07/10/2007, 00.00
IRAQ – TURKEY
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Turkish troop build-up along border with Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi foreign minister warns against a Turkish incursion against the PKK. Ankara tries to reassure that it will not allow military to invade. US government intervenes to prevent it.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Turkey has 140,000 soldiers along its border, as a possible prelude to an incursion against PKK Kurdish guerrillas in Iraqi territory. Turkish authorities however have tried to be reassuring saying that they have not given the green light despite Turkish army pressure. The United States is opposed to any Turkish involvement for fear of its repercussion in one of the few relatively calm parts of Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari criticised Ankara’s moves and so far Turkey has not denied them. Mr Zebari said there was “a great mobilization” with “all sorts of equipment, insisting that the Iraqi government was opposed to any breach of its national sovereignty, even if it understood Turkey's "legitimate security concerns" vis-à-vis the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). For him the only solution was through negotiations.

“There is a joint Iraqi, American and Turkish security committee and it is the appropriate body to solve all the issues and problems between the two countries,” he noted, adding that the best solution for the time being was for Turkey to pull its troops from the border.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül in answering a question about a telephone conversion with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the Turkish government would not order attacks across the border. However, the rumour mill in Ankara is predicting an attack against northern Iraq before Turkey’s July 22 elections.

For its part, the traditionally Marxist PKK is said to have become pro-American. According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Fayık Muhammed Golpi, president of the Democratic Solutions Party which is regarded as a PKK front organisation, said that “following the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics we re-evaluated Marxism.” He explained that we “cannot ignore the realities of the period of globalisation. We have chosen democracy and federalism.”

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