Turkey seeks approval for Iraq raid

Military reportedly takes action against Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Turkey.

    Tayyip Erdogan says plans for a possible incursion
    into Iraq were under way [AFP]
    The plan was unlikely to reach parliament before the end of a four-day religious holiday on Sunday, an official from Erdogan's Justice and Development party said.
     
    Damaging relations
     
    A cross-border incursion would strain ties with the European Union, which Ankara hopes to join, and the US, which has urged Ankara not to take unilateral steps.
     

    Turkish soldiers are being buried after
    attacks by the PKK [AFP]

    Huseyin Bagci, of Ankara's Middle East Technical University, said: "Turkey cannot intervene in northern Iraq today without the consent of the elected government in Baghdad because it would violate international law."
     
    Iraq and Turkey recently signed an anti-terrorism agreement, but Baghdad refused Ankara's request to allow Turkish troops to pursue separatists across their shared border if the need arose.
     
    On Tuesday, Erdogan said all measures, including military ones, would be considered in the fight against the PKK, who are believed to have about 3,000 fighters in northern Iraq.
     
    Assaults reported
     
    Turkish troops shelled suspected PKK camps in the regions of Kanimasa, Nazdur and Sinath, in northern Iraq, from positions in Turkey's Hakkari province, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Wednesday.
     
    Turkey's military, the second biggest in Nato, also began a new offensive in Tunceli province in the mainly Kurdish east of the country, television reported.
     
    The Associated Press reported that the military launched a major offensive backed by airpower against fighters in Sirnak province, close to the Iraqi border.
     
    The military carried out incursions into northern Iraq in 1995 and 1997, involving an estimated 35,000 and 50,000 troops respectively, which failed to dislodge the fighters.
     
    Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the group began its armed struggle for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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