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Pentagon Working to Get Turkey 'Actionable Intelligence' on Kurdish Insurgents


The Pentagon says it is trying to provide Turkey with the kind of intelligence about insurgents of the Kurdistan Workers Party that would enable the Turkish military to take action against them. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell says the United States has provided "lots of intelligence" to help Turkey fight Kurdish rebels of the PKK, and has been supplying "more and more" information as a result of recent developments. But he said the U.S. preference is for Turkey to deal with PKK elements in its territory and for the Iraqi military to deal with elements in its territory.

Turkey threatened to invade northern Iraq, where the PKK has bases, after a particularly deadly attack on its troops earlier this month.

There was also an attack last week that killed 12 Turkish troops, on the same day U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with his Turkish counterpart Vecdi Gonul.

After that meeting, Defense Minister Gonul called for the United States to take "tangible action" against the guerrillas. But Secretary Gates said military action does not make sense without 'actionable intelligence,' a term that refers to information specific and timely enough for military units to act on it.

At a briefing not available for broadcast Wednesday, Morrell called that "a pretty high standard," and said the United States is "making efforts to help" Turkey "get actionable intelligence." He described the effort as part of a "longstanding working relationship" with Turkey on the Kurdish guerrilla issue.

He said part of that involves an order to U.S. troops in Iraq, authorizing them to detain anyone on a list of the 10 most wanted PKK members. He said the list is in the Iraq coalition's computer system.

Secretary Gates has said U.S. and Iraqi forces would "do the appropriate thing" if they had specific information on PKK forces in Iraq, and would provide such information to Turkey if the guerrillas were on the Turkish side of the border.

Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, said Wednesday the United States wants to see a long term solution to the Kurdish guerrilla problem, which he said should be developed by the Iraqi and Turkish governments. He said recent Iraq-Turkey talks have resulted in some "encouraging signs in that regard."