Tensions are definitely ramping up, as the Turkish Army began moving troops towards the Northern Iraq border and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan issued what amounted to an ultimatum to the US and the Iraqi government.
According to my sources, Kurdish PKK insurgents and Turkish army units are already skirmishing,and the PKK killed 12 Turkish soldiers yesterday in an ambush and reportedly took 8 prisoners, which the Turkish Army has confirmed.
The capture of the Turkish troops was also conformed by PKK commander Bahoz Erdal, said the soldiers were in PKK hands, according to the Firat News Agency.
"Right now, these soldiers are hostages in the hands of our forces," Firat quoted Erdal as saying."Their health condition is good. One of them was slightly injured but was being taken care of by our medics."
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had urged the US and Iraqi governments repeatedly to deal with the PKK, but they had done nothing. "Whatever is necessary will be done," he declared in an interview with the Times in Britain today. “If a neighboring country is providing a safe haven for terrorism . . . we have rights under international law and we will use those rights and we don’t have to get permission from anybody."
(side thought..if that's true,does it mean that the US has rights under international law to go after Syria and Iran? And what about the Israelis?)
Erdogan said that a “serious wave of anti-Americanism” was sweeping Turkey, because of the proposed resolution accusing the Ottoman Turks of genocide against Armenians during the First World War, and that the US “might lose a very important friend”.
Of course, some of us might question whether the current Islamist government of Erdogan and Gul could properly be considered `friends', as opposed to certain elements in the Turkish military. True, Turkey is a member of NATO and the Incirlik Air Base is vital to US resupply in Iraq and Afghanistan, but after all, we do lease it from the Turks....it's a business arrangement, unlike the arrangements we have with certain other nations.
He likewise claimed that the PKK was hiding behind the US and the Iraqi government and said he wanted `quick action' to expel the PKK, with its members expelled, its camps closed and its leaders handed over to Turkey...something that would probably prove difficult even if the Kurds wanted to do so. Otherwise, the Turkish army will invade.
If the Turks invade, they will not only be facing the PKK but Kurdistan's Pesh Merga, estimated at between 100,000 and 150,000 fighting men. The Kurds lack tanks and heavy weaponry, but they would be fighting in the mountains on their home turf and might prove to be a surprisingly difficult foe if it came to that.
And of course at that point, the US would have a decision to make.