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VOA-TV Interview with Stefan Bos

VOA-TV Host David Borgida talks with VOA Correspondent Stefan Bos about military operations in Turkey.

Now joining us, inside Turkey, along the Iraq-Turkish border, reporter Stefan Bos.

Stefan, tell us what the Turkish military is doing there as far as you can see it.

Well, David, in the recent days we have seen basically an increasing number of checkpoints near the border with northern Iraq.

I have also the impression that an increasing number of Turkish troops are actually moving towards that area.

It is interesting that at the same time journalists are held on a distance. I myself, for instance, was escorted out of a bus by heavily armed security forces and they said it was because of paper reasons and so on.

All the journalists have complained about similar measures. And it is clear that they don't want us all to see, but there are clearly indications that troops have actually already entered into northern Iraq. And that is of great concern, of course, to the United States. We can see also, for instance, in the town of Silopi—I just came back [from] there—that there are many troops driving through the town with heavily armed security forces.

There is clear concern in Turkey about what is happening across the border. Of course, the Kurdish troops have made some advances to one of the world's largest oilfields.

And that is of great concern for Turkey. Turkey has made it clear it does not want to see an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq, with oil-rich people there.

They want to make sure that Iraq remains as it is now, without any border changes. And I guess that is one of the reasons why we see these movements right now.

Stefan, what are the Turkish people there saying to you about all of this?

Well, it is interesting. I just spoke with one Kurdish man, and he said that he actually supports the war.

He says, I support President Bush. But I have to tell you, that was the first person I met in a long time now here, being here now already several days, to say that.

Many Turkish people will say that they are against the war, but at the same time it is also my understanding that not all Kurdish people who live here are free to speak their mind.

They have complained about harassment if they talk to journalists, and they are basically concerned.

So, I think among the Kurdish people there is more support for the war, but the Turkish people here are very concerned about it.

And there is also concern among residents, especially near the border, that the war may spill over the border and that they will see again violence here.

And that would add, of course, to the troubles for this region, which is already very poor.

Reporter Stefan Bos inside Turkey, just along the Iraq-Turkish border.