Germany Cuts Off Arms Sales To Turkey Bonn Protests Assault On Kurdish Rebels In Iraq
As Turkish troops hammered Kurdish rebels Monday in northern Iraq, Germany protested Turkey’s military campaign by suspending military sales.
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said $105 million in government subsidies to German shipbuilders, part of a $560 million deal to sell German frigates to Turkey, would be suspended pending review by a parliamentary committee.
Clashes were reported Monday near the Syrian border and to the east, close to Iran.
Some 35,000 Turkish troops, backed by warplanes and tanks, crossed the Iraqi border March 20 to wipe out bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the PKK.
The Turkish campaign is taking place in the section of Iraq controlled by Iraqi Kurds who want independence from Saddam Hussein’s government. Patrolled by allied warplanes since the end of the Gulf War, the area is beyond the reach of Iraq’s military.
Military spokesman Col. Dogu Silahcioglu said Monday that 172 rebels and 17 Turkish soldiers had been killed in the 8-day-old campaign. Twelve rebels have been captured or have surrendered, he told reporters in Diyarbakir, Turkey, about a three-hour drive from this border town.
Turkey contends about 2,800 PKK guerrillas have been operating in northern Iraq. Silahcioglu said Sunday some rebels were eluding troops by blending into the local population.
Turkish troops raided a house in Zakho and killed two PKK rebels Sunday, residents said. Also killed in the firefight was a member of a village militia of Turkish Kurdish villagers armed by the government.
In another incident, guerrillas reportedly ambushed and killed two Kurdish village guards as a captured PKK rebel was leading them to other rebels in hiding.
Military and Iraqi Kurdish officials could not immediately confirm either incident.
A Swedish aid official, Sidney Petersson, said Turkish troops “pushed around civilians” and searched women in villages around Zakho. The soldiers also prevented health workers from getting to around 100 villages in the region to give polio vaccines, said Petersson, of the Qandil Project.
Turkey’s Western allies have warned it to spare civilian lives and leave the area as soon as possible.
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