The Turkish government has agreed to impose economic sanctions against groups supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. One target could be Masoud Barzani’s autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, which has infuriated Ankara by refusing to crack down on the seperatists.
Thousands of PKK fighters are said to be holed up in the mountainous border area between Iraq and Turkey. Baghdad says it has set up more checkpoints to restrict their movements and cut off supplies.
No details of Turkey’s sanctions have been revealed, but they are expected to include restricting border traffic and reducing electricity exports. A large percentage of trade done with Iraq goes through the Habur Gate crossing near the city of Sirnak. Locals fear this will be one of the first to be closed.
Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since it launched its campaign for Kurdish autonomy in 1984. The US is expected to make further efforts to avoid a major Turkish incursion into Iraq at a meeting in Istanbul tomorrow.