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Turkish parliament okays military strikes against Kurds in north Iraq

The Turkish parliament
The Turkish parliament
ANKARA, Oct 17 (KUNA) -- The Turkish parliament gave the green light Wednesday for a large-scale military operation in northern Iraq, to crush the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) rebels based there.
The military move will be inevitable in case the United States and Iraq fail to neutralize the Kurd separatists in the northern Iraqi semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.
The move, part of a one-year old act, was approved in an open session by 507 out of 550 MPs and opposed by 19 Kurd MPs.
The Turkish army has been waiting impatiently for the parliamentary approval of the act after gathering enough intelligence information about the bases and armament of the rebels.
Lobbying for a long time for its likely military action against the PKK, Turkey has recently won the support of neighboring Syria.
Visiting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad asserted earlier in the day Turkey right to self-defense.
"Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan assured to me that their country had no ulterior motives in attacking northern Iraq," Bashar told reporters here.
The Syrian leader blamed the spread of terrorism from Iraq to neighboring countries including Turkey on the US invasion of Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki asked Erdogan in a phone conversation to give the Iraqi and Kurd authorities in the area a new chance to crush "the PKK terrorists." He delegated a security mission to Turkey and suggested a tripartite Iraqi-Turkish Kurdish commission to settle the dispute.
For his part, Erdogan said he was ready to receive the Iraqi delegation to probe border security but he said he could not wait long for words to come true.
Renewing his call for departure of all terrorists from Iraqi territories, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani blamed the PKK for destabilizing Iraq and neighborly Turkey.
He said he would visit Turkey if he was invited to do so, asserting that he had friendly ties with Gul and Erdogan.
An estimated 3,000 PKK rebels use northern Iraq as a launching pad for attacks against security and civilian targets inside Turkish territories. Turkey blames the PKK rebels for the loss of over 30,000 lives since the eruption of the armed conflict in 1984. (pickup previous) tb.gb.
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