Iraq calls for talks with Turkey
Ankara continues to threaten cross-border action against Kurdish fighters.
“I think it is pretty difficult to say troops shouldn’t [invade] when the Turkish soldiers are being killed and their villages attacked”
Celtic, Karlstad, Sweden
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Turkey’s government is expected to approve a motion on Wednesday that would establish a legal basis for cross-border military action the the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
But Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said on Tuesday that securing parliament’s permission to launch an attack did not necessarily mean a military incursion was imminent.
“I sincerely wish that this motion will never be applied. Passage of this motion does not mean an immediate incursion will follow,” he said.
He said Turkey would “act at the right time and under the right conditions”.
But Erdogan also warned that Iraq’s government as well as the regional government in northern Iraq should “put a thick wall between themselves and the terrorist organisation”, referring to the PKK.
“Those who are unable to distance themselves from terrorism cannot avoid being adversely affected by the struggle against terrorism.”
Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting for Al Jazeera from northern Iraq, said: “Iraq’s Kurds are keen to avoid being dragged into Ankara’s fight with the PKK, however good neighbourly relations are still a long way away.”
Ankara has long complained that neither the Iraqi government nor the US operating in Iraq have done enough to crack down on about 3,000 PKK fighters they say are based in northern Iraq.
Turkey blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the group launched its armed struggle for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.
The prospect of Turkey, a key Nato ally, sending its army into the northern Iraq’s Kurdish region helped to send global oil prices towards a fresh all-time high of $88 a barrel on Tuesday.