The Turkish army, the second biggest force in NATO, is waiting at the border with Iraq, waiting for the go-ahead to invade. The government says its running out of patience with failed efforts to stop cross-border attacks by Kurdish rebels who then run back into Iraq for cover.
Up to 100,000 soldiers are mobilised even as last-ditch diplomacy talks got underway in Ankara. Prime Minister Erdogan said today from Romania that US calls for restraint would not influence a decision to attack that would be taken by Turkey alone. “The United States has to act together with Turkey. We acted together with them in Afghanistan.” he said.
Turkish F-16 jets have been seen taking off from a base near the border. An Iraqi Kurdish official says a village just north of the Iraqi town of Dahuk was bombed on Wednesday. Northern Iraq has been relatively peaceful since the US-led invasion, and Washington hopes this stability continues.
But domestic pressure is growing on Ankara to act since 12 Turkish soldiers were killed by the Kurdish separatists on Sunday. Eight others were captured and are being held on Turkish soil, according to the rebels.