members from infiltrating Turkey.

The border outposts will also be tasked with reporting any activity, such as a Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq, to the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, Ahmad Berzedin, the Kurdish peshmerga commander in charge of border security, was quoted as saying in the report. He also noted that similar posts will be built on the borders with Syria and Iran.

Jabbar al-Yawar, a spokesman for the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces, said the outposts are located between the Zakho and Hakurk regions. He stated that military personnel deployed to these outposts will provide security for the local residents and impede PKK activities.

For many years, Ankara has refused to have any dialogue with the Iraqi Kurds, saying they support the PKK, but the path for dialogue is slowly reopening now. Two senior Turkish officials met with Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of the autonomous Kurdish administration, in Baghdad last week in the first high-level official talks between Ankara and Iraqi Kurds in years. Turkey has also been striking the PKK bases in the Kurdish-run northern Iraq since Dec. 16 and the United States, which recognizes the PKK as a terrorist group, backs the operations by providing intelligence and airspace clearance for Turkish warplanes.

On Sunday, Massoud Barzani, president of the regional Kurdish administration, was quoted as saying that the PKK must end the violence and that Kurds want dialogue with Ankara. The remarks came days after the Turkish military launched major aerial strikes on PKK targets in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq on May 1-2.

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, speaking at a press conference with his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, in Ankara yesterday, said the talks with the Iraqi Kurdish administration were "very positive." He stated that there will be closer cooperation with both the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish administration in areas of security, trade and energy, provided that the Kurds prove their commitment to supporting Turkey's efforts in fighting terrorism.

Babacan also played down news reports that PKK head Murat Karayılan was killed in the aerial strikes on May 1-2. "Pay attention to statements made by the General Staff on such issues. Don't act on the basis of other rumors," he said in response to a question on the reports over Karayılan's death. The General Staff said in a statement on Saturday that more than 150 members of the PKK, probably including the group's senior leaders, were killed in the aerial strikes, sparking reports in Turkish newspapers that Karayılan was among the dead.


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Last Mod: 06 Mayıs 2008, 12:26
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