American officials paid a visit to Ankara this week as part of a DoD investigation into reports that US-supplied weapons have ended up in the hands of the PKK. Turkish media is also reporting that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to travel to the United States to meet with President Bush for talks on bilateral issues, including the PKK problem.
General Counsel of the US Department of Defense, William J. Haynes, led a seven-member American delegation to Ankara for a day of meetings on Wednesday, during which they held closed-door talks with officials from the General Staff, the Foreign Ministry, the Security Directorate and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
"Haynes was in Ankara only for one day and he held senior-level talks both with military and government officials. His meetings concerned an ongoing investigation that had been launched a number of months ago about possibly missing weapons. We have been working in cooperation with Turkish officials since then," US Embassy Press Attaché Kathryn Schalow told Today's Zaman on Thursday.
According to Today's Zaman, in Wednesday's meeting, Turkish officials presented Haynes with a detailed list of Austrian-made Glock pistols, AK-47 rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers and hand grenades that had been seized from the PKK.
The American delegation explained that the US provided more than 370,000 weapons to the Iraqi army, including Glock pistols, launchers, grenades, machine guns and sniper rifles. Haynes told Turkish officials that the PKK's weapons were those supplied to Iraqi security forces by the United States. He said it was highly probable that the PKK got these weapons from Iraqi security forces.
CNN-Turk has reported that when President Bush called Prime Minister Erdogan earlier in the week to congratulate him on electoral victory, the conversation led to an agreement for the Turkish leader to visit Washington. No date has been set for the trip, but Turkish reports speculate it wouldn't occur before Erdogan forms the new government, which could leave the meeting for autumn.
In other cross-border developments, Turkey launched another barrage of mortars on northern Iraqi villages on Thursday, with VOI reporting no casualties. Turkish television reported on Friday that Turkish shelling in the Qandil mountains killed four PKK leaders, but no other details were immediately available.