US giving Turks intelligence on Kurdish group
American U2 reconnaissance planes have been flying over the Turkey-Iraq border to observe military movements, said three U.S. military sources Wednesday.This is an interesting approach to helping the Turks without using US forces to attack the PKK. The PKK operations are against the US strategic interest in the region and they are also against the interest of the Iraqis. These guys should have focused on Iran and left the Turks alone for the time being.
Word of the flights comes a day before top-level meetings between U.S. and Turkish government officials and prior to a regional conference aimed at easing tensions between Ankara and Kurdish rebels across Turkey's border with Iraq.
Turkey -- which shares its Incirlik air base with U.S. forces -- is a key member of NATO and acts as a vital conduit for U.S. military supplies.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell confirmed Wednesday that U.S. military and intelligence communities are sharing information with Turkey to help them fight members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who have made cross-border attacks. See location of key U.S.-Turkish air base »
"We are assisting by supplying them, the Turks, with intelligence, lots of intelligence," said Morrell. "There has been an increased level" of intelligence sharing.
Turkey has threatened to launch a full-scale offensive if Iraqi officials and Kurdish leaders in Iraq fail to neutralize the PKK. U.S. and Iraqi diplomats have been working to restrain Turkey from such a response. Recent limited fighting in southeastern Turkey has spilled into northern Iraq.
Iraq is acting to cut off supplies to the PKK.