Erdogan, right, has warned that a military solution
could be carried out at any time [AFP]
The foreign ministers from countries neighbouring Iraq are gathering this week in Istanbul to discuss the situation in Iraq and its implications for the region.

The conference comes amid statements from Turkey's leaders that the use of military force against the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq remains an option.

The high-stakes meeting hosted by Turkey will be attended by the foreign ministers of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

Despite the diplomacy, there have been heated exchanges between Iraqi and Turkish politicians.

Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, described the tension on the Turkey-Iraq border as "dead serious" and stated that Turkey had shown no interest in Iraqi proposals to calm the situation.

For his part, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, has warned that a military solution could be carried out at any time.

Turkey has continued its troop build-up
at the Iraq border [AFP]
 

Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops, backed by warplanes and tanks, on the border between the two countries for a possible offensive against an estimated 3,000 rebels from the outlawed PKK.

The large-scale military build-up has raised fears of an imminent Turkish invasion into northern Iraq.   

The time has never been more urgent for the region's top politicians to get together and find common ground.

But will the meeting produce an agreement which defuses the tension? Will Washington and Baghdad make good on their promises to crack down on the Kurdish rebels? Or will Turkey carry out its threats of a cross-border attack?

Our guests this week are Mohammad Hamoud, Iraq's deputy foreign minister, Rich Schmierer, the director of Near Eastern affairs for the US state department, and Suat Kiniklioglu, a spokesman for the Turkish foreign relations commiittee.

This episode of Inside Iraq aired from November 02, 2007

Watch Part One here:

Watch Part Two here:


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Source: Al Jazeera