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Tension grows over Turkish intentions to launch cross-border attacks into Iraq

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Tension grows over Turkish intentions to launch cross-border attacks into Iraq

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Fears that if Turkey’s parliament backs possible cross-border attacks on Kurdish rebels it could destabilise the whole region have provoked international calls for restraint. A vote on a government backed motion allowing Turkey’s troops to launch military incursions into Northern Iraq is due later today. Ankara claims that members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (or PKK) are using the region as a safe haven from which to conduct a violent separatist campaign.

The Iraqi government believes such unilateral action could have grave consequences and has sent Iraq’s Vice-President, Tareq Hashemi, to seek a diplomatic solution. But while the government is under increasing pressure at home to act against the rebels it is playing down expectations of any imminent attack.

Meanwhile Turkey is continuing with its military build up in the area although analysts believe despite its tough rhetoric Turkey may limit itself to aerial bombardment of rebel targets while avoiding a major incursion.