The prospect of military action on the Iraqi-Turkish front has moved closer after Turkey’s government called for parliamentary approval of a possible cross-border offensive. A motion calling for permission to launch attacks on Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq will be voted on this Wednesday.
Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is under increasing public pressure to act after a series of attacks on Turkish troops said to have been carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan workers party the PKK.
The prospect of Nato’s second largest army crossing into mainly Kurdish northern Iraq has prompted calls of restraint from Washington.
Iraq has urged Turkey not to resort to military action and to seek a diplomatic solution, while pro- Kurdish politicians within Turkey’s parliament have condemned the move, Hasip Kaplan of the DTP said that his party was against the motion, “as it would only lead to more instability in the region.”
The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in south east Turkey since 1984. Turkey accuses the rebels of using Iraqi territory as a safe haven from which to attack the Turkish military.