Turkey ready to send troops into Iraq

Türkiye Materials 10 October 2007 00:06 (UTC +04:00)

( Reuters ) - Turkey's prime minister gave the green light on Tuesday for possible military action in northern Iraq to confront Kurdish rebels there, drawing a warning from the United States, which fears wider regional instability.

The ruling AK Party said it would request, as soon as possible, parliament's authorization for a major incursion into the mainly Kurdish region, Turkish private broadcasters CNN Turk and NTV reported.

Washington urged Ankara to hold off on unilateral action, fearing it could destabilize Iraq's most peaceful area and potentially the wider region.

Erdogan is under pressure from Turkey's powerful armed forces and the opposition to take action against rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) after they shot dead 13 soldiers on Sunday near the Iraqi border.

Iraq's government said a recent security accord with Turkey was the best way for dealing with PKK attacks.

Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said parliament would need to authorize any large-scale military operation -- a scenario most analysts say remains unlikely -- but he said such permission was not required for limited, "hot pursuit" raids.

"To put an end to the terrorist organization operating in the neighboring country (Iraq), the order has been given to take every kind of measure, legal, economic, political, including also a cross-border operation if necessary," Erdogan's office said in a statement.

The U.S. State Department warned against such a move.