Turkey says all means on table in PKK fight
(Reuters) Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Sunday both diplomatic and military options were "on the table" in the country's fight against Kurdish PKK guerrillas based in northern Iraq.
He was speaking after talks with Iraq aimed at averting a Turkish cross-border raid collapsed on Friday, after Ankara rejected Iraqi proposals for tackling the PKK as insufficient and because they would not yield results quickly enough.
Babacan, visiting neighbouring Iran, said Turkey had lost patience with the Kurdish guerrilla group and that Ankara had different instruments at its disposal.
"For example, we can use or continue to use diplomatic means, or resort to military means. All of these are on the table, so to speak," he said in comments translated into English by Iran's Press TV television channel.
Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops, backed by fighter jets, helicopter gunships, tanks, and mortars, on the border for a possible offensive against about 3,000 rebels using Iraq as a base from which to carry out attacks in Turkey.
Babacan, who held talks with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki in the Iranian capital, said the fight against terrorism was "hugely important" for Turkey, as was Iraq's territorial integrity.
"These two do not contradict one another," he said. "Our goal is to target terrorist groups ... We are not entertaining any ideas on Iraqi territory and their resources."
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) launched its separatist campaign in 1984. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the conflict since then.
The United States opposes a major incursion into Iraq by its NATO ally Turkey, fearing it could destabilise the relatively peaceful north of Iraq and the wider region.