Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that securing permission from parliament to launch a major attack on Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq did not necessarily mean a military incursion was imminent.
Instead, Erdogan said "we will act at the right time and under the right conditions".
"This is about self-defence," he told his ruling AK Party.
The prospect of a strike into mainly Kurdish northern Iraq helped push oil prices towards a record high $88 a barrel. The Turkish lira traded down almost 2 percent against the dollar.
Baghdad sent Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi to Ankara and called for urgent talks to head off military action that Washington fears could sow chaos in an area so far spared much of the carnage afflicting other parts of Iraq.
Erdogan's cabinet asked parliament this week for permission to launch cross-border offensives following a spate of Kurdish separatist attacks. Approval is expected on Wednesday.
Washington has urged restraint on Turkey, strategically located between Europe and the Middle East. It relies on Turkey for logistical support for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Turkey, for its part, argues that the United States and Iraq have done too little to curb some 3,000 Kurdish rebels attacking eastern Turkey in pursuit of an independent state there. ( Reuters )