Iraq-Turkey Ties Threatened by Ankara\'s Military Operation

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The Iraqi government said Tuesday that Turkey's extension of Operation Northern Watch, which patrols the no-fly zone in northern Iraq, threatened bilateral ties. 

"The extension by the Turkish parliament of Northern Watch and Ankara's authorization of US-British aggression does not serve the good neighbor relations between Iraq and Turkey," said Nouri al-Wais, an undersecretary in Iraq's foreign ministry. 

The official INA news agency quoted Wais as saying that the move by Ankara "breaches the trust established between Iraq and Turkey and interferes with relations between Turkey and the Arabs." 

The Turkish parliament on Sunday extended the mandate of US and British planes to patrol the no-fly zone in northern Iraq, despite Iraqi calls on Ankara to withdraw its consent. 

Operation Northern Watch (ONW), a force of some 45 US and British planes charged with enforcing the no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel to protect local Kurds, is based at Incirlik in the southern Turkish province of Adana. 

ONW began on January 1, 1997 and was preceded by Operation Provide Comfort, which ran from April 1991 to December 1996. 

Sunday's decision extended ONW for another six months from December 31. 

Baghdad does not recognize the northern no-fly zone, nor a similar exclusion zone in the south of the country aimed at protecting the Shiite Muslim population. Neither is authorized by any specific United Nations resolution -- BAGHDAD (AFP) 

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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