Complicating Matters

We presume this results directly from Bush’s assertions that Syria and Iran will pay dearly for interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq. Erdogan thinks little of it.

Turk PM asserts right to intervene in Iraq, raps US
12 Jan 2007 17:57:24 GMT
Source: Reuters

ANKARA, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Friday reaffirmed Turkey’s right to send troops into Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels there and chided U.S. officials for questioning it.

“The Turkish Republic will do whatever is necessary to combat the terrorists when the time comes, but it will not announce its plans in advance,” Erdogan told a news conference after a meeting of his ruling AK Party.

“We say we are ready to take concrete steps with the Iraqi government and we also say these steps must be taken now.”

In sharp language underscoring Turkish anxiety about the chaos in Iraq, Erdogan said it was wrong for Washington — “our supposed strategic ally” — to tell Turkey, with its historic and cultural ties in the region, to stay out of Iraq.

“We have a 350 km border with Iraq. We have historic relations … the United States is 10,000 km away from Iraq, and yet is it not intervening in Iraq’s internal affairs?” he said.

Turkish media say Erdogan has been irked by comments attributed to Washington’s envoy to Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, warning third countries not to interfere in Iraqi affairs.

Ankara has long complained that the United States and Iraqi government have failed to crack down on Kurdish rebels, and periodically asserts its right under international law to conduct cross-border operations against the guerrillas.

Read it here.

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