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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 237,972 182,848 147,700 21
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,790 2,500 2,530 92
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Turkey


Update No: 125 - (26/10/07)

Kurdish militants attacks Turkish troops - the fall-out
The Turkish government of Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the ruling AK Party, are in a genuine quandary. The militant wing of the Kurdish Workers' Party make regular incursions into Southern Turkey. On one such on October 21 they killed at least12, and perhaps as many as 17, Turkish soldiers. 

Ankara has to react to these outrages somehow or risk the umbrage of the military, already distrustful of the Islamicist character of the AKP, so alien to the secular traditions of Turkey. 

But Washington is urging restraint. It does not want to see a Turkish invasion disrupting the stability of the Kurdish provinces of Iraq, the only stable and successful parts of the country. 
Ankara has announced its right to retaliate militarily, but is still seeking every way out, short of crossing the Iraqi frontier.

MGK advocates economic measures against the PKK
Turkey's powerful National Security Council (MGK) said on October 23 it had recommended that the government take economic action against groups helping separatist Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq.

The call from the MGK, comprising political leaders and army top brass, added to the growing Turkish pressure on northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdish administration to act against the rebels in order to stave off a major Turkish military incursion. "The MGK has made a recommendation to the cabinet concerning economic measures that should be taken ... against groups which directly or indirectly support the separatist terrorist organisation in the region," an MGK statement said.

It did not say what measures should be taken or which groups would be targeted, but Ankara has strongly criticised the Iraqi Kurdish administration for failing to crack down on the PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey.

Erdogan mooted the possibility of economic sanctions against northern Iraq during his visit to London on October 22.

His AK Party has said these could include cutting off electricity supplies to northern Iraq and halting or slowing down road traffic at the Habur border gate. Northern Iraq relies heavily on Turkey for its power, water and food supplies.

Foreign Trade Minister Kursad Tuzmen said earlier on October 23 that Ankara was capable of excluding the north and maintaining trade relations with the rest of Iraq if the crisis over the PKK escalated.

The MGK statement followed an unusually long six-hour meeting under the chairmanship of President Abdullah Gul. Erdogan and General Yasar Buyukanit, head of the powerful military General Staff, were among those attending the talks.

Ankara awaits proposals from Baghdad
Turkey expects "concrete proposals" from Iraq, as its defence minister arrived in Ankara on October 24 in a last ditch attempt to assure Turkey that it is ready to clamp down on the activities of the PKK in northern Iraq.

Ali Babacan, Turkey's foreign minister, said the visit by the Iraqi delegation "would have no meaning" unless they were able to demonstrate they could carry out their pledge to do so.
The Iraqi defence minister's visit came after the Turkish military bombarded PKK bases inside northern Iraq over the previous few days, following the incident in which at least 12 and probably as many as 17 Turkish soldiers were killed.

General Abdel Qadir Jassim arrived at the head of a delegation including Iraq's national security minister after repeated threats of a large-scale military incursion by Turkey. Ankara accuses the PKK in northern Iraq of attacking Turkish targets in incidents that have killed scores of civilians and soldiers in recent weeks.

Many observers in Ankara are sceptical that the Iraqi government can shut down PKK operations in Iraq. The region of northern Iraq where the separatists are based is controlled by the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) - (if this wild mountainous border region can be said to be controlled at all), which takes small notice of the central government in Baghdad.

However, the government in Ankara has long refused to have official dealings with the KRG, insisting reasonably enough, that the onus was on the Baghdad government and the US to address Turkish concerns about the PKK.

Turkey's political and military leaders also met for a regular national security council meeting on October 23, at which the PKK issue was the main item on the agenda. The NSC is the ultimate policy-setting body in Turkey on issues related to foreign and military affairs and to security threats such as the one posed by the PKK.

Invasion force assembled on the border
Turkey has moved at least 60,000 troops, helicopters, and heavy equipment to the provinces of Hakkari and Sirnak, which border Iraq. The US and Iraq are obviously opposed to a Turkish incursion because they believe it would undermine Iraq's most peaceful region.

Analysts, commentators, and diplomats in Ankara suggest that there will be no significant incursion into Iraq by Turkish troops before Erdogan meets President George W. Bush in Washington on November 5, or unless there is another PKK attack inside Turkey that claims more civilian and military lives.

The small-scale incursions seen recently are expected to continue in the meantime, as the Turkish military targets PKK bases 20km to 40km on the Iraqi side of the border. 

Observers said the US had no quarrel with such operations by Turkey so long as they did not provoke any wider conflict with the Kurdish government or with its defence force.

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