Turkey sends troops into n. Iraq (Guardian UK)
John M Cox
coxj at email.unc.edu
Sat Mar 22 06:02:54 MST 2003
Turkish troops enter northern Iraq
Ankara ignores US warning of secondary battle front
Oliver Burkeman in Washington and Michael Howard in Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan
Saturday March 22, 2003
Turkey began sending troops across the border into Iraqi Kurdistan last
night, a move which threatens to open a "war within the war" and hugely
complicate the American military strategy in Iraq.
The Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, announced the incursion after
an apparent breakthrough for the coalition's northern front yesterday,
when Ankara finally gave overflight rights to US planes.
During the days of hard bargaining Turkey demanded the right to send
troops into Iraq as a condition for allowing the overflights. But enraged
US officials said last night that Washington had not agreed and had told
Turkey to "stay the hell out".
About 1,000 Turkish soldiers crossed the border, augmenting the several
thousand it has there to pursue Turkish Kurd guerrillas. Another 5,000
were moving through Turkey to mass on the border.
Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, said: "We have special forces
units connected to Kurdish forces in the north ... and you can be certain
that we have advised the Turkish government and the Turkish armed forces
that it would be notably unhelpful if they went into the north in large
The secretary of state, Colin Powell, visibly irritated, had said earlier:
"We don't see any need for any Turkish incursions into northern Iraq."
"We told them to stay the hell out, and it is a major problem which we are
going to be watching very closely today," an unnamed senior official told
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