(RTTNews) – Rising tensions on the Turkey-Iraq border are snowballing into a possible outbreak of war, as the president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq said his people will defend themselves if Turkey attacks Kurdish rebels based in Kurdistan.
Turkey has put forward a condition for staying away from confrontation, saying that the Iraqi government should eradicate Kurdish rebel bases and extradite rebel leaders. However, Baghdad, already battling a bigger enemy in the mainland, has expressed its helplessness by saying that the country does not currently have the resources to defeat the guerrillas…
Kurdish leaders said yesterday the United States is obliged by a U.N. resolution to defend them in the event that Turkish forces invade northern Iraq in pursuit of members of a Kurdish rebel movement…
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said at a later press conference that the United States wants to help end a wave of attacks inside Turkey, but there is a lack of solid information as to where the Kurdish rebels operate from….
Iraq’s parliament on Saturday discussed a motion condemning Turkey for threatening an incursion to crack down on Kurdish rebels as Baghdad and Ankara were said to be considering a joint operation. Lawmakers failed to agree on the wording of the motion that would condemn Turkey’s parliament for authorising its military to cross the mountainous border to hunt down rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)….
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki had proposed joint action to crack down on the PKK rebels….
But he also said that the United States had the primary responsibility in routing PKK bases, and said talks with US President George W. Bush early next month in Washington would be crucial in determining the next course of action….
UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday welcomed Ankara’s readiness for talks with Iraq and expressed concern over a possible Turkish military operation.
The PKK has waged a bloody campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey since 1984. The conflict has claimed more than 37,000 lives.