Hijackers of Turkish Atlas Jet airliner surrender at Turkish Antalya airport <br/>All passengers and crew are off plane<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 20, 2007
The plane was hijacked by one Turkish national and one Syrian of Palestinian origin en route from Ercan airport, N. Cyprus to Istanbul Saturday. Most of the 136 passengers fled to safety by breaking down the rear door during a refueling stop in Antalya, S. Turkey. They reported the hijackers spoke Arabic and claimed to be al Qaeda. One passenger said the men tried to enter the cockpit to demand the plane be rerouted to Tehran, but found the door locked. The pilots persuaded them that a refueling landing was necessary at Antalya. The hijackers did not appear to be armed except with a knife and a package they said was a bomb.
Ankara says all Turkish-US relations would be shattered if America were proved to have given arms to PKK Kurdish terrorists<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 21, 2007
Asked whether Ankara had evidence to support the claim, deputy prime minister and foreign minister Abdullah Gul said in a television interview there was no confirmation but there is an allegation and convincing confessions, which must be investigated. Ankara has asked Washington for clarifications.
On July 6, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 308, shed light on the occurrence which has caused such consternation in Ankara.
Four defectors of the Turkish separatist Kurdish party, the PKK, stood up in Ankara and announced that two armored vehicles had been sighted carrying American weapons to PKK hideouts in the Qandil Mountain of northern Iraq.
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DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 15, 2007
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also expressed solidarity with Turkey's fight against terrorism.
Iraqi Shiite radical Moqtada Sadr this week warned Ankara to stop shelling N. Iraqi villages where Kurdish rebels are hiding out. Sadr vowed to defend the people of Kurdistan. The Iraqi government made a formal protest Saturday. Sunday, a bomb blast outside a clothing ship in Istanbul wounded 14 people.
debkafile's military sources traced the Turkish-Iraq crisis as it evolved over nine days:
On June 6, debkafile's military sources reported that several thousand troops had entered N. Iraq, the first wave of a Turkish incursion, with more to come.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: US forces transfer Iraqi Kurdistan's security responsibility to local peshmerga to sidestep threatened Turkish invasion<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 5, 2007
Defense Secretary Robert Gates Sunday cautioned Turkey against sending troops into northern Iraq.
A Turkish incursion unheeding of strains with Washington would have two objectives, according to debkafile's military sources: To prevent the rise of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq and the fall of the oil town of Kirkuk into Kurdish hands. American troops have been hurriedly pulled out of the Kurdish towns of Irbil, Dohuk and Suleimaniyeh, but remain in force in and around Kirkkuk.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 1, 2007
The consignment of 20 tanks from an army barracks near the Syrian border in southeast Turkey to the Iraqi border has sparked speculation about an imminent Turkish incursion against Kurdish PKK rebel bases in northern Iraq. Last week, Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan said he was of one mind with the army over possible military action despite US concerns.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development party dissolves parliament and calls an election after High Court annuls presidential vote <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 3, 2007
The ruling blocked the way for foreign minister Abdullah Gul to gain election as president.
Friday, a secularist opposition boycott denied foreign minister Abdullah Gul the two-thirds parliamentary majority he needs to be elected president, accusing him of pro-Islamist proclivities. Gul argued that he had enough votes and was overruled by the supreme court.
Hundreds were arrested in Istanbul clash between Turkish May Day secularist demonstrators and police in Istanbul Tuesday. At least 34 dead, most killed in stampede as police charged and beat up protesters.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 25, 2007
Gul was picked as the ruling AK party's candidate by prime minister Tayyip Erdogan, who bowed out of the running.
debkafile: By naming the foreign minister for the seven-year post, Erdogan consolidates his position as prime minister. He has also averted a clash with secular circles, including the powerful Turkish army.
Process for electing Turkish presidential candidate begins Tuesday amid pressure on Turkish PM Recep Erdogan to abandon his claim
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 18, 2007
Some 500,000 people from across Turkey gathered in a secularist rally in Ankara Saturday, April 14, against Erdogan seeking the top post. They marched on the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founder as a secular state, chanting anti-Islamic slogans. The prime minister's opponents accuse him of having an Islamic agenda - which he denies.
Kurdish PKK rebels kill 8 Turkish soldiers and a local guard in two attacks as Ankara and Iraqi Kurds swap fierce threats<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 12, 2007
Three Turkish soldiers died in a clash with the Kurdish separatists in Turkey's eastern Bingol province Sunday; another two and a Kurdish militiaman were killed in Sirnak province on Iraq's border. debkafile: Ankara accuses Iraqi Kurdistan of harboring the PKK terrorists, which allows them to stage cross-border raids into Turkey and run back for cover.
Monday, April 9, Ankara also challenged Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani's claim to oil-rich Kirkuk in N. Iraq.
After some confusion, Anatolia news agency reports Turkish authorities have custody of the hijacker of an airliner with 175 passengers aboard<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 11, 2007
The Pegasus Airways plane is on the ground in Ankara and all the passengers are safe. The hijacker was taken after negotiation with Turkish officers. He is said to have forced the pilot with the threat of hand grenades to divert from its route between Diyarbakir in Turkish Kurdistan to Istanbul, and fly the plane to Iran, landing first in Ankara.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 22, 2003
When informed of the Istanbul synagogue bombings last Saturday, November 15, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an off-the-cup reaction, hit the nail on the head. They are trying to destabilize Turkey, he said, there and then cutting short his trip to Cyprus. Within hours he had reached the scenes of destruction in Istanbul and called an emergency cabinet session in Ankara. To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click HERE.
The Jewish and British sites devastated in two rounds of coordinate attacks this week, in which at least 55 people lost their lives and 750 were maimed, are standard targets for al Qaeda, which has declared war on the West and the Jews. However, what the Turkish prime minister was quick to grasp was that Osama bin Laden's network had joined with at least one Turkish partner-in-terror - The Islamic Greater Easter Raiders Front (IBDA-C) and possibly others - for bigger goals and is not yet done. Turkey has been selected as the favored target of the Islamic international terror network for three main reasons:
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.