Border buildup
 
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Inside Iraq: Turkish/Kurdish tensions

Turkey's military has been deploying troops near its border with Iraq, but says it is a routine precaution against separatist infiltrations.

The massing of troops, however, coincides with debate over whether to stage an incursion into Iraq to try to eradicate separatist bases there.

 

Turkey's military chief said on Thursday that his army was prepared to attack Kurdish fighters in a cross-border offensive but such action would need to be order by the government.

 

Turkey last carried out a major incursion into Iraq to chase fighters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a decade ago.

 

Separatist Kurdish fighters, taking advantage of a power vacuum in northern Iraq, have escalated attacks on Turkish targets. Turkey complains that the United States and Iraqi Kurds have done little to stop them.

 

The United States opposes a Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq, fearing it could destabilise what is one of the most stable regions of the country.