Turkey weighs PKK raid response

Shelling reported amid search for troops missing since attack by Kurdish fighters.

Turkey's parliament on Wednesday authorised cross-border operations against Kurdish fighters [AFP]
Turkey's parliament on Wednesday authorised cross-border operations against Kurdish fighters [AFP]
Tensions have reached new levels since the fighting – the first since Turkey’s parliament passed a motion allowing operations across the border in northern Iraq.
Hoda Abdel Hamid, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in northern Iraq, meanwhile reported hearing artillery shells exploding near the border.

Street protests

Meanwhile, in Turkey, thousands of people spilled onto the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, chanting slogans criticing the PKK in a secod day of protests.

About 3,000 demonstrators carrying Turkish flags Kadikoy square in Istanbul after the opposition Republican People’s Party called for a mass gathering.

Your Views

“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

Send us your views

“Martyrs are eternal, the nation is indivisible,” they chanted, along with, “Tayyip, send your son to the army,” a reference to the prime minister’s son who was exempted from the draft for health reasons.

The Cumhuriyet newspaper also voiced the frustration of many in Turkey on Monday with the headline, “Enough is enough”, while the front page of Yeni Safak read “We are all conscripts”.

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips in Silopi, southeastern Turkey, said that an incursion into northern Iraq by Turkish forces seemed increasing likely as the pressure mounted on Ankara.

“There were demonstrations in several Turkish cities yesterday as people came out onto the streets and vented their rage, calling for some kind of action. The government will be well aware of the sentiment that is bubbling up,” he said.

“At the same time it is well aware of the potential problems that could come out of an incursion … Turkey knows that going into Iraq has dramatic consequences for its relationship with Iraq, other Middle Eastern countries and the European Union … as well the United States.”

Turkey avoided ordering an immediate cross-border operation at an emergency meeting attended by Turkey’s cabinet and military leaders, but it ended with a statement saying that Turkey would do everything to protect itself.

“While respecting the territorial integrity of Iraq, Turkey will not shy away from paying whatever price is necessary to protect its rights, its laws, its indivisible unity and its citizens,” the statement from the office of Abdullah Gul, the president, said.

‘Speedy steps’

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, said late on Sunday that he had told Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, during a telephone conversation that he expected “speedy steps from the US” to bring the PKK under control.

He said Rice had expressed her sympathy over the attack and asked Erdogan not to take any action “for a few days”.

Thousands of people took to the streets to 
show their anger at the attacks [EPA]

The White House the attacked should be “dealt with swiftly by the Iraqi government and Kurdish regional authorities”.

Iraq has urged restraint from Ankara and Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister described the PKK raid as a “terrorist operation.”

Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president, called on the PKK, to stop their attacks amid fears a Turkish incursion would destabilise the relatively peaceful autonomous Kurdish region.

“We have appealed to the PKK to desist fighting and to transform themselves from military organisations into civilian and political ones,” he said.

“But if they insist on the continuation of fighting, they should leave Kurdistan, Iraq, and not create problems here.”

Talabani is expected to meet Ali Babacan, the Turkish foreign minister, on Tuesday while al-Maliki has said he he planned to dispatch a high-level government team to Turkey to discuss Ankara’s security concerns.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


More from News
Most Read