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Washington, Ankara face Kurdistan dilemma

TEHRAN, April 22 (Mehr News Agency) -- Middle Eastern affairs expert Hossein Ruyvaran said here on Saturday that any military action by Turkey in northern Iraq would significantly affect the political situation in the region.

"Turkey is currently on alert because of the vast activities of the PKK (Workers' Party of Kurdistan), a secessionist movement, in northern Iraq. The Kurds efforts to have Kirkuk Province ceded to Iraqi Kurdistan increase the sensitivities of Turkey. As the PKK activities increase and as the time to decide the future of Kirkuk approaches, the possibility of Turkish intervention increases," he told the Mehr News Agency.

The Mehr News Agency spoke to several other analysts on Saturday to learn their views on the issue.

Middle Eastern affairs expert Sadeq Maleki said, "Many factors are preventing an incursion into Iraq by the Turkish Army, including the disapproval of the United States and the illegality of such action according to international law. Also, regarding the international community, given that there is a government in Iraq, the Turkish military action would be considered an act of a war."

"Before the fall of Saddam (Hussein), Washington used to support Turkey's stance on Kurdistan, but over the past few years Kurds have closely cooperated with the U.S. and in practice Washington is just as inclined toward the Kurds," he added.

Middle Eastern affairs expert Mohammad Ali Mohtadi believes that the U.S. is undecided due to the stances of Turkey and Israel on the Kurdistan problem.

"On the one hand, the U.S. must consider the interests of Turkey because it is an important NATO member and the U.S. counts on NATO and Turkey's role in it. On the other hand, the Israelis have long been attempting to prepare the prerequisites for the independence of Kurdistan, and because of Israel's influence on the White House, the U.S. seems to be caught in a difficult situation," he added.

Arzu Celalifer, a researcher at the International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO) in Ankara, said, "To this day, Ankara has been waiting for U.S. help on the Kurdistan problem, but since the U.S. has not taken any practical steps in this regard, Turkey is determined to confront the Kurds' threats directly."

... Payvand News - 4/23/07 ... --

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