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Reuters: Iraq Wants Turkey Out


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By Mariam Karouny

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq on Tuesday condemned Turkey's incursion into northern Iraq to fight Kurdish guerrillas in the strongest terms so far and demanded an immediate end to what it called a violation of its sovereignty.

Thousands of Turkish troops crossed the border last Thursday to root out PKK fighters who have used mountainous northern Iraq as a base for their fight for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey since the 1990s.

"The cabinet expressed its rejection and condemnation for the Turkish military interference, which is considered a violation of Iraq's sovereignty," the Iraqi government said in a statement released by spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.

"The cabinet stresses that unilateral military action is not acceptable and threatens good relations between the two neighbors."

Dabbagh said earlier on Tuesday that a Turkish envoy would meet Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and government leaders including Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari in Baghdad on Wednesday.

An Iraqi government source identified the envoy as Ahmet Davutoglu, a senior foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Ankara has not confirmed this.

Turkish troops, backed by warplanes and artillery, have been fighting Kurdish guerrillas at close quarters as they advance on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases.

"Turkey is engaged in a legitimate fight against a terrorist organization which has challenged Turkey's peace and security," Erdogan told his AK Party in parliament. Continued...

Source: Reuters

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