DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 16, 2003
European Commission President, Romano Prodi hurried Saturday November 11 to condemn the terrorist car bombings at two Istanbul synagogues, Neve Shalom and Beit Israel, even before the final tally of the dead. The Italian official made the gracious gesture of visiting the central Milan synagogue and bringing the condolences of "the entire European Union" to Milan Rabbi Giuseppe Laras. But the European diplomat forgot to mention one important thing: Last month, the European Union turned down a Turkish request to list the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders Front - IBDA-C - as a terrorist organization. This is the group that claimed the Istanbul synagogue bombings. The EU rejected Ankara's request on the grounds of "human rights."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2003
Tuesday, September 1, Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, head of the Kurdish Workers Party - PKK - announced his movement, meanwhile renamed itself KADEK, was reviving the Kurdish revolt. Ocalan has been held in total isolation on the Imrali island prison in the Sea of Marmara since 2002, when the death sentence passed against him after his capture in 1999 was commuted to life without parole. The island is guarded by Turkish warships and attack helicopters equipped with surveillance instruments. Only prison guards set foot on the island; no visitors allowed. Ocalan's only contact with the outside world through heavily censored letters.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 9, 2003
Since Wednesday night, March 5, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources, US supplies management teams of the US 1st Cavalry Division have been posted at four Turkish sea harbors, taking delivery of the equipment of the US 4th Infantry Division discharged after a long wait at sea. For weeks, twenty-six US cargo ships carrying the division's tanks and heavy equipment have been sitting over the horizon off Turkish shores. Now, they are unloading their cargoes directly onto railcars heading out to the Turkish-Iraqi frontier. Tens of thousands of 4th division troops are still aboard the freighters, except for the units flown in by air. According to a US war command estimate, those troops will need three days to reach the Iraqi frontier from the moment the signal to land is flashed by the Ankara government.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2003
While still holding out on permission for a full-scale, 80,000-strong US invasion force to be stationed in Turkey, the Gul government has ceded part of America's requirements. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military and Turkish sources say Ankara will make bases available for the landing of 25-30,000 US troops for the first stage of the war, turning a blind eye to up to 40,000, while also permitting US invasion troops the limited use of Turkish air and naval bases and civilian airports, including Istanbul's international airport. Jordan's king Abdullah II this week lifted the restrictions he abruptly clamped down on the movements of American troops in the kingdom, their use of Jordanian bases as launching pads to invade Iraq and strike at the western bases from which Scud missiles were fired against Israel in 1991. He also renewed permission for US warplanes to reach Iraq via Jordanian airspace and gave the nod for Israeli air force flights through Jordanian skies, provided they were coordinated with the US and Jordanian authorities.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 13, 2003
The conversation held by Turkish minister of state Kutsad Tuzmen in Baghdad Sunday with Saddam Hussein went on for two hours and twenty minutes and was described officially as an important and useful development for Turkish-Iraqi relations. Tuzmen was the bearer of a written message to the Iraqi ruler from Turkish prime minister Abdullah Gul. This was the first top level encounter between the two governments for quite some time. It took place two days afterDEBKA-Net-Weeklyexposed the Gul government's sensational decision to back away from its earlier consent to join the American campaign against Iraq by opening a second front in the north and permitting US forces extensive use of its soil and bases to invade Iraq.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 11, 2003
The new Turkish government has performed a spectacular about-face with respect to US war plans for Iraq and its post-Saddam aftermath, a large monkey wrench that is bound to throw off Washington's timeline for launching its war offensive against Iraq. This partly explains the pressure building up from Britain and other western powers to postpone the assault. Ankara's turnaround, as uncovered by DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military and intelligence sources in Washington, Ankara and Tehran, may be a tactical ploy for a better deal with Washington. But in the meantime, it derails almost two years of painstaking formulation work on complicated political and military arrangements for the conduct of the war in North Iraq's Kurdistan. Before the war begins, and with Saddam looking on in Baghdad, America's two key partners on its northern front, Turkey and the Kurds, are vying for post-war spoils: control of the government in Baghdad and oil. Bringing them back in line is essential, if the vital northern flank of the American warfront is not to be disabled before and during the conflict.(To subscribe to DNW clickHERE).
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 25, 2002
The conference held in Turkey on Tuesday, December 24, between Israel's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon and Turkish army chief Gen. Hilimi Ozkok, wrapped up the arrangements made by the US, Israel and Turkey for concerted action in the approaching war with Iraq. The operations of their air and missile defenses, as well as their air and naval forces, will be closely synchronized under arrangements that have also made provision against Syria and the Hizballah joining the conflict.