samedi 9 juin 2007



Turkish military officials decide to create interim security zones in three provinces bordering Iraq, calling it a routine practice without clarifying what the measure really means

The General Staff on Wednesday declared three provinces in southeastern Turkey to be interim security zones as attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey are escalating.

The measure amounts to a boost in operations by the Turkish military from June 9 to September 9 in order to stop terrorist attacks in the security zones in Siirt, Hakkari and Şırnak.

Military officials described the measure as a routine practice aimed at preventing PKK attacks, which tend to increase in spring when snow on the northern Iraqi mountains, where the PKK terrorists are based, melts.

But the military did not clarify what establishing the interim security zones means in practice. Speaking with the Turkish Daily News, experts said that the Turkish military would create a so-called “buffer-zone” on the Iraqi border.

“If you take a look at the given coordinates of the security zones, you will see that they are located along the Iraqi border, so it would not be wrong if we say that a buffer-zone is being created on the border near Iraq,” Sedat Laçiner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK), told the TDN.

He said the Turkish Armed Forces were now in the phase of creating a deep (15 kilometer) and long (up to 120 kilometers) buffer zone on the two sides of the Iraqi border to prevent PKK terrorists from infiltrating into the country.

“It is not possible to launch such operations all along the border where local Iraqi peshmergas are already based. So far, the Turkish military has carried out maneuvers in the context of shelling, F-16 jets surveillance and hot pursuit to chase terrorists. There will be an increase in the number of operations in the coming days,” he added.

Two of the interim security zones, Şırnak and Hakkari, border northern Iraq, while Siirt is further north from the border. But all three provinces share a common characteristic of being a scene of clashes between the Turkish security forces and PKK terrorists. The zones have been created under the Turkish Military and Forbidden Security Area Law No. 2565 at the request of the General Staff and at the approval of the Cabinet. In a televised interview on late Wednesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the military declared numerous areas to be security zones with the government's authorization. Asked if the zones will be expanded in the near future, Erdoğan said that the situation was not an emergency, but also implied at an increase in military buildup in the areas bordering Iraq.

NOTAM comes after May 24 infringement
Armağan Kuloğlu, chief advisor for the Ankara-based Global Strategy Institute, said that the fact that the zones would remain in place for three months was a long time, indicating that the military is expected to launch big operations to fight the PKK.

“This is crystal clear. The military is very determined in the fight against terrorism,” he told the TDN. Explaining further, Kuloğlu said the military initiative to declare security zones meant to be a “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAM) activity aimed at preventing any civilian access to certain areas. In dictionary meaning, NOTAM or NoTAM is described as the quasi-acronym for a “Notice to Airmen.” A NOTAM is filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of any hazards en route to or at a specific location. The authority in turn provides means of disseminating relevant NOTAMs to pilots. Again, according to dictionaries, NOTAMs are issued and reported for a number of reasons such as: dangers including air-shows and parachute flights by prominent people, closed runways, inoperable radio navigational aids and military exercises with resulting airspace restrictions.

Observers draw attention to the timing of the NOTAM activity on the part of the Turkish military that follows airspace violations by two U.S. F-16 jets on May 24, which some Turkish media described as a deliberate attempt at intimidation at a time when Ankara was discussing a possible cross-border operation into northern Iraq to crush the PKK camps.

Talabani, Barzani warn Ankara In the meantime, Iraqi Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani repeated opposition yesterday to a possible Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq, saying that such an operation would be considered to target entire Iraq. Barzani, speaking to reporters following a meeting with Talabani in northern Iraqi city of Salahaddin, said that a possible operation would target not only the Kurdish region but also Iraq's independence and sovereignty. Talabani said that Iraq would staunchly stand against any external intervention.

Aucun commentaire: