Iraq’s Kurdish regional administration approves Turkey’s military operation

September 15, 2011, Thursday/ 16:30:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq has approved an operation by the Turkish military, which is preparing for a cross-border operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Taraf daily reported on Thursday.

Turkey has been negotiating with the Kurdish administration over the planned military operation. The Kurdish administration earlier requested until October to think over the plans and asked Turkey to take time to evaluate diplomatic options before launching an operation. In the meantime, Kurdish officials gathered with US and British officials, as well as with the PKK.

According to the Taraf report, the Kurdish administration, which failed to convince Turkey to give up on the plan, will allow an operation in the Xinere, Çemço and Çaykurna areas on the condition that it is limited to 45 days. Turkey, on the other hand, has avoided specifying dates for the operation. Turkey also requested that the Kurdish administration provide security on the roads near Xinere, Çemço, Dola Akoyan, Balende and Dolakoke.

Regarding Turkey's demand to establish military and logistic bases near the Kandil Mountains, where the PKK has command camps, the Kurdish administration has not yet replied, as the officials want more time to make their decision. The daily reported that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) units have the systems necessary to tap local GSM operators and satellite telephones. Turkey wants to take these systems to a requested military base near Çaykurna.

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani is expected to convene with spiritual leaders, political parties and members of his party next week in order to discuss the related developments. Barzani's Kurdistan Democrat Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (KYB) have been warned to be careful in their broadcasts on the issue of Turkey's military operations.

Helicopters are expected to be used most by the Turkish military during the operation. They are also discussing the possibility of establishing a helicopter base in southeastern Turkey, which indicates the possibility of a protracted operation.

Meanwhile the regional Kurdish administration is avoiding a potential conflict with the PKK. Therefore, northern Iraqi peshmerga troops will not participate in Turkey's planned military operation in the region.

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