Turks, Kurds in Tense Standoff at Iraqi Border

Both sides want US support in dispute over separatist insurgents
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2007 6:42 AM CDT
A Kurdish youth holds a PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) flag.   (Getty Images (by Event))
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(Newser) – As the Turkish military continued its aggressive saber-rattling along the border with Iraq this week, the US finds itself in a tough spot. The Turks want a green light to go after Kurdish separatist guerrillas hiding in northern Iraq; the Kurds want protection. “Now the U.S. has to choose,” a Turkish official tells the New York Times, “Turkish people or Kurdish people.”


The choice is particularly unpalatable: The Kurds are America's most consistent allies in  Iraq, and the region is the most stable in a country awash with violence. But Turkey allows the US to use a strategically important airbase. The conflict is inflamed by stepped-up attacks from militants operating near the border: 30 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the last two months.