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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08ANKARA18 2008-01-04 12:55:00 SECRET Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

TURKISH AIR STRIKES AGAINST PKK TERRORISTS IN

Tags:   PREL MOPS PTER IZ TU 
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VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #0018/01 0041255
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 041255Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4834
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 1105
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/VCJCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/SACEUR POLAD SHAPE BE PRIORITY
					  S E C R E T ANKARA 000018 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/03/2017
TAGS: PREL MOPS PTER IZ TU
SUBJECT: TURKISH AIR STRIKES AGAINST PKK TERRORISTS IN
NORTHERN IRAQ: A SNAPSHOT

REF: A. 2007 ANKARA 3028


B. 2007 ANKARA 3006

C. 2007 ANKARA 2991

D. 2007 ANKARA 2990

E. 2007 ANKARA 2983

F. 2007 ANKARA 2974

Classified By: CDA Nancy McEldowney, reasons 1.4 (b and d)



1. (S) Summary: Between December 16 and 26, Turkey launched
four air strikes against PKK terrorist targets in northern
Iraq. The first attack on December 16 had the largest number
of targets and struck the furthest south, hitting locations
on south Qandil Mountain. Prior to the first attack, Turkish
General Staff (TGS) provided brief advance notification.
Subsequent strikes on December 17, 22, and 26 were smaller,
more narrowly focused on PKK targets closer to the Turkish
border, and were preceded by as much as 12 hours advance
notice. Targets for all the attacks were derived from
intelligence acquired by the Combined Intelligence Fusion
Cell (CIFC), jointly staffed by the US and Turkey. End
summary.

First Strike Large and Last Minute


--------------------------





2. (S) The December 16 attack was the first confirmed air
operation against PKK terrorist targets in northern Iraq
since intensified intelligence sharing with the GOT began on
November 19. 12-24 F-16 aircraft attacked 22 targets in the
Zap, Avasin, and Hakurk areas of northern Iraq and 11 targets
in the southern Qandil Mountain area. Specific targets were
PKK facilities and training camp sites selected by TGS using
intelligence provided by the CIFC. TGS notified the Office
of Defense Cooperation in Ankara (ODC) at 11:47 PM local time
on December 15 of its intent to launch aircraft at 1:00 AM on
December 26. ODC immediately notified relevant US military
authorities in order to deconflict land and air battlespace.
At 2:45 AM, MNF-I reported that the ground battlespace was
deconflicted and at 2:55 AM the Combined Air Operations
Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, confirmed that the
airspace was clear. At 3:00 AM on December 16, TGS notified
ODC that cross-border artillery fire was commencing. TGS
publicly announced the strikes on its web site that morning,
reporting that all aircraft had returned safely to base by
4:15 AM local time December 16.

More Recent Strikes Smaller, More Focused


--------------------------





3. (S) The attack on December 17 was a combined artillery and
air action, but smaller in scope and limited to the northern
Metina and Zap regions, near the Turkish border. This attack
was better coordinated. 4 F-16s were used. TGS compared its
target list to the list of prohibited targets in advance and
provided notification of the specific grid coordinates of the
targets to ODC at 11:30 AM local time on December 17.
Turkish Air Force (TUAF) held the aircraft within Turkish air
space until both MNF-I and the Al Udeid CAOC confirmed that
the battlespace was deconflicted. Turkish aircraft entered
Iraqi airspace at 12:15 PM local time and concluded their
attack within 90 minutes. At approximately 2:00 PM, TGS
notified ODC that artillery fire was beginning on the same
locations targeted by the air strike. At 3:25 PM, TGS
advised ODC that the artillery attack was completed.



4. (S) On December 22, Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) conducted
another combined air and artillery attack in the northern
Metina and Zap region using four F-16s. At 2:25 PM local
time, TGS notified ODC of its intention to launch aircraft.
Following US confirmation of battlespace deconfliction, the
F-16s entered Iraqi airspace at 3:21 PM, dropped
approximately 10 bombs, and completed their attack at 4:41 PM
local time. At approximately 5:00 PM, TGS informed ODC that
it would begin artillery fire against the same targets. At
6:21 PM, the artillery fire ended.



5. (S) The most recent air attack occurred on the morning of
December 26 when four F-16s again struck in the northern
Metina and Zap region. The principle target was a cave

complex in eastern Zap. TGS provided over 12 hours advance
notice for this attack, informing ODC at about 8:00 PM local
time on December 25 before the aircraft crossed into Iraqi
airspace at 8:15 AM on December 26. The attack concluded at
9:25 AM local time.

Assessing the Impact


--------------------------





6. (S) It is difficult to make definitive judgments about the
impact of Turkish operations because we lack an independent
assessment capability. In many cases, sole sources of
information have been press reports (by journalists not
located within the affected regions) or Iraqi Kurdish
reactions (that appear to fall wide of the mark). While the
Turkish military has publicly claimed to have eliminated over
150 PKK terrorists, we believe a more likely number is around
a dozen terrorists along with housing, training sites, and
cave complexes. It is also our judgment that the collateral
damage resulting from the 11 targets on south Kandil in the
December 16 strike (1 civilian casualty and displacement of
village families) has not recurred in any of the three
subsequent strikes which have been more narrowly focused on
the northern border region. However, for the Government of
Turkey the most significant factor is not the specifics of
battle damage assessment, but rather the fact that military
operations have positioned Turkey to work more effectively on
a comprehensive solution to the PKK problem. Maintaining a
credible threat of use of force is, in their view, the
essential factor that enables them to proceed with the
diplomatic, political, economic, and social steps necessary
to resolve this long-standing terrorist problem.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

MCELDOWNEY