Federal Ethnic based Iraq Will be “Bloody” According to Turkish Army

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s powerful military said on Friday it believed a federation in neighboring Iraq based on ethnic lines would be "difficult and bloody.” A top Turkish general told reporters the General Staff believed a federation based on geography rather than ethnicity would be more suitable for Iraq. "If there is a federal structure in Iraq on an ethnic basis–the future will be very difficult and bloody,” General Ilker Basbug–the number two at the General Staff–told a rare news conference. Turkey–like its neighbor Syria–is afraid that any autonomy for the Kurdish population in Iraq’s new political system could stir up similar aspirations among its own Kurdish minority. The United States has said the decision on a new political framework for the war-torn country rests with the Iraqis. Turkey has warned it would intervene if Kurds in northern Iraq declared an independent state. Basbug also said the Turkish military believed the United States was not doing enough to wipe out Turkish Kurd rebels based in the mountains of northern Iraq–who have been waging a separatist war in southeast Turkey since the early 1980s. He called on the US army to take military action in the near future against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas–who use Iraq as a base for cross-border attacks. "Our expectation is that the armed identity of the terror group will be wiped out–the terrorists will surrender or will be made to surrender,” Basbug said. "The US’s fight against the PKK is not meeting our expectations in the current situation.” The conflict in southeast Turkey has killed more than 30,000 people–although violence has died down since the arrest of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999.

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