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IRAQ - Oct 19 - Kurdistan Warns Turkey On Incursion.

The president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region issue a statement implying that Kurdish forces will resist a Turkish military operation against rebels based in their territory. The statement by Kurdistan president Masoud Barzani is the strongest-worded reaction so far to Oct 17 by the Turkish parliament authorising military action against guerrillas of the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, based in northern Iraq. "We frankly say to all parties: if they attack the [Kurdistan]

region under whatever pretext, we will be completely ready to defend our democratic experiment and the dignity of our people and the sanctity of our homeland", said Barzani in a statement. Until now, Iraqi Kurdish officials had reacted to the parliamentary vote by pushing for a negotiated solution, which could possibly include the withdrawal of the PKK from its mountain stronghold in northeast Iraq. Washington has also put pressure on Ankara not to destabilise Iraqi Kurdistan, a zone of comparative security in the country, but has expressed sympathy for Turkish complaints that PKK guerrillas use Iraq as a base for attacks on Turkish soil. Barzani has traditionally taken a more militant Kurdish nationalist line than other prominent Iraqi Kurdish politicians. And while Iraqi Kurdish officials say that they have no love for the PKK, a formerly hardline Marxist group which once dubbed them traitors, they also say that they have no wish to shed Kurdish blood to solve what they consider to be a Turkish domestic political problem. It is unclear when Turkey might stage a cross-border operation, and what form it would take - Parliament's approval is valid for one year. Turkish troops have staged limited cross-border strikes in the past, and Iraqi Kurdish forces have in general stayed out of their way. It might be possible for the Iraqi Kurdish leaders to similarly ignore a future Turkish operation, presuming that it is confined to remote mountain areas.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Date:Oct 20, 2007
Previous Article:IRAQ - Oct 17 - Bomb Attacks Kill At Least 8.
Next Article:PALESTINE - Oct 17 - Abbas Issues Warning Over Mideast Summit.

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