Friday, February 29, 2008

Turkey Pulls Troops Back Over the Border

Turkey withdrew from the Iraqi border today, thereby ending tensions and potential fears of instability in northern Iraq. Secretary Gates met with high level military officials yesterday, but was not given an answer as to when the conflict would end. Soon after, President Bush issued a strong warning to Ankara to bring the conflict to a close. Although Ankara says its decision was not influenced by Washington and asserts that it retains the right to re-enter Iraq, Turkish troops were pulled over the border soon after. Numbers as to casualties on both sides are very much disputed with the Turkish military claiming that it suffered minimal losses and killed many more PKK fighters than the PKK claims. The PKK maintains that it issued heavy casualties on the Turkish military. The numbers game reflects just how political this conflict is and the messages both sides want to send.

CSIS Turkey Program Director Bülent Ariza offers analysis of the conflict within the context of the challenge it posed for American diplomacy.

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