Mukasey warns Turkey on recent expansion of Al Qaeda presence
By Zeynep Gurcanli
News about upcoming Cheney visit to Ankara was revealed during the latest high level visit by an American official, US Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Meeting with top level Turkish officials, Mukasey delivered a warning from Washington with regards to Al Qaeda presence in Turkey.
"We are watching Al Qaeda closely. And we have seen in the recent period that they have increased their activities in Turkey" he told Turkish Justice Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin and Interior Minister Besir Atalay, according to sources close to the matter.
In addition, the US head of the Justice Department warned Turkish officials that it "appeared as though Al Qaeda may have chosen Turkey as a base". Mukasey is the first American head of Justice to have made an official visit to Turkey.
Mukasey's meetings in Ankara also focused on the presence of PKK terror in Northern Iraq, and according to sources in Ankara, Turkish officials expressed gratitude for the recent changes in American attitude towards the struggle against PKK terror.
The same officials did however warn Mukasey that the PKK may be trying to sustain its movement in the US "under a different name". Within this framework, Turkish officials told Mukasey that the PKK was trying to organize and operate in the US as a "civil society organization," noting that groups such as the "American Kurdish Information network," the "Washington Kurdish Institute," and the "North American Kurdish National Congress" were all examples of such efforts.