UPDATES WILL BE ADDED.
Final update: I last updated this post at 9:30 this morning, just before leaving with Michael Totten and Judith Weiss for an all-day driving tour of Wheeler County. (Southern and Eastern Oregon must surely have some of the world's most underappreciated landscapes, I think.) Twelve hours later, not much has changed. I'm still seeing the same conflicting news reports that appeared this morning. As for those fifty thousand Turkish troops, I'm beginning to think it's another case of Debka Alternate Reality.
If there's any more news on this, it will get a new post.
Reuters: Turkey denies Debka's claims. 'Turkey's Foreign Ministry and military General Staff on Wednesday denied a Web site report that 50,000 Turkish troops had crossed into northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels hiding there. "This report is not true," a Foreign Ministry source told Reuters. A General Staff official described the report as "disinformation". The report, carried on the DEBKAfile Web site, sparked jitters among foreign investors who fear Turkish military action in northern Iraq could harm Turkey's booming economy and relations with the United States.'
“Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press. Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks. An official at military headquarters in Ankara declined to confirm or deny the report that Turkish troops had entered Iraq.” (AP/Breitbart)
CNN: Thousands of Turkish troops enter Iraq.
Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials said.
Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.
"It is not a major offensive and the number of troops is not in the tens of thousands," one of the officials told The Associated Press by telephone. The official is based in southeast Turkey, where the military has been battling separatist Kurdish rebels since they took up arms in 1984.
Another Middle East war erupts Wednesday as 50,000 Turkish troops invade N. Iraq to strike rebel Kurdish PKK bases
June 6, 2007, 3:41 PM (GMT+02:00)
The official Turkish news agency Cihan reports the force, backed by armored vehicles and combat aircraft, is targeting rebel strongholds in 11 provinces in southeastern Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan Wednesday, June 6.
DEBKAfileâs military sources report that this is only the first wave of Turkish invaders, with more to come. A Turkish force of 90,000 troops has been massed at the sourthern town of Sirank opposite the meeting point of the Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian borders, drawing a warning to Ankara from US defense secretary Robert Gates to stay out of Iraq. ...
The following information is provided for background only.
Michael Totten is my first stop for everything related to Iraqi Kurdistan. Here's his interview with Kurdish Peshmerga Colonel Saladin Ahmad Ameen:
If we declare our independence we need a superpower like the US to be backing us. But maybe they will back us for two or three years and later they go back and leave us alone. And at that time, do you know what will happen to us?
There are all around us enemies. The national Islamists in Turkey. The national Islamists in Iran. And the Arab Nationalists in 22 Arab countries. They will attack us. They could swallow us in one day.
The Arabs call us a Second Israel all the time. They instigate their people [and say we] want to make a Second Israel here in the middle of their area. We are not as strong as Israel to defend ourselves from our enemies all around.
I like working with Americans all the time. Our first aid, first help, was from the Americans. When President Bush declared the war on Iraq it was trulyâ¦we forgot all our bitter experience with America [in the] past.
Where Kurdistan meets the red zone.
“They’re afraid of losing the Kurdish portion of Turkey,” I [MJT] said.
“When I was a member of the Kurdistan Parliament a guest from Turkey came,” Mam Rostam said. “He said they don’t have problems with the Arab nations, that only the Kurds are their enemies. I said to him, frankly, You’re an idiot. If we become a country, what harm are we going to cause you? All the Turkmens here are going to get good jobs. For sure. And they’re going to get most of their rights, if not all. Okay? And the other thing, we’re going to manage ourselves and sell our oil to Turkey. And they can set up some refineries that will be useful for them and for us. The Turkish government promised not to understand. They don’t understand today, and they won’t understand in the future.” ...
Very long but well worth reading in its entirety.