Turkey delays PKK attack decision

Government rejects Iraqi proposals to curb cross-border attacks by Kurdish fighters.

    Turks have called for action to be taken against the PKK [AFP]
    Erdogan said on Friday that any military action was part of a "process," which includes his meeting with George Bush, the US president, at the White House next month.
     
    Iraqi proposals
     

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    A visit to Ankara by a high-ranking Iraqi delegation on Friday led by its defence and national security ministers was "a positive effort ... well-intentioned and sincere," the Turkish foreign ministry said.
     
    "However ... we see that the Iraqi delegation has come with ideas that will take a long time to implement. The time factor is very important."
     
    Iraq's proposals included coalition forces watching over the Turkish/Iraqi border and the creation of more and reinforced military outposts along the border to prevent infiltration by PKK fighters.
     
    Baghdad also suggested direct talks between the Turkish, Iraqi and US military and the revival of a tripartite panel to coordinate the fight against the PKK.
     
    The solution to the problem "must in any case be political and diplomatic," the Iraqis said.
     
    A PKK attack on Sunday killed 12 soldiers and left eight captured and Turkey's parliament has authorised the government to order military incursions against the bases of the PKK inside Iraq.
     
    The Turkish army has since massed men and equipment along the border and has said it killed more than 60 Kurdish rebels in fighting.
     
    Washington and Baghdad are opposed to any Turkish incursion.
     
    The PKK has been fighting for autonomy for the predominantly Kurdish population in southeast Turkey since 1984, and is labeled a terrorist group by Washington and the European Union.
     
    Iran visit
     
    Ali Babacan, the Turkish foreign minister, was scheduled to fly to Iran on Saturday to discuss the border crisis, a move that may be designed to put pressure on the US, says Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee in Istanbul.
     
    "The last thing the US or Iraq would want would be a joint operation between Turkey and Iran."
     
    In comments unlikely to ease Turkish frustration, the top US military commander in northern Iraq said he plans to do "absolutely nothing" to counter Kurdish rebels operating from the region.
     
    Major General Benjamin Mixon said it was not the US military's responsibility to act.
     
    Mixon also said that he has sent no additional US troops to the area and that it not tracking hiding places or logistics activities of PKK rebels.

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