Turkey considers airships to combat PKK

Oct. 25, 2012 at 5:04 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Turkey's struggle with the Kurdish PKK has intensified.

The civil war in Syria has added a dimension to Turkey's struggle with the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish initials PKK and which began its armed struggle in 1974.

PKK guerrillas have reportedly been infiltrating into Turkey from Syria, whose regime is strongly opposed to Turkish efforts to oust the presidency of Bashar Assad.

The PKK has increasingly targeted Turkish energy assets, including the $3.6 billion, 1 million barrel per day, 1,092-mile Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, as well as the Kirkuk-Yumurtalık pipeline.

To counter the threat, Turkish armed forces have expressed interest in acquiring airships such as those used by the United States army along the U.S.-Mexican border and in Afghanistan, Hurriyet newspaper reported.

Both U.S. and Israeli firms produced observation airships.

Should the Turkish military acquire the dirigibles, they will be modified with the attachment of radar and optical systems produced by Turkey's leading defense technology firm Aselsan.

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