Iran cool as Turkey says PKK strike possible

(Yahoo) Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan warned on Sunday that Turkey could launch an attack on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq but failed to win the support of neighbouring Iran for a military strike.

Babacan said after talks with Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki that Ankara had ruled out no option in its fight against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels who have carried out a string of attacks in eastern Turkey.

"We have different instruments. We can use diplomacy or we can resort to military means," Babacan said in Tehran. "All of these are on the table.

"The Turkish people have lost their patience... We are asking all our friends to support us in this endeavour, our fight against terror," he added.

However Mottaki gave a highly equivocal answer to a question over whether Iran would support a Turkish military strike on northern Iraq against the militants.

"I think that we will be able to overcome these small grouplets," he said. "There are various ways of going about this. We hope our cooperation will allow us to solve this as soon as possible."

The Iraqi authorities also said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad agreed with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that that crisis could still be solved by diplomacy alone.

"Both leaders agreed the activities of the PKK were damaging the interests of Iraq, Turkey and Iran but stressed that military action is not the only option to deal with it," Maliki's office quoted the leaders as saying.

Expectations of Turkish military action have mounted after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would launch a military strike when necessary against PKK rebels who have taken sanctuary in northern Iraq.

Iran has in recent weeks been echoing Turkey's frustration over the failure of the authorities in northern Iraq to crack down on Kurdish rebels.

The militant Kurdish group PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), linked to the PKK, has been behind a string of deadly attacks on security forces in northwestern Iran in recent months.

Iran's Kordestan, Kermanshah and West Azarbaijan provinces, which border northern Iraq, have substantial Kurdish populations.

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