Iraq: Turkey border tensions easing

Ankara continues troop build up while citizens want government to hit back against PKK.

    Erdogan denied there had been cross-border attacks but said Turkey was ready to strike [EPA]

    Citizens feel the government has been to slow in striking back against attacks by Kurdish separatist forces, the PKK.

     

    Sentiments from "it's already too late" to "the government is trying to fool people that they're doing something" to "the terrorists are already gone" abounded, Hanna found.

     

    Escalated military activity

     

    Hanna reported escalated military activity a day after four soldiers were killed in clashes with members of the PKK, with more reinforcements arriving at the southern border.

     

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    Turkish helicopters and fighter aircraft reportedly struck at targets across the border.

     

    But Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, on Wednesday denied his forces had carried out aerial strikes against rebel targets but reaffirmed the readiness for a cross-border operation if necessary.

     

    "All the operations that have taken place have been within the borders of Turkey, there have been no cross-border operations," he said late on Wednesday.

     

    "It is not possible to get results in three to five days, but we are following the developments in northern Iraq closely."

     

    Last week, Erdogan urged George Bush, the US president, to crack down on PKK fighters in northern Iraq.

     

    Turkey, a Nato ally, has also accepted a US offer to share intelligence on the PKK.

     

    Speaking in parliament, Ali Babacan, Turkey's foreign minister, said: "The intelligence sharing is important, it has started to be implemented."

     

    Last month Turkey's parliament approved a government request to be able to launch a cross-border military operation.

     

    "Nobody should doubt that parliamentary resolution will be used at the most appropriate and effective time," Babacan said.

     

    "All orders given after the meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Erdogan have begun to be implemented."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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