U.S. Defense: "No comment about intelligence in Roboski massacre"
18 May 2012We have an enduring and very strong military-to-military relationship with Turkey, says U.S. Defense
The U.S. Department of Defense press secretary George E. Little has answered question on the Wall Street Journal report about the intelligence provided by american drones to Turkish army on 28 December 2011 when Turkish war planes bombed the village of Roboski killing 34 people.
Little said "we are obviously aware of The Wall Street Journal's story. And what I can say about the story is that while I won't comment on intelligence sharing with our Turkish allies, we have an enduring and very strong military-to-military relationship with Turkey". The Defense press secretary added that "we work with Turkey across a wide range of national security challenges. And they're of course an important NATO partner".
Little stressed "the importance of counter-PKK efforts is critical, as the secretary indicated during his trip to Turkey last year. And we will continue to work with Turkey on counter-PKK efforts and on other challenges".
Reporters though were not keen to leave the issue there and asked whether the report was in fact "a leak"
Little replied "Is it a leak? Well, I don't know where this report came from, and I'm not going to comment one way or another on intelligence. Do leaks happen? Leaks happen, regrettably".
Asked how the report will affect your cooperation with Turkey? Little replied that "We have an enduring, solid, strong alliance with Turkey. They're an important part of NATO, we have an important bilateral and security relationship with Turkey, and we're going to continue to work closely with Turkey on a range of issues that we think are important to both countries".
The Wall Street Journal replied today to the press release issued by Turkish military stating that "Quoting a Pentagon after-action report, the Journal said a U.S. Predator drone spotted a group of men and pack animals and passed the footage to Turkey's military. The Turks identified the convoy as Kurdish militant fighters and took the decision to strike using jets from its air force".
The paper continues by adding that "The Pentagon assessment describes only the role of the Predator and doesn't address the issue of whether Turkey may also have been tracking the convoy".
The Turkish military statement said: "The first detected visual image of the group in the incident was made by the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces," adding that details have been passed to officials investigating the matter.
The Wall Street Journal says that "The statement didn't make any mention of a U.S. role. Turkey's military and defense ministry have previously said intelligence leading to the strike came exclusively from domestic sources. Turkey's military and three government departments declined to comment for that article".
ANF NEWS AGENCY