Intense public pressure is growing on the Turkish government to press ahead with a major cross-border military strike against Kurdish guerillas in neighbouring northern Iraq. Turkey has already gathered up to 100,000 troops near the border, backed up with tanks and attack helicopters. Parliament has also given its approval for major military action.
The killing of 17 Turkish troops by the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party – or PKK – has led to newspaper headlines like “Enough, Finish this pain” and “We are supporting you.”
But in Kirkuk in Northern Iraq, thousands of people from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds marched to oppose any Turkish incursion.
Washington and Baghdad are also keen to avoid any military action in what is one of Iraq’s most stable areas. The Iraqi Prime Minister condemned the PKK attack as a terrorist action, and sent condolences to Turkey.
Some observers believe 30,000 people have died so far in the PKK fight for an independent homeland in the area around the Iraq-Turkey border.