Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Turkey Builds Up Forces on Iraqi Border

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey has sent large contingents of reinforcement soldiers, tanks and armored personnel carriers to its border with Iraq as debate heated up over whether to stage a cross-border offensive to hit Kurdish rebel bases.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday urged the United States and Iraq to destroy bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq as Turkish military deployed more tanks and soldiers on the border.

The images of military trucks rumbling along the remote border with Iraq's Kurdish zone and tanks being transferred on trains and trucks to beef up an already formidable force there have occupied television screens and front pages of several newspapers in the last few weeks.

The Turkish military has said it routinely reinforces the border with Iraq in the summer to prevent infiltrations by the guerrillas.

"The PKK must be eliminated as a problem between Iraq and Turkey," Turkey's special envoy to Iraq, Oguz Celikkol, told CNN-Turk television on Wednesday before a visit to Iraq to discuss Turkish demands that Iraq and U.S. forces crack down on the group.....

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