Pentagon says American predator drones
shifted from Iraq to Turkey
November 15, 2011
WASHINGTON, — The United States has deployed
Predator drones to Turkey from Iraq for surveillance
flights in support of Ankara's fight against Kurdish
PKK rebels, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.
With US forces withdrawing from Iraq by the end of
the year, the four American unmanned aircraft will
be shifted from an air field in northern Iraq to the
Incirlik air base in Turkey, Captain John Kirby told
"There is an agreement now to fly some of those ISR
(intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance)
assets out of Incirlik at the request of the Turkish
government," Kirby said.
The United States has deployed Predator drones to
Turkey from Iraq for surveillance flights. Photo:
The robotic drones, which are unarmed, had been
moved to Incirlik in the last couple of weeks, he
"It's my understanding they are operating out of
Incirlik now," he said.
Violence between rebels from the Kurdistan Workers'
Party (PKK) and Turkish army has escalated since the
summer, with Turkey launching a major operation last
month in retaliation for a PKK attack that killed 24
Turkey had acknowledged talks with the Pentagon on
redeploying the unmanned aircraft to Incirlik.
The mission for the drones would remain the same,
with only a change in the air field used by the
planes, Kirby said.
"This is to help provide ISR support to the Turkish
military to deal with the specific threat posed by
the PKK on their southern border."
Turkish Air Force and Army commanders have
considered using drones to detect PKK militant bases
to make an attack on the targets easier.
In another step designed to bolster the Turkish
military in its battle with the PKK,www.ekurd.net
the Pentagon announced last month plans to sell
three AH-1 Super Cobra helicopters to Ankara in a
deal worth $111 million.
Also, the Obama administration has consulted with Congress an unusual proposal to
transfer U.S. Marine Corps attack helicopters to
Turkey, U.S. officials said on October 27,www.ekurd.net
tries to exact revenge for a major attack by Kurdish PKK separatists.
US-Turkey deal will be worth an estimated $111
Since August 17, Turkish jets repeatedly carried out
air strikes against the Kurdish PKK separatist
group's bases in
Iraqi Kurdistan region,
under justification of chasing elements of the
anti-Ankara PKK, forcing large numbers of Kurdish
citizens of those areas to desert their home
villages, including an air raid that
Kurdish civilians in a village north
of Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah city on August 21.
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey,
numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees,
lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the
way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within
Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader
Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against
the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
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