Middle East News
Turkey calls on Iraq once again to stop Kurdish rebels
Apr 11, 2007, 11:43 GMT
Ankara - Turkey once again called on Iraqi authorities to take action to stop guerrillas from the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) crossing into Turkey, with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Wednesday saying Turkey reserved the right to take action itself if Iraq does not move first.
'Our position is very clear ... If harm is coming to Turkey from a neighbour then that neighbour must do something to stop it,' Gul said.
'If they do not have the power (to stop the PKK) then international law provides the necessary remedies,' Gul said in apparent reference to the possibility of Turkey launching military operations against PKK bases in northern Iraq.
Gul refused to be drawn however when asked if a military operation was on the table.
Turkey has repeatedly called on the United States to use its forces in Iraq to close down PKK camps in northern Iraq where an estimated 5,000 PKK fighters are based. US officials have said there forces are too stretched to be able to carry out such an operation.
Gul's statements came a day after the National Security Council, a board comprising the president, senior ministers and military leaders, said that it had looked at the 'political, economic and other approaches' that need to be taken to stop the PKK.
The council meeting took place amid continuing tension in Ankara over comments made by Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani who said that if Turkey continues to intervene on behalf of the Turkmen minority concerning the status of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk then he would intervene on behalf of the sizable Kurdish minority in Turkey.
On Monday Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Barzani, president of the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq, should be careful otherwise he could be 'crushed by his own words'.
Turkey issued a diplomatic note to Baghdad concerning Barzani's remarks resulting in a telephone call from Iraqi President Jelal Talabani to Erdogan in which Talabani reportedly stressed that they place high importance to ties with Turkey.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur