Turkey confirms plan to allow Iraq incursion
(Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Wednesday his government is seeking authorisation for a military incursion into northern Iraq to fight Kurdish rebels using the region as a base.
The request could go to parliament as early as Thursday to authorise such an operation, he said in an interview on CNN Turk. He hopes to gain approval after a holiday this weekend.
Erdogan is under pressure to act after rebel attacks which have killed 15 soldiers since Sunday, but political analysts say a major cross-border operation remains unlikely.
"A request for approval for a cross-border operation could be sent to parliament tomorrow," he said. "After the holiday we plan to gain authorisation (for an operation) for one year."
A large incursion would strain ties with the United States and the European Union, which Ankara hopes to join, and could undermine regional stability. Russia also urged restraint.
Washington, which relies on Turkish bases to supply its war effort in Iraq, cautioned against an incursion.
"We do not think it would be the best place for troops to go into Iraq from Turkey at this time," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.
"We have said that we want to work with the Turkish government and the Iraqis ... to eradicate the terrorist problem there in northern Iraq."