Friday, October 12, 2007


Turkish parliament may approve govt request on Iraq campaign

(AP) - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Turkey would not be deterred by the possible consequences of invading Iraq if it decides to stage a cross-border offensive against Kurdish rebels.
"If such an option is chosen, whatever its price, it will be paid," Erdogan told reporters in response to a question about international repercussions of such a decision, which would strain ties with the United States and Iraq. "There could be pros and cons of such a decision, but what is important is our country's interests."
A Turkish soldier was killed by a mine Thursday night on Mt. Gabar in southeastern Sirnak province, where 13 soldiers have been ambushed and killed over the past week, local authorities said. "We are making necessary preparations to be ready in case we decide on a cross-border operations since we don't have patience to lose more time," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey lost 30 people in rebel attacks over the past two weeks.
Erdogan said Turkey has long been seeking the cooperation of Iraq and the United States but there has been no crackdown on the rebel group of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in Iraq. "If there are terrorists sheltering and attacking Turkey from Iraqi soil and if they don't do anything then we should do something," Erdogan said.
The Turkish parliament was expected to approve a government request to authorize an Iraq campaign as early as next week, after a holiday ending the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. But that does not mean a risky incursion will follow at once. Turkey might give diplomacy, and perhaps economic pressure, more time to work even as public enthusiasm for a military mission mounts.

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