Report: US mulls Turkish request for drones

September 12, 2011 15:58

ANKARA - The US government is considering a request from Turkey to base a fleet of US Predator drones inside Turkey to carry out operations against separatist Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, the Washington Post has reported.

Citing unnamed senior US military officials, the newspaper reported on Sunday that US President Barack Obama's administration had not yet made a decision on the request.

According to the newspaper, the US military has flown unarmed surveillance Predators above northern Iraq since 2007 and has shared images with Turkey as part of "a secretive joint crackdown" on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels.

It said previously undisclosed diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks showed Turkey had become "highly dependent" on the Predators and other spy aircraft in its fight against the PKK.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has fought for Kurdish self-rule for more than 27 years in a conflict that has killed 40,000 people.

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