CHIEF OF STAFF DENIED NEWS ABOUT NORTHERN IRAQ

19 AĞUSTOS 2002

CHIEF OF STAFF DENIED NEWS ABOUT NORTHERN IRAQ

The Chief of Staff denied news about Turkish troops invading an airport in Northern Iraq and that there are 5,000 troops in the region.

In a written statement the Chief of Staff stated: "There is news about Turkish troops being in Northern Iraq, electronic equipment and machines have been sent to the region as well and has a military power of 5,000 troops. This news is not accurate." It is also stated, "The Bamami airport was destroyed during the Gulf war and it cannot serve as an airport."

The leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Jalal Talabani declared that Turkish troops are protecting an airport in Northern Iraq and also have tanks during an interview with NTV television. The following day main Turkish dailies Hurriyet and Sabah repeated claims and indicated details about Turkish troops as well as the airport's situation. The Following news on CNN Turk stated that there was a report handed to Prime minister Bulent Ecevit telling of the details about Turkish troops in Northern Iraq as well as scenarios about a probable U.S. military strike in Iraq. The news indicated that there are 5,000 troops. Turkish dailies once more stated similar details about the airport and troops serving in the region.

The possible U.S. military strike to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein causes strong concerns in Turkey with the fear that an operation may give start to a Kurdish state in the region. The fears concentrate on the future of the Iraqi Turcomans future. It has been stated many times that Mesoud Barzani the leader of Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP) may want to seize Kirkuk where there is an important number of Turcomen as well as rich oil beds. While the U.S. sets up meetings in Washington in order to solve problems among Iraqi opposition Turkey warns sides that it will not allow a Kurdish state to be established and not let Kirkuk to be controlled by Kurds.

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