Some ominous words from a Turkish general:
Turkey is "in the process of implementing" a cross-border operation against Kurdish guerrillas who use northern Iraq as a base to launch attacks, a senior Turkish general said on Thursday.Its probable that the general is being judicious with his words, trying to put a scare into the PKK, and only means special forces ops. However, Jane's Defense recently assessed that the Turks had to go for the "full Monty" this month or wait until March at the earliest, due to the onset of winter.
But there were no immediate signs of increased military activity along Turkey's mountainous border with Iraq on Thursday evening, Reuters reporters in the region said, suggesting any offensive was only in the preparatory stages.
"We are in the process of implementing the cross-border operation," General Ilker Basbug, head of the land forces and the second most powerful man in the armed forces, told reporters at a diplomatic reception in the Turkish capital.
Basbug did not spell out exactly what he meant.
Turkey's parliament approved last month a government request to be able to launch cross-border operations into northern Iraq.
"When or how the motion (on a cross-border operation) will be implemented is another issue," Basbug said, according to state-run Anatolian news agency.
Turkey has amassed as many as 100,000 troops, backed by warplanes, helicopters and tanks, for a possible cross-border incursion to root out the separatist rebels, blamed by Ankara for a series of attacks on its security personnel.
A senior Iraqi border guards officer said there were no signs Turkey had launched a cross-border operation into Iraq.