Turkey is considering whether to launch a raid on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq after a series of deadly attacks on Turkish troops. At least 12 soldiers and more than 30 Kurdish militants have been killed on Sunday in the worst fighting in years. Several Turkish troops are also reportedly being held hostage but there has been no official confirmation from Ankara.
It comes days after Turkey’s parliament voted in favour of hunting down separatists accused of using northern Iraq as a base. Under pressure from the powerful military, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will meet top army chiefs for a crisis summit that may authorise an offensive.
Meanwhile, Masoud Barzani, the leader of Iraq’s largely autonomous Kurdish region says talks are the best way of solving the problem between Ankara and Kurdish or PKK rebels. But he has also warned that Kurdistan will defend itself if Turkey launches an incursion and attacks Kurdish targets.
The Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, has also condemned Turkey’s shelling of towns in Iraq’s border region as an “unjustified escalation.” In another incident, a landmine killed one civilian and wounded at least 13 others who were travelling in a minibus near to where the soldiers were killed.