While the politicians continued their diplomacy and discussions in Ankara, on the Turkish-Iraqi border soldiers were setting up positions in the northern Iraqi province of Duhouk. Military vehicles and tanks were seen at Bamerni airport, controlled by Turkish troops since 2002, and nearby areas.
The Kurds in this frontier region have had to live with the fear of artillery attacks for years and are desperately hoping the situation does not get worse. “We hope that the Turkish parliament does not allow the Turkish army into the Kurdistan region of Iraq,” said one man. “The Kurdish people have suffered a lot and pray that past tragedies are not repeated.”
On the Turkish side of the border, many are worried any military incursion would hit them in the pocket. If the border crossing – Habur Gate – is closed, the economic costs could be crippling. One truck driver said: “It seems that after the motion this crossing may be closed. The income of the region, the factory of the region is this gate.”
Quite how far any offensive against the PKK may or may not go this time remains to be seen. But some experts said the government is hoping that just the passing of the bill will be enough to shock the US and Iraq into doing more to crack down on the Kurdish separatist rebels.