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Iraqi Kurds condemn Turkey incursion, call for troops withdrawal
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12:02, February 24, 2008

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Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its parliament condemned Saturday the Turkish military operations in the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, calling for an end of Turkey's violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

"It is imperative that Turkey immediately withdraws its military forces from the Kurdistan region in Iraq," the KRG said in a statement.

The statement came a day after Turkey announced that 10,000 of its troops were taking part in a cross-border offensive, which follows periodic air raids, on suspected hideouts of the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in northern Iraq.

In response, KRG called on Turkey to give up the idea of solving the PKK problem through military solution as it was proved vain in the past 24 years but returned to the right way of dialogue and diplomacy.

The KRG also suggested an "immediate four-party talks between Washington, Ankara, Baghdad and Arbil to solve this issue," according to the statement.

For its part, the Kurdish regional parliament also condemned the Turkish incursion, saying in a statement that "Turkey has no reason for military operations but it is only fears from the democratic experiment in the Kurdistan region."

In Baghdad, the government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said that there is only less than 1,000 Turkish troops had crossed the border and that the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had talked to the Turkish officials about the tension of border.

"The operation will be a limited one and the Turkish troops are only targeting several PKK fighters," Dabbagh said, expressing to some extent the government's understanding to the operation.

The PKK, listed by the United States and Turkey as a terrorist group, took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an ethnic homeland in the southeast of the country. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the over-two-decade conflict.

The Turkish military was authorized by its parliament last November to enter into northern Iraq to purse PKK members. But such a move has been rare as the U.S. - Turkey's major ally - has been worried about that a major incursion would destabilize the Kurdish region, which has been spared of violence since the U.S.-led invasion broke out in 2003.

Source: Xinhua

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