Ankara backs PKK raids in Iraq

Oct. 6, 2011 at 10:33 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Despite objections from the pro-Kurdish opposition, the Turkish government said it sanctioned cross-border raids into Iraq to take on Kurdish militants.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said, during a visit to Germany last month, that the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, was committing "suicide" by advancing its militant campaign inside his country.

Iran and Turkey are battling Kurdish militants along their borders with Iraq. Iranian military officials have said they were making key independent gains against PKK allies along their border.

The Turkish Parliament sanctioned cross-border raids against PKK hideouts in northern Iraq for 2012, Turkey's Today's Zaman newspaper reports.

The newspaper notes at least 40,000 people were killed during the conflict with the PKK, which began as a militant separatist campaign in the 1990s.

Ankara in 2009 sent 10,000 troops into Iraq. Though the measure moved easily through Parliament, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party objected to the cross-border raids.

Washington has admitted to sharing intelligence information with Ankara about PKK activity in northern Iraq.

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