Iraq Kurds warn Turkey over raids

This is from the bbc. Interesting that there is no warning to the US which at the very least opened up Iraqi airspace to the Turkish aircraft and probably provided intelligence as well. The Kurds are well aware of US double crosses so maybe they don't feel it is worth commenting upon!
I guess it was impossible to work out a compromise that was acceptable to Turks and Kurds. Certainly the US has been most reluctant until now to sanction Turkish attacks, hoping that the Kurds or Iraqi govt. would act.

Iraq Kurds warn Turkey over raids
The president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq has warned Turkey to halt its strikes against rebel Kurdish positions in the border area.
Massoud Barzani said he "vehemently condemned" the bombardments, which he said had killed innocent people.

Turkish jets have carried out three strikes on Kurdish targets and one ground foray over the past eight days.

Turkey blames rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for launching attacks on Turkey from bases in Iraq.

Ankara approved cross-border raids on PKK bases in October, saying the Iraqi government and its US backers were not doing enough to halt attacks.

Formal complaint

"The bombing targeted safe and secure areas and innocent people," Mr Barzani told a news conference in the northern city of Suleimaniya.

"Several people were either killed or wounded. We held consultations with [Iraqi] President Jalal Talabani and we will continue our consultations with other concerned parties to put an end to these aggressions and put an end to the shelling of villages."

President Talabani - also a Kurd - was standing beside Mr Barzani as he delivered the condemnation.

He said his government had lodged a formal complaint with Turkey - but that he did not want to worsen tensions over the issue.

Turkey's ambassador to Iraq has been summoned to the foreign ministry to hear a formal complaint, reports the BBC's Humphrey Hawkesley in Baghdad.

Up to 10 people are reported to have been killed in the strikes - it is not known whether they are rebels or civilians.

As many as 2,000 people have fled the areas under attack.

US support

In a telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, US President George W Bush reiterated his backing for Turkey's operations against PKK rebels, said a White House spokesman.

They discussed "the importance of the United States, Turkey and Iraq working together to confront the PKK", said national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

The PKK - which is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU - is thought to have about 3,000 rebels based in Iraq.

For decades, it has been fighting for a Kurdish homeland separate from Turkey.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/12/24 17:49:08 GMT



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