The Turkish government is coming under public pressure to unleash a full-scale military campaign against Kurdish rebels in Northern Iraq, despite news that the outlawed PKK group could stop all of its operations against Turkey. There was a march in Ankara, urging Prime Minister Erdogan to send in the troops. This after several Turkish soldiers – some reports say at least 12 – were killed in a PKK ambush as part of the fight for an independent Kurdish homeland.
Some residents in towns on the Turkey-Iraq border want action. One man said: “It’s better we go into northern Iraq, not to invade, but to ruin the PKK – the Kurdistan Workers Party – and accomplish our aims.”
Another said: “We want parliament to take concrete steps on terror. We want peace and welfare to be established in the area. We as the people of this region get affected a lot.” In Kirkuk, in Northern Iraq – one of the country’s most stable areas – thousands called on Turkey to hold back.
Turkey, with an estimated 100,000 troops in the area ready to strike, says it will exhaust all diplomatic means before carrying out any military operation. The PKK has offered a ceasefire as long as Turkey stays on its side of the border.