ANKARA, Feb 25: Hostility between Turkey and the Kurds of
northern Iraq spiralled on Tuesday over Ankara's plans to bolster its military
presence in the breakaway region before a possible US-led war on
Baghdad(Abdullah Zaheeruddin/Getty Images)
Kurds oppose Turkish role
ANKARA, Feb 25: Hostility between Turkey and the Kurds of northern Iraq
spiralled on Tuesday over Ankara's plans to bolster its military presence in the
breakaway region before a possible US-led war on Baghdad.
As the Turkish government asked parliament to authorize the deployment of
thousands more troops across the border in northern Iraq, the regional
parliament in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq demanded international action to
keep Ankara in check.
Underscoring the growing tensions between two US allies, who will be crucial in
a military campaign against Baghdad, the Kurdish parliament issued a declaration
saying it "rejects any military intervention by Turkey or other countries
in Kurdistan for any pretext".
Turkey immediately denied it had a "secret agenda" to take control of
the region, which has been outside Baghdad's control since the 1991 Gulf war,
and accused Kurdish MPs of "provocation and misleading remarks".
"It would be very misleading and unjustified to interpret any military
measures Turkey might take to ensure its own security and to provide
humanitarian aid to a possible wave of refugees as having a design or intentions
over Iraq," a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.
Tuesday's row was an indication of the deep distrust between the two camps.
Turkey claims its troops will go to northern Iraq for humanitarian purposes but
the Iraqi Kurds fear Ankara may be seeking to extend control over their region.
A senior official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls the
strip of northern Iraq adjacent to the Turkish border, recently warned there
could be armed conflict if the Turkish army intervened in the region.
"We will oppose any Turkish military intervention... Any intervention,
under whatever pretext, will lead to clashes," the faction's chief
spokesman, Hoshyar Zebari, was quoted by the Turkish media as saying.
Another KDP official, Sami Abdul Rahman, said on Monday the Kurds felt
"less threat" from the Baghdad regime than from Turkey's plans to
deploy troops in the region.
His warning came as the Turkish authorities prevented some 400 journalists
crossing into Iraq to report on a Iraqi opposition meeting in the city of Arbil.
Several Turkish newspapers suggested the KDP had barred the journalists from the
meeting. But the Kurds issued a statement denying the allegation and accused the
Turkish authorities of seeking to send large numbers of security officials to
accompany the reporters.-AFP
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